When thinking of American pop culture, we often frame our thoughts in terms of music and television. While these two are not mutually exclusive realms for many artists, there are certainly music and television crossovers we never expect to see. Pop sensation Billie Eilish and “The Simpsons” are one such case. “The Simpsons” has remained an American television staple for over 30 years after introducing the world to the famous animated family. While a clear product of the 90s (technically 1989 if we’re going off the original pilot’s air date, or even earlier if we count their time as shorts on “The Tracey Ullman Show”), “The Simpsons” has managed to stay relevant and adapted to the changing world throughout the series long running life, featuring devices from modern technology, referencing topical new trends, and hosting famous guest stars like Lady Gaga, Meryl Streep, David Byrne, Daniel Radcliffe and countless others. The newest celebrity to step into the famous fictional town of Springfield is Billie Eilish in “When Billie Met Lisa”.
“When Billie Met Lisa” is a new animated short on Disney+. It follows one adventure of fan-favorite Simpson daughter, Lisa (Yeardley Smith). While searching for a quiet place to practice her saxophone and avoid her family, she meets Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas O’Connell (played by themselves). In this three minute story, we watch Eilish and Lisa bond over their connection to music while they jam together, culminating in Eilish providing some vocals over the trademark theme song of “The Simpsons.”
This is a three minute short that displays a lot of ambition in its storytelling. Sadly, that means “The Simpsons” had the obstacle of animating a short sequence that could have easily been the plot of a whole episode.There are some creative jokes with Billie Elish’s haircolor-of-the-day and a funny interaction between Bart (Nancy Cartwright) and Finneas discussing how they live in conjunction with their respective sisters. As the show is such a staple in American pop culture, being parodied or making a guest appearance on “The Simpsons” is something that should be considered an honor. Consequently, the superstar’s jam session with Lisa Simpson should have been a massive deal. Academy Award winners Eilish and O’Connell are on a hot streak right now after their recent sweep during awards season, Billie Eilish’s recent documentary (also released on Disney+) and their involvement in the newest Pixar film “Turning Red.” While “When Billie Met Lisa” is an enjoyable short, it feels like a wasted opportunity for the superstar’s entry into an animated legend. Watching the short can make a person wonder why this story wasn’t converted into a full episode.
As for overall quality, “When Billie Met Lisa” offers a standard picture of “The Simpsons”. It is exciting to see Billie Eilish in the trademark “Simpsons” animation style. As for voice acting, Eilish gives a decent performance but stands out most notably while providing some rhythms to “The Simpsons” theme song as it plays throughout Springfield. Many people may complain that Billie Eilish was brought on to the short so that “The Simpsons” can attract the attention of “Gen Z,” but as a “Gen Z” kid who enjoys both “The Simpsons” and Billie Eilish, I did not pick up the idea that I needed to see the acclaimed singer of “Bad Guy” to want to watch a show that is already considered an American classic (especially since this short is not a full outing into the series).
In spite of its flaws, this short knows how to have fun. We see some great gags as is standard for “The Simpsons.” If you consider yourself a fan of the classic television show, Grammy award winning pop star Billie Eilish, or just can’t seem to get “The Simpsons” theme song out of your head, “When Billie Met Lisa” is the perfect way to enjoy three minutes, watching the two great title characters interact with one another, even if it may leave you wanting more.
“When Billie Met Lisa” is available to stream on Disney+.