NEW YORK – Homer Simpson might lose his beloved Marge in a parody of "Wife Swap" next season.
In an episode of "The Simpsons" (search) written by and starring British comedy icon Ricky Gervais, the Simpsons family visits FOX's California studios, where Homer and Marge wind up on a reality show called "Disparate Housewives" to try to win money for a big-screen TV.
Homer gets saddled with a nasty, belittling Yale professor who is married to Gervais' character, Ricky. Meanwhile, Marge is shipped off to Connecticut to live with Ricky. There, he tries to woo her with his mediocre guitar skills — reminiscient of Gervais' character, David Brent, who had musical aspirations on the BBC sitcom "The Office (search)."
"He writes a love song to Marge and tries to hit on her," "Simpsons" executive producer Al Jean told The Post yesterday.
The episode is slated to air next February.
"What happens is the Simpsons win a tour of the FOX Network where they see things like a Mischa Barton statue and Homer gets to meet Dan Castellaneta from 'The Tracy Ullman Show,' " says Jean.
For the uninitiated, Castellaneta has been the voice of Homer since "The Simpsons" first appeared as short animated sketches on "Tracy Ullman" in the late 1980s.
At FOX, the Simpsons meet reality-show producers who cast them as contestants on "Housewives."
"It turns out Ricky and his wife go on the show because she wanted to publicly humiliate him," says Jean.
At a reading when the final version of the script was done, Gervais turned up with his own guitar. "He played his song and it was really sweet," says Jean. "His interaction with Julie Kavner [Marge] was really funny," he says.