Few things are as good as The Simpsons in it’s 90’s heyday. Funny, thought provoking and heart warming in equal measure, no animated series has ever matched it, let alone surpassed it.
The story of a dysfunctional American working class family it resonated with viewers around world, boys wanted to be rebellious like Bart, girls bright like Lisa. Growing up in the 90’s the Simpsons was the highlight of the week, a new episode on Sky 1 after the watching the football on Super Sunday.
It reflected and satirised American culture and family life without ever being cruel, unlike programmes it paved the way for such as South Park and Family Guy, dealing with issues like homophobia and divorce in a touching and ultimately hilarious fashion.
The family were backed by an ever evolving cast of regulars from Apu – dedicated employee of the Kwik-E-Mart – to Otto – the heavy metal loving School bus driver – all amusing in their own right. Equally hilarious in the cartoon comedy’s ‘golden period’ were the numerous one off/minor characters who popped up for one episode and are seldom seen again, this blog looks at a few of them.
Portrayed by Jewish comedy legend Larry Dangerfield and looking a lot like Roy Hodgson, Larry Burns is Mr Burns’ long lost son, the result of a late night rendezvous with the daughter of a former University colleague (after a trip to the local cinematorium their passions were inflamed by Clark Gable’s reckless use of the word damn). Larry befriends Homer, has a heroic intake of cocktails and offends high society, but eventually attempts to win his father round with a phoney kidnap, unfortunately this proved unsuccessful.
Lucius Sweet is “exactly as rich and famous as Don King and looks just like him too.” He is a boxing promoter and the manager of Heavyweight Boxing Champion Drederick Tatum and the former manager of ‘Kid Moe’ as bartender Moe Syslak was known towards the end of his boxing career. Sweet’s fighter is about to leave prison after a period of incarceration for pushing his mother down the stairs and upon his release he is to fight Homer who has been making a name for in the boxing world for his ability not to get knocked out. Moe promises Sweet that Homer will last three rounds, however things do not go to plan and he leaves disgusted after the fight with Tatum in tow.
Kompowsky – voiced by Michael Jackson – is a mental patient who believes he is Michael Jackson. When Homer is sectioned for being a ‘free thinking anarchist’ he shares a cell with Kompowsky and mistakenly believes that he is indeed Michael Jackson, causing a rumpus as the town descends on 742 Evergreen Terrace when the pair are released. Despite not actually being the man behind Off the Wall and Thriller Kompowsky moves in with the Simpsons, performing a ditty with Bart for Lisa’s birthday.
John, who runs a shop selling kitch collectables and other camp items in Springfield Mall, is a gay man who befriends the Simpsons after they visit his shop. However, despite liking his beer cold, tv loud and homosexuals flaming Homer does not realise that John is one, and turns against him when Marge drops the bombshell. Worried that John is turning Bart gay – he’s started dancing to Cher and taken to wearing a Hawain shirt despite not being a big fat party animal – he takes Bart to a steel mill, however in a rather unfortunate turn of events it is a gay steel mill. Convinced by Moe that a trip hunting will straighten the boy out, Homer takes Bart to kill a deer however when the deer turn on Homer, Bart, Moe and Barney it is John who rescues them, gaining a new found respect from Homer.
Hank Scorpio is the archetypal Bond villain who’ll sting you with his dreams of power and wealth. He is also Homer’s boss when he moves the family from Springfield to Cypress Creek for a new and better paid position at Globex Corporation. Globex Corporation are known for their generous nature towards employees at at Homers behest install hammocks in their offices. However, they are also under seige from the American army who invade the offices as Homer prepares to move his family back to Springfield, having failed to Cypress Creek. Upon their return Scorpio purchases the Denver Broncos for Homer, they may not be the Dallas Cowboys, but it’s a start.
By Callum West