Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Frank Gehry in the Simpsons

One of the most prominent architects of our time is Frank Gehry, a Canadian living and practicing in Los Angeles, he is best known for his Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and more recently his Los Angeles Disney Concert Hall. However, those who have followed his career would realise that Gehry experimented with various forms in his earlier career in his own house and the Loyola Law School.
He is probably the most published and famous living American architect, and it wasn't a surprise that they would have him featured in a Simpsons episode. Gehry is a guest star in The Simpsons Season 16 Episode 14. When I say 'guest star' I mean he really voiced the part and played himself in the episode. I am placing the screenshots of the episode below, narrating the plot.
The Simpsons visit the neighbouring town of Shelbyville where the people are apparently more affluent than the Springfielders. In fact, the whole town thinks that all Springfielders are stupid hicks. So here's a scene in a Shelbyville play where the Shelbyvillians are portrayed to be clean and proper while the Springfielders are portrayed as stupid hicks.
After the play, Lisa tries to convince them that Springfielders are refined, cultured and articulate as well but gets hooted by the Shelbyville crowd.
Marge as Chairman of the Cultural Committee proposes that the town builds a new concert hall, so that Springfield would be seen as a cultured and refined place. Who should be the architect? Frank Gehry of course!
Here's Gehry's own house, which is the most memorable of his projects and was even deemed 'deconstructivist' for the way the materials were treated. It lies in a state of paradox, seemingly incomplete yet complete.

Gehry checks his mail and finds a letter Marge sends him.
He crumples the paper and tosses it on the ground and gets his inspiration for the Concert Hall.
Gehry then presents his design at the Springfield Town Hall.
The spunky new building impresses the crowd and everyone votes to build it.
The construction begins and it seems that they are building a rectilinear building instead.
Then the wrecking balls come and knock the building into shape.
And once the final form is arrived at...

Gehry gives his thumbs-up in approval.

After it is built, Gehry is seen here trying to get skateboarders off his building.
Soon there is an opening night with all the pomp and splendour.
The interior even looks like the LA Concert Hall! The opening night is a big disaster because everyone leaves the building after hearing the first 4 notes of Beethoven's 5th Symphony. Apparently no one in Springfield (but Marge) is interested in classical music!
The town sells the building to Montgomery Burns and he decides to turn it into a prison. Modifications are done to the building.
And here's the building completed as a prison.
who said architecture wasnt fun?


Anonymous said...

quite intresting ,you gotta be as crazy as simpsons to come up with such a design. besides i wonder why dont you have tadao , wright and bawa on your list .

Sonia said...

Hey dear Thanks for sharing this great show. I like this post, its really an beautiful post about the show. I found an website for this show from where we can watch The Simpsons TV Show with all episodes only in an single click. So enjoy your precious time...

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