The Simpsons

Just over a year after Richard Linklater’s coming-of-age story, Boyhood, charmingly ambled its way into theaters, a showrunner for The Simpsons announced that the show would be devoting its Christmas episode this year to spoofing the director’s Oscar-nominated film. Al Jean, who’s been running Fox’s long-running animated sitcom since before Linklater started on his famously protracted shooting schedule, made the announcement at the show’s Comic-Con panel earlier today.

The Boyhood episode—which will, of course, be called “Barthood”—will feature Bart Simpson at ages 2, 6, 13, and 14, because time in animation is a fluid construct, especially when no one involved cares much anymore. Bart’s voice actor, Nancy Cartwright, was on hand to show off what “Eat my shorts” sounds like when catchphrased by the various Barts, making her Comic-Con debut while clad in a homemade Bartman costume.

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Other panel attendees included Matt Groening, and surprisingly, director Guillermo Del Toro. It’s not clear if Del Toro—who thanked Groening for propagating the idea that large men like Homer Simpsons could be excellent lovers, and pitched himself to play the brother of Simpsons background mainstay Bumblebee Man—was there because he’s involved in some way with the show’s upcoming “Treehouse Of Horror” episode, or if it was just in honor of the amazing, reference-packed Halloween intro he did for the show a few years before. (The Hollywood Reporter is also claiming that Ren And Stimpy’s John Kricfalusi will be doing another couch-gag this season; if true, it would be Kricfalusi’s second shot at what has increasingly become the show’s major forum for animated inventiveness.)

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The panelists also reiterated some things we already knew, including an upcoming appearance by Lena Dunham and the cast of Girls, and Kelsey Grammer’s inevitable return to the show as Sideshow Bob. Also, they discussed a planned episode about bullying, and Jean’s hopes that people don’t lose their ability to joke about things by becoming “too PC,” which is apparently becoming an extremely hot-button issue among the people behind TV shows that hit their peak in the mid-to-late ’90s.