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Springfield Nuclear Power Plant

    Charles Montgomery "Monty" Burns
What good is money if it can't inspire terror in your fellow man?

Debut: "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire"

An extremely elderly man (over one hundred years old by the more recent seasons, though in the earliest seasons he was only in his eighties) and the corrupt, malevolent owner of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. Always has his eyes on the greatest profit to himself. Voiced by Harry Shearer.

  • 0% Approval Rating: Aside from Smithers, just about everyone in Springfield hates him. In fact, in one episode where he's thought to be dead, various people showed up at his funeral just to spit on his grave, to the extent that said grave had to be drained afterwards. In the two-part episode "Who Shot Mr. Burns?", it turns out that Everyone Is a Suspect, even Smithers. An almost literal example of this can be found when he ran for state governor. His poll numbers started at...0%.
  • Abusive Parents: His father and mother were sweet and caring... but unfortunately young Burns went to live with his grandfather, who was not the nicest or morally upstanding of men, if he had any morals at all. After a Retcon we see that his father wasn't that nice either, complaining he should be outside hurting dogs instead of reading comic books.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Probably the most homoerotic character on the show if you know where to look. While his romantic ventures have been based around women, Burns has been shown that he is not above flirting with the same sex - whether it is the Smithers facsimile named Phillip from season 18's Kill Gil vol. 1&2, stating outright he enjoys the smell of other men in season 3, a brief mention of him marrying a boxer while drunk in the comics or the running gag of his occasional flirtation with Homer Simpson (both comics and show,) the question of 'is he or isn't he' is still a valuable cornerstone of his core character.
  • Ambiguously Human: It's pretty suspicious that he can take a bullet in the chest from a gun fired by Maggie Simpson and survive, especially considering his age. He also brags about his "strong, sharp teeth" and threatens to "club [people] and eat their bones"... and when, in the episode that had him dating Marge's mother, she told him "You are the Devil himself!", Burns became very angry and defensive ("What?! Who told you - ") before realizing she was speaking metaphorically.
  • Angry Guard Dog: "Release the hounds".
  • Angsty Surviving Twin: Has mentioned that his twin was shot by him or one of his siblings in order to get the family inheritance.
  • Antiquated Linguistics: He does this all the time in his version of Two Decades Behind. In one example, from "Mother Simpson", he went to the post office in order to send a letter to the Prussian consulate in Siam by the 4:30 auto-gyro. The person working at the post office even informed him how historically out of touch he is. Naturally, his mother—who apparently had a torrid affair with President Taft—uses even more outdated language than her son:
    Smithers: Hello, Mrs. Burns? This is Waylon Smithers; I have your son Montgomery on the line.
    Mrs. Burns: That improvident lackwit? Always too busy striding about his atom mill to call his own mother! I'll give him what-fors 'till he cries 'brassafrax!'
  • Anti-Villain: Occasionally, such as when he started a recycling business — and recycled sea life into slurry.
  • Arch-Enemy: To three generations of the Simpsons family.
  • Asshole Victim: Mr. Burns would potentially have been this had he not survived the events of "Who Shot Mr. Burns". That was the whole idea of the Cliffhanger; practically everyone in Springfield wanted to kill him, and in many cases, few would have blamed them, due to Burns's unusually extensive asshole behavior lately. However, not only did he survive, the shooting was an accident (maybe, the ending leaves it ambiguous) making it a Double Subversion.
  • Bad Boss: Has a trap door in his office to dismiss employees and is fond of villainous demotivators.
  • Bald of Evil: Well, balding. Flashbacks show he used to have a comb-over in the sixties.
  • Big Bad: Whenever the show needs one, anyway.
  • Born in the Wrong Century: Many examples. Of course, due to his Vague Age, he may well have been born in the right century, but simply managed to outlive it.
  • Brain Food: He mentions eating monkey brains a few time and also one of his assistant during a trip where he sold him to cannibals.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: He may be senile, but he is a brilliant businessman... when he can remember what century he's living in, at least.
  • The Caligula: Mr. Burns usually treats his workers, and even his own workplace, far too shabbily to even be considered a sane boss, never mind a good one.
  • Caligula's Horse: The power plant is actually owned by a canary, as a way for Burns to avoid responsibility when it's investigated for illegal activities. This tendency was also implied in earlier episodes when he made a Dog vice president (even after nominating a far more eligible person), and made a carbon rod Employee of the Month instead of Homer.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Even though he's the most hated man in Springfield, he's allowed to use his nuclear plant to break countless laws and regulations. If the plant closes down, then the town suffers from a horrifically low employment rate and a power shortage. Quimby even says he is the only person in town that actually pays municipality taxes.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: At least whenever declaring his own evil doesn't compromise its effectiveness. Or sometimes, even when it does.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "Excellent."
    • "Release the hounds!"
    • "Smithers! Who is that <insert colorful insult>?" [...] "Simpson, eh?"
  • The Chew Toy: Whenever he is subjected to jokes about how weak he is.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Poster boy for this trope. He's dumped radioactive waste at public parks and playgrounds, sold weapons to the Nazis, stolen a trillion dollars in foreign aid money from the U.S. government, and (most famously) built a giant sun-blocking device to keep Springfield shrouded in perpetual darkness, all so his electric company could have a truly complete monopoly over the town's energy supply.
    Mr. Burns: Listen, Spielbergo, Schindler and I are like peas in a pod! We're both factory owners, we both made shells for the Nazis, but mine worked, DAMMIT!
  • The Corrupter: When he takes Bart on as his heir, Burns tries to mold Bart in his image. It nearly worked, if Burns hadn't tried to fire Homer.
  • Cruella to Animals: He has to brainwash Santa's Little Helper to retrain him as a guard dog. And in "Two Dozen And One Greyhounds" he attempts to make a tuxedo out of a litter of puppies.
  • Dark Is Evil: He once had a plan to block out the sun permanently.
  • Dirty Old Man: Towards Marge, when she briefly works at the nuclear power plant.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Parodied. In "C.E.D'oh" it turns out that while Burns technically runs the power plant, he named a canary as the "real" head of the plant to protect him from taking responsibility for the plant's wrongdoings. After Homer let the canary go, Burns eventually became the real head of the plant.
  • Epic Fail: The filming of the Mexico scene in his film "A Burns For All Seasons". They had to do 20 takes, and the best one had Burns falling off his donkey and then getting dragged around with his foot caught in the stirrup.
  • Even Evil Can Be Loved: A thoroughly irredeemable Bad Boss and Corrupt Corporate Executive, whose only humanising trait is that he has the Undying Loyalty of his assistant Smithers.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • While it varies Depending on the Writer, he is occasionally shown to legitimately care about Smithers as a person.
