NISKAYUNA — Why should Schenectady have all the fun?
The town of Niskayuna joined the pop culture club Sunday night during a biting bit on “The Simpsons,” the long-running FOX animated show about an oddball family.
In a musical routine that was part serenade and part satire — well, mostly satire — family patriarch-imbecile Homer Simpson sang about the quirks of upstate New York.
“Homey” and his crew — wife Marge, son Bart and daughters Lisa and Maggie — were on the road to Canada and Niagara Falls for vacation. Their travels took them across the state.
Homer belted out his salute to the tune of “New York, New York,” and he and “Simpsons” writers had plenty of fun belting parts of the state.
One of the first images in Homer’s tour de farce was a water tower emblazoned with “Niskayuna.” As the Simpsons’ lavender-colored car rolled past the tower, the big bucket sprang a leak.
Town officials are not slapping their foreheads over the routine. They’re having a little fun themselves.
Supervisor Yasmine Syed on Monday extended an invitation for Homer and the gang to visit a little longer the next time they leave Springfield and cruise through upstate.
“In one sense, I’m relieved because this explains the several noise complaints we received for a middle-aged man singing an out-of-tune rendition of ‘New York, New York’ while driving down Balltown Road,” Syed said in a statement written tongue-in-cheek.
“However, I would like to personally invite Homer and his family to swing back through and stay for a few days on their way back from Canada, no hotel points needed.”
Syed also said she believes the family’s brief pass through Niskayuna prevented them from visiting open spaces such as Blatnick and River Road parks, the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail, town neighborhoods and “our burgeoning retail centers like the Niskayuna Co-op, ShopRite Square and Mohawk Commons.”
Syed also plugged Niskayuna’s school district and said the Simpson kids “would receive a superior education to anything offered in Springfield.”
“I hope Homer and Marge will take me up on my offer to be their personal tour guide so they can see for themselves that our water tower is leak-free and that Homer’s satirical song rings hollow when it comes to Niskayuna,” Syed added.
No invitations were extended to eternally optimistic neighbor Ned Flanders, the crude Krusty the Clown or evil industrialist Montgomery Burns.
Niskayuna Town Board member Denise Murphy McGraw said she was “completely shocked and thoroughly amused” by the gag.
“As the chairwoman of the town’s Public Works Committee, I really got a kick out of the Niskayuna water tower appearing on one of the most iconic television series of all time,” McGraw said in an email statement.
The Great New York State Fair was also part of the joke. Fair officials said Monday they would invite “Simpsons” writers to this year’s late-summer fair in Syracuse.
Writers will also get some freebies; the fair is shipping admission and parking passes to the writing staff, tucked inside a basket full of New York state food and beverage products.
“We know it’s just a TV show. We can certainly take a joke and we love ‘The Simpsons,’ but there’s so much that’s great about the region,” said fair director Troy Waffner.
In past years, Schenectady, with its unusual spelling and pronunciation, has been represented in television shows, movies, songs and comic books. Saratoga Springs and its colorful past have shown up in movies; a jet-setter who visits the city’s race track is part of Carly Simon’s 1972 hit “You’re So Vain.”
Neither city made the Simpsons’ hit list on Sunday. While Niskayuna escaped with just a faulty water tower, other communities were pranked much harder.
Utica’s loss of population was demonstrated by a rapidly moving, backwards-running population sign. State bridges crumbled and a box truck crashed into a giant pothole. The intellectually challenged Homer — in graduation gown — posed next to a sign for Mohawk Valley Community College.
Eastman Kodak in Rochester received the comedic coup de gras. The former photo and film colossus, rendered mostly obsolete in an era of digital photography, imploded into dust as people took smartphone selfies in front of the plant.
Buffalo was buried in snow. “Otto the Orange,” the rotund mascot of the Syracuse Orangemen, and “Roni,” the raccoon mascot in the 1980 winter Olympics in Lake Placid, made cameo appearances.
There was only one misfire: While Buffalo residents had to love the reference to the city’s famous Anchor Bar and chicken wing appetizer, they would not agree with just two fans sitting in the stands at New Era Field for a cold-weather football game. Buffalo supports the NFL’s Bills.
Homer’s “ode” to upstate ended with the big “New York, New York” flourish that seemingly included a Saratoga County and Battle of Saratoga reference. This bit showed Homer may have learned something in history class, even though it sounded like another upstate jab.
“Can’t make it anywhere, but I can make it there,” Homer sang. “I love you so, upstate N.Y. — Benedict Arnold fought here, baby!”
Not everyone thought the song was a gasser.
“There always remains work to be done,” tweeted Rich Azzopardi, a spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “But — dumb cheap shots aside — facts are facts: jobs are up, unemployment is down, millennials are coming back and it’s clear that Poochie was an uncredited writer on that episode.”
Poochie is one of the show’s canine characters — and was not on the road trip.
See the episode at FOX.com: D’oh Canada