D’oh. Pennsylvania’s no-holds-barred Senate race has gone all Springfield, and Disney might not be too happy about it.
The electoral battle between Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz and Democrat John Fetterman for the Keystone State’s vacant upper-chamber seat has been about as high-profile and below the belt as any the midterm contest in recent years. And now, The Simpsons’ Dr. Nick Riviera has joined the fray, kind of.
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In a mocking spot released today, the Fetterman campaign has spliced together longtime TV host Dr. Oz with the perpetually snake oil-pitching quack from the Matt Groening-created animated satire. “Before there was Dr. Oz, there was Dr. Nick,” Fetterman’s tweet proclaimed Monday. “They say the Simpsons always predict the future – and once again, they nailed it,” the text over the ad went on to say.
The results are both stunningly similar and not pretty — as you can see here:
Disney did not respond to Deadline’s request for comment on the new ad and the use of the company’s valuable IP. However, the use of The Simpsons‘ characters, footage and music was not authorized by the House of Mouse, insiders tell us. Usually, such a move would result in a missive from Disney to hit the pause button on the ad. Whether that occurs here remains to be seen.
Neither the Fetterman campaign nor the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee replied to request for comment either. If and when they or the Walt Disney Company get back to us, we will update this post.
The nearly 80-second Dr. Oz/Dr. Nick mashup follows an article in the Washington Post earlier today examining the Donald Trump-endorsed candidate’s history of questionable product claims, treatments, and endorsements.
“On his show, Dr. Oz welcomed open, honest conversations and opinions from all kinds of folks,” Oz campaign spokesperson Brittany Yanick told the Jeff Bezos-owned broadsheet for Monday’s piece. “It’s idiotic and preposterous to imply that he shared the same beliefs and opinions as every guest on his show, or that having someone on his show constitutes a blanket endorsement of their beliefs,” Yanick added in response to an oft-leveled critique of the GOP contender throughout the 2009-21 run of his syndicated daytimer, which was co-produced by Oprah Winfrey.
Until now, the media battles in the war for the PA Senate seat have been won exclusively by Fetterman. Even when Fetterman took a break from campaigning because of a stroke, Dr. Oz provided ready-made gaffes for quick social media responses from Fetterman and his campaign.
Fetterman and many others have trolled Oz mercilessly for being a longtime resident of New Jersey — and homes in many other states — having dual U.S.-Turkish citizenship, being born in Ohio, but not owning a home in Pennsylvania.
When Oz tried his own hand at appropriating a popular entertainment franchise, joking about Fetterman’s health-related time away from campaigning with a Lost-style poster, the show’s co-creator Damon Lindelof re-posted Oz’s tweet with the caption: “He had a stroke, DOCTOR. And the island is healing him as we speak. If you actually WATCHED Lost, you’d know not to f*ck with the bald guy.”
The other time Oz sought to go on the attack was his “crudité” ad, which, in a state that prides itself on being the birthplace of Yuengling, became a mockery among locals even before Fetterman got around to hitting back.
Heading toward voting day on November 8, Fetterman holds a slight lead over Oz in the effort to take over the seat from retiring Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA). In an overall campaign for the Democrats to hold on to, or even increase, their Senate majority, Pennsylvania might prove the linchpin. Or, to quote the Hank Azaria-voiced Dr. Nick, “Instead of making sandwiches with bread, use Pop-Tarts.”
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