A Star Is Born Again
| "A Star Is Born Again"
| Episode Information
"A Star Is Born Again" is the thirteenth episode of season 14 of The Simpsons and the three-hundred and fourth episode overall. It originally aired on March 2, 2003. The episode was written by Brian Kelley and directed by Michael Marcantel. It guest stars Helen Fielding as herself, James L. Brooks as himself and Marisa Tomei as Sara Sloane.
- "Ned Flanders starts dating a famous movie star, Sara Sloane, but Ned has difficulties with the tabloids following them everywhere."
The Simpson family gets ready to go to the Springfield Beach for the Jellyfish Festival which is taking place. At the festival, the Stinging Red Jellyfish wash up on the shore to the delight of most Springfieldians. That night, all the couples attend a dance on the beach front where Ned Flanders feels left out due to the death of his wife Maude. Ned decides to go to The Leftorium to fill out forms rather than feel lonely on the beach.
At The Leftorium, a young woman comes into the store and asks Ned for some left-handed eyelash curlers. When Ned tells her that they don't have any, she buys a left-handed crimper instead. She then asks Ned out on a date, saying she doesn't know anyone in town. When Ned left the store, he noticed a poster for the movie My Best Friend's Gay Baby and recognized the woman as Sara Sloane, a famous actress. Ned went to Homer to ask for his advice before he went on the date. The date ended at the Springfield Squidport where he and Sara made out.
The next day, Ned introduced Sara to Rod and Todd before the tabloids showed up wanting information about their relationship. The tabloids stormed into the house and wrecked it, causing Ned, Sara and the boys to flee. Later, Sara goes to film The Zookeeper's Wife at Polystar Pictures. When she was about to start a nude scene, Ned interrupted and he and Sara convinced Sam, the director, to rewrite the scene so she didn't have to be nude in it. She told Ned that whilst the public wouldn't see her naked, he would get to.
Later, Ned and Sara have dinner at the Simpsons, after setting up "Cher-crow" to distract the tabloids. Rainier Wolfcastle then comes into the house and asks Sara to take him back, but Sara refuses. That night, Sara and Ned go out for a walk where Sara asks Ned to go to Hollywood with her. Ned fantasizes about Hollywood then decides that he can't do it. She tells Ned that she will move to Springfield instead.
Sara and Ned's relationship continues and they become the talk of the town. Marge then decides to invite Sara to her book club, where they were supposed to read Bridget Jones's Diary. She invited author Helen Fielding along to talk about the book, only to learn nobody had read it. That night, Sara, Ned and the boys get ready to attend a concert at the Springfield Bowl. Sara comes downstairs in a revealing dress, which Ned doesn't like. She refuses to change and they attend the concert anyway. At the concert, Sara's dress turns many heads, including Homer's. After the concert, Sara and Ned make love on a hill nearby. The following morning, they are woken up by the Lupus Fun Run. Ned then asks Sara if she would marry him but Sara refused, saying she didn't want to be tied down. They then split up.
Ned was then watching Publicity Tonight where they ran a story about Sara Sloane getting married and divorced from Bob Balaban after only three hours. Ned said that he thinks that he and Sara would have lasted twice as long as that. Ned was then gardening outside the front of the house when Cookie Kwan pulled up and flirted with Ned. Helen Fielding then ran along, while still being chased.
Al Jean suggested that the show does Notting Hill but with Ned Flanders and the idea then came to Brian Kelley, who wrote the episode. The Jellyfish Festival was based on something in Massachusetts where the beach would be swarmed with red jellyfish. Al Jean went to New York to direct Marisa Tomei's lines for the episode. Harry Shearer also went to the recording session. The animators based Sara Sloane on actress Sharon Stone. Mike B. Anderson chose Sharon Stone as the name was similar to Sara Sloane. The animators also had to research costumes for Sara as she wasn't wearing the same costume throughout the show. Director Michael Marcantel had help with character designer Eric S. Keyes for this.
James L. Brooks pitched the idea of Ned sleeping with Sara Sloane near the end of the episode. Al Jean also directed James L. Brooks in his voice role. Matt Selman pitched the joke about Rod and Todd becoming Jewish. Helen Fielding picked her own outfit for the episode.
In a 2008 article, Entertainment Weekly named Marisa Tomei's role as Sara Sloane as one of the sixteen best guest appearances on The Simpsons. As of June 2019, the episode has a 7.0 rating on IMDb and a 7.6 rating on TV.com.
- Kelley, Brian (2011). Commentary for "A Star Is Born Again", in The Simpsons: The Complete Fourteenth Season.
- Jean, Al (2011). Commentary for "A Star Is Born Again", in The Simpsons: The Complete Fourteenth Season.
- Anderson, Mike B. (2011). Commentary for "A Star Is Born Again", in The Simpsons: The Complete Fourteenth Season.
- Marcantel, Michael (2011). Commentary for "A Star Is Born Again", in The Simpsons: The Complete Fourteenth Season.
- Entertainment Weekly - "Springfield of Dreams: 16 Great 'Simpsons' Guest Voices" Archived on Wayback Machine
- IMDb - "A Star Is Born Again"
- [A Star Is Born Again TV.com - "A Star Is Born Again"]