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, than by discussing some of these concepts Monday morning?
So let’s get started this week by talking about a nearly 150 year old comic opera.
In the eighty third episode of The Simpsons, Cape Feare (Season 05, Episode 02), Bart starts receiving death threats that point to Sideshow Bob.
The Simpsons enter the witness protection program and relocate. But unbeknownst to them, Sideshow Bob is tagging along for the relocation. Sideshow Bob isolates and captures Bart. About to kill him, he gives him one final request.
Sideshow Bob: “Well, Bart…any last requests?”
Bart notices a sign that says the boat will be in Springfield soon: “Well, there is one, but… nah.”
Sideshow Bob: “No, go on.”
Bart: “Well, you have such a beautiful voice.”
Sideshow Bob: “Guilty as charged.”
Bart: “Uh huh. Anyway, I was wondering if you could sing the entire score of the “H.M.S. Pinafore.””
Sideshow Bob: “Very well, Bart. I shall send you to heaven before I send you to Hell.”
The score keeps Sideshow Bob distracted long enough for the ship to arrive in Springfield. And once more Bart thwarts Sideshow Bob’s plans.
But have you ever wondered what the “H.M.S. Pinafore” is?
“H.M.S. Pinafore” is an 1878 comic opera by famous English dramatist and composer duo Gilbert and Sullivan. Dramatist W.S. Gilbert and composer Arthur Sullivan teamed up for 14 operas in the late 19th century.
Sir William Schwenck Gilbert (18 November 1836 – 29 May 1911)
Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan (13 May 1842 – 22 November 1900)
The play opened at the Opera Comique in Westminster, London, on 25 May 1878. It ran for 571 performances, which was the second-longest run of any musical theatre piece up to that time (just a tad below the now record 14,000+ performances “Les Miserables” ran since 1985).
With witty dialogue, endearing characters, memorable tunes and a hilariously happy ending, the play features the silliest shenanigans ever seen aboard a ship. Since its première in 1878, Gilbert and Sullivan’s wildly popular operetta has delighted audiences with its nautical tale of love across class divides.
Per Wikipedia: “The story takes place aboard the Royal Navy ship HMS Pinafore. The captain’s daughter, Josephine, is in love with a lower-class sailor, Ralph Rackstraw, although her father intends her to marry Sir Joseph Porter, the First Lord of the Admiralty. She abides by her father’s wishes at first, but Sir Joseph’s advocacy of the equality of humankind encourages Ralph and Josephine to overturn conventional social order. They declare their love for each other and eventually plan to elope. The Captain discovers this plan, but, as in many of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas, a surprise disclosure changes things dramatically near the end of the story.”
Now that we’ve relived the comic opera H.M.S. Pinafore, be sure to come back next week when we continue our Monday morning musings with the next episode of The Simpsons.
Did you remember the episode? What’s your favourite Side Show Bob episode of The Simpsons? What about your favourite musical reference on The Simpsons? What’s your favourite boat seen on The Simpsons? Did you remember Sideshow Bob’s performance? Did you know the history of the H.M.S. Pinafore? Have you ever seen a performance of the H.M.S. Pinafore? Sound off in the comments below. You know we love hearing from you.