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Flanders Family

    Nedward "Ned" Flanders
Hidely-ho, troperinos!

Debut: "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire"

The nice guy next door neighbor to the Simpson family. Originally, Ned was just a "better Christian" than Homer, being affable, polite, intellectual, friendly, and sincerely religious. As the seasons went on, his "sweetness" and his religiosity grew until he became a byword for fanatical religious faith and doormat-like pleasantry. His being a doormat in the name of being nice to others faded. The religious zeal, however, remains. As of Season 29, he has taken over his late second wife's job as the fourth grade teacher. Voiced by Harry Shearer.

  • Abusive Dad: Not in a violent manner, rather in the over-protective variety;
    • Ned's sons are highly sheltered and overprotected. Rod and Todd are oversensitive and have poor social skills towards others. They are also religiously bigoted and seem to be sexually confused, as they plan to lose their virginities to each other in their vow of abstinence. In Bart Has Two Mommies, Rod and Todd reveal that Marge makes them feel genuinely happy because she gives them more freedom than Ned.
    • A direct example is in "Todd, Todd, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me"; Ned disowns Todd for having a crisis of faith, he prays for God to punish Todd for his lack of faith and sends him to live with the Simpsons so they'd make Todd afraid of God. The reason why Todd had a crisis of faith was that he was missing his mother and confused about why such a tragedy would take place.
  • The Ace: Early on, he always found success in areas where Homer failed and generally had a perfect life. Subverted in later episodes, where he goes through multiple losses and failures that are arguably worse than anything that Homer has had to go through.
  • Affably Evil: If he's a villain in a Treehouse of Horror short (such as when he turns out to be Satan, or becomes the dictator of the world in an alternate timeline), he's still as genial as he usually is.
  • Always Someone Better: Is this to Homer, which is why Homer doesn't like him (add to the fact that Flanders has a prettier wife — or used to — and kids that aren't a pain in the ass to him). Was played up a lot more in the early seasons.
  • As the Good Book Says...: Flanders quotes the Bible often.
  • Beta Couple: With Maude, until her death, to Homer and Marge.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: The nicest guy you could ever wish to meet, but as his Precision F-Strike shows, you do NOT want to push him too far. He straight-up knocks out Homer with one punch after he relentlessly teases him! On two different occasions!
  • Broken Ace: Officially becomes this after the episode "Hurricane Neddy" and after Maude's death.
  • Cartwright Curse: Ned Flanders has been twice-widowed. His first wife, Maude, was killed in a freak accident by a T-shirt cannon. Later on he married Edna Krabappel. But in an episode following the death of her voice actress Marcia Wallace, Ned is seen wearing a black armband and looking at a picture of Edna, revealing she died off-camera.
  • Catchphrase: "Hidely ho!" and "Diddly!"
  • Cerebus Retcon: His Verbal Tic is his way of expressing repressed anger.
  • Characterization Marches On:
    • In his earlier appearances his personality had drifted towards being nice and meek. It's sort of funny to watch his first appearance, where he's so indifferent/oblivious to Homer's obvious financial problems that it reaches Jerkass proportions and he actually seems fully deserving of Homer's enmity.
    • He wasn't even a devout Christian. Season 1 makes no mention of his faith, just that he's Homer's well-off neighbor. Season 2 does have him quote the Bible on one occasion.
  • Clark Kent Outfit: Despite appearing to be slightly paunchy when wearing his usual sweater, Ned is actually incredibly ripped, which is genuinely shown off whenever he wears a different outfit.
  • Costumes Change Your Size: He appears far heavier when wearing his outfit than he actually is.
  • Cranky Neighbor: Initially averted, but began to play this more straight due to Flanderization, where he'd gradually become less tolerant of Homer. In several later-season episodes, he has reported Homer to the police for minor stuff (for example, he reports him for having sex with Marge in the treehouse in "Kamp Krustier").
  • Depending on the Writer:
  • Dork in a Sweater: Overly cheery and dorky, and always seen wearing a bright green sweater with a pink collar.
  • Egocentrically Religious: Sometimes becomes this in his Christian overzeal, sometimes showing a condescending view of God's treatment towards others or praying for his good will for even minor things like winning a game of bowling. He's usually not nearly as bad as Homer thinks he is however (who actually turned into a far more prominent example in one episode).
  • Extreme Doormat: He's a bit of a pushover, and easily lets Homer insulting him or taking advantage of him. In their first meeting, when he asks Homer if he needs something, Homer agrees to "borrow" the TV tray that Ned has just bought for himself. Eight years later the tray is still in the Simpsons' living room.
  • Fatal Flaw: Ned's flaws are that he's robotically devoted to his faith and unwilling to take action. He was regularly trampled on by Homer and his family and never took the initiative to stand up for himself. When Ned does retaliate, he feels way too guilty about it and tries to be bigger person because his faith tells him to do so, regardless of the context. In Viva Ned Flanders, he has a mid-life crisis when he realises he wasted his life by doing nothing exciting or thrilling.
  • Flanderization: Trope Namer. Interestingly, he was flanderized twice.
    • Pre-flanderization, Ned was a friendly, generous, ideal neighbor (although he could often come off as slightly snooty during the first two seasons), who enjoyed going to church on Sundays and had a well-behaved, friendly, generous family. He was better off than Homer, simply because he didn't spend money frivolously, which is why Homer hated Flanders - Homer was jealous of Flanders' well-earned fortune.
    • Ned's first flanderization was into an obsessively pious, painfully generous, obnoxiously friendly milquetoast who was still a pretty decent person (perhaps unhealthily so considering the kind of people Springfieldians are in general), if incredibly boring. The episode "Hurricane Neddy" saw Ned snap and verbally attack his neighbors while explaining both his Verbal Tic and obsession with being nice, and the episode "Viva Ned Flanders" saw his boring, milquetoast ways get pitied, rather than celebrated.
    • His second - and most damning - flanderization took his obsession with Christianity and expanded it, turning him into an intolerant bigot who demanded a lot of respect for his own religion while openly mocking everyone else's, such as Apu's Hinduism (the episode "Midnight Rx" has even Homer stunned by what Ned says of Hinduism to Apu's face). This also turned "Why does Homer hate him?" into "No wonder Homer hates him". He also became highly resentful of Homer mocking his faith and sponging him off (though by this time Flanders was no longer better off than the Simpsons). It's worth noting that this second Flanderization coincided with the death of Ned's wife Maude, leading to a tragic Alternative Character Interpretation that the loss of his wife and having to be a single father led Flanders to become bitter, depressed, and increasingly hostile to anything that goes against his increasingly fundamentalist religious beliefs.
    • It's worth noting that Maude was often the pious representation of the show's Christianity, seeing as she was friends with Helen Lovejoy. In "Bart of Darkness", she even went to Bible camp due to a fear of not being judgmental enough. She's also highly suspicious of Marge in "Marge in Chains", despite Ned totally acting the opposite. With Maggie Roswell's departure, and Maude and Helen no longer around to "think of the children", Ned took their place.
    • Also, the writing staff have stated that Flanders was deliberately changed in response to the increased influence of religion in politics. So Flanders' character was essentially derailed because The Simpsons writers wanted a Straw Character to mock. Portrayal of Flanders reached the point of full-on anti-Christian, and later on Flanders was ratcheted back towards his first flanderization of being a nice, yet kinda boring religious man after his marriage to Edna Krabappel.
  • Foil: To Homer. Homer is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, Ned is a Nice Guy. The Simpson family are often impoverished and highly dysfunctional, the Flanders family are well-off and loving towards each other. Homer's wife is alive while both of Ned's are deceased. Homer couldn't care less about religion to the point of sleeping in church, Ned is a religious fundamentalist. Homer is fat and bald, Ned is muscular and has a full head of hair.
  • The Fundamentalist: Later episodes had him as this. In the early days, he was just a religious man who was so nice (and a bit boring) that Homer couldn't stand it. It is implied by Rodd and Todd in one episode that his reckless zeal is the direct result of "Daddy needing a new Mommy".
  • Gag Penis: Debatable. Homer's dating video for Ned had his penis digitally blurred. The blurs reached to the bottom of the screen. Either Flanders really is gifted downstairs or Homer did that to entice the female audience. In one episode where Flanders plays a nude Adam for a biblical video, he has a huge fig leaf to cover his private parts. In another he comments on how impractical foot-long hot dogs are (referring to actual hot dogs), while Maude adds that they indeed are "uncomfortable".
  • Grew a Spine: In early seasons he was a pushover at best and submissive at worst towards Homer, he'd pretty much let everyone walk over him than be a bother to them. In later seasons, he much more capable of standing up to Homer, even though he'd prefer it to be his last option.
  • Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: In "When Flanders Failed" he hilariously interprets all of Homer's blatantly Jerkass comments as well-intentioned advice about his business.
  • Happily Married:
    • With Maude, until her death.
    • When he was married to Edna until her death off-screen.