    • When recounting the fate of Larry's mother, Burns is actually saddened as he mentions how he never saw her after she was sent off to South America.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    I want your legal advice, I even pay for it, but to me you're all vipers! You live on personal injury! You live on divorces! YOU LIVE ON PAIN AND MISERY!
    • He pays Homer to throw pudding cups at Lenny, much to their amusement. Then Homer throws one at Carl.
    [horrified] What are you doing, man?! That's Carl!
    • In "Midnight Rx," he announced that the nuclear plant health plan was going to be cut to remove prescription medication costs. After the party, he asked Smithers if he saw a female coworker hooking up with a man she's been after for a while. Once Smithers says that the man she's after is married, Burns orders Smithers to turn the Plywood Pelican around so he can warn her.
    • He can't bring himself to kill the greyhound puppies because they're just too cute.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good:
    • His moral compass is so far off-kilter that when he's actually trying to do something good, he's even more evil than when he's trying to be evil, as seen in "The Old Man and the Lisa."
    • The reason why he hid Smithers Sr.'s body was because Burns thought it was the trend of the time and honored his friend's Heroic Sacrifice by doing so.
  • Evil Is Hammy: "Moments from now, I will wreak a terrible vengeance on this town! NO ONE WILL BE SPARED! NO ONE!"
  • Evil Is Petty: He does a number of petty things for no reason other than For the Evulz.
    It will be like taking candy from a baby (sees baby) Hey, that sounds like a lark!
    • His reaction to a worker asking for Burns to install actual safety measures for the plant? Taunt him, humiliate him, and have him sent via pneumatic tube to places unknown.
  • Evil Laugh: The page image!
  • Evil Old Folks: The Trope Codifier for the comedic version. He's done every evil deed imaginable, from blotting out the sun to stealing candy from a baby, and that was just in one episode.
  • Expy: Of Charles Foster Kane. Burns has a lot of moments and traits that are almost directly transplanted from Orson Welles' character; though, where Kane was a sympathetic and misguided Anti-Villain at worst, Burns is an outright greedy, power-mad, unscrupulous monster. He also draws a lot from Ronald Reagan, Rupert Murdoch and Lionel Barrymore, among others.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Though Depending on the Writer Mr. Burns can be genuinely Affably Evil.
  • Fiction 500: His fortune varies but on his best day he can pay a million dollar fine and buy the statue of Lady Justice with what is in his wallet.
  • Flanderization: He went from being a ruthless, black-hearted corporate tyrant to a doddering old man with a skewed, quasi-Victorian conception of society. While the writers attempt every so often to enforce his villainous tendencies, his role in the show is now mostly limited to jokes concerning his incalculable age and pronounced frailty.
    • Although he had always played an antagonizing role, he originally didn't expand much from being a Jerkass, a Bad Boss, and a Corrupt Corporate Executive who shown little concern about how his actions and company effects the environment, compared to his role later on in "Who Shot Mr. Burns? Part One" where he was not just effecting the environment, but the town's activities as well (such as crushing the Springfield's retirement home and Bart's treehouse drilling for the pursuit of oil). And as stated previously above, Mr. Burns started out as being in his eighties. His senile state has also been exaggerated in the recent seasons, as well as his aging, to the point of him not even having enough strength to stomp an ant.
    • The episode in Season 3 where Burns sells the power plant seems strange now because he seems to get along all right after he and Smithers part ways. Later episodes (e.g. "Homer the Smithers" in Season 7, "The Old Man and the Lisa" in Season 8) show him unable to function without Smithers as his assistant/caregiver.
  • Finger-Tenting: Possibly the most prominent and well-known example in all fiction.
  • Freudian Excuse: His father refused to let him have comic books and burned down the company to teach him a lesson (with the people still in it). He also apparently taught him how to be an asshole. He was also taken by his grandfather, a corrupt and selfish businessman.
  • Hero with an F in Good:
    • Lisa invokes this, when Burns' temporary Face–Heel Turn to environmentalism and recycling turns out to be literal, revealing that he's been farming sealife and turning it into industrial multi-purpose slurry.
    Lisa: You're evil... and when you try to be good, you're even more evil!
    • One time he tried giving away money, to show up a Richard Branson expy, by throwing silver dollars from a hot-air balloon, causing injuries and property damage below.
    • Subverted when he is the fruit bat-man, most of his rescues are staged but he does end up doing the right thing in the end.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: This is how he views his relationship with Smithers, much to the latter's dismay.
  • Hidden Depths: He's a fan of Nancy Drew and owns every book.
  • Historical Injoke: He is stated to be responsible for many atrocities in the history of the world such as preventing Hitler's assassination, caused the Opium War and made the French become forever rude to Americans.
  • Horned Hairdo: Sported one in "She of Little Faith".
  • Insistent Terminology: When the nuclear plant begins to melt down in "Homer Defined," Burns laughs off the notion that anyone would call it a meltdown: "It's one of those annoying buzzwords. We prefer to call it an 'unrequested fission surplus'."
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Seems to be very friendly with the child millionaire, Simon Woosterfield.
  • Jerkass: He's greedy and corrupt most of the time.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Whenever Mr. Burns shows any sign of a softer side, he almost always ends up reverting to form by the end of the episode.
  • Kick the Dog: Too many metaphorical examples to count, but one literal instance occurs in the fourth season episode "Last Exit To Springfield", where Mr. Burns and Smithers, after taking increasingly sensitive security measures to access a secret room in the power plant to deactivate the town's power, encounter a mangy mutt who wanders into the room through a wide-open screen door. Mr. Burns greets it appropriately.
  • Lack of Empathy: On his best day he doesn't care he hit a kid with his car, on his worse he comes back to finish the job if his team doesn't win the game.
  • Large Ham: Even a good game of Ms. Pac-Man can get him going.
  • Last-Name Basis: His first name (Charles) is hardly ever used. When people wish to refer to him informally, he goes by his middle name, Monty.
  • Laughably Evil: Honed to an art form:
    Burns: Men, there's a little crippled boy sitting in a hospital who wants you to win this game. I know because I crippled him myself to inspire you.
    [Cut to Milhouse in a hospital stretcher with his leg in a cast]
    Milhouse: I hope they win or Mr. Burns said he's coming back.
  • Long-Lived: His age varies from eighty-one to ninety to five hundred years.
  • Looks Like Orlok: He looks like Orlok even when he's not a vampire. Especially when he wriggles his fingers...
  • Lust Object: To Smithers, even when Burns does things he hates Smithers still makes remark on his physique.
  • Manipulative Bastard: However, many seem acutely aware of Burns's evil ways so sentiments may vary here.
  • Mean Boss:
    • He's a classical stereotype. In fact, he's such a Bad Boss that he's fired Smithers — the only man who (usually) has Undying Loyalty to him — twice, once for being insufficiently toadyish.
    • When the worker's union asks for better medical perks, Burns tries to take away the few he's actually given them, and when they strike tries to set strike-breakers on them.
