Kerry Washington to Voice Bart’s New Teacher on The Simpsons

Posted 2022/04/21 30 0

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Bart Simpson finally has a new teacher on The Simpsons. For almost a decade, Bart has gone without a permanent teacher for his fourth-grade class at Springfield Elementary following the death of actress Marcia Wallace in 2013. Because Simpsons producers couldn’t imagine recasting Wallace’s voice role as Mrs. Krabappel, it was also revealed in the animated series that the character, who’d married Ned Flanders (Harry Shearer), had passed away.

Now, a new cast member has The Simpsons in a recurring role as Rayshelle Peyton, aka Ms. Peyton, Bart’s new teacher. She will be voiced by Kerry Washington (Scandal, Little Fires Everywhere) and is set to make her debut in the April 24 episode, “My Octopus and a Teacher.” This is not a one-off guest appearance as Ms. Peyton will be sticking around on a permanent basis as Mrs. Krabappel’s successor.

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“She’s a great teacher,” Washington says of Ms. Peyton, per Entertainment Weekly. “But like all the best teachers, she knows that her students have just as much to teach her as she has to teach them. And teaching Bart is a job filled with growth opportunities.”

She added, “I’m just a huge Simpsons fan! What an extraordinary legacy to be a part of! And I thought the idea of playing Bart’s teacher was so funny. I used to be a teacher in NYC public schools. And my mother is a retired teacher. Teaching is, to me, a sacred profession. I could only imagine the laughs involved in teaching Bart.”

Different guest stars had served as temporary replacements in past seasons before the introduction of Ms. Peyton. Willem Dafoe voiced a character who came in to teach the class in a season 26 episode, but he was fired by the end of it, keeping it limited to a one-off. Sofia Vergara also voiced a substitute teacher in season 27, but she similarly departed Springfield at the end of the episode. Ned Flanders also had a stint as the fourth-grade teacher in season 29.

Of casting Washington in this recurring role, co-executive producer Carolyn Omine said, “I don’t know why we’ve been putting it off. I do miss our dear Marcia, and I think there was a little sadness and reluctance to do it, but it’s been nine years. We would have a conversation at least once a year, maybe every other year. We couldn’t really decide, and we couldn’t really agree. There just wasn’t the inspired thought — until we came upon this.”

Mrs. Krabappel and Ms. Peyton Are Totally Different

Marcia Wallace was far too unique with the way she voiced Edna Krabappel that the best course of action was to introduce a new character that had an entirely different personality. This will allow Ms. Peyton to shine on her own without the need to constantly compare her to Mrs. Krabappel. Omine has said that the goal is for Ms. Peyton to have a comedic edge to her while still being very effective at her job, along the lines of Amy Poehler’s Parks and Rec character.

“We’re not going to feel like, ‘Oh, this is a new Krabappel,” Omine says. “Most of our teachers are kind of burnouts, and it’s just a function of comedy. But we thought, ‘Let’s just make this different, let’s make her a good teacher.’ Sometimes it’s hard to find comedy in people that are good, but then you think about people like Leslie Knope. They’re just a bit too much, but they’re good at their job. We wanted to have that kind of teacher.”

You can catch Kerry Washington as Ms. Peyton when new episodes of The Simpsons air Sunday nights on Fox.


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