  • Hates Their Parent: Ned Flanders hates his parents, who are beatniks, because he doesn't like beatniks.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: The mild-mannered Ned often performs heroic feats (like saving Homer from a house fire) and started as the heroic counterpart to Homer and he was Happily Married to the redhaired Maude Flanders.
  • Hidden Depths: He has a lot of anger in him, loves the Beatles and is not above feeling envious when Homer gets undeserved praises.
  • Hollywood Nerd: While he's not the hottest guy in the world and is certainly a bit nerdy, he's still kind of.... handsome. His hair is neatly combed without a single gray strand, he has a thick moustache, he's hygenic and he's muscular, especially considering the below Older Than They Look trope.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: In the early seasons at least. After Maude's death, not so much.
  • Knight Templar: At his worst. When it involves something he takes a religious stance about, he is unshakable in pursuing his goal.
  • Lack of Empathy: Will often annoy people by being relentlessly cheerful during stressful times in their lives, mostly Homer though other characters aren't immune to this. In particular it never seems to occur to him that Reverend Lovejoy may not want to frequently receive phone calls from him during his downtime about whatever sin he seems to think he's commited.
  • Last-Name Basis: Homer usually calls him by his last name.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Lampshaded by Homer: "I'm a big four eyed lame-o. I wear the same stupid sweater everyday and…" Doubles as Hypocritical Humor on Homer's part.
  • Minnesota Nice: While it's unknown if Ned is a Minnesotan himself, but he has a some sort Midwestern sounding accent and is a Nice Guy in general (unless you are mean to him to the point he can't take it anymore).
  • Mr. Fanservice: Not at all normally, but whenever his physique is shown off, expect a lot of focus to be drawn towards how amazingly (and surprisingly) good shape he's in. He is the Trope Namer for Stupid Sexy Flanders, after all.
  • Nerd Glasses: His round, thin-rimmed spectacles denote his dorky and cheerful demeanor.
  • Never My Fault: Flanders' is this as a result of being Egocentrically Religious. He will often do incredibly irresponsible things under the belief that God would protect him, such as sinking his whole life's savings into a store that only caters to 1/9th of the population in "When Flanders Failed" while doing nothing to promote the store himself, or not buying homeowners insurance in "Hurricane Neddy".
  • Nice Guy: Well before his Flanderization was established, Ned was simply the nice guy that lived next door. While his Holier Than Thou attitude is played up more and more in later episodes, he is still shown to be a fundamentally good, if misguided, person no matter the circumstances.
  • Noble Male, Roguish Male: Occasionally plays this with Homer.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: He does attempt to follow the Christian faith and be a kind neighbor, even renting out his room to people who need it. Unfortunately for him, many of the people of Springfield have a tendency to take advantage of his kindness and make it even worse. This eventually reached a breaking point when, after he allowed some college girls to rent out one of the guest rooms in his house, they ended up repaying his kindness by filming a softcore webcam video called "sexy slumber party" without Ned's knowledge, and Homer also leaked this to every single person in the town, to the extent that, when Ned Flanders ousts the college girls out of the room upon finding out about this, they cheer the girls on, thus shocking him about how all this time, the townspeople actually mocked him behind his back.
  • No Man Should Have This Power: In "To Surveil with Love", Ned takes charge of a surveillance system and he becomes insufferable and soon realises that he caused Bart and Homer to create the chaos corner. He agrees to help Homer destroy the cameras once he realises that he tried to play god by forcing people to abide by the rules by nagging.
  • Oblivious to Hatred: He is always friendly to Homer, despite all the times he tells him to shut up or go away and borrows his stuff without returning them. However, if Flanders is truly oblivious varies Depending on the Writer since there are some episodes that show Ned is fully aware of how much Homer dislikes him, but puts up with it for the sake of being a good Christian.
    • Even Homer himself calls Ned out on this. When Ned is in the asylum getting treatment for his long-ignored anger issues, Ned just smiles and laughs off all of Homer's attempts to get him to vent. Homer eventually gets fed up.
    Homer: Aw that's it! You just can't insult this guy! You call him a moron and he just sits there, grinning moronly.
    Flanders: Hi, neighbor!
  • Odd Name Out: "This is Maude, Rod, Todd, and I'm Ned!"
  • Older Than They Look: Ned looks around Homer's age, but he's actually sixty years old. How does he retain his youthful appearance? By following the "three Cs" — clean living, chewing thoroughly, and a daily dose of vitamin church.
  • Overprotective Dad: More prominent in the early episodes than in the later ones (with Maude's death being the reason behind it).
  • Pals with Jesus: Even though his religious zeal didn't develop until later seasons, even the early seasons had Ned being in obvious favor with God, to the point that politely stating skyward "It's me, Ned" helped him win a bowling match (and shock Homer in the butt for mocking Ned) and a quick prayer to God helped save his son from being swept up by a river.
  • Parental Favoritism: Ned appears to favor Todd more than Rod as he shares more activities with him and entrusts with certain tasks (such as being in charge of the car while he talks to Homer in "When Flanders Failed" and asking Todd to shoot him if he tries to get back into the Bunker in "Bart's Comet").
  • Parental Neglect: His parents were beatniks who, although they were frustrated with his behavior, didn't believe in rules or discipline, or pay much attention to him. He resents them for it.
  • Parting Words Regret: "I can't believe my last words to (Maude) were 'no footlongs'."note 
  • The Pollyanna: Definitely. Now that he's twice a widower, it might get worse.
  • Precision F-Strike: "Hurricane Neddy" has one. Well, for Flanders, anyway.
  • Rage Breaking Point: In the episode "Hurricane Neddy", the Flanders' house gets destroyed by a hurricane, and he isn't impressed with the rather shoddy result of the rest of the townspeople's efforts to rebuild it for him. He tries to be nice as usual, but when his glasses break when he tries to clean them, that is the last straw: he snaps and goes on a tirade, delivering a mass "The Reason You Suck" Speech to everyone present. Particularly notable in this case, because he'd been building up his rage for decades. Hell, it's the reason he has his Verbal Tic.
  • Ridiculous Procrastinator: Inverted: He manages to start, and finish, his tax returns as early as New Year's Day, which is exactly 105-106 days (depending on whether the year is a leap year or not) before the last day of taxes (April 15). It should also be noted that he is the only one, or at least one of the few, Springfielders to actually deliver their taxes before the deadline (even the private accountants wait the last moment), as the episode that revealed this also has what is implied to be everyone in Springfield rushing to the Post Office to get their Tax Returns in at the last possible moment.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Sings like one, too, which Bart finds very disturbing.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Sensitive Guy to Homer's Manly Man.
  • Sex God: In one episode he has sex with a movie star who is in town to shoot a film. He tells her that the first one's free, but if she wants any more she'll have to marry him. She almost does.
  • Stepford Smiler: "Hurricane Neddy" reveals that his niceness and his Gosh Dang It to Heck! Verbal Tic is from being spanked every day for a full year while in therapy to curb his violent behavior brought on by his beatnik parents who didn't raise him right (or at all).
  • Strawman Political: In later episodes. It's justified, however, when you take into account that a few times, his attempts at being a good neighbor often result in his good nature being exploited.
  • Stronger Than They Look: He is surprisingly muscular under his sweater and effortlessly caught a punch from a Jerk Jock.
  • Took a Level in Badass: By the episode "The Squirt and the Whale", Ned has officially stopped taking crap from Homer.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In later seasons, he became more of a religious elitist who openly mocked other religions while refusing to take criticism himself.
  • Turn the Other Cheek: Since he's a parody of the overly religious man, he's insanely nice and forgiving even when Homer is openly antagonistic towards him for no reason. Downplayed in later episodes (like "Bull-E") where he's not always willing to forgive that easily.
  • Verbal Tic: Ned peppers ran-diddly-andom words with odd sounds like "diddly" and "doodly". Later revealed to be his way of dealing with his repressed anger. Given how often he tends to utter them, one could infer that the antics of the people around him have him seemingly locked in a state of Tranquil Fury.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Homer. While Ned is nothing but pleasant towards his neighbor, Homer reacts with rage and jealousy whenever forced to interact with him. "Hurricane Neddy" also reveals that Ned considers Homer to be a horrible person, revealing that the hatred is at least partially mutual. Despite this, both men have been shown to genuinely care and look out for each other countless times, to a point where they could be regarded as Fire-Forged Friends by later episodes.
  • You Need to Get Laid:
    • His own sons have said this to his face, agreeing that he's taking Kent Brockman's (accidental) swear too far and he's in need of "a new mommy".
    • God himself also appears to have this outlook, in A Star is Born Again a convenient gust of wind blows away all of Ned's bible quotes when he has trouble deciding whether or not to have sex with Sara Sloane. Ned, satisfied with the remaining quote, is eager to do the deed.

