Sure, you know “The Shape of You,” but what will be the shape of Ed Sheeran when he guest-stars on The Simpsons?
Oh! Like that.
Following his turn as a singing soldier in the Game of Thrones season 7 premiere Sunday night, the British pop star will be Simpsonized: Sheeran is lending his multi-platinum pipes to the animated Fox comedy for a musical-themed episode, titled “Haw-Haw Land,” in the upcoming 29th season. EW has learned that he’ll be playing a musician named Brendan (think along the lines of Ryan Gosling’s character in La La Land) — and Lisa is instantly smitten with this slightly older fellow.
“He keeps alternating [between], ‘You’re not that great, but you could be fantastic,’ and she keeps falling for him because of his talent,” executive producer Al Jean tells EW. There’s actually a love triangle forming as well with Nelson, who tries to impress Lisa with his singing talent. How is Nelson’s voice? “Well, you’ll hear,” says Jean with a chuckle. “He sings ‘Save the Last Dance for Me’ with new lyrics, and he kind of bullies those notes.”
Sheeran as well does a brief bit of crooning in the episode when he meets Lisa, and it sounds like the Lisa-loving Milhouse will not be pleased with this Brendan character. “When Lisa meets Brendan, Milhouse comes in and he goes, ‘I’ve brought three kinds of waters — cold, warm, and lukewarm,’” teases Jean. “Lisa goes, ‘I’m not thirsty anymore,’ and ‘Milhouse goes, ‘Dammit!’ That’s the effect he has on somebody else…. The girls love him but he’s difficult.”
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And what exactly brought Sheeran himself to Springfield? Longtime Simpsons producer Mike Scully heard that the musician — a Simpsons fan who rocks a tattoo of Blinky the three-eyed fish — was interested in appearing on the long-running comedy. “We had a perfect part for him,” explains Jean. “So we said, ‘Oh, great, we’ll have him do this!’ And we recorded him over the phone from England.”
Sheeran, of course, has a few episodic TV credits under his belt. Two years ago, he played himself — and some music — on NBC comedy Undateable, and he had a recurring role on FX drama The Bastard Executioner.
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Sheeran, whose Simpsons episode is slated to air in late fall, is currently on tour in support of his latest album, ÷, which was released in March.
Season 29 of The Simpsons — which kicks off Oct. 1 — also features guest vocals from Norman Lear and Shaq.