The Musk Who Fell to Earth
|"The Musk Who Fell to Earth"|
|The Simpsons episode|
|Episode no.||Season 26|
|Directed by||Matthew Nastuk|
|Written by||Neil Campbell|
|Original air date||January 25, 2015|
|Elon Musk as himself|
In popular culture
"The Musk Who Fell to Earth" is the twelfth episode of the twenty-sixth season of the American animated television series The Simpsons, and the 564th overall episode of the series. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on January 25, 2015. The title is a reference to the movie The Man Who Fell to Earth and "The Man Who Belonged on Earth", which is the title of Chapter 1 of Part II of the 1957 Ayn Rand novel Atlas Shrugged. The episode roughly follows the plot of the Atlas Shrugged with references to the motor invented by John Galt, and economic struggles experienced by the people of Springfield once Mr. Burns fires Musk from the Springfield nuclear power plant.
Elon Musk lands with his Dragon 2 spacecraft into the Simpsons' backyard. While eating dinner with them, Marge asks why Musk is in Springfield. He responds by revealing that the purpose for his stay in Springfield is that he is looking for inspiration. To this, Homer invites him to tag along with him to the power plant. The next day, during the car ride to the power plant, Elon discovers that Homer is the source of new ideas for inventions, as his "Homerisms" (according to Lisa) quickly inspire him. At the power plant, Elon inspires Mr. Burns to install a magnetohydrodynamic generator to the plant, through a suggestion. Burns meets Musk directly, and attempts to hire him, but Elon rejects the offer as he does not care about the money (much to Burns' surprise).
Musk and Burns announce to the town that the power plant has devised new plans for the town's electrical needs (such as Willie spinning a wheel, the Springfield Hyperloop, and Musk's latest project, the Glayvinator). Despite the town's cheer to this, Smithers remains suspicious about Elon Musk. It is also announced that Elon invented a brand of self-driving vehicles for Springfield. Bart sneaks into his family's car to disable the auto-drive mode, requiring Musk's master password. He and Lisa go for a joyride in the car, where they land at the power plant, where there is another announcement by Musk. Musk reveals that the town is currently losing roughly $50 million a quarter, much to Burns' horror. Musk explains to Burns that the true intention was to save the Earth. Thanks to Musk, Burns announces to his employees that there will be massive layoffs. Burns then apologizes to an injured Smithers for getting the hounds to attack him (rather than apologize for not believing Smithers in his true suspicion of Musk), and reveals his plot to kill him. Homer, however, is upset, because his ex-friend Musk caused the whole escapade that led to Burns unemploying Lenny, Carl, and the other power plant employees (rather than the fact that his friends are unemployed and it is kind of his fault). Marge advises him to break up with Musk gently.
The next day, while Elon is discussing his ideas for inventions with Homer, Burns attempts to assassinate him. Though the bullet accidentally aims in Homer's way, Musk saves him. Homer gratefully thanks him, but he admits to Musk that he wants to break up with him as best friends. To this, the two share one last hug and one last Homer-inspiration: he tells Musk that the little dolphin on the helmet of the Miami Dolphins is also wearing a helmet (although this was no longer accurate by the time this episode aired, since the team replaced that logo design before the 2013 season). The Simpson family say goodbye to Musk, as he boards his rocket to space. He returns to return Lisa, who attempted to stowaway into the rocket. To make up for Lisa's sadness, he gives the family a futuristic birdhouse (similar to the birdhouse from the start of the episode). Elon then departs, and states there are some things he will miss—such as Homer's last thoughts to him—as he drifts through the quiet, still blackness of outer space.
The episode was written by Neil Campbell, a freelance writer. It guest stars Elon Musk as himself. Executive producer Al Jean stated they tried to make the episode not a "kiss-ass" guest star turn, and the episode contains many jabs at Musk's perceived egotism. Musk was a fan of the series, having watched the show since attending university. He guest starred on the show because he and executive producer James L. Brooks had a meeting, after which Brooks was convinced he wanted a fictional version of Musk on the show. The closing theme is David Bowie's "Starman", later associated with Musk's Falcon Heavy launch in 2018.
The episode received an audience of 3.29 million, making it the most watched show on Fox that night. Dennis Perkins of The A.V. Club gave the episode a C, saying ""The Musk Who Fell to Earth’ plays out more like a love letter to Musk than a proper Simpsons episode. It's like some Simpsons writers met Musk at a TED talk, got smitten when they found out Musk was a fan, and turned an episode of the show over to him. Which would be less of a problem if the episode were well-thought-out and funny, Musk were an engaging comic presence, or the Simpsons themselves weren't relegated to supporting status on their own show."
- Jean, Al. "@gruchologist Freelancer Neil Campbell". Twitter. Retrieved January 24, 2015.
- Vance, Ashlee (January 23, 2015). "Elon Musk Guest-Stars on The Simpsons – Bloomberg Business". Businessweek.com. Retrieved May 26, 2015.
- Kondolojy, Amanda (January 27, 2015). "Sunday Final Ratings: No Adjustments for 'Galavant', 'Revenge' or 'CSI'". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on January 30, 2015. Retrieved January 28, 2015.
- "Review: The Simpsons: "The Musk Who Fell To Earth" · TV Club · The A.V. Club". avclub.com. January 26, 2015. Retrieved January 31, 2015.