    Maude Flanders
She taught us the shame of joy, and the joy of shame.

Debut: "Dead Putting Society"

Ned's wife, who he was very close to, until a horrific freak accident killed her. Voiced by Maggie Roswell.

  • Absolute Cleavage: In "The War of the Simpsons", she sports a dress with a noticeably low neckline during a dinner party. A drunk Homer later takes advantage of this by tricking her into digging for nuts so he could ogle her cleavage.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Consistently shown to be much meaner, judgemental and spiteful than her husband is, particularly when around Marge. Hiring Yakuza to stop Marge's pretzel business should tell you how much.
  • Character Death: In an untimely manner in Season 11's "Alone Again, Natura-Diddily". The reason why she was killed abruptly was because her voice actor had to constantly fly between Denver and Los Angeles twice a week to record for the show, which soon tired her out and only got worse with travel expenses increasing, leading to her asking the company for a $4k raise. She only got $150. The rest is history. Ironically, later on, she did end up settling a deal with the company to revoice the other characters (Luann, Helen, etc.,) from her Denver home.
  • Disney Villain Death: Non-villainous example. Her death isn't shown, only the fall that causes it.
  • False Friend: Her relationship with Marge is almost an inverse of Homer's with Ned. While they appear to be good friends on the surface, all of their interactions are dripping with thinly-veiled contempt and back-handed compliments, to a point where they are more rivals than anything else.
  • Fiery Redhead: She is mostly a sweet behaved woman, but once she crosses into Alpha Bitch or Karen territory, she can be quite angry and vicious in her holier-than-thou attitude.
  • The Fundamentalist: Just as much of one as her husband is. She once attended bible camp to learn how to be more judgmental.
  • Happily Married: With Ned, until her death.
  • Lust Object: Homer is shown to have a thing for her on occasion, particularly in earlier episodes.

    Rod and Todd Flanders
Rod is on the left, and Todd is on the right.

Debut: "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" (Todd), "The Call of the Simpsons" (Rod)

Ned's two children, innocent to the point of being naive due to their upbringing and easily misled by the more worldly Bart. Voiced by Pamela Hayden and Nancy Cartwright.

