For the third and final one of these challenges, to commemorate tonight’s 500th episode of “The Simpsons,” I’m going to ask you once again to make one pick – and only one – of an element of the greatest comedy series of all time. This time, it’s the characters… and to avoid having 90% of the comments be “Homer,” I’m going to make any member of the Simpson family ineligible. No Homer, no Marge or Bart or Lisa or Maggie. No Abe, either. (Though Patti and Selma are okay, as they’re Bouviers.)
Ideally, we’d limit this to minor characters, as I think it’s pretty easy to just pick Mr. Burns (who was the dominant figure of many of the classic seasons) or Moe or someone else who’s nearly as important as members of the family, and I’ve always wondered who everyone’s favorite obscure Springfield citizen was. But I couldn’t think of a way to cleanly and easily delineate, and I didn’t want to spend all day policing the comments to say, “No, Mrs. Krabappel is too well-known, but Ms. Hoover is okay.” So if you want to pick Seymour Skinner, more power to ya.
For me, I’m going to go with someone who very easily could have become one of the show’s more frequent characters had it not been for a real-life tragedy: Lionel Hutz. Even more than the late, great Phil Hartman’s other recurring character, Troy McClure, Lionel felt like this brilliant comic weapon who could get an enormous laugh when inserted into any episode – even one that didn’t seem to have an obvious place for Springfield’s most infamous attorney:
So that’s my pick. Who’s yours? Like I said, Lionel isn’t that obscure. I’m curious to see if there’s someone who favors, say, Disco Stu or Jasper or Uter or Sherri and Terri (and I would say they qualify as a single character, where Lenny and Carl do not) – and, if so, why.