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The Simpsons Characters

Published October 8, 2008 in Television
By Fred Topel | Image property of Fox
The Simpsons The Simpsons

One of the great things about The Simpsons is its ever growing cast of supporting characters. They can do entire episodes not centered around the family, or just have our favorites pop up for a joke. Even everyone's favorite movie character, Spider-Pig, cameod in the series.

The Simpsons Characters

"The biggest thing with the movie was we wanted to make it as a stand-alone, we really hoped that if people had never seen the show, they could enjoy the movie and we also didn’t want it to be one of those things where the movie required you to watch the show," said show runner Al Jean. "We wanted the movie to come to a complete end, but everyone liked Plopper, so we’ll try to bring him back. We’ve had cameos and if we have an episode, we’ll do it. I think he was the breath-through character of the movie."

Even though some of the characters are popular enough, the Simpsons team resisted the temptation to create a spinoff around anyone. "There was talk of it and the decision was that would be very difficult to do as the same time as the show and that we preferred to put our energy into doing the movie and the ride. I personally much prefer that. I like the show having such a wide universe and not splitting it. I never liked when they took Fish and moved him off Barney Miller. Those things always just seemed like they were the loopholes. I just like doing new media where we can just go in and kind of make fun of it and do The Simpsons take on it, as opposed to splitting what we have."

Some characters are easy candidates for their own Simpsons episodes, however. "Ned is somebody you love to write him for a couple reasons. One is he’s very nice, which is an unusual character on television and then the way he talks, that diddily-doodley kind of thing, it’s really just fun to pitch in the room. I have to give credit to Harry Shearer. It’s just a great character. I think that he’s funny but you also really like Flanders and that’s one of the best things about the show. We may satirize religion, but I actually think you’d rather have Ned for a neighbor than Homer. There’s actually a show we’re doing this coming year where the Simpsons home gets foreclosed and Ned buys it, rents it back to them, and Homer keeps taking advantage of him to do all these repairs because now Ned is their landlord. Ned gets fed up and evicts them, but then he feels badly and lets them back in. It turned out really, really sweet."

Two of my personal favorites were Lester and Eliza, the Bart and Lisa look-alikes (with the original animation style) who saved the day before Bart and Lisa could. Unfortunately, they never made that a running gag. "We haven’t seen them, but we have seen Tracy Ullman style Simpsons. There was a thing where we saw an old photo album where that’s the way they used to look in 1987. We saw them in the show where Homer was being cloned. There was an original Homer. The main thing with those designs is that they really don’t look like the characters as they look now, so we tend to try to keep the universe they’re in real, except for the Halloween shows, to make sure they look the way people are used to them looking now."

The Simpsons airs Sunday nights on Fox.

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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Fox

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