  • Ambiguously Gay
  • Big Little Brother: Rod, who is the same age as Lisa, is taller than Todd, who is the same age as Bart.
  • Cheerful Child: Who see the light side of the Bible.
  • Children Are Innocent: They don't see a lot of bad in life.
  • Creepy Child: Homer refers to them as "creepy" in the "Everybody Hates Ned Flanders" song. While they are genuinely innocent, their upbringing made them so socially inept and Easily Impressed that it can be off-putting.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • Todd shares some screentime with Bart for Season 2's "Dead Putting Society".
    • "Todd, Todd, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?" is centred on the Flanders, but especially Todd.
  • Depending on the Writer: Their opinion of Ned varies from episode to episode; sometimes they are not aware of how protective he is of them and how socially inept they are, other times they are aware of Ned's protectiveness and are relieved when given space from him.
  • The Ditz: They don't have many real-world skills outside domestic chores, making them look like feather-bedded idiots.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: They were usually The Dividual in early seasons, but eventually grew as characters and were able to develop as their own characters, with Todd being more extroverted and vocal than Rod, who is introverted and quiet.
  • The Dividual: The Syndividual type, the two look and sound the same with the only difference being their height. The writers and voice actress have admitted that they have had trouble telling the two apart in the past.
  • Everyone Has Standards: While they may be God-fearing, just like their dad, both boys do have their limits with Ned - in "You Kent Always Say What You Want" both of them feel that Ned is going too far by reporting Kent Brockman to the FCC for swearing, even though nobody saw it and Brockman apologized for it.
  • Flanderization: In their earliest appearances, somewhat like their dad, they appeared to be overall simply nice, God-biding, and approachable children. note  As the series went on, they quickly became the socially inept, overly sensitive, and "too pure for this world" kids they're now known as.
  • Flat Character: Rod has the least characterisation of the Flanders clan, with his brother receiving character development in later seasons and becoming the focus of his own episodes.
  • Freudian Excuse: Their judgemental side and naivety stems from the death of their mother, Maude Flanders. Ned became overprotective of Rod and Todd out of fear of losing them too and his sons became highly sheltered and unprepared for adulthood. According to Todd, he and Rod only have each other as they have no friends of their own.
  • Gilded Cage: Both are highly sheltered by their father and are socially inept. Both are too sensitive to a point where Lisa sarcastically says "They're going to get eaten alive in middle school". They are also seemingly incestual since they plan to marry and lose their virginities to each other. In "Wild Barts Can't Be Broken" they take the adults side and sing "Why can't you be like we are?", only to be pelted with tomatoes. In "Bart to the Future" Ned mentions that they need estrogen treatments. In the comics, both brothers become cross-dressing lounge singers. Todd even admits to Lisa that he doesn't have any friends and is annoyed by Rod's constant presence.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Though just as sheltered as his brother, Todd does seem to be somewhat more outgoing than his brother, since Todd participates in activities like entering the mini-golf competition or playing the violin at a concert.
    • In "Home Away from Homer", Rod was able to get a girlfriend while living in Humbleton, indicating that he isn't as socially inept as he seems.
  • Innocent Swearing: Todd picks up Homer's bad language in "Bart the Lover", and in "Homer Loves Flanders", the two exchange rude words when they get hooked on Pixie Stix.
  • Kid Has a Point: There are good reasons why they see Bart and Homer as worse than they are, Homer constantly mocks their father which did take a toll on them and Bart has played some nasty pranks such as giving them sugar despite their refusal and ransacking their house, and has stolen money from Rod. Their perception is based on what they see.
  • Meaningful Name: Their names (just like their mom's name) all rhyme with God, fitting the religious family.
  • New Transfer Student: Edna pulls them out of private Christian school and enrolls them in Springfield Elementary in "Ned 'N' Edna's Blend", though "Bart the Lover" and "I Love Lisa" shows both Rod and Todd in Springfield Elementary (Todd gets poked in the eye with Bart's paper airplane in the former and they are two of the students that sing the "Mediocre Presidents" song in the latter) and a lot of later episodes before "Ned 'n Edna's Blend" imply that Rod and Todd are home-schooled, yet they have been seen around the school on a few occasions. In fact, Ned is even a member of the school's PTA.
  • Number of the Beast: In Bart Star, Rod's football shirt has a 66 on it and Todd has a 6.
  • Older Than They Look: They are said to actually be 8 and 10.
  • Pure Is Not Good: Because of their religious upbringing by their father, they are judgmental towards the faiths and ideals of others.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Todd appears to be the most extroverted and vocal of the pair, while Rod seems to be the more introverted and quiet. Todd is able to branch out and make friends, while Rod keeps to himself and seems to have been able to get a girlfriend in "Home Away from Homer".
  • Screw Your Ultimatum!: Homer and Flanders bicker back and forth about the outcome of a miniature golf tournament featuring their respective sons. Todd and Bart confer and both decide to quit the tournament on good terms.
  • Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: In reverse. In his first appearance, Rod was a teen, almost the same height as Maud. Todd was Bart's age.
  • Those Two Guys: The two aren't often seen apart.
  • Vague Age: In earlier seasons, their ages were inconsistant with Todd being the eldest brother, while Rod is the youngest. Sometimes this would switch around until they were confirmed to be 8 and 10 years old, with Rod being 10 and Todd being 8.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: They are naively devoted to their faith and don't realise how socially inept and sheltered they are.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Todd is shown to be more aware of Ned's overprotective nature and feels suffocated by it. Rod is aware of it too but is not as vocal about it, as shown when he appreciated Marge as his babysitter due to giving him and Todd independence from their father.

Spuckler Family

    Cletus Spuckler
"Hey, what's goin' on on this side?"
Some folk'll never eat a skunk,
But then again, some folk'll,
Like Cletus,
The Slack-Jawed Yokel!

Debut: "Bart Gets an Elephant"

A local redneck. Voiced by Hank Azaria

  • Berserk Button: Do not insert anything up his butt; the aliens in The Simpsons Game found this out the hard way when he learned that he was probed.
  • Catchphrase: "Hey Brandine!"
  • Deep South: Embodies most of the traditional redneck/trailer trash stereotypes.
  • The Ditz: Or so it seems. In the movie he appears every time the others need a stupid person.
  • Hidden Depths: An inbred hillbilly, but incredibly good in writing signatures.
  • Hillbilly Moonshiner: He's occasionally seen moonshining.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: One of the supporting characters who didn't appear in the first season, as he's introduced in season 5.
  • Incest Is Relative: He is often depicted as being related to Brandine, but exactly how they are related changes depending on the episode. As Brandine puts it, "We's all kinds of things."
  • Lower-Class Lout: He's uneducated, perpetually unemployed, and he and his wife are stereotypical hillbillies, living in a run-down shack with 26 children, and occasionally some other relatives as well.

    Brandine Spuckler

Debut: "Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily"

Cletus's wife who is heavily hinted to be his relative as well. Voiced by Tress MacNeille.

  • Bare Your Midriff: Almost always seen wearing a tie-front crop top.
  • Deep South: Like her husband.
  • Incest Is Relative: She is often depicted as being related to Cletus, but exactly how they are related changes depending on the episode. Lampshaded when Homer marries them during his exploitation of wedding arrangement and realizes their paper hints that they're brother and sister. Brandine simply says they are a lot of things.
  • Lower-Class Lout: Along with her husband. Brandine is (variously) a stripper, a Dairy Queen worker, or a soldier fighting in the War on Terror.
  • Satellite Love Interest: She appears only in scenes with Cletus.
  • Too Many Babies: The overall number of children she has is inconsistent.
  • Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: Seems to be the primary breadwinner for her family. She is variously described as working as a stripper, a Dairy Queen worker, and a soldier fighting in the War on Terror.

    Dia-Betty Spuckler 

Debut: "Sweets and Sour Marge"

Cletus's obese cousin. Voiced by Tress MacNeille.

