Morning Musically-Minded, Medically-Minded, Masticators!
(Today’s post is sponsored by the letter “M”)
Over the past 600+ episodes, The Simpsons has taken us on an amazing journey involving music, science, and food to name a few concepts.
And what better way to start your week, then by discussing some of these concepts Monday morning?
So let’s get started this week by talking about another Billboard topper from the 1970’s.
In the twenty eighth episode of The Simpsons, Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? (Season 02, Episode 15), after Grampa Simpson has a mild arrhythmia, the fear of death prompts him to confess to Homer that he had an illegitimate child with a carny shortly before marrying Mona.
Homer thrilled to learn he has a long lost half-brother goes to great lengths to connect with this brother. With the help from the director of Shelbyville Orphanage, he learns his brother his Herb Powell from Detroit, Michigan.
Herb invites Homer and his family to Detroit, where they are surprised to learn he is extremely rich and the head of Powell Motors car company. He tasks Homer with designing a car for the average American. Homer gets to work.
Homer: “All right, listen up! We are going to design a car! First things first, cup holders! Do any of you drink the Big One coffee from Kwik-E-Mart?”
Engineer #1: “I do.”
Homer: “OK, so you see how most cup holders are teeny! They should be this big! Next, antennae balls! How many of you had problems finding your car?”
Engineer #2: “I have.”
Homer: “So you know what I mean. Those should be on every car! Next up, horns. I want a horn here, here, and here! You can never find a good horn when you are mad! And they should all play La Cucaracha! Moving on, how about when you are on a long trip and the kids will not shut up?”
Engineer #3: “How about a built in video game?”
Homer: “You are fired!”
Engineer #4: “A bubble dome that will isolate the kids?”
But have you ever wondered where the song ‘La Cucaracha’ comes from?
La Cucaracha, which translates to “The Cockroach”, is a traditional Spanish folk song. The exact origins of the song are unknown. It is very popular in Mexico, and was especially performed during the Mexican Revolution. The jist of the song describes a cockroach who cannot walk. However, many alternative stanzas exist.
The song’s earliest lyrics, from which its name is derived, describe a cockroach that has lost one of its six legs and is struggling to walk with the remaining five. The cockroach’s uneven, five-legged gait is imitated by the song’s original chorus:
La cucaracha, la cucaracha
ya no puede caminar
porque no tiene, porque le faltan
las dos patitas “de” atrás.
The cockroach, the cockroach
can no longer walk
because she doesn’t have, because she lacks
the two hind legs to walk.
For many 80’s kids, The Simpsons may not be your first introduction to ‘La Cucaracha’. You may have heard Speedy Gonzales from Looney Tunes singing it. Other notable artists to perform the song include Louis Armstrong, Judy Garland, Cuco Sanchez, Liberace, Lila Downs, Piñata Protest , WWF wrestler Roddy Piper, and The Wiggles amongst many others.
Now that we’ve learned more about ‘La Cucaracha’, be sure to come back next week when we continue our Monday morning musings with the next episode of The Simpsons.
And don’t forget to vote in this weeks Bracket Battle!
Were you familiar with ‘La Cucaracha’? What about the episode it came from? What’s your favourite Simpsons musical reference? What about your favourite Simpsons episode with a long lost family member? Have you ever been tasked with designing a product? Sound off in the comments below. You know we love hearing from you.