The Simpsons Is Parodying Prestige TV In A Two-Part Crime Thriller Featuring Brian Cox

"The Simpsons" is well-known for its "Treehouse of Horror" episodes, which became an annual Halloween tradition with the show's second season. However, Halloween has come and gone and we are now in Noirvember, the month when movie-lovers celebrate cinema's dark side. "The Simpsons" is ready to bring that spirit to TV this Sunday as it kicks off a two-part episode called "A Serious Flanders," where the show will briefly transform itself into "an Emmy-baiting crime drama, darker and prestigier than anything you've ever seen."

As noted in our write-up on season 33 of "The Simpsons," the title of this two-parter "is a punny reference to both Ned Flanders — the Christian *ding-dong-diddly* neighbor of the Simpsons family — and the distinctly Jewish Coen Brothers film, 'A Serious Man.'" Co-showrunner Matt Selman has called it "an epic love letter to the show 'Fargo' and the world of streaming television." It even features the voice of Timothy Olyphant, who co-starred in season 4 of "Fargo" last year.

Olyphant also starred for six seasons in his own Emmy-nominated crime drama on FX, "Justified," and he's not the only prestige TV actor in town for "A Serious Flanders." Brian Cox, who just released a memoir where he disses some famous actors in the blunt manner of his "Succession" character, Logan Roy, is also coming to Springfield to terrorize Flanders (on "Simpflix").

The Devil Phones Flanders

Speaking to Variety (via NME), Selman outlined the comedic intent for "A Serious Flanders," saying:

"We wanted to do all the tricks that these cool streaming shows get to do. Flashbacks, crazy time jumps, the feeling that anyone might die. It's all the tricks of the trade, for a semi-pretentious but also very cool kind of story. We have scenes that build tension or make fun of the idea of building tension."

In the trailer for the episode, Flanders answers the phone thinking God is calling him (naturally), but it turns out to be a guy with a scarred eye, who Chief Wiggum likens to Satan himself. That's Cox's character.

Given the fact that Ned's wife, Maude, already died on "The Simpsons," it's possible that the show might deliver on the "anyone might die" threat and use "A Serious Flanders" to kill off another character. It wouldn't necessarily have to be a beloved old character, though, since we also see Ned eliciting awkward giggles from a new romantic interest in the trailer.

The first half of "A Serious Flanders" broadcasts on Fox on Sunday, November 7, 2021, and the second half follows a week later on Sunday, November 14, 2021.