Variety reported on Thursday (31 August) that Alf had been axed from the show as producers were looking to make a “a different kind of music”, with a spokesperson for Fox declining to comment.
Having been with the show since season two, Alf was behind some of its most iconic musical moments, and we’ve managed to whittle his vast discography down to just 10 of our favourites from over the years…
10. ‘Who Needs The Kwik-E-Mart?’ (‘Homer And Apu’, Series 5)
One of the first songs that will come to anyone’s heads when asked to name their favourite ‘Simpsons’ production numbers, we love it not just for its whimsical lyrics (“oh won’t you rhyme with me?”) and catchy beat, but also the maudlin reprise at the end, sparking one of the most iconic lines in the show’s history: “He lied to us through song. I hate when people do that.”
(Lyrics by Greg Daniels)
9. ‘I Am Their Queen’ (‘The President Wore Pearls’, Series 15)
Over the years, ‘The Simpsons’ has become renowned for its musical theatre parodies, so when an episode charted Lisa’s rise to become class president, and the corruption she encountered along the way, ‘Evita’ was the perfect jumping-off point.
Lisa’s poignant take on ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’ deserves particular praise, but it’s ‘I Am Their Queen’ that really sticks in our minds, replacing “eyes”, “glamour” and “excitement” with “scrunchie”, “lunchbox” and, of course, “Milhouse”.
(Lyrics by Dana Gould)
8. ‘Can I Borrow A Feeling?’ (‘A Milhouse Divided’, Series 8)
When you think of songs from ‘The Simpsons’, it’s generally over-the-top production numbers that really stand out.
But in ‘A Milhouse Divided’, Alf Clausen gave us something a little bit different, with this schmaltzy ’80s-inspired ballad performed by Milhouse’s dad in a bid to win back Luanne (spoiler alert: it didn’t work).
(Lyrics by Steve Tompkins)
7. ‘Happy Just The Way We Are’ (’Simpsonscalafragilistixpiali(Annoyed Grunt)cious, Series 8)
Alf Clausen explained to Vulture earlier this year: “[A trumpet player in the studios] once said to me, ‘You can’t vaudeville vaudeville.’ The reason for that particular directive is that he said if you wanted to make something funny, you don’t use funny music to go there. You use music that is extremely serious.”
This is definitely the case in the closing number of the ‘Mary Poppins’-inspired closing number ‘Happy Just The Way We Are’, in which the family cheerfully sing about driving Sherri Bobbins away from them with their awful habits and behaviour.
(Lyrics by Al Jean and Mike Reiss)
6. ‘Testify’ (‘Faith Off’, Series 11)
On a similar note, half the comedy of lyrics like “he took a whizz oh yes he did” and “there’s a pain in my glavin” is the fact they’re delivered with such earnestness in this gospel parody.
(Lyrics by Frank Mula)
5. ’Oh, Streetcar! (‘A Streetcar Named Marge’, Series 4)
As you’ll see later down this countdown (no peeking, now!), ‘The Simpsons’ has successfully crammed the gist of an entire musical theatre into a three-minute segment, which we first saw in the fourth season in ‘Oh, Streetcar!’.
While we enjoy downtrodden Marge’s take on Blanche DuBois, and the thoroughly convincing ‘Stella!’ and the controversial ‘New Orleans’, it’s ‘You Can Always Rely On The Kindness Of Strangers’ that really gets us chuckling, putting a ‘Simpsons’ twist on the bleak ending of the original text.
Sidenote: Who knew Apu could hit those high nights?
(Lyrics by Jeff Martin)
4. ‘We Do (The Stonecutters’ Song)’ (‘Homer The Great’, Season 6)
The crux of any great musical theatre show is its drinking song, and ‘The Simpsons’ got its very own in its sixth series, thanks to this freemasons parody, ‘We Do’, during which the secret society of Stonecutters confess to “keeping the Martians under wraps”, “holding back the electric car” and, indeed, “rigging every Oscar night”.
(Lyrics by John Swartzwelder)
3. ‘Stop The Planet Of The Apes, I Want To Get Off!’ (‘A Fish Called Selma’, Season 7)
Literally every second of this montage is totally joyful. From the spoken-word intro to the ‘Dr Zaius’ parody, complete with breakdancing apes, right through to the genius of ‘Chimpan A to Chimpan Z’, ending in the completely nonsensical, “I love you Dr Zaius!”
Everything that makes ‘The Simpsons’ great, crammed into a two-minute segment.
(Lyrics by Jack Barth)
2. ‘We Put The Spring In Springfield’ (‘Bart After Dark’, Season 8)
‘The Simpsons’ has been nominated in the Outstanding Music And Lyrics category at the Emmys on nine separate occasions, winning just twice.
The first of these victories, unsurprisingly, is for this ditty, dedicated to keeping open the Springfield burlesque house, ‘La Maison Derriere’. If anything is guaranteed to get you high-kicking at your desk, it’s this number.
(Lyrics by Ken Keeler)
1. ‘See My Vest’ (‘Two Dozen And One Greyhounds’, Season 6)
Had to be, didn’t it?
We’re happy any time Mr Burns gets to take centre stage, but seeing the tyrannic 104-year-old leaping about and declaring his love for his “hat”, which ‘twas his cat” unquestionably puts ‘See My Vest’ at the top of our Alf Clausen ‘Simpsons’ songs.
An absolute triumph.
(Lyrics by Michael Scully)