Because of his successful style, Frank Gehry sometimes comes under criticism for being a hack whose buildings all look the same—even if in their 50th iteration, those waving bands of metal still look amazing, fresh and different. This sensibility was, like so many other things, immortalized on The Simpsons, in which Mr. Gehry was perhaps the first and only architect to ever make a guest appearance—an appearance that still haunts him to this day.
Mr. Gehry was on Fahreed Zakaria’s CNN program GPS yesterday, where he complained about how a throwaway joke (literally!) on The Simpsons has dogged his career ever since. (The video has not been posted online, but the transcript is here.)
ZAKARIA: But the strangeness comes from where?
GEHRY: Well, I don’t know these whys, but there’s – to me it’s not strange. It looks like everything else is strange. And so stuff starts to unfold and little models and ideas and sketches. A lot – there are about 50 to 100 models made in that process.
ZAKARIA: And it’s very deliberative.
GEHRY: Yes. And then when I understand it completely, when I think I know, then I kind of put it away and then I call that the candy store. I call that when I know the problem, everything about it that I can imagine. And then I start to make the real design and the ideas. [snip]
ZAKARIA: So this – the famous story that you took a piece of paper and crumpled it and looked at it and that was the Disney Hall in L.A.
GEHRY: But that’s a famous story because the Simpsons had me do that.
ZAKARIA: But in fact, it was a long, long –
GEHRY: No, no, no, no. That was just a fun – fun thing. But it has – it has haunted me. People do – who’ve seen “The Simpson’s” believe it.
How hard it must be to be Frank Gehry, being an internationally acclaimed architect who has to go on T.V. all the time. If you don’t know The Simpsons episode in question—what’s wrong with you! Seriously, here it is.
[The Observer is aware the above video is not in English, unfortunately it is the only version of the scene in question we could find online.]