  • Middle Name Basis: When people call him anything but "Mr. Burns", they call him "Montgomery" or "Monty". That's his middle name, however. His first name is "Charles".
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Related to his Vague Age. For example, one episode had him as a soldier in the Western European front in World War II, but others indicate he was already running businesses (which traded with the Nazis) during the war. "Citizen Burns" has him as a child born in simple conditions, but others show him as being born into a rich family.
  • Necessarily Evil: Mr Burns needs to be evil because he can literally die if he is nice to someone.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: As he's very frail and elderly and is physically weaker than a baby, most of his evil deeds are carried out by henchmen (or lawyers).
  • Nominal Hero: Whenever he happens to be on the same side as the good characters — which is not that often.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Has moments of these, such as letting Maggie keep his old teddy bear, or raising Smithers (Jr.) himself after Smithers (Sr.) performed a Heroic Sacrifice.
    • Helped Marge in "Marge vs. Singles, Seniors, Childless Couples and Teens, and Gays." Subverted in that it's for their "supple young organs."
    • In "The Seemingly Never-Ending Story", he willingly pulls a Go Through Me to protect Lisa from a goat.
    • After Bart saved his life with a blood donation (and Smithers pointing it out to him), he does repay his debts when people aid him directly.
    • He fully paid Lisa her share of the profits when she helped him regain his fortune, despite her openly stating her hatred of his methods.
    • He agrees to pay for liposuction to enable the more-obese-than-usual Homer slim down to his normal weight, after the latter prevented a meltdown. The original plan was to make Homer work out like he did with the other employees but Burns gave up when Homer couldn't do sit ups.
    • Despite his frequent abuse of Smithers, he goes above and beyond in order to gain access to some life saving medication for him. He was also grateful of that Smithers donated his kidney for him.
    Burns: Smithers, don't feel so bad. After all, that kidney you donated to me really hit the spot.
    • In "Simpson and Delilah", He was ready to fire Homer for committing fraud with the plant's insurance to buy hair-growth medication but decided instead to give him back his old Sector 7G position note  after he expressed sympathy for Homer because he himself is also unhappy with his baldness.
  • Phrase Catcher: "That's Homer Simpson sir, one of your <insert derogatory worker slang> from Sector 7G." Followed by "Simpson, eh?"
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: In the earlier seasons especially, Burns was ludicrously sexist. During "The Last Temptation of Homer", he's shown to have a Brazillian soccer team working in his reactor core ("that plane crashed on my property, dammit!"), and is even willing to make ducks pull nuclear waste around, but he won't hire women until forced by the Department of Labor.
    • Depending on the Writer he's implied to either be a Nazi or a Nazi-sympathizer despite another episode establishing him as fighting for the US in WWII alongside Abe Simpson. He mentioned once that he build weapons for them, another had him show his "SS card" (as in "Schutzstaffel", not "Social Security"), and was distrubed by a WWII video game he was playing after finding out the soldiers he was shooting at were Germans.
  • The Power of Hate: This is what's keeping him alive.
  • The Quisling: Despite being a WWII veteran, several episodes imply that he's had close ties to the Nazis and even built weapons for them.
  • Tranquil Fury: Barely raises his voice when he is angry.
  • Raised by Grandparents: He was given the choice to be raised by his poor, loving parents or a heartless billionaire and he chose the latter. Said billionaire was his grandfather.
  • Sadist: He's been known, out of sheer sadism, to drop certain of his employees down a seemingly bottomless trapdoor - with the express intention of killing them (although they inevitably survive).
  • Scatterbrained Senior: Dips his toe in and out of this trope. Sometimes he's quite clever and shrewd, but other times he seems unaware that it's not still the 19th Century, and he's never able to remember who Homer is, even after being reminded that "all the recent events of your life have revolved around him in some way". This is also played for laughs.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: He uses his wealth to get away with a lot of things. Except winning the Oscars.
  • The Scrooge: The very definition of this trope.
    Burns: Anybody have change for a button?
  • Self-Made Orphan: Attributes the cause of his parents' death to getting in his way (though given he was raised by his grandparents and his mother is still alive, he might be talking about them).
  • Stalker with a Crush: To Marge, when she was his employee.
  • Strong as They Need to Be: He is always depicted as being incredibly weak and frail, but it's often exaggerated by the Rule of Funny with things like him being overpowered by an insect or being unable to lift a sponge.
  • Time Abyss: His birthplace was Pangaea, which would make him at least 170 million years old. However, his age is very inconsistent due to Negative Continuity.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: His villainy goes into this level when he does things like block out the sun or trying to kill a child.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Until he (almost literally) dropped everything for money.
  • Vague Age: He has personally stated his age as 81 years, but Skinner and Homer later separately refer to him as being 104. Compounding matters, he was old enough to be twenty-five years out of Yale in the fifties, while in World War 2 Abe Simpson is clearly several decades older than him. More recent episodes have implied his age to be in the thousands or the millions. Smithers tells him his ATM code is his age (We hear Burns enter a four-digit number) and he has stated his birthplace to be Pangaea.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Especially in the earlier seasons. Freudian Excuse aside, his Kick the Dog moments are much more frequent than those of other Simpsons villains. The few excuses he is given seem so disconnected from his evil, he is hated throughout Springfield, ("Who Shot Mr. Burns" has even Snake Jailbird apologizing for not being around to shoot him).
  • Villainous Crush: One time Marge got a job at the nuclear plant and Mr. Burns developed a thing for her.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Invokes this during a lull in one of his schemes, when he finished talking with Lisa in his office. Lisa says she can't leave right away because she is waiting for her ride home. He tries to break the silence by making small talk and asking what she thinks about today's music. When she responds that she thinks it distracts people from more important social issues, he irritatedly comments;
    Burns: *Sighs* My god, are you always on?
    • It should be noted that he does enjoy shopping with Smithers.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Smithers though the Vitriolic part is entirely on his part with Smithers just taking it.
  • Wealthy Yacht Owner: Has one that Homer uses while house-sitting and gets attacked by Ruthless Modern Pirates.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The episode "Last Exit to Springfield" implies that the reason why he wanted to end the Nuclear Worker's Union was because they were getting corrupt, based on something an atom worker said when he was with his grandfather.
  • Would Hurt a Child: He has hurt Bart on several occasions with "Bart Gets Hit By A Car" and "Lady Bouvier's Lover" being prime examples of this. He also had a tendency to dump nuclear waste in parks. He only stopped because the number of bald children was getting suspicious. He also implied he kidnaps kids for their organs.

