As a child of the late 80’s and early 90’s, two of my biggest obsessions were Sonic the Hedgehog and The Simpsons. Despite having very little to do with each other, both franchises were at their heights in the early 90’s. Sonic’s first game saw release in the summer of 1991, just as The Simpsons were nearing the end of their second season, debuting a number of episodes that came to define the series and showed that they had greatly improved upon the so-so first season. The Simpsons had also invaded the world of video games in 1991, with the release of Konami’s The Simpsons Arcade and, of note to SEGA fans, a number of Master System, Game Gear and Genesis titles. 1993 saw the release of The Simpsons Comics series and Archie’s Sonic the Hedgehog, both still in print to this day, a rare feat for licensed comics.
It was only a matter of time before The Simpsons and Sonic crossed paths by way of The Simpsons propensity to reference popular culture. In this week’s SEGA in the Media we take a look at all the moments Sonic appeared on The Simpsons!
Marge Be Not Proud
Sonic’s first Simpsons appearance was in the 1995 season seven episode “Marge Be Not Proud”. A fan favorite, and one of my personal favorites, the episode centers around Bart and his need to own the video game Bonestorm. Caught up in the moral dilemma of whether to steal the game, he is surrounded by game characters who weigh in on the decision:
Luigi: Go ahead-a, Bart, take-a the Bonestorm.
Mario: The store, she’s so rich. She’ll-a never notice.
Donkey Kong: Duh, it’s the company’s fault for making you want it so much.
Lee Carvallo: Don’t do it, son. How’s that game going to help your putting?
Sonic: Just take it! Take it, take it, take it, take it, take it. Take it!
Sonic is saying “take it” in the same style as the SEGA commercials at the time. The “SEGA Scream”, as it’s known, also appeared in the intro of Sonic 3D Blast for the Genesis.
That 90’s Show
Jumping ahead to 2008, Sonic returned in the nineteenth season episode “That 90’s Show”. In this bizarre episode, Bart and Lisa discover that Homer and Marge had their first child later than the kids had originally thought. This was, of course, due to the fact that the Simpsons characters do not age despite the series spanning two decades. As such, Bart is born during the mid-90’s. While a majority of Simpsons fans hated this episode, I found it to be a pretty funny way of calling attention to a problem brought on by a series existing far longer than its originators would have thought.
Sonic, being a product of the 90’s, appears in the flashback by way of a billboard.
Marge: I’m not ready to do that yet. I want to wait until I’m married, or at least really drunk.
Homer: I understand. We should follow the lead of today’s celebrity role models. (Homer directs Marge’s attention to a billboard)
The gag is most likely inspired by the educational “Sonic Says” segment from Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic looks as though he borrowed Tails’s shoes and Amy Rose appears in her 1998 redesign. Check out the scene here!
The Simpsons Game
Sonic’s third appearance was not in an episode, but rather in EA’s The Simpsons Game. The game centers around the Simpsons family discovering that they are characters within a video game. At one point in the game, Bart, Lisa and Professor Frink enter the Game Engine. Sonic and Mario appear as oppressed slaves to the Game Engine machine, forced to churn out game after game. The Game Engine stage features a lanky depressed Sonic walking on a giant hamster wheel muttering things like: “I miss the 90’s, everybody loved me then”, “I forget why I hated Eggman so much”, “That Shadow version of me. Nicest guy in the world. Completely mis-understood” and “Ow! I can’t spin anymore! My back!”. The stage also features pipes spewing out Zelda hearts, Mario coins and Sonic rings.
Cutscene and gameplay footage from the PS2 version:
Sonic reappears at the end of the game, as one of the many video game characters escaping the collapsing game universe. He then shows up in a few crowd scenes before the Simpsons family head off to the final stage. Check out Sonic’s final scenes here!
UPDATE: In the 2011 episode “The Food Wife” (S23E5) you can see a very strange parody of Sonic in the video game convention, E4.