    Mary Spuckler

Debut: "Apocalypse Cow"

Voiced by Zooey Deschanel

  • Arranged Marriage: In her debut episode, because Cletus misinterprets Bart's gift of a pet cow to their family, he sets up a marriage between the two kids. Everybody in the Spuckler family and their hillbilly acquaintances behaves as if the marriage between two kids were absolutely legal. It is, of course, annulled by the episode's end.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Has pigtails in most of her appearances ("Apocalypse Cow" and "Love is a Many-Splintered Thing").
  • It's All About Me: Mary is this in "Love is a Many-Splintered Thing" given the All Take and No Give aspect of her and Bart's relationship. She gets mad at Bart for getting bored after listening to her play music for hours or even an entire day, finally breaking up with him when he'd rather do something else besides watch her flirt with some guy over music. Yet she won't even do something Bart enjoys for a half an hour.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: Because of the above, she is brought back in Season 24 as Bart's "past love interest", despite the fact that they were just merely friends.
  • Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: For some reason, she ages up between "Apocalypse Cow" and "Moonshine River."
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Lampshaded by Milhouse.
    Millhouse (looking at a photo of her from Bart): She looks pretty cute for Cletus' daughter.
  • White Sheep: She's a lot smarter than the rest of the Spuckler family. Justified as she is the one that was given milk when she was young (not as in she was breastfed, but more as in the others drank paint).

    Dubya Spuckler 

Debut: "Yokel Chords"

Voiced by Tress MacNeille.

Skinner Family

    Seymour Skinner 

    Agnes Skinner
Debut: "The Crepes of Wrath"

Seymour's eternal beloved smother who is constantly nagging about his existence and actions. Voiced by Tress MacNeille.

  • Abusive Parents: She's rude and treats her son poorly. In "The Principal and the Pauper", when when her actual son shows up, she can't stand him because he refuses to bend to his whim and she has him expelled from town.
  • A Man Is Always Eager: She once called Seymour a sissy because he wasn't using the internet for porn.
  • Characterization Marches On: When we first see Agnes in "The Crepes of Wrath", she is the stereotypically sweet, frail old lady who embarrasses her son by calling him "Spanky". Afterwards, she was rewritten into a cruel matriarch who controls every aspect of her son's life. Word of God says that she became more vicious because of Bart's cherry bomb prank during her debut episode.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Lampshaded in the episode where she dates the equally snarky Comic Book Guy.
    Comic Book Guy: We're a perfect match. Her sneer just lights up my day.
    Agnes: And we're always finishing each other's insults!
  • Dirty Old Woman: Agnes has exhibited "cougar" tendencies in several episodes. Among the younger men she has been in a relationship (or possibly had sex) with include Superintendent Chalmers, Otto Mann and Comic Book Guy.
  • Evil Matriarch: To Seymour, but she's more Jerkass than evil.
  • Financial Abuse: Skinner makes mention in one episode that Agnes is forcing him to pay for every single meal he ever had since he was a child now that he has a paying job. He hopes that once he's caught up, he'll be able to start saving to buy a car (of course, in other episodes he does has a car).
  • Evil Old Folks: She isn't blatantly evil, but she's still a nasty old woman who treats Principal Skinner with condescension at best and open cruelty at worst.
  • Hate Sink: One of the most horrible characters in the series.
  • I Have No Son!: Her treatment of her son borderlines with this, though it comes to happen in The Principal and the Pauper when her real son turns up but she decides to shut her off from both of them... and then she despises her real son so much that she begs the other to take his place.
  • Jerkass: She is a bitter and unpleasant old woman who's always rude to everyone.
  • My Beloved Smother: Part of the Trope Namer with her son. She shares an unhealthy relationship with him which often borders on psychosis. When Seymour is out of the house, Agnes phones him regularly demanding to be taken out of the bath, shielded from the glare of car lights on the street, and other such petty requests. Agnes actually plays around with the trope rather darkly when it is revealed Seymour is an impostor, and she actually disowns her real son primarily because he isn't subservient to her. (Of course, this never happened though, maybe.)
  • Never Mess with Granny: Absolutely rude and snarky.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: She hates Seymour's choice in women, especially Edna Krabappel.
  • Serial Spouse: She has married a total of four times.
  • Wicked Stepmother: If you consider "The Principal and the Pauper" canon, she is arguably this, given that she is controlling and abusive to a man she knows isn't really her son; then again, she actually prefers him to her real son and is only treating him the way she would have treated her real son anyway. (Of course, that episode never happened; later episodes show Skinner living with Agnes as a teenager, child, and even a fetus.)

Nahasapeemapetilon Family

    Apu Nahasapeemapetilon 

    Manjula Nahasapeemapetilon
Debut: "Much Apu About Nothing" (flashback), "The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons" (in-person)

A beautiful Indian woman, and wife of Apu. Voiced by Jan Hooks (seasons 9-14), Tress MacNeille, and Maggie Roswell.

  • Ascended Extra: Makes her debut as a child in "Much Apu About Nothing", where she only appears for a small gag. Since her first appearance as an adult in "The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons", she has become a recurring character.
  • Beta Couple: With Apu to Homer and Marge in later season.
  • Older Than They Look: Though it depends on the episode, she still looks pretty darn young for a 38-year old woman.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Zig-zagged. While at first this seems to be the case, their relationship seems to zig-zag between loving and affectionate and strained and full of resentment. Later episodes suggest it works out.
  • Woman Scorned: When she discovers that Apu once had an affair with a Squishee lady and kicks him out of the house. With some help from the Simpson family, Manjula eventually agrees to give Apu another chance after he completes an often-vengeful list of bizarre grueling tasks fashioned by her, such as performing "My Fair Lady" with the octuplets and eating a lightbulb.

    The Nahasapeemapetilon Octuplets 
Debut: "Eight Misbehavin"

Voiced by: Pamela Hayden (Poonam, Uma, Nabendu), Nancy Cartwright (Pria, Sandeep), and Tress MacNeille (Sashi, Anoop, Gheet)

  • Babies Make Everything Better: Averted. Throughout the rest of the series, the octuplets are generally shown to be a handful, much to the stress and chagrin of Apu and Manjula. Because of this, Apu has to hold on to them with child harnesses whenever he takes them out in public. According to Apu, they act as a ravenous swarm of locusts that always eat, scream, grab, poke, pull, and drool.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: The eight octuplets consist of four girls and four boys.
  • Your Size May Vary: As the cast are stuck in a floating timeline, the Octuplets have been shown to have aged slightly, but their height is inconsistent compared to Maggie, especially in "Moe Letter Blues" where they are almost as tall as Lisa, compared to their parents.

    Sanjay Nahasapeemapetilon 
Debut: "Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment"

Apu's brother and co-owner of the Kwik-E-Mart. Voiced by Harry Shearer.

Van Houten Family

     As a whole 
  • Abusive Parents: Luann and Kirk are quite selfish with their treatment of Milhouse. They objectified him in the divorce, are indifferent to Milhouse's suffering and Milhouse seems to be emotionally stunted and oversensitive because of their actions as Luann is quite smothering with Milhouse. Before remarrying Kirk, Luann could be classed as a narcissistic parent as she constantly smothers Milhouse and bases her decisions on how it impacts her than how it impacts Milhouse.
  • Divorce Is Temporary: Kirk and Luann had a pretty nasty divorce, but eventually get back together and have remained together since.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: While Milhouse is introduced in the first season, his parents don't appear until season 3.
  • Kissing Cousins: They all look so similar that Bart once asked Luann and Kirk if they are siblings. In the Season 26 episode "Let's Go Fly a Coot", Milhouse tells Bart that his parents are actually cousins. They were born in Shelbyville and this follows Shelbyville custom, as the town was founded by early dissenting Springfielders who wanted to inbreed.
  • Lookalike Lovers: Luann and Kirk look so similar to each other, their own son is half-sure they're brother and sister. A later episode, however, has Milhouse state that they are cousins.
  • Straw Loser: Kirk might get the worst of it, but Milhouse is depicted as this too. Luann's life isn't anything to envy either.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: All of them have blue hair.