    Waylon Smithers, Jr.
Yes, Mr. Burns.

Debut: "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" (voice only), "Homer's Odyssey" (in-person)

The second-in-command and most competent minion of Mr. Burns, Smithers is fanatically devoted to his master (fortunately for Burns, who is so physically feeble and out of touch with the modern age he depends on Smithers to do everything for him), which is eventually revealed to be due to him being in love with him. Voiced by Harry Shearer.

  • Adaptational Villainy: In the show, Smithers isn't much more than a Yes-Man serving a Corrupt Corporate Executive. In the arcade game, he robbed a jewelry store, wore a cape filled with bombs, and was prone to evil laughter.
  • All Gays Love Theater: Starred in a Malibu Stacy musical. And in fact wrote it.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Early episodes strongly hinted he was gay without directly saying it but it's common knowledge now.
  • Anti-Villain: He just follow Burns in most of his evil scheme even though he doesn't like most of them.
  • Battle Butler: In the arcade game.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Well, sort of. He grows a five o'clock shadow when he believes he shot Mr. Burns. He is clean shaven again at the end of the episode.
  • Butt-Monkey: Smithers gets a lot of badgering and punishment from Burns.
  • Characterization Marches On: Aside from being black in "Homer's Odyssey", a deleted line in "Blood Feud" has him mentioning going home to his wife and kids.
  • Cure Your Gays: His parents tried to turn him straight by making him go to a burlesque house and in an episode set in the future, he has to take anti-gay injections every 10 minutes.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Should someone get too close to Burns, Smithers can get surprisingly vindictive. He went to elaborate lengths to ruin Homer's career after Burns promoted him to an executive and shown great approval of him. In one of the comics, when Homer won him in a poker game, he wasted no time forcing Marge out of his life.
  • The Dragon: Depending on whether Burns is on the good or bad side of the episode's events.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Though usually a bit of a doormat to Burns, some of the schemes Burns comes up with will have Smithers objecting to them at the risk of losing his own job.
  • Extreme Doormat: Most of the time, he's this to Mr. Burns.
  • Flanderization: Smithers was originally an exaggeration of the Yes-Man (the guy who always sucked up to his boss). Come season three, the writers started playing with the notion that Smithers was in love with his boss, yet was heterosexual (in "Secrets to a Successful Marriage," Smithers was married to a woman who looked like Elizabeth Taylor's character from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof). This got milked for all it was worth, and now Smithers' sexuality is Ambiguously Gay (or just plain gay) with definite shades of Single-Target Sexuality, though it has been implied that Mr. Burns isn't the only man he loves.
  • Freudian Excuse: It is implied that Burns' explanation for Smithers Sr's death (being killed by Amazon women) may have had an impact on his sexuality.
  • Gay Cowboy;
  • Generation Xerox: His father looked very similar to him and had the same and job.
  • Ignored Enamored Underling: Mr. Burns doesn't reciprocate.
  • Last-Name Basis: Rarely referred to by his first name, Waylon.
  • Momma's Boy: Burns mentions that Smithers is close to his mother.
  • Only Sane Employee: Smithers is pretty much the only person at the power plant who actually knows what he's doing. Several episodes show that Homer is just the worst of an extremely stupid and incompetent workforce (sometime not even the worst).
  • Only Sane Man: Smithers has no emotional outbursts at all. Aside from some odd details about his love for Burns (his screensaver and the reveal that he raised Smithers after his father died) he is the most reasonable and sane person in the show.
  • Punny Name: His full name, Waylon Smithers, sounds a lot like "Weyland the Smith" from Germanic/Norse mythology.
  • Race Lift: In his first appearance ("Homer's Odyssey"), Smithers was dark-skinned with blue hair due to an unfortunate mistake when the show was sent overseas to Korea to be colorized and animated. The production crew did think about leaving him this way, but the thought of a black man who sucked up to his white boss wouldn't sit well with a lot of people, so they made it known that Smithers would be white (er, yellow) for all subsequent episodes. On the DVD Commentary for this episode, director Wes Archer said that he made Smithers black by expressing his interest towards including black characters in his episodes. Jokingly handwaved by some of the writers, that in "Homer's Odyssey", Smithers had just come back from holiday with a heavy tan.
  • Servile Snarker: He's had a few good lines of this nature.
  • Single-Issue Psychology: It was implied in one episode that Smithers' sexuality was caused by Mr. Burns telling him, when he was young, that his father died in the Amazon, killed by a tribe of savage women. It would explain his freak out in a strip club.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Smithers admires Mr. Burns way too much for it to be just a sycophant to his boss. In recent seasons he is attracted to or at least dates other men but it's clear he sees Burns as the love of his life. Even if Burns doesn't feel the same way.
  • Silent Snarker: Sometimes his expressions speak in place of words.
  • Straight Gay: He's gay, but he isn't particularly flamboyant. He does join dance and musical numbers with joy but only on a few occasions.
  • Subordinate Excuse: He deeply in love with Burns and became his servant for it.
  • Undying Loyalty: While there are times Smithers will draw the line with Burns' cruelty, he will always end up back by his side by the end of it. Even when Burns was bankrupt and no longer his employer, he immediately moved him to his house and continued to serve his whims.
  • What Does She See in Him?: It's not clear why he's so attracted to Burns, a weak, fragile old man decades older than him and who is terrible towards every living being on the planet including himself. The best explanation is that he looked after him growing up but it doesn't make the lust any less off.
  • Whip It Good: Has a short song about doing this with a liquorice whip in The Simpsons Spin Off Showcase.
  • Yes-Man: To Mr. Burns.
    • One episode parodied the concept by giving Burns a team of Yes Men, with Smithers as alpha. On discovering he's suddenly become poor, Burns denounces them all as the yes men they are. They, of course, reply, "Yes, sir!"
    • Subverted by the fact that Smithers will sometimes oppose Burns if he feels he needs to, such as trying to talk Burns out of blocking the sun over Springfield (as it "crossed the line from everyday villainy to cartoonish super-villainy"), or in going behind his back to reveal Sideshow Bob's electoral fraud to Bart and Lisa, fearing the consequences for his "choice of lifestyle" if the Republican Bob takes power.

    Lenny Leonard and Carl Carlson 

Lenford "Lenny" Leonard and Carlton "Carl" Carlson
Carl is on the right, Lenny is on the left. Remember that, now.

Debut: "Life on the Fast Lane" (Lenny), "Homer's Night Out" (Carl)

Homer's two workmates and closest buddies. Voiced by Harry Shearer and Hank Azaria.

Tropes applying to both

  • Alliterative Name: Lenny Leonard. Carl Carlson.
  • Ascended Extra: They were initially just background characters that appeared at the plant. Over time, they became some of Homer's most frequently seen friends.
  • Bad Boss:
    • Parodied when Mr. Burns lost his fortune, the bank took over the Nuclear Plant and put Lenny in charge. We never really see what goes on except a brief shot of Lenny nervously telling people to work harder, but Homer gets sent home early to think about a bad mistake he made and Smithers describes him as "a real bear on tardiness". Even Mr. Burns takes notice, and the whole thing is referred to as "Lenny's reign of terror".
    • When Carl was promoted to being Homer's supervisor he was no better, as he turned Homer into his Beleaguered Assistant, making Homer do all his work and obey his whims while Carl jetsetted over the world and hung out with the rich and famous. Oddly this contrasts an early episode where Carl is said to already be Homer's supervisor (he enforced his power only once to get Homer to stop insulting him).
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: They both have masters degrees in nuclear physics but prefer bumming around with Homer at Moe's rather than do any real work. Their former principal even bribed them by making sure they can't enter any great universities and threaten to send a recommendation letter to a good one if they talk about it in "Take My Life, Please".
  • Divergent Character Evolution: Starting as two of Homer's dumb friends, now Lenny's somewhat of a Cloudcuckoolander and Carl is now a Deadpan Snarker. Lenny has evolved to be one of the biggest bores but values his friends a lot (spending a lottery ticket winning on a big party for everyone he considers a friend) while Carl is shown to be a bit sleazy and can fall into False Friend territory such as when he got promoted or ran away with the gang lottery ticket for his own, albeit sympathetic, gain.
    Carl: Give me the weapons. (points weapons at Moe and Lenny) Now it's Carl's time.
  • The Dividual: Homer needs to write down which one is the black one and which one is the white one due to how similar they are.
  • Fair Weather Friend: Both to Homer. They couldn't care less if he is in trouble and would turn against him at the drop of a hat.
  • Flanderization: They were originally Those Two Guys whom Homer worked with; both were more competent than Homer, but they still liked him (in a class-clown sort of way). Later in the series, they started being written as secretly gay, to the point where Lenny's defining character trait is his (unevenly reciprocated) infatuation with Carl. Their intelligence also dimmed to Homer's level, making them more liable to join Homer in his antics.
  • Hero of Another Story: Both of their personal lives are supposedly incredibly exciting, though we never get to see any of it.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Ambiguously Bi aside, they are usually just friends.
  • Hidden Depths: Their status as relatively unimportant side characters allows for several of their fantastical accomplishments to be mentioned, but never shown. Carl apparently possesses an IQ of 214 and is deeply in touch with his Icelandic heritage, while Lenny is a war hero who is also a highly successful novelist. Both also have masters degrees in nuclear physics.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: In the post-Scully years. Ramped up even further during Al Jean's tenure.
  • Informed Ability: Their skills and accomplishments on paper make them seem like they'd both be highly competent, when in reality both are lazy blue collar workers who spend most of their time drinking.
  • Mellow Fellow: Both are very laid-back and easy-going most of the time.
  • Mistaken for Gay: It might not be mistaken, though.
  • Not So Above It All: There are times they can be sucked into Homer's reckless antics. As Frank Grimes pointed out, they are only really sane and competent by comparison.
  • Only Sane Man: Both of them are quite a bit more together than most, particularly the people they hang out with, but Carl more so.
  • Repetitive Name: Their full names are Lenford Leonard and Carlton Carlson.
  • Salt and Pepper: Carl = black, Lenny = white.
  • Satellite Character: Though Carl has gotten one spotlight episode, both tend to simply act as Homer's friends and little else.
  • Smarter Than You Look: Even if neither of them appear to be particularly intelligent, especially Lenny (Carl seems slightly smarter than Lenny but that's not saying much), they did earn master's degrees in nuclear physics.
  • Someone Else's Problem: They are amazingly indifferent to the goings on at the power plant, such as where nuclear waste gets dumped.
  • Those Two Guys: The original Trope Codifiers.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Not seen that often, but they can be very dismissive of each other (like in "Mountain of Madness").
  • With Friends Like These...: While they are genuinely close buddies to each other (most of the time), they are not reliable friends to Homer at all. Their helpful moments are very rare.


