The Simpsons has attracted more than its fair share of extremely famous guest stars over the years, but Johnny Cash‘s appearance was one that the show’s creator really treasured.
Cash lent his voice to an episode titled “El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer,” which translates to “The Mysterious Voyage of Our Homer,” according to SimpsonsWiki.com. Episode Eight of Season Nine first aired on Jan. 5, 1997, and Cash appeared as a most unexpected spirit guide for Homer Simpson.
The plot of the episode centers around a local chili cookoff, which Homer’s wife Marge desperately tries to get him not to attend due to his embarrassing, drunken behavior at the previous year’s event. He ends up going anyway, after pledging not to drink any beer, but when his mouth gets scorched by the Merciless Peppers of Quetzlzacatenango during a chili tasting, he swirls beer around in his mouth to numb the pain, resulting in an angry Marge storming off.
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The extremely hot peppers he’s consumed cause Homer to hallucinate, and he ends up wandering in a desert landscape where the laws of physics are suspended. When he takes a break from the sun, he encounters a puddle that turns into a snake, then follows a tortoise to a pyramid that grows to an exaggerated height. At the top of that pyramid, he meets his spirit guide, a coyote he dubs “Space Coyote,” who is voiced by Cash.
Click on the video above to hear Cash’s unmistakable voice advise, “Clarity is the path to inner peace.” He interrupts himself to attack Homer’s leg for no apparent reason, quickly apologizing: “Sorry — I am a coyote,” before telling him, “To make yourself complete, you must find your soulmate.” That sets Simpson off on a strange quest that ends with him realizing that he already has the soulmate he needs in Marge.
In the commentary for The Simpsons Complete Eighth Season DVD, Simpsons creator Matt Groening called Cash’s appearance “one of the greatest coups the show has ever had.”
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