'The Simpsons' Parodies 'Making A Murderer' & It's Just As Unsettling As You'd Expect
2016 just wouldn't be complete without yet another Making a Murderer parody, but this time, it's actually pretty excellent. On Oct. 23, The Simpsons parodied Making a Murderer, becoming one in a long line of shows to parody the wildly popular Netflix docuseries. Thanks to the cartoon's infamously violent Itchy and Scratchy characters, it turned out way creepier than you'd expect. The episode is titled "Trust But Clarify."
In a parodied show called Mousetrapping A Murderer, viewers are treated to the now-familiar music and sepia-toned opening montage reminiscent of Making a Murderer. But this time, photos of Itchy, the murderous mouse of the duo, is pictured as a youngster with his family. A court document titled "People v. Itchy" appears on screen, along with Itchy putting up his right hand in a solemn swear to tell the truth. The scene immediately changes to that of a farmers market, where Scratchy comes up to a butcher's stand, staffed by Itchy, and asks for a slice. Blood spatters ensue as Itchy cuts Scratchy up into a bunch of pieces, and back on their couch, Bart and Lisa Simpson laugh uproariously at the graphic violence on their screen. As you'd expect the show's spoof is pretty creepy.
As it turns out, the short (and not-so-sweet) inclusion of Itchy and Scratchy's nod to the popular series is part of a larger theme in "Trust But Clarify" — criticism of the media. It's also the first Simpsons writing credit attributed to Harry Shearer, one of the show's longest-running voice actors who played 21 characters at various times, including Monty Burns, Ned Flanders, and Principal Skinner. The episode centers on Kent Brockman, Springfield's erstwhile talking head who was fired for telling tall tales about his time as a war correspondent (a reference to former NBC news anchor Brian Williams and his fall from grace). Lisa hires Brockman to do some muckraking into Krusty the Clown's latest venture. They touch repeatedly on Fox News, Buzzfeed, and Jimmy Kimmel, just to name a few of the the episode's targets.
Although this is the first time the writers of The Simpsons have included a Making a Murderer reference, it's not the first crossover between the two shows — in February, Vulture created a hilarious spoof featuring Homer Simpson as a Steven Avery-esque character for their "Vulture Remix" web series. It's more than a little startling how well The Simpsons universe blends into that of Making a Murderer, but perhaps that kind of cultural relevance is why both shows are so popular.