When the dedicated minds behind The Simpsons set out to get someone on the show, they usually find themselves surprisingly victorious. Last year alone, the longest-running American sitcom grabbed Lena Dunham and George Takei while battling some behind-the-scenes drama regarding its main cast. But there's at least one cameo opportunity that's eluded the Simpsons universe: Michelle Obama.
Speaking with Variety Monday, The Mary Tyler Moore Show creator and Simpsons producer James L. Brooks revealed that the show's original plan for the season 21 episode "Stealing First Base" was to have the real Michelle Obama. In fact, Brooks said his team's "aggressive" recruiting tactics ultimately ended with a hilariously concise response from Michelle herself.
"I did not see that," Brooks said when told that The Mary Tyler Moore Show was recently named by Michelle as one of her favorite shows. "Yippee! We tried to get her on The Simpsons and we couldn't. We finally got a note that said 'good try' because we were so aggressive."
The episode in question, which first aired in 2010, ultimately nabbed Angela Bassett (American Horror Story, Chi-Raq) to play the First Lady. But high-profile cameos aren't the reason Simpsons has endured for nearly three decades, Brooks insisted. That honor belongs to the show's continued dedication to trying out new things.
"The thing is so much bigger than any one of us that we all serve it," Brooks told Variety. "You walk on there, you think we were killing ourselves for a pilot. Nobody's lazy and we can have a crazy new thing and do it. We can go into a new form. We sit around and have an idea for a theatrical short and we do it, and it's silent and there's no dialogue."
The Simpsons, still shy at least one presidential cameo, returns to FOX Sept. 25.