The Simpsons’ 32nd season, which is running now until its May 9 finale, featured a philatelic storyline in one of its latest episodes.
In episode 11, which aired on Jan. 3, the series explored the backstory of the well-known “Comic Book Guy” character, who’s an overweight comic-book dealer named Jeff Albertson. His father – voiced by Canadian actor Dan Aykroyd, of Ottawa – was unveiled as “Postage Stamp Fellow” (also known as “Mr. Albertson”), a life-long stamp collector.
In the episode, the elder Albertson’s hobby workspace features framed stamps on the wall, an open album on a desk and a first-day cover featuring another Simpsons character, Drederick Tatum, who’s a Mike Tyson-esque champion boxer living in the Simpsons’ hometown of Springfield.
“Aykroyd throws just enough SNL-consumer-probed-toy-manufacturer-Irwin-Mainway-intrigue into his introduction as Postage Stamp Fellow to pepper it with Ghostbusters suspense,” writes Tony Sokol, of Den of Geek, a media company covering entertainment news. “One written gag which works very well is when a crawl explains that a philatelist is a person who specializes in philately. Comic Book Guy comes from a long line of collectible-collectors, from cruel bird houses to antique cricket cages. The house he grew up in displayed everything but love. The sequence also contains a very Rocky and Bullwinkle moment where the narrator, Bob Balaban, breaks the second wall by arguing with a character.
RARE STAMP REFERENCED
One real stamp – Belgium’s “Termonde” invert error (Scott #139a) – is also referenced.
Issued in 1920, only 17 inverted examples (15 mint and two used) are believed to exist. The used examples carry a catalogue value of $67,500 US (about $85,000 Cdn.), placing them among Belgium’s most valuable stamps.
Since debuting in 1989, The Simpsons has become the longest-running U.S. sitcom with more than 630 episodes.