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Simpsons EP Teases 'Crazy Melodrama' in Hour-Long Empire-Inspired Episode — Plus: Watch Taraji P. Henson in Action

TVLine logo TVLine 1/13/2017 Andy Swift
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In crafting The Simpsons‘ first-ever hour-long episode, executive producer Matt Selman wanted to avoid one thing “at all costs”: Mr. Burns rapping.

Some context: Sunday’s episode (Fox, 8/7c) is being pegged as a riff on The Great Gatsby — with a hip-hop twist, of course — as Mr. Burns befriends rapper JAY G with whom he bonds over being “part of the corporate system, as well as having a ruthless lust for power.”

This unorthodox friendship, which Selman attributes to writer Dan Greaney, opens the door for a whole mess of ridiculous characters to drop in — including Taraji P. Henson as Praline, an exaggerated version of Empire‘s Cookie:

“I wanted to avoid any of the Simpsons rapping, to be honest,” Selman tells TVLine. “I hope real hip-hop fans watch and recognize that we did our best and don’t think it’s lame.” (And with music from Empire‘s Jim Beanz, something tells us they won’t.)

But Selman is quick to clarify that it’s “not a hip-hop musical — more like an episode of Empire. We’re going to play up the crazy melodrama with revenge, betrayal and explosions. There’s an epic quality to it, in addition to it being very literary.”

Hit PLAY on TVLine’s exclusive clip of Henson’s character above, then drop a comment with your thoughts below.

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