TORONTO — Ray Savaya, a life-long fan of The Simpsons, never imagined he would find himself in a room with the actors behind the voices of Homer, Marge, Bart and Lisa.
But there he was in early May, after winning a Global contest.
“I was shaking,” Savaya says. “I basically met my heroes.”
Savaya says show creator Matt Groening gave him an autographed DVD, a book and a signed script. Yeardley Smith, who voices Lisa Simpson, chatted with him for 20 minutes.
Savaya, 22, earned the trip to Hollywood by coming up with a “couch gag” for the opening credits of the season 24 finale of The Simpsons. It airs Sunday at 8:30 p.m. on Global.
Savaya’s couch gag will air only on the Canadian broadcast of the show.
“I’ve never seen a Canadian couch gag before so I figured I might as well make it as Canadian as possible,” he says of his decision to include Sir John A. MacDonald, a hockey player, a loon and a beaver — and Maggie replacing her pacifier with a hockey puck.
Savaya is pleased with how it turned out and can’t wait to watch it on Sunday with friends. “It exceeded my expectations. I love it,” he says.
The Oakville, Ont. resident entered the contest last December and was thrilled when he was chosen one of three finalists. He and his friend Nick (“We’ve been best friends since Grade 4 when we found out we both love The Simpsons“) went online to get as many votes as possible.
Their efforts paid off. After Savaya was declared the winner, both men flew to the 20th Century Fox lot and Film Roman studios in Los Angeles to see how The Simpsons is made and to meet the people behind it.
“It was truly a dream come true,” he says. “I developed my sense of humour watching The Simpsons.”
The season finale of The Simpsons airs Sunday, May 19 on Global.