Last night, every Simpsons fan was rocked by the news that, after 26 storied years, Harry Shearer is leaving The Simpsons. Shearer has voiced many characters, most notably Ned Flanders, Mr. Burns, Principal Skinner, Waylon Smithers, and Dr. Hibbert.
So, should the show carry on without one of their major cast members? Absolutely not! Here are five reasons why continuing The Simpsons without Harry Shearer is an utterly terrible idea…
1. We’ll Lose Homer’s Relationship With Flanders
This one hits especially close to home when you consider that the most recent episode focused specifically on Homer’s fractured relationship with his next door neighborino. In that episode, Homer admits that he’s bullied Flanders over the years, and he begs for his forgiveness. While that scene was surprisingly powerful for a late-period Simpsons episode, it’s not the first time their relationship was touched upon. In “Homer Loves Flanders,” Ned finds out just how annoying Homer can be. In “Hurricane Neddy,” Homer gets Ned to admit that he hates his parents. In “Home Away From Homer,” Homer upsets Ned so much that he finally decides to move away from him, only for Homer to beg him to come back when he misses him. Quite simply, a lot of great episodes and emotional moments have come from this relationship, and going on without it would just be sad.
2. The Death Of Smithers/Burns Relationship
“I dreamed about her again, Smithers… You know that dream where you’re in bed, and I fly in through the window?”
“Hello, Smithers. You’re quite good at turning me on?”
“If I came into your house and started sniffing at your crotch and slobbering all over your face, what would you say?” / “If you did it, sir?”
“Sir, I’d just like to say I… love you… in those colors. Oh, who am I kidding? The boat house was the time!”
Those are just a few great moments of sexual tension between Burns and Smithers. Well, guess what? They’re both gone now! Does anyone want a Simpsons without the glorious awkwardness between Burns and Smithers? Because I certainly don’t. Also, this means the top two men at Springfield Nuclear are gone, which raises the question…
3. What Happens To Homer’s Job?
Yes, I’m aware that Homer has had many occupations over the show’s 26-year run, but the power plant is an essential part of the show. Without Harry Shearer, we lose Homer’s boss, his boss’s assistant, and Lenny. So, does Homer just pal around with Carl all the time? And who runs the plant? Hank Scorpio? Actually, that would be pretty awesome, but the rest of my concerns still stand.
4. Who’s Left At Springfield Elementary?
When Marcia Wallace died in 2013, The Simpsons lost the voice of Mrs. Krabappel. So far, the show has managed to get along okay without Mrs. K, but that’s mostly because they’ve been able to slide Principal Skinner into the situations where she would usually be teaching. But if he’s gone, too, where do they turn? Does Miss Hoover just teach Bart and Lisa’s class? Does Mr. Bergstrom come back to teach fourth grade and leave us with a touching “You Are Bart Simpson” note? Good luck getting Dustin Hoffman to do that.
5. And Don’t Even Think About Bringing In Replacement Actors!
Seriously, The Simpsons should not continue without Harry Shearer. But if it tried to hang on without his characters, there would at least be a modicum of honor in that. But another actor playing Mr. Burns or Ned Flanders? That would be like Michael Jordan playing for the Wizards, only a million times worse.