    Milhouse Van Houten 

    Kirk Van Houten
Debut: "Bart's Friend Falls in Love"

Milhouse Van Houten's father. Voiced by Hank Azaria.

  • Bumbling Dad: After the divorce, he becomes this.
  • Butt-Monkey: After the divorce, Kirk became a stereotypical middle-aged male loser and deadbeat dad, suffering depression after his divorce from Luann. He does some humiliating jobs and all see him as a loser (nearly rivaling Gil). Even after remarrying Luann Kirk has not gotten rid of this status, with many jokes revolving around how he gets no respect from his own family.
  • Chick Magnet: He is usually portrayed as an unattractive deadbeat, but when he was unfairly thrown in jail for kidnapping Bart, it made him an idol to many ladies.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Kirk Evelyn Van Houten.
  • Flanderization: He started out as a cracker factory manager with a vaguely defined personality apart from hints that his marriage to Luann was on shaky ground. After Kirk and Luann divorced in "A Milhouse Divided", the writers took the idea of him becoming a depressed deadbeat and ran with it... all the way to the horizon. He became a pathetic, friendless loser who couldn't hold down a job and who was only able to retain weekend custody of Milhouse in "Milhouse Doesn't Live Here Anymore" because the judge felt that sorry for him. Even getting back together with Luann in "Milhouse of Sand and Fog" and re-marrying her in "Little Orphan Millie" has done nothing to turn him around; he remains a magnet for bad luck and contempt from everyone he knows, even (and especially) Luann.
  • George Jetson Job Security: After his divorce, Kirk Van Houten was actually fired from the cracker company for being single. Though since Kirk apparently got the job from Luann's father he may have only have gotten to stay there as a favor, or possibly the firing was to get back at him for the divorce.
  • Incompetence, Inc.: Kirk's firing from the cracker factory may have been in part to get back at him for the divorce, but it was also justified on its own. According to Luann, the Southern Cracker Company was initially the leading cracker brand in Springfield, but under Kirk's incompetent management it fell to sixth in the marketplace.
  • Jerkass: He was a pretty lousy husband to Luann, not helping with chores, and often driving Luann to borrow money from her sister, something he admits to Homer.
  • New Job as the Plot Demands: After being fired from the Cracker Factory, he struggled to hold down a job.
  • Straw Loser: He is such a hard-core example of this after the divorce that it's been a plot point in at least two occasions: when Bart faked being kidnapped Kirk agreed to be part of the cover-up because living in prison was an actual improvement over his regular lifestyle, and when Luanne tried to move to Capital City and take Milhouse away, Kirk was able to maintain shared custody rights (thus keeping Milhouse in Springfield) because the judge felt that sorry for him. Even then, there's an awful lot of jokes done at his expense, such as the only home he can afford being a place for deadbeat depressed divorced dads that sees suicides on an hourly basis.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: After some years, he and Luann decide to marry again. Earlier he was also able to convince a judge to let him keep custody rights of his son when his wife tried to take him away because the judge felt that sorry for him.
  • Visit by Divorced Dad: During their divorce, Kirk had visitation rights, though he doesn't like to be billed as a "weekend dad".

    Luann Van Houten
Debut: "Homer Defined"

Milhouse Van Houten's mother. Voiced by Maggie Roswell (1991-1999, 2002-), Marcia Mitzman Gaven (2000-2002).

  • Fanservice Pack: Starting with "A Millhouse Divided", Luann's character design was revised, dropping her modest dress for flirtier clothing.
  • Jerkass: Was as much a lousy wife to Kirk as he was a lousy husband. Only Luann acts as though it was all his fault, while Kirk at least admits he was a bad husband. She even goes out of her way to tell Kirk he's a deadbeat.
  • Lethal Chef: She is heavily implied to be a bad cook in "A Milhouse Divided". When Luann mentions the time some high school punks egged her husband's Bonneville, Kirk (the husband) snarks that the punks should have hurled some bacon so he could have a decent breakfast for once.
  • Never My Fault: Once she divorces Kirk, Luann's more than happy to act like their marriage's failure was all on him instead of owning up to her contributions.
  • Really Gets Around: She has dated many men after the divorce. Otto tells Kirk "even I hooked up with your old lady" before apologizing to Milhouse.
  • The Unfair Sex: She had numerous boyfriends and romantic affairs after she dumped Kirk, and made sure he knew about them. After she remarries Kirk, she's outraged when she finds out he dated other women while they were divorced. Although she has some right to be angry since Kirk lied about his other relationships, Luann still comes across as hypocritical.

Hibbert Family

    Dr. Julius Hibbert 

    Bernice Hibbert 
Debut: "Bart's Dog Gets an F" Voiced by: Tress MacNeille (From season 8 to season 31), Dawnn Lewis (Season 32 onwards)

Bernice Hibbert (née Dupree) is Dr. Hibbert's recovering alcoholic wife.

  • The Alcoholic: She is somewhat a heavy drinker. This has been joked about on at least one occasion and she has also stated once that she was too drunk to remember marrying her husband. In "Homer Vs. The Eighth Amendment" she is one of several people who pass out in shock at reading Springfield became a dry county. She is a member of AA; however she is seen drinking alcohol at several times, meaning she might have a reoccurring problem.
  • Flat Character: One of less notable characters. Aside from the alcohol joke and occasional snarky comments, she never displays any particular traits.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Responsible one, since her brother Chester is slacker and doesn't appearantly have a job.
  • Impossible Hourglass Figure: Her skirt and shoulder pads highlights it even more.
  • Ironic Allergy: She loves gardening, but The Simpsons: Tapped Out reveals that she is severly allergic to roses.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Bernice always wears the same shoulder padded suit and skirt.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: She laughs like her husband, but it comes more as this.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Fuchsia in her case.
  • Replacement Flat Character: Sort of; after Maude's death she seems to have taken her spot in Springfield's woman circle, usually she is there with Helen Lovejoy. Before that she was only seen with her husband.
  • Satellite Character: She appears only with her husband or as part of some female groups.
  • Silent Snarker: She might not speak much, but she is prone to give a disapproving glare if someone is foolish.
  • The Voiceless: In most of her appearances she doesn't speak at all. From her debut it took six seasons to have her even say a word.

