'I wrote a word that begins in ‘f' and ends in 'u.c.k.' and it's not 'firetruck"
You could walk past her in the street but as soon as she opens her mouth, people stare and watch. NANCY CARTWRIGHT is no normal voice-over actress. She's the world's most famous ten-year-old boy.
Words: Brian Donaldson
SO, I'M ON THE PHONE TO A 40 ~year-old Californian mother of two chatting about morality and politicians and with no prompting at all, she has transformed into one of the 20th century’s defining cultural icons. ‘George Bush. pwffrrrrhh,’ horse-mimics Nancy Cartwright as she slowly metamorphoses into Bart Simpson. ‘I’m still on the air, dude. Where is he now‘.’ Bart for President!!’ continues Nancy/Bart as s(he) recalls the day when that former White House resident insisted that his country needed more families like the Waltons and fewer like the Simpsons. You could almost sense his army of advisors and their collective ‘D’oh!’. The world, meanwhile. has been lapping up Springfield’s most dys(fun)ctional family for just over a decade now. It’s one whose creators can justifiably claim to have influenced a brand new generation of North American animators. Those creators may well attempt to deny it. but without The Simpsmzs, would there ever have been such
24 THE “81' 2—16 Nov 2000
accommodating room in the schedules for King Of The Hill, South Park, Beavis & Butthead or Daria?
Cartwright seriously doubts it, while still acknowledging their rivals’ individual attributes. ‘I’m not really a fan of South Park, though only because I have kids. Yet. I saw the movie and thought it was hilarious. gut-wrenching and totally funny. When I saw the movie I was shocked, almost ready to walk out thinking that this is not the kind of communication I’m interested in being forced to listen or watch, but I hung in there a little bit more and began slowly to appreciate what Trey Parker and Matt Stone were doing; on the songs, those lyrics are hilarious.’
Nancy Cartwright’s life of hilarity began by making a call to her hero Daws Butler, the man behind the voices of Yogi Bear, Quick-Draw McGraw and Huckleberry Hound. It may have been the ﬁrst time she had ever left a message on an answer machine but it was one which changed her life. He liked her forthright attitude and a career in voice-over had begun. And while there were some live action gigs for her — Twilight Zone: The Movie being the most notable — it was the eight-fingered, authority-baiting, Krusty The Klown-worshipping Bart Simpson who gave her life a peculiar mix of anonymous celebrity status.
It must be odd to walk the streets fairly freely
until she opens her mouth and moves her vocal chords in a certain way. Aside from her voice, and the fact that she is of the female persuasion. Nancy Cartwright couldn’t be further from Bart in reality. While the modern day Dennis the Menace (his words) makes pilgrimalgic slumps before the cathode ray God-dude, chuckling at the ultraviolent antics of Itchy & Scratchy. Nancy Cartwright’s kids get the box switched on for them only at weekends: ‘They turn into zombies and you can’t talk to them unless you put your body between them and the television set’. This regime means that they all miss the Tuesday night showing of Fururama, Matt Groening’s mission improbable. following up The Simpsons with another universal hit.
And while Bart can be seen snoozing beside his dad during Reverend Lovejoy’s weak-1y sermons, Nancy Cartwright is a proud, if not rabid, part of the Scientologist clientele. She may be alone in her beliefs among her fellow Springﬁeldians, but Hollywood has more than its fair share of advocates: Cruise, Kidman and Travolta could be viewed as Hubbard’s holy trinity.
‘I’ve been a scientologist for about twelve years and it’s been an amazing experience.’ she