Rem Koolhaas’ ‘Simpsons’ Cameo
May 3, 2012
A recent episode of the “Simpsons” featured starchitect Rem Koolhaas building a Lego scale-model of OMA’s CCTV tower before an audience of “elite-educated” tykes, those bright, young, and coddled descendants of Salinger’s Glass children, only here updated with the neoliberal vision and cross-disciplinary skills to ensure their inheritance of the earth. Behind Rem’s diminutive entourage, kids dine on a vegan buffet, while a small audience in the background gathers around for the latest 2-minute “Junior” Ted Talk, their rapt attention giving way to a collective “ahhh” before the speaker (a youthful Bjarke Ingels?) wraps up and the next wunderkind unpacks his powerpoint. Meanwhile, Rem seems pretty zen about it all, eyes closed while piecing together the rhomboid geometry of his tower.
Koolhaas’s wordless cameo follows the Simpson’s previous forays into architectural (and aesthetic) critique/ trolling, most famously 2005′s “The Seven-Beer Stretch” in which Frank Gehry is lampooned as a purveyor of “crumpled paper” sculptures, the result of a 10-second design process that costs the client millions of dollars. Gehry’s work would resurface in a 2009 episode featuring “Maggie Roark“, the baby Simpson-turned-architectural prodigy whose Randian genius must overcome the powers of mediocrity embodied by her nemesis Elsworth Toohey, who fashions the Disney Opera House out of colored blocks only to have Toohey promptly sledgehammer its expressive curves back into platonic rectitude. Koolhaas is let off pretty easily, though KIDZONE ELITE seems the perfect context for the architect’s puerile propensity for easy shock and willfully gauche provocations.