Wiggum Family

    Ralph Wiggum  

    Clancy Wiggum  

    Sarah Wiggum 
Debut: "Duffless"

Chief Wiggum's wife and Ralph's mother. Voiced by Pamela Hayden

  • The Alcoholic: Hinted to be one by Ralph: "You look like my mommy after her box of wine."
  • Dark and Troubled Past: According to Clancy, she had a history of being arrested by him and in possession of meth. He does admit the first time was him placing the drugs to have an excuse to talk to her.
  • Flat Character: One of less notable characters and rarely speaks.
  • Informed Attribute: Marge once said she doesn't want her at her party because they don't connect.
  • The Quiet One: She has very little dialogue, even when she's in a scene with a family.
  • Satellite Character: She only appears with her family or a group of women.

Muntz Family

     Nelson Muntz 

    Mrs. Muntz
Debut: "Wild Barts Can't Be Broken" (voice), "Sleeping with the Enemy" (full body)

Nelson's mother. She is an alcoholic and a stripper. Voiced by Tress MacNeille

Albertson Family

    Comic Book Guy 

    Kumiko Nakamura 
Debut: "Married to the Blob"

A Japanese manga fan and artist from Osaka. She is the girlfriend (and later wife) of Comic Book Guy. Voiced by: Tress MacNeille (pre-Season 32) and Jenny Yokobori (season 32-onwards)

  • Early-Bird Cameo: She appeared in The Simpsons: Tapped Out to promote her debut in the show proper.
  • Funny Foreigner: She is a Japanese mangaka and manga fan.
  • Happily Married: With CBG at the end of her episode.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: The hot wife to the CBG, a balding and obese basement dweller.
  • What Does She See in Him?: At first, Comic Book Guy found it weird that she liked him so much given that... well, he's an overweight, overly sarcastic and abrasive nerd. She explains that the freedom he has to insult things is a welcome contrast to her uptight, politeness-fixated homeland, Japan. Add in that they share a similar obsession with "nerdy" paraphernalia (comics for him, manga for her) and they have the mutual interests to understand and appreciate each other.

Other Friends and Neighbors

    Barney Gumble

Debut: "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire"

The town drunk and Homer's best friend since high school. Voiced by Dan Castellaneta.

