Subscribe to our newsletter
The Simpsons is one of the most popular TV shows of all time, and it’s not hard to understand why. From Homer’s unending stupidity to Bart’s madcap antics and Grandpa’s demented rants about good ol’ days that may or may not have happened, there’s no shortage of comedy to be had. But the show’s appeal isn’t limited to the titular family. Springfield is filled with many other bizarre and hilarious characters, and has one of the most fleshed out and detailed casts of any show in history. While less prominent, these characters are nonetheless an essential part of what makes the series so amusing, and we here at Weird Worm thought it was time to salute these unsung heroes of cartoon comedy.
When North Americans think of Scottish people, Groundskeeper Willie is probably the first thing that comes to mind. He could even be argued to be one of the most well-known Scots in the world. We’re not sure what this says about modern culture, but what it says about the character is clear: he’s grrreat, laddy!
Willie may be a bit ornery and a bit too fond of his scotch, but his life revolves around mopping up puke and being the victim of Bart Simpson’s pranks, so perhaps we can cut him some slack. In his shoes, we’d also probably spend most of our time cursing, drinking, and trying to get elected mayor so as to “kill the whole lot of ye, and burn your town to cinders!” Okay, maybe not so much that last one.
Come to think of it, violence comes pretty readily to Willie. He’s said to have spent much of his life wrestling wolves, and there’s also mention of him being the spitting image of the Aberdeen Strangler. So maybe he’s not the most likable character, but he’s still funny.
Matt Groening, the show’s creator, has gone on record as saying that Apu is his favorite character, and when you think about it, it’s easy to see why. His status as a “semi-legal” immigrant aside, Apu is the embodiment of what makes America great. He came to the country as a poor student and has built himself up into a successful Kwik-E-Mart proprietor and important part of the community, pulling himself up by his own beef jerky.
Oh, sure, he may charge much, much more than is justifiable for food that is contaminated with salmonella as often as not, but he does have a wife and eight children to support, so you can forgive him for cutting the occasional corner. He’s also a master of customer service, ever ready with a polite smile and a hearty “Thank you; come again!”
Apu takes all the disappointments, failures, and gun-toting robbers life throws at him and keeps on smiling. It’s this jolly attitude that makes us all love him.
The quintessential mean boss, C. Montgomery Burns is the man we all love to hate. When he’s not poisoning the planet with his nuclear plant or making life hell for Homer Simpson and his many other hapless employees, he likes to unwind with hobbies such as hunting endangered animals, harvesting organs from children, and releasing his vicious attack dogs on anyone and everyone.
As a boy, Mr. Burns was no less wicked. One of his favorite childhood pastimes was crippling migrant workers, and he is known to have assassinated many of his siblings, and perhaps his parents, as well — though the fact that his mother appears on the show makes this claim a bit unlikely.
Mr. Burns may be despicable, but that just makes it all the more sweet when his evil plans are thwarted. In this era where corporate greed is ruining the economy and the environment alike, Burns is more poignant than ever, so it’s likely we’ll continue to take perverse pleasure from his evil for many years to come.
While he may seem normal on the outside, Flanders is perhaps one of the most bizarre of Springfield’s residents. A lot of this stems from a strange psychological treatment, the University of Minnesota Spankalogical Protocol, he was subjected to as a child, which prevented him from expressing any kind of anger. Instead, he can only express himself through a string of nonsensical jabbering. “Hi-diddly-ho, neighborino!”
After his wife’s death, he went to absurd lengths to preserve her memory, even struggling to maintain her imprint in his bed. He is also freakishly overprotective of his two sons, Rod and Todd, and won’t even let them use dice in board games, claiming they are “wicked.”
Such eccentricities may be why his neighbor, Homer, hates him so much, but it could also be that Homer is simply jealous of Ned’s successes.
But Flanders isn’t all disturbing quirks and frightening neuroses. He’s also a paragon of giving, clean living, and Christian values. In fact, there is a sect of Christianity in the United Kingdom that respects him so much they attempt to emulate him — moustache and all. This is discussed in another Weird Worm article.
Disco Stu is one of the most utterly nonsensical Simpsons cast members, but that’s his charm. He’s an anachronism, somehow managing to survive in the modern era whilst having his entire universe revolve around disco music, which has been functionally dead for decades.
Stu also has an abnormal speech pattern that would put Ned Flanders to shame. Aside from usually involving disco in some capacity, his statements revolve around third person references to himself, odd rhymes, and William Shatner-like pauses. “Disco Stu likes… disco… music.”
Stu is no less colorful in the series’ Halloween specials and other fantasy episodes, appearing as characters such as Discus Stu, Disco Shrew, and Big Band Stu.
Professor John Frink:
With the possible exception of Lisa Simpson, John Frink is almost certainly the smartest person in Springfield. He is the inventor of many brilliant inventions – such as the flying motorcycle, hamburger earmuffs, and the eight month after pill – and has a hobby of taking airport gift shop toys and turning them into everything from self-tapping dance shoes to deadly weapons.
But no one stays in Springfield without being a little imbalanced, and Frink is no exception. In his case, it’s his eccentricities that hold him back, such as a bizarre fixation with flubber that seems to dominate much of his life. Also, sadly, there is little market for weaponized weasel balls.
But perhaps the most memorable thing about Frink is his goofy, Jerry Lewis-like gibberish, “with the wrathfulness, and the blood rain, and the hey, hey, hey it hurts me!”
20 Bizarre Flavors of Food You’ll Find Around the World
People all over the world have different tastes in all sorts of things. Music, movies, television, politics, and so forth. And in some cases, it’s their actual tastes that vary...
20 of the Most Terrifying Things Kids Have Ever Said
Kids say the darndest things, as the old saying goes. They also say some of the most horrifying things, as well. Most of the time it’s just because they don’t know any better...
20 Creepiest Abandoned Hospitals From Around the World
Hospitals can be scary places. They’re sterile and often impersonal, and oh yeah, there are often people dying all around you. And let’s not even get into the fact that...
7 Weird Ways People Try to Get Drunk
People like their booze, and have for centuries upon centuries. It’s not a secret that basically as long as there have been human beings roaming the Earth, there have been human...
8 Ways Science Says Sex Is the Best Medicine
With a few odd exceptions, people love sex. Sex sells, people enjoy watching it, and more importantly, people enjoy having it. That’s because sex makes you feel good, and it...
10 Absolutely Baffling Celebrity Cameos in Music Videos
Believe it or not, music videos are actually things that still exist, despite the fact that channels like MTV would have you believe otherwise. Celebrities popping up in a music...
7 TV and Movie Side Characters That Deserve Their Own Spinoffs
One of the hardest things about writing fiction is coming up with interesting, fully developed side characters. After all, you can’t spend too much time on them because you...
8 Incredible Facts About Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones is an absolute juggernaut. There’s no denying it. Along with Walking Dead, you’d be hard pressed to find a television show that gets more online chatter that...
7 Books That Should Would Make Great TV Shows
With the return of the immensely successful and wildly popular Game of Thrones, it’s only natural to look at the bookshelf and imagine what books may have a chance to rival the...