Tom Waits is set to appear on The Simpsons. The wry, croaky singer will play himself on an upcoming episode, introducing Homer to a group of survivalists who are preparing for a technological apocalypse.
Airing in December, Homer Goes to Prep School follows The Simpsons patriarch as he encounters a group of so-called “preppers”. These are people “convinced that some horrible catastrophe – like an electromagnetic pulse – is going to occur, and that [they] will have to survive without the grid,” executive producer Al Jean told TV Line. Inevitably, Homer becomes a prepper”.
Waits is apparently the person who introduces Homer to the preppers. Although he doesn’t sing in the episode, fans will recognise the musician’s voice “in a second”, Jean said. Waits, who is well-known as an actor, has previously lent his growl to the CGI short The Monster of Nix, playing a “terrifying swallow”. He is notoriously protective of his voice and singing style, suing several advertisers who have mimicked the gravelly croon. “It’s part of an artist’s odyssey, discovering your own voice and struggling to find the combination of qualities that makes you unique,” he told the New York Times in 2006. “It’s kind of like your face, your identity. Now I’ve got these unscrupulous doppelgängers out there – my evil twin who is undermining every move I make.”
Justin Bieber, Zooey Deschanel and Benedict Cumberbatch will also voice characters on upcoming episodes of The Simpsons. The animated series begins its 24th season on 30 September..