My 6 Favorite Simpsons One-Off Characters
Recently, I started listening to the creator commentaries on The Simpsons on DVD, and it’s been the bee’s knees! The commentaries are full of all sorts of interesting behind-the-scenes chatter and trivia. Like the fact that one writer, John Swartzwelder, wrote 50+ episodes and is likely responsible for every memorable joke, gag or plot from the series – and he’s also an eccentric recluse. Or the fact that the episode where Bart sells his soul is actually based on a prank one writer played on a bully in his youth. And there’s the idea that the creators planned a spin-off called ‘Tales from Springfield’, which would have been about all the supporting characters. Good times!
So for this week’s List of Six, I’ve decided to write one up about my favorite one-off, one-joke Simpsons characters!
The Simpsons is not only the best television show of all time, but it’s clearly the best cast of all time. From Homer to Bart to Mr. Burns to Surly to Ruth Powers, there are hundreds of great, timeless characters! But I’m talking the minor, obscure characters who only appeared in a single episode, or maybe had a single gag. Those are some of the absolute best parts of The Simpsons!
Feel free to share some of your own favorites in the comments!
When The Simpsons was getting on in years, they decided to add a new character to liven things up, and the lovable Roy started crashing at the Simpsons’ pad! Everybody in the family loved him, and I’m sure he was a very fulfilling character. But he soon got a better life rooming with two sexy ladies! In all seriousness, Roy appeared in The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show episode in Season 8, a satire of the satire that was Poochie’s addition to The Itchy & Scratchy Show. But did you know that Roy was actually the writers mocking some legitimate advice from a FOX executive to add a new cast member to the Simpsons’ household? Some suit actually told them to bring in a Roy for real! And that’s why notes from the studio just don’t work.
5. Royce McCutcheon
It apparently took the writers several hours to come up with the perfect name for this franchiser. “No deal, McCutcheon! That moon money is mine!” It just flows off the tongue!
4. Larry Burns
Larry Burns is one of my favorite guest stars on The Simpsons, and not just because Rodney Dangerfield is awesome. But I like how they take Rodney Dangerfield, give him a very Rodney Dangerfield-type character, and then fit him into Springfield. He’s not just a celebrity guest star popping in for a quickie guest appearance (I’m looking at you, Steve Buscemi!), he’s woven into the show. He’s also dang hilarious!
3. Handsome Pete
He dances for nickels!
2. Joey Jo-Jo Junior Shabadoo
This name is one I probably quote more than any other from The Simpsons! It helps that a buddy of mine has a son named Joey. That’s gonna come in real handy while that kid’s growing up. Poor Joey Jo-Jo, though, all he wanted to do was enjoy his beer in peace.
1. Hank Scorpio
Why Hank Scorpio wasn’t the villain in The Simpsons Movie, I’ll never understand. He’s hilarious, he’s megalomaniacal, and he’s just plain awesome. He needs to make a comeback more than any other character – and no, the comics don’t count. He’s voiced by the irascible Albert Brooks, he’s the best boss Homer has ever had, and he’s ready to destroy France at a moment’s notice! He’s the star of one of my favorite episodes, and he’s just a great addition to the wider world of The Simpsons. Did you know that whole ‘Hammock District’ bit was a complete ad lib by Brooks? And that Homer’s responses were just Dan Castellaneta doing his best to keep up with Brooks? Good times!
If you’re as big a fan of The Simpsons as I am, check out my previous list on my favorite episodes! And I’d love to hear some of your favorite one-off characters in the comments!