Kelsey Grammer and Lisa Kudrow by Alberto E. Rodriguez/ WireImage.com
Ashlee wasn't the only famous Simpson celebrating last Saturday in L.A.'s San Fernando Valley. The yellow cartoon clan, its creators, and celebrity fans like Lisa Kudrow, Hannah Montana's Mitchell Musso and director Kevin Smith were having a big day of their own at the grand opening of The Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios.
"This might be better than winning an Emmy because lots of shows win Emmys every year but not many can say they have a ride based on their show," series creator Matt Groening told TV Guide just after taking the day's first spin with Kudrow, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Kelsey Grammer. "This ride is the culmination of 20 years of
and it has a little bit of everything. It will make you scream. It will make you laugh. It will make you gargle. Even if you have a short attention span, and whether you have never seen the show or you are a fanatic, you will be rewarded on this. "
The event began with a yellow carpet, donuts with pink frosting and sprinkles served by ladies in tall blue "Marge" wigs, speeches and a human cannonball. Then VIP guests, including Holly Robinson Peete and her brood color-coordinated in signature
yellow, walked along Krusty The Clown's squishy tongue and into the mouth of his 32-foot-tall head that serves as the attraction's entrance. The six-minute-long simulator, which replaced the
Back to the Future
ride, features the world's first animated corkscrew. The premise is that Springfield's greedy clown has opened an amusement park and invited the Simpson family to be among the first riders of a new coaster. Unbeknownst to them, Sideshow Bob (voiced by Grammer) has escaped from prison, taken over the park and intends to hunt down Homer, Marge and the kids as well as his former employer.
"It captures the
world brilliantly. It is like being in the cartoon," Grammer said. "It is very dense experience, just like watching a Simpsons episode. I think you will notice different jokes or images every time you go on it. It's the ride that keeps on giving."
Grammer, who started his week out with news of the cancellation of his Fox show
Back to You
, was in a better place thanks to the event. "Coming out and seeing my work as Sideshow Bob immortalized on a theme park ride for millions to enjoy did make me feel a little better about myself."
In spite of record-breaking temperatures and a few intermittent ride malfunctions, most guests enjoyed being among the first folks to journey to Krustyland (It opens to the public officially May 19). Except
's Melora Hardin, who feels parents of tiny tykes should be warned. "I took my 6 year old on and I covered her eyes the whole time. It is scary and violent and they didn't warn me at all. It is not appropriate for anyone under 12. But there was face painting to make up for it. My kids have probably forgotten all about it now that they have cats and butterflies all over their faces." -