In a 2010 episode of The Simpsons titled “Stealing First Base,” Michelle Obama visits Springfield Elementary to defend Lisa Simpson and her fellow overachievers from the school’s bullies. For reasons that weren’t clear at the time, however, the first lady’s animated doppelganger was voiced by actress Angela Bassett instead of Michelle herself. Perhaps the White House didn’t want to expose her to the same media scrutiny that befell the president two months before, when a jacket company used his likeness in a Chinese billboard without permission.
That, or as Simpsons co-creator James L. Brooks recently explained in an interview with Variety, maybe it had something to do with the show’s incessant attempts to contact her. Either way, Brooks didn’t go into too much detail while discussing their failed attempts to snag a Michelle cameo, but at least she offered an appropriate denial:
Michelle Obama recently said that The Mary Tyler Moore Show was one of her favorite programs. What’s your reaction to that?
Brooks: I did not see that. Yippee! We tried to get her on The Simpsons and we couldn’t. We finally got a note that said “good try,” because we were so aggressive.
Of course the woman who encouraged Nick Offerman to keep pumping iron is the same person who would turn down The Simpsons with a mixture of congratulations and snark. Sure she won’t appear on wildly popular animated series to play herself, but by george, Michelle Obama will applaud the showrunners for trying to convince her otherwise and make them feel better about themselves for doing so.