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The Simpsons paid tribute to Stephen Hawking Sunday evening, who made several guest appearances on the TV show throughout its run. The tribute also spilled over onto Twitter, where writers and producers of the TV show and fans alike shared their favorite moments of Hawking on The Simpsons.
The show ended Sunday’s episode with an image of Hawking—who died on March 14 at age 76—in his helicopter and jet-powered wheelchair, complete with Lisa Simpson sitting on his lap. The still is from the 1999 episode, “They Saved Lisa’s Brain!” which marked Hawking’s first guest appearance alongside Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie.
The Simpsons’ executive producer Matt Selman shared the image on Twitter. Other writers and producers for the show also shared images of Hawking on Twitter.
— Matt Selman (@mattselman) March 19, 2018
RIP Dr Stephen Hawking. A fabulous Simpsons character, a great great man. pic.twitter.com/k7PKc7lqem
— David Silverman (@tubatron) March 14, 2018
— Al Jean (@AlJean) March 14, 2018
Fans responded with their favorite GIFs of the cartoon depiction of Hawking that appeared on The Simpsons.
— Mary Walsh (@marywoohoo190) March 19, 2018
Wasn't expecting this and it was nice to see pic.twitter.com/we8Pks6NdT
— AlexSomething 🕹⌛️ (@AlexMoreganXP) March 19, 2018
Hawking appeared on four episodes of The Simpsons between 1999 and 2010. Selman told the A.V. Club that the theoretical physicist also visited table readings and hung out with the show’s cast and crew.
“Like, ‘There’s Matt Groening. There’s Dan Castellaneta. There’s… Stephen Hawking. At the read. Just enjoying our world,” Selman said. “I think he saw that there’s a certain absurdity in everything, like in trying to figure out the laws of the universe or silly Simpsons stories. I think he shared that absurdist sense of humor. Our show is sort of about trying to find meaning in a chaotic world—I think he related to that as well.”
Tess Cagle is a reporter who focuses on politics, lifestyle, and streaming entertainment. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Texas Monthly, the Austin American-Statesman, Damn Joan, and Community Impact Newspaper. She’s also a portrait, events, and live music photographer in Central Texas.