Instead of worrying about The Simpsons‘ pseudo split in Sunday’s season premiere (Fox, 8/7c), perhaps fans should be more concerned about Marge heading to the slammer in May’s finale.
“Marge lets Bart go to the park alone because he’s too irritating, then she ends up getting arrested,” executive producer Al Jean tells TVLine of the Season 27 finale. “I read a column by Mitch Albom, the writer of Tuesdays with Morrie, about a mother who was arrested for letting her son play in the park while she had to work. Albom was saying, ‘When did it become illegal to let your kids play in the park when they’re 10? When did kids have to be on a leash every minute?’ So that’s the basis of our story.”
Despite the finale’s title, “Orange Is the New Yellow,” Jean insists it’s not a parody of the Netflix comedy. “It’s more about dealing with that real issue,” he explains. “Nobody wants a child to be neglected, but I very much feel for a mom who has to work and can’t afford a sitter.”
And here’s another big surprise on tap for Season 27: Is Smithers finally going to come out to Mr. Burns?
“In Springfield now, most people know he’s gay, but obviously Burns doesn’t,” Jean notes. “We deal with that in two episodes. … We actually do a lot with Smithers this year; he gets fed up with Burns not appreciating him and considers his options.”
There’s also a major split on the horizon — other than Homer and Marge’s, of course. Apu will have a falling out with his brother Sanjay, resulting in Sanjay’s nephew Jamshed taking over the Kwik-E-Mart.
“Jamshed is 100 percent American,” Jean reminds us. “He doesn’t speak like Apu and even disrespects his way of speaking.” (So that should be a lot of fun.)
What are your hopes for Season 27? Drop ’em in a comment below, then check back after Sunday’s season premiere for Jean’s explanation of Homer and Marge’s big “divorce” drama.