  • Ambiguously Bi: He seems to be legitimately attracted to Carl, though he has also shown interest in women.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Carl learned that the hard way in "The Saga of Carl" when Lenny takes Carl's betrayal very hard and attacks him. Immediately lampshaded by Moe.
    Moe: When the nice ones snap, it's always a good show.
  • The Bore: Later seasons explain why Lenny is a Flat Character with that he is just that boring on his own.
    Declan Desmond: Lenny, always exciting to hear from you. Did you ever try that new shampoo?
    Lenny: Nope, never did. Do you want to see me pay my cable bill? I have checks with butterflies on them. [defensively] I am interesting.
  • Butt-Monkey: In some episodes he suffers Amusing Injuries.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "I'm Lenny. This is Carl and Homer. I'm Lenny."
  • Eye Scream: Lenny is way too prone to this type of injuries on either eye, but is usually fine by the next episode.
    "Ow, my eye! I'm not supposed to get [object name] in it!"
  • Genius Ditz: He is portrayed as a simple, often naive, blue-collar working man but he possesses a master's degree in nuclear physics. And "The Boys Of Bummer" reveals that Lenny is an author of mystery novels that are praised by Stephen King.
  • Lust Object: Marge is occasionally implied to view him as one, keeping a picture of him in her hair and having a shrine dedicated to him when she thought he was injured. During a non-canon future photo album, Marge is shown to have briefly re-married to Lenny.
  • Only Sane Man: He's one of a handful of Springfieldians who doesn't join The Leader's Church of Happyology.
  • Perma-Stubble: The only character, along with Homer and his father, who has a 5 o'clock shadow.
  • Sudden Name Change: Depending on the episode, his last name is either Lenford or Leonard.
  • The Un-Favourite: As revealed in "Mona Leaves-a", his mother prefers Carl over him.


  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • "The Saga of Carl" in Season 24.
    • To a lesser extent, the subplot of "The Devil Wears Nada" in Season 21, especially since Lenny barely appears in the episode.
  • Black Best Friend: To Lenny and, to a lesser extent, the other friends of the bar like Homer, Moe, and Barney.
  • Clear Their Name: Carl goes to Iceland in "The Saga of Carl" so he could repair the bad reputation his family had.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Sometimes he plays the snarky Straight Man to Lenny or the other guys.
  • False Friend: In "The Saga of Carl" he betrays the rest of the gang, including Lenny, because he feels there was never a real friendship between them.
  • Happily Adopted: He is from Iceland and he was ready to betray Homer and crew to restore the family honor.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Was adopted by a yellow couple from Iceland but flashbacks have shown his childhood and teenage years in Springfield and black family members who look like him are occasionally seen.
  • Token Minority: He is sometimes referred to by Homer as "the black one".

A workmate with Homer, Lenny and Carl. Voiced by Dan Castellaneta.

  • Adorkable: His big glasses and nerdy demeanor make him come across as rather endearing.
  • Butt-Monkey: He has bad luck in most of his appearances.
  • Living Prop: While he receives a few lines here and there, particularly in earlier episodes, he's generally a background character with little in the way of any clear characterization.
  • Only One Name: His last name is never revealed.
  • Out of Focus: While always a very minor character, he appears more often in early seasons (for example in Homer at the Bat). In later seasons, he's mostly in the background.


    Moe Szyslak
If you're gonna read my section there's a two drink minimum!

Debut: "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire"

Famously ugly, surly and hateful owner of Moe's Tavern, the Local Hangout that Homer, Carl, Lenny and Barney frequent. Has a softer side under his crustiness. Voiced by Hank Azaria.