  • Achilles' Heel: Barney is an incredibly gifted and competent person...but he also has a crippling weakness to alcohol. Just a sip of alcohol, or even non-alcoholic versions of boozy drinks, pretty much destroys him.
  • Addiction Displacement: During the brief period when he gave up alcohol, Barney became addicted to coffee instead.
  • The Alcoholic: Barney started bad and got worse and worse as the show went on, to the point where he'd lick beer up off the floor while claiming he still had dignity. This got stale enough that he nearly ended up being written as "Who Shot Mr Burns" just to send him to prison for a while, but instead the writers swung over to him trying to fight his alcoholism. It depends on the writer as to how well he's doing in any given episode.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: As expected, he's done a few acts that can be attributed to this. It's generally portrayed that when Barney kicks the bottle he becomes insanely smart and capable. He was a genius in school before he took up drinking, and when he kicks the habit during Astronaut training he positively crushes it.
  • Ambiguously Gay: He complains when crowded in a closed bomb shelter that someone is touching him, but he's okay with it when he learns it was Skinner.
  • The Artifact: Early in the show, Barney was Homer's best friend. However, when Lenny and Carl took over as Homer's main friends, Barney was left with little purpose and essentially became a background character. Later seasons attempted to give him additional relevance by having him give up drinking, but this didn't last.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Played for Fan Disservice similarly to Comic Book Guy, as his shirt is not quite big enough to completely cover his beer belly.
  • Berserk Button: Ruining his beer or otherwise preventing him from drinking it will cause him to get enraged.
    • Do not, under any circumstances, claim that anyone other than Lord Palmerston was England's best prime minister. Barney will make sure you aren't conscious enough to regret it.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: One thing Barney can still do very well when he's drunk is fight. He knocked Homer out with one punch in an early episode, and a couple of seasons later did the same to Wade Boggs. The original version of his fight with Joe Frazier would have ended with him winning.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Quite a few episodes suggest that Barney is actually very talented: he easily produces the best film in Springfield's film festival, crushes Homer's plow business as the Plow King, proves the most talented singer in the Be Sharps, and gets through astronaut training without a hitch. One even suggests he could have gotten into Harvard if he hadn't started hitting the bottle.
  • Broken Ace: Barney is incredibly gifted at everything from academics to filmmaking to music to art to business management to athletics. Unfortunately, if he has so much as a sip of alcohol, or even non-alcoholic drinks that are usually alcoholic, he pretty much falls to pieces. He doesn't really care all that much, though.
  • Carpet of Virility: Type 2, with chest hair usually coming out the neck of his shirt.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He is actually an exceptionally talented person when sober, being both surprisingly intelligent and athletic.
  • A Degree in Useless: In one episode Barney is seen standing in line at an unemployment agency. Barney claims that he hasn't been able to find a job in years, and when Kent Brockman asks him what his qualifications are, Barney replies "Five years of modern dance, six years of tap."
  • Demoted to Extra: In the early seasons, he was Homer's best friend. However, in later seasons, Lenny and Carl took over as Homer's buddies while Barney was mostly relegated to appearing at Moe's.
  • Disappeared Dad: His father is dead, according to the episode "Mr. Plow" ("Ah, dying's not so bad. I'll be reunited with my loved ones, my dad, and that plant I never watered."). Later we learn that Arnie Gumble was one of the deceased Flying Hellfish.
  • The Ditz: Justified, as he's usually drunk.
  • Early Installment Character Design Difference: In the first season, Barney was blond and wore an olive-green shirt with purple shoes. Starting with the second season, Barney was depicted as a brunette and wore an orange shirt with blue shoes.
  • Erudite Stoner: Or drunk, in this case. At a certain stage in his drinking, Barney can be surprisingly eloquent and thoughtful. This happens often enough that his friends describe this stage as "Professor Barney."
  • Fake High: When celebrating his victory over Homer to go to space, he drinks some champagne in celebration, which undoes all his sobriety efforts in under a minute. This confuses the scientist overseeing the tests, as the champagne was non-alcoholic.
  • Fat Best Friend: To Homer.
  • Fat Idiot: Mostly because he drinks a lot. One flashback depicts him as Harvard-bound — until Homer gives him a beer.
  • Fat Slob: Except in the episodes where he's sober.
  • Flanderization: He was introduced as a Barney Rubble Expy who always hung out at Moe's. However, as Lenny and Carl filled in his role as Homer's best friend, his drunkenness was emphasized more in later seasons. In newer episodes, he's usually seen lying around in drunken stupor or hung over. He did sober up in Season 11, but the writers aren't very consistent about whether that stuck.
  • Gasshole: His signature belch is practically his catch phrase. See a compilation here. It even turned into the belching sound effect on the show.
  • Genius Ditz:
    • In "Homer's Barbershop Quartet" we learn that even though Barney has a strange speaking voice, he has a beautiful singing voice. This was likely inspired by actor Jim Nabors (better known as Gomer Pyle from The Andy Griffith Show and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.), who despite his best-known character had a rich, baritone singing voice.
    • In "A Star Is Burns" he manages to create an independent film so moving that it drives the film festival judges to tears.
  • He Cleans Up Nicely: His hair is neater, his shirt tucked in, and his diction clearer when he isn't drinking.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: He and Homer have been best friends since they were children.
  • Hidden Depths: Despite being a drunk, he created a short film about how his alcoholism has ruined him that became so popular that he was featured on Entertaiment Weekly, has amazing drawing ability, and teamed up with Linda Ronstandt for his "Plow King" commercial. When he's sober, he can fly a helicopter. What's worse is that Barney in his teens was a Harvard-bound honors student who became a drunk after Homer offered him a beer.
  • In the Blood: His belching ability is evidently his strongest inheritable trait, according to the gag in "Selma's Choice", where it's shown that all of the countless babies he's sired through donated sperm - sons and daughters alike - can all burp just like him.
  • Karma Houdini: In "Duffless", Homer manages to sneak out of work and go to the Duff Brewery with Barney. At the brewery, Homer and Barney both partake in free samples, with Barney consuming more than Homer. Barney is so drunk that Homer becomes the designated driver, and when Chief Wiggum, Lou and Eddie pull the car over, Homer does well on the sobriety test, which consists of touching his nose with his fingers while standing on one foot and reciting the alphabet. Barney, who is more drunken than Homer, tells the cops to use the breathalyzer on Homer, and as a result, Homer's license is suspended and he is ordered to attend traffic school and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, while Barney gets off scot-free with no comeuppance in spite of his blood-alcohol content being noticeably higher than Homer's. To add insult to injury, when the cops arrest Homer and leave Barney to drive home, Barney runs his car into Wiggum!
  • Lower-Class Lout: He is an alcoholic, never seems to hold down a job for very long, is perpetually single, and lives in a run-down apartment.
  • Made of Iron: Barney shrugged off Homer punching him in the face, bashing him over the head with a crowbar, and repeatedly slamming his head with a car door. He's also survived crashing a jetpack, getting run over by a marshmallow truck and getting caught in the machinery of Moe's speakeasy.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: The Season 4 episode "Selma's Choice" reveals he regularly donates sperm to the Springfield IVF clinic, which results in a panning shot revealing dozens, maybe hundreds of women marching out of the clinic carrying babies letting out Barney's signature belch, making their parentage obvious.
  • Meaningful Name: Barney spends most of his time in a bar. It may be a coincidence, since he is apparently named after Barney Rubble from The Flintstones.
  • Military Brat: His mother is a naval officer and his father was a Private Fifth Class in the Flying Hellfish.
  • Must Have Caffeine: He actually managed to sober up for a few seasons, but he switched his dependency to coffee. Moe promptly started serving it to keep making money off Barney's addictions.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Went streaking at the Springfield High School senior prom in 1974, had his diaper blown off (in bone-chilling winter weather) while passing out flyers for a baby furniture store called "Lullabuy$", woke up naked when the Springfield Cat Burglar was terrorizing the city, and took a job as a male stripper when Mr. Burns replaced everyone who worked at the nuclear plant with robots because The Full Monty taught him that, during times of economic hardship, ugly people will strip for money (and if that doesn't work, he can always play "Three-Card Full Monty" where players have to find his penis underneath one of three shuffling hats).
  • Off-Model: In the really early episodes, Barney was a blond, and his skin color was the same as his hair. He changed to brown because it was easier to animate.
  • Off the Wagon: Barney is shown as being trying to keep his alcoholism under control often enough for it to matter that he usually isn't.
  • Pink Elephants: Literally (although they also fit the trope). One of them is named Stampy (no relation to the elephant Bart got as a pet) and protects him from demons who don't normally appear in his alcoholic hallucinations (like the ones he saw when he drank the peyote-spiked hippie juice Homer was churning out).
  • Singing Voice Dissonance: Although he has a slurred speaking voice (from years of drinking), Barney has a beautiful singing voice (much like Jim Nabors).
  • Smarter Than You Look: Was studying for the SAT exam, hoping to go to Harvard, when Homer introduced him to beer. He started drinking more as a result of his high school girlfriend Chloe leaving him to pursue her journalism career.
  • Status Quo Is God: In a rare subversion on the show, Barney sobered up in Season 11 and stayed that way for nearly three years.
  • Straw Loser: His alcoholism was flanderised to the point that he was pretty much stripped of every scrap of dignity. He finds out in "Days of Wine and D'oh'ses" that his friends at Moe's see him as a "tanked up loser" and, after Barney decides to give up alcohol, they try to make Homer the new Barney, because every bar needs "a world class drunk. Someone who makes our alcoholism seem less raging".
  • Too Dumb to Live: Once charged a tab to Mr. Burns. He later woke up in a landfill.
    "Yeah, but it was worth it."
  • Trash of the Titans: His apartment is such a mess that he can't even find his dog.
    "He's in here somewhere."
  • Undiscriminating Addict: Barney is primarily an alcoholic, but when shot with a tranquilizer dart in "Much Apu About Nothing", he pulls it out to drink the rest of the liquid inside. During the few years he stopped drinking alcohol, he switched his addiction to coffee instead.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: Barney's gotten so sloshed (even by his standards!) that he's forgotten everything from crossdressing at his own birthday party to making a film so popular it got him on the cover of Entertainment Weekly.

    Ruth Powers

Debut: "New Kid on the Block"

The Simpsons' next-door neighbor and a single mother. Voiced by Pamela Reed

  • Demoted to Extra: She appears prominently in Season 4's "New Kid on the Block" and Season 5's "Marge on the Lam", but was otherwise relegated to background appearances for many seasons. She made a return speaking appearance in "Strong Arms of the Ma"note , revealing that Ruth went to prison (for an unknown crimenote ), became a bodybuilder, and won a beauty pageant called "Miss Mexican Mafia".
  • The Lad-ette: She smokes, drinks, curses, fights with men, and likes guns. Also, when she comes back from prison in one episode, Ruth has become a bodybuilder.
  • Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Implied, at least. In "Marge on the Lam", she tells Marge that she divorced her husband because he was lazy ("All he ever did was eat, sleep, and drink beer") and never paid her for child support, though "New Kid on the Block" implies that she divorced her husband because he was too into his career to be a family man.
  • Nice Girl: While she's very rough around the edges and has a love for thrill-seeking, she's actually a very affable and friendly lady.
  • Odd Friendship: She's probably the most genuine friend that Marge has ever had despite how different they are.
  • Retcon: The flashback episode about Maggie's birth shows Ruth Powers had already met Marge before moving next door. Although it could be a mistake on the animator's part.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: When she befriends Marge, she acts as the Tomboy in contrast to feminine housewife Marge.

    The Winfields 

Debut: "Homer's Odyssey"

The Simpsons' elderly next-door neighbors, Sylvia Winfield and Mr. Winfield. They are very grumpy and can't stand Homer. They moved to Florida in "New Kid on the Block" and have not appeared again. Ruth Powers moved into their house.

  • Jerkass: They were once excited when Homer attempted suicide, just because they have a slight grudge against him.
  • Put on a Bus: They moved to Florida in "New Kid on the Block" and have (barring some background cameos) not appeared since.


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