The Simpsons is the longest running American sitcom and the longest running American animated programme, with over 500 episodes since its debut in 1989. Springfield is full of wonderful characters, from the bad tempered and suicidal bartender, Moe Szylak, to loveable T.V