  • Abhorrent Admirer: To Marge and not just her. Moe's romantic attractions have resulted in criminal behavior and run-ins with the law; he has stalked Maude Flanders and other townspeople, he must register as a sex offender, and has had a restraining order placed upon him.
  • Accent Relapse: Even though he is not a spy.
  • Alien Blood: Has been shown to bleed green but claims that's only the first few drops and it will come out red afterwards.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Between his "not in public!" comment when Homer kissed him in "One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Bluefish," waxing poetic about stupid prettyboy quarterbacks for a bit too long, secretly writing and enjoying gay fanfiction, calling himself Homer's life partner (and frequent jokes about him having a similar place in Homer's life to Marge,) treating Homer going to other bars as if he were cheating on him, and using the excuse that he only kissed Waylon to "see what kissing a man was like" despite the fact he's kissed multiple men over the course of the series, an argument for Moe not being completely straight could definitely be made. Also falls into the Hypocrite category as he was shown in earlier years to be homophobic, although that's definitely lessened exponentially over time, to the point where he was the first townsperson to speak up in defense of legalizing gay marriage in Springfield.
  • Ambiguously Human: Claims to be "half Monster-Half Armenian", his father was once shown to be a Yeti, in one episode he cut himself and green stuff came out, and he once showed Bart and Milhouse a jar containing his tail.
  • Ax-Crazy: He has his moments.
    Moe (after beating a fake Homer with a bat): Who is the sociopath now?
  • The Bartender: It's his job.
  • Backstory of the Day: Far from unique on this show, but he is rather prone to it. Episodes will reveal out of nowhere that he's a former prizefighter, was a forgotten member of the Little Rascals, is a devout snake-handler/follower of Voodoo, is an illegal immigrant (and his ethnic heritage isn't kept straight either)... the list goes on and on. Though in fairness, the "prizefighter" bit hasn't been totally thrown by the wayside, as people will sometimes call attention to his cauliflower ears.
  • Berserk Button: Whoever that one punk kid is that keeps bothering his place with prank calls. The second he gets even the slightest clue who it is he drops everything to get sweet, sweet revenge.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Moe has used his shotgun to "persuade" people not to hurt Homer and Marge.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: Moe Goes from Rags to Riches shows that his father was a yeti.
  • Child Hater: Except during his Friend to All Children moments. The latter is most notable with the Simpson kids.
    Moe: See, this is why we should hate kids!
  • Creepy Good: Even when portrayed as a fundamentally good person, he's often quite unnerving.
  • Deep-Fried Whatever: Ordered a giant, military-grade deep fryer for his restaurant Uncle Moe's Family Feedbag. It can flash-fry a buffalo in 40 seconds (which, according to Homer, is too long to wait).
  • Did Not Get the Girl: His easy-to-lose harsh temper usually turns down women and finding a girlfriend for Moe has therefore been a running joke, from indulged sexual abstinence to unsuccessful suicide attempts to dating generally rejected women.
  • Driven to Suicide: The later episodes play up the fact that Moe is so depressed that he keeps trying to kill himself — to the point that Suicide Prevention has to block his number. It is also implied at least once that the only reason why he constantly attempts to commit suicide is because Reverend Lovejoy keeps on telling him that he has nothing to live for.
  • Eye Scream: Apparently has a tendency to do this to people he invites to his house.
  • Flanderization: He started out as a cheap, grumpy bartender who would do anything for a little extra money, including resorting to humorous behind-the-scenes illegal activities (such as smuggling animals for unknown reasons). He was also surly and hot-tempered, but was still a fairly decent man overall. He wasn't necessarily a bad guy, just a troubled, unhappy grouch living a disappointing, loveless life and doing whatever he can to improve it. As the series progressed however, his behaviour became increasingly unethical and criminal. He started to encourage alcoholism, became a registered sex offender, engaged in far worse crimes, and is now subjected to a Running Gag where he attempts suicide and always fails due to bad luck.
  • Former Child Star: In one episode he claims he was one of The Little Rascals. And in-universe it actually appears to be true.
  • Friend to All Children: Despite being a disgusting, miserable creep to adults, children actually love him (and are the only thing keeping Moe from being a complete bastard). He's quite nice to Bart (Moe doesn't know he is the one prank calling him) and Lisa and is the nicest babysitter Maggie's ever had, and he reads (or used to read) to sick children at the hospital on Wednesday nights.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: His loyal customers are the closest thing he has to actual friends, but sometimes he annoys them like in "My Fare Lady" when they call him a "jerk". Lampshaded in "Pygmoelian".
    Moe: Okay, I get it. I ain't pleasant to look at.
    Lenny: Or listen to.
    Carl: Or be with.
  • Gonk: A running gag is that he is ugly. Sometime to the point of being considered inhuman.
  • Grumpy Bear: His default mood.
  • Gun Nut: Moe loves his shotgun, and he isn't afraid to threaten people with it. He's saved both Homer and Marge with it on separate occasions.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: YES. He is very impulsive.
  • Hero of Another Story: After "Das Bus" ended he somehow saved the kids who were stuck on an island, not to mention his adventures at the end of "The Homer They Fall". Apparently one Christmas while attempting suicide, he was shown what the world would be like had he never been born.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: Reveals himself to be a practicer in "The Joy of Sect", and he uses voodoo dolls to make Barney want beer. Back in "Homer the Heretic" he claimed to be a snake-handler, which either contradicts this note  or reinforces it note .
  • Hypocrite: Once railed against "immigants", despite being an immigrant of some ambiguous kind himself.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender!: Moe is frustrated by the failure of his once promising boxing career, which he blames on politics, rather than the fact he couldn't take a punch.
  • Informed Deformity: While Moe is quite odd-looking compared to other characters, people act like he's hideous and even inhuman. He's not even that odd looking by Groening-character design standards— he really isn't any uglier than Nelson, Barney or Otto. None of them are supposed to be particularly good looking, but none of them are considered monsters the same way he is.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One!: Played with.
    Ned Flanders: *in an uncharacteristic bout of rage* You ugly, hate-filled man.
    Moe: Hey! I may be ugly and hate-filled but-....what was that third thing you said?
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Then he started boxing, which is the explanation for why he became so ugly that women find him repulsive.
    "They called me Kid Gorgeous. Then I was Kid Presentable. Then Kid Gruesome. Then finally, Kid Moe."
  • Jerkass: Many times he is downright unpleasant in the scope of the episode with no redeeming qualities or softer side.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite his somewhat angry attitude at times, he does show a soft spot towards children and his close friends and customers. He also does very noble acts in the credits of "The Homer They Fall", being seen saving multiple people, putting out a forest fire, and giving food to a famished village... Sadly, he starts off as this in most of his episodes, goes back to full-blown Jerkass by backstabbing anyone who helped him achieve some high level of importance among famous people, and then reverts back to having a heart of gold only to get his progress tossed down the drain.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Moe really loves cats. He dotes on his pet cat Mr. Snookums, is kind to Snowball II, and kisses a random stray cat after successfully getting a date.
  • Knife Nut: Keeps a rusty and dull butcher's knife under the bar, kept in case whoever it is that keeps taunting him with those phone calls slips up.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Several episodes contradict each other as to what his nationality actually is.
  • Noble Demon: Despite being a horrible human being in many respects, he gets on quite well with the Simpsons. He's bonded with the Simpson kids, and used his shotgun to save Homer from being beaten up and Marge from being threatened by a gang of angry cab drivers.
  • Non-Specifically Foreign: Has an ambiguous ethnic background - has variously been implied or described as Dutch, Italian, Armenian, Arab, Polish...
  • Odd Friendship: With Sideshow Mel, of all people. Lampshaded in "Moho House".
    Sideshow Mel: Why are you telling me?
    Moe: I always considered us friends.
  • Parental Neglect:
    • Implied in "Pokey Mom".
      Moe: Now I can focus on my crippling emotional pain. Oh daddy, why? Why won't you hug me?! You hugged the mailman!
    • One episode implied that Moe's parents left him at a summer camp and never came to pick him up.
    • As of "King Leer," he now has a solid backstory, which includes— you guessed it— Moe's father kicking him out as a preteen for disappointing him. Judging by the constant name-calling from his father and siblings, Moe's sister treating Moe's abandonment as something Moe is at fault for, and the fact that their go-to to winning family arguments is to start smacking each other with shoes, it's reasonable to assume the mistreatment went beyond neglect.
  • Papa Wolf: To Maggie Simpson. He'll go to extreme lengths to keep her happy and safe, including facing down the Springfield Mafia. While this plot gets dropped in the series proper, the spin-off comics and books show that Moe remains Maggie's doting babysitter even after the events of "Moe Baby Blues."
  • Perpetual Frowner: He's a fairly depressed individual, as shown when he attempts to commit suicide in "Moe Baby Blues".
  • Punny Name: Not Moe himself, but he's always being asked for Al Coholic, Jacques Strappe, I.P. Freely, Seymour Butz, Homer Sexual (NOT Homer Simpson), Ivana Tinkel, Mike Rotch, Amanda Huggin-Kiss, and Hugh Jassnote .
  • Running Gag: He often receives humiliating prank calls from Bart Simpson. He's unaware who's calling, and issues death threats to the caller.
  • Sadist: At best he just feeds off on disappointment of others, at worst his highest point of the week is when he killed a rat by throwing an ice pick in its eye.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Keeps one behind his bar and uses one as part of his self defence through dance class.
  • Stalker with a Crush: He has long been infatuated with Marge (whom he often refers to as Midge) and has on occasion professed his love for her and tried to win her away from Homer. His infatuation was intense enough to enter stalker territory. Ironically, she's one of his most frequent customers' wife.
  • Straw Loser: He is often portrayed as ridiculously pathetic (especially later episodes) to the point of being a bigger loser than his customers.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: He was hit by a train in "Lisa Goes Gaga", but is back alive and well in "Moonshine River".
  • Took a Level in Badass: Sometimes, like in the couch gag where the couches attack and Moe is seen as the one of the few fighting back, blasting at his bar seats with a shotgun and knocking away his stools.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: In several instances, Moe shows he deliberately manipulates Homer and Barney into drinking, confident in his belief that they'll be back. And if they turn against him, Moe quickly becomes incredibly sour, slapping Barney when he tries to point out Moe insulted Homer behind his back.
  • Trapped by Gambling Debts: He once mentions owing $64,000 and asks the Simpsons for funds to dig himself back up. But he too is a Loan Shark, matter-of-factly telling Homer when he needs a loan that if he can't provide collateral, he will have to break his legs right then and there.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: More or less with all his regular customers.
  • White Sheep: Moe's not really a good person, but, as "King Leer" shows, he's much better than the rest of his family, who, beyond somehow being more sleazy and corrupt than Moe when it comes to business, will also happily abandon him, insult him, throw him under the bus, (in the case of his siblings,) or manipulate him for their own gain, (in the case of his father, who delights in manipulating all his children and pitting them against each other.) They're actually so bad that Marge flat out tells him that he's justified in cutting off his family because he deserves better than them, despite her firm belief that families should always work things out and stick together. In fact, while describing his family situation, Moe acknowledges the trope by name.
    Moe: Yeah, well, let me explain. You know how the world sees me as a, uh—
    Homer: Human toilet brush?
    Moe: Bingo. Well, I'm the white sheep of my family.
  • With Friends Like These...: He treats his customers as he treats everyone else, even the ones who are sowewhat closer to him, contributing to his The Friend Nobody Likes status. It doesn't help that he is constantly hitting on Homer's wife.

    Apu Nahasapeemapetilon
Thank you, come again!

Debut: "The Telltale Head"

Owner of the local convenience store, "The Kwik-E-Mart", which is open 24/7, cheap, and so attracts plenty of customers despite its rather lacking standards of quality (like Homer, Bart, and Snake Jailbird, who only comes in to rob the place). Renowned as a workaholic, he is eventually partnered off with an arranged marriage and ends up the father of octuplets. Voiced by Hank Azaria.

  • Almighty Janitor: Has one of the most unassuming jobs in Springfield - is one of its smartest, most resourceful citizens.
  • Ascended Extra: Was simply the convenience store clerk that only knew the family because they shopped there. Over time, his screentime grew and he got several focus episodes ("Homer and Apu", "Much Apu About Nothing", "The Two Mrs Nahasapeemapetilons", "Eight Misbehavin'"). He is now, arguably, one of the most important non-Simpson family member characters.
  • Asian Store-Owner: Indian, specifically. Asia is such a large continent that the Indian subcontinent (which includes India and Sri Lanka) counts as part of Asia.
  • Beta Couple: With Manjula to Homer and Marge in later seasons.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Is normally friendly and genial, but has shown himself capable of both considerable strength and intense rage.
  • Bollywood Nerd: Doesn't come up a lot, but he graduated as top of his class in computer science at Cal Tech (Calcutta Tech)—a class of 7 million.
  • Bumbling Dad: A downplayed example - he shows traits of this.
  • Catchphrase:
    "Thank you, come again!" (even to store robbers!)
    "I can't believe you don't shut up!"
  • The Chew Toy: He's been shot so many times that it's just a $100 fine.
  • Chick Magnet: Apu enjoyed a reign as Springfield's most eligible bachelor — until he got married.
  • Cool Car: Drives a '79 Pontiac Trans Am that could only be described as bitchin'.
  • Determinator:
    • In one early episode, Apu says that the town government should hire more police officers, since he'd been shot 8 times that year. As a result, he almost missed work. Almost.
    • And then there was the time when he managed to work a 96-hour shift without having a break. It ended when he started thinking he was a hummingbird and tried to drink nectar out of his brother's head.
  • Do Wrong, Right: Official Kwik-E-Mart policy to selling bad food. Sell gone-off food if you will, but have a scapegoat handy.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Is normally lax towards safety standards, but sometimes, both out of self-interest and genuine concern for his fellow Springfielders, he draws a line. For example, in The Simpsons: Hit & Run, he is shocked that he has been selling Buzz Cola once its true nature is revealed.
  • Flanderization: He went from an impossibly cheap shopkeeper who couldn't care less for his customers into a hard-working, intensely patriotic immigrant. After Manjula was herself Flanderized into an extreme nag, Apu somewhat relapsed into his old "dishonest salesman" traits while his workaholic tendencies were ret-conned into an excuse for him to stay away from home at any costs.
  • Funny Foreigner: When the show needs an Indian stereotype joke.
  • The Gambling Addict: In "Much Apu About Something", it is revealed he has sold most of his stake in the store to Sanjay to cultivate his addiction to scratch-and-win cards.
  • Hidden Depths: Graduated top of his class of 7 million in Computer Science at Calcutta Technical Institute and originally came to America to study for his Ph.D. in the subject, which he did successfully; he only works as a convenience store clerk because he genuinely loves that job. An early episode also showed that he was a volunteer fireman.
  • Immigrant Patriotism: He started his stay in America as an illegal immigrant.
  • Made of Iron: Has been shot so many times that when he was shot saving James Woods, the bullet ricocheted off another bullet that had previously been lodged there.
  • Manipulative Bastard: One Season 4 episode shows Apu curries Homer's favour in order to stop him going to the much cheaper store next door.
  • Out of Focus: From season 27 onwards, he has begun to appear much less frequently, and rarely serves as anything more than a background character on the occasions when he does. This is presumed to have been done in response to the growing complaints directed at his character for being a racist stereotype.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: While their marriage is far from perfect (the stresses of raising eight kids and Apu's infidelity), Apu and Manjula got off to a great start and do love each other. While many fans worry that this has been subverted, as some bitterness still remains, later episodes suggest they worked it out.
  • Rant Comedy: Occasionally slips into this.
  • Sanity Ball: A common holder. While he can be just as vulnerable to the wackiness of Springfield as most, he has a self-awareness and common sense that means he is usually one of the sanest in the room.
  • Shout-Out: His name is one for Satyajit Ray's The Apu Trilogy.
  • Sixth Ranger: Was this to the main Simpsons family in The Simpsons: Hit & Run. Additionally, if the show needs Homer to have a friend outside of his regular drinking circle, Apu will be a likely candidate.
  • Super-Stoic Shopkeeper: Can show signs of this at times, as part of his personality as the Determinator.
  • Too Many Babies: When he and Manjula could not conceive a child, they underwent IVF and Manjula had octuplets. It also helped that Apu, Homer, Marge and Bart were each slipping her fertility drugs.
  • Workaholic: His devotion to his work is paramount.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Cheats on Manjula with the Squishee lady, and signs up for "Sassy Madison", a dating website for married people.

    Comic Book Guy 

Jeff "Comic Book Guy" Albertson
Worst. Character page. Ever.
Debut: "Three Men and a Comic Book"

Overweight and extremely nerdy owner & proprietor of the local shop, "The Android's Dungeon", which sells comics and similar paraphenalia. Legendary for his sarcastic, cynical outlook on life. Voiced by Hank Azaria.

  • Alliterative Name: Matt Groening originally wanted his real name to be Louis Lane and wasn't there when the writers decided to call him Jeff Albertson.
  • Basement-Dweller: His father-in-law complains about him living in the basement beneath his store.
  • Berserk Button: Being stupid when it comes to comic books.
    Bart: Hey, Milhouse, watch me make a loser lose it.
    Comic Book Guy: Ugh, customers, I hate them.
    Bart: Excuse me, I just heard that before Spider-Man was a movie, it was a comic book. Is that possible?
    Comic Book Guy: What the-!? Gah! Suffering Steve Ditko! How can you not know that Spider-Man first appeared in 1962's classic Amazing Fantasy #15!? Gaaaah!
    Bart: Oooh, twelve cents! I'll take eight!
    Comic Book Guy: What the- you idiot! Mint condition copies are like $40,000 each! Must..lie down...on pile of unsold Hulk hands!
  • Big Bad: Of "Brick Like Me", as he represents the part of Homer's psyche that wants him to remain in the LEGO World rather than head back to the real world.
  • Catchphrase: "Worst. (insert noun here). Ever."
  • Deadpan Snarker: Comic Book Guy seems to live by the philosophy "If you can't say something snarky or sarcastic, don't say anything at all."
  • A Degree in Useless: He has a masters' degree in folklore and mythology, and for his thesis he translated The Lord of the Rings into Klingon.
  • Disappeared Dad: He says the closest thing he ever had to a father figure was an Obi-Wan Kenobi action figure.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": For over a decade, he was just known as "Comic Book Guy" until he gave his real name out in random conversation in "Homer and Ned's Hail Mary Pass" (Word of God says that episode was chosen for the task because it was post-Super Bowl and thus would have such a large audience).
  • Fat Bastard: A snobby and overweight shopkeeper who insults others that aren't of his IQ level, and acts like a jerk to Bart and Milhouse even after they saved his life from a heart attack.
  • Fat Slob: Eats a lot and spends all his time lazing around with his geeky stuff.
  • Flanderization: Like everyone else's personality on the show, being a Deadpan Snarker got exaggerated to the point that it's his only personality trait.
  • Freudian Excuse: It is heavily implied, if not outright stated, that the reason why Comic Book Guy often is sarcastic and insulting to people is because he himself is a victim of it in regards to his obesity.
    Now if you'll excuse me, I'm heading back to my own store, where I dispense the insults rather than absorb them.
  • Genius Slob: Obese, dirty, has an IQ of 170.
  • Happily Married: With Kumiko.
  • Hidden Depths: "Homer the Whopper" reveals that he actually wrote over 300 issues of his own comic book series, Everyman. Much to Bart and Milhouse's surprise, they really enjoy it, and the only reason Comic Book Guy didn't try to find a publisher is because he was afraid of being mocked.
  • Insufferable Genius: He has an IQ of 170 and is a member of the Springfield chapter of Mensa. However, he also has a snobby, superior personality that prevents him from making friends.
  • Jerkass: Overprices comics, bans Milhouse and Bart from his store, and is a general jerk to everyone. It's reached the point where several episodes (such as "They Saved Lisa's Brain" and "Worst Episode Ever") show him as a straight up Jerk with a Heart of Jerk.
  • Karma Houdini: In "Husbands and Knives", when Milo opens Coolsville, a new comic book store that treats customers with respect, C.B.G.'s jealousy reaches the point where he takes a samurai sword and vandalizes Coolsville. Besides getting removed from Coolsville, he gets no other comeuppance, and Coolsville disappears from Springfield, never to be seen again.
  • Likes Older Women: Once dated (and lost his virginity to) Agnes Skinner.
  • Mad Libs Catch Phrase: Worst/Best __ Ever.
  • Minor Flaw, Major Breakup: When he meets a female nerd at "Bi-Mon-Sci-Fi-Con" in "Mayored to the Mob":
    Comic Book Guy: Tell me, how do you feel about 45-year-old virgins who still live with their parents?
    Female Nerd: Comb the Sweet Tarts out of your beard and you're on!
    Comic Book Guy: Don't try to change me, baby.
  • Nerds Speak Klingon:
    • "Three Men and a Comic Book": Jeff mentions that he has a Masters in Folklore and Mythology, part of which involved translating The Lord of the Rings into Klingon.
    • "Worst Episode Ever": After he gets thrown out of Moes, he asks himself "Is there a word in Klingon for loneliness?", looks in his pocket dictionary. "Oh, yes. Garr'dock!".
    • "My Big Fat Geek Wedding": When Jeff tries to get married to Edna Krabappel it is conducted in Klingon; apparently the guests (sci-fi convention attendees) can all understand it.
      Jeff: Edna, the Klingons have a romantic saying. (speaks Klingon) Roughly translated it means I would kill the children of a thousand planets just to see you smile.
      Edna: Oh, that is the most romantic thing I've ever heard. Which is kinda sad if you think about it.
    • "Moms I'd Like to Forget"
      Jeff: The answer is no, and I can say it in Na'vi and Klingon, which are pretty much the same. I have some theories about that, which I will share with you never.
  • Proud to Be a Geek: "I've spent my entire life doing nothing but collecting comic books. A life well spent!" Although in "Treehouse of Horror VIII", Comic Book Guy admits "I've wasted my life" the instant before he is killed by a Neutron Bomb. It probably doesn't count as Treehouse of Horror episodes are never canon.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness:
    Bart: How come I've never seen that Itchy & Scratchy before?
    Comic Book Guy: Perhaps because you are a prepubescent ignoramus.
  • Straw Fan: Though he was originally just the standard nerd, when the show crossed into Long Runner territory, he would often mock the large section of the fanbase that think the show isn't good anymore, but still watch it religiously anyway. CBG's catch phrase actually originated from a usenet post which complained about an episode from Season Four. To put things in perspective, Season 4 of the Simpsons is now generally considered to be nearly, if not completely, flawless.
  • Take That, Audience!: The writers have been using Comic Book Guy to lampoon the show's Unpleasable Fanbase ever since "The Itchy and Scratchy and Poochie Show," though most viewers didn't notice this until the season 11 episode "Saddlesore Galactica."
    Comic Book Guy: Last night's Itchy & Scratchy was, without a doubt, the worst episode ever. Rest assured I was on the Internet within minutes registering my disgust throughout the world.
    Bart: Hey, I know it wasn’t great, but what right do you have to complain?
    Comic Book Guy: As a loyal viewer, I feel they owe me.
    Bart: For what? They’ve given you thousands of hours of entertainment for free. What could they possibly owe you? If anything, you owe them.
    Comic Book Guy: Worst. Episode. Ever.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: "Married to the Blob" is all about this. See below for details.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: In the Season 25 episode "Married to the Blob", he meets, charms - no, really -, and marries an improbably sprightly young Japanese woman. They're still married after the episode.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: To Bart and Milhouse for saving his life. Eventually, he does apologize though.
  • Worst. Whatever. Ever!: Trope Namer.
  • You're Not My Type: Is ultimately on the receiving end of this from Mrs. Krabappel in "My Big Fat Geek Wedding." He's oddly okay with it.
    "There are a million valid reasons. Which one did you choose?"

    Luigi Risotto

Debut: "Sweet Seymour Skinner's Baadasssss Song"

The stereotypically Italian owner of Luigi's, an Italian restaurant in Springfield that serves average Italian food.

  • Edible Theme Naming: His surname is a reference to the Italian food risotto.
  • Gratuitous Italian: He does not actually speak Italian, only "fractured English" with a strong Italian accent, as did his parents. He says the phrase, "I guarantee," a lot.
  • Italians Talk with Hands: Frequently does it.
  • Two-Faced Aside: A Running Gag. Luigi would be incredibly polite to his customers, run in the kitchen and immediately badmouth them to his unseen cook Salvatore unaware that they can hear him.
    Luigi Risotto: Oh, you miss you friend, huh? Don't-ah you worry, my cook can surely cheer you up-ah. (enters kitchen) Hey Salvatore, give-ah the ugly kid a plate of the red-ah crap-ah!

    Herman Hermann

Debut: "Bart the General"

Deranged one-armed owner of the store Herman's Military Antiques. Voiced by Harry Shearer

  • Alliterative Name: Herman Hermann.
  • Ax-Crazy: Lampshaded by Grampa in his first appearance. "He's completely out of his mind."
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Often has a cigarette in his mouth.
  • Handicapped Badass: Once held Snake and Chief Wiggum hostage, wielding a shotgun in his left arm.
  • Honest John's Dealership: Herman once sold Abe a fez that he said was once worn by Napoleon for a week. When Abe buys it and leaves his own hat behind, Herman then tries to pass it off as the hat William McKinley wore when he was assassinated.
  • Knight of Cerebus: He's easily one of the darkest and most serious characters in the show. When he was an antagonist in "The Springfield Connection", he wasn't played for laughs at all, instead kidnapping Homer and being ready to shoot Marge.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Was originally going to be this regarding the source of his missing right arm, giving a different story every time he appeared. His debut appearance has him claim the arm was lost when he hung it out the bus window for too long, but his flashback in "To Cur With Love" has him stick it out on a street while trying to hail a car, resulting in the arm being torn off by a passing dogcatcher truck driven by Chief Wiggum.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: His voice is based on George H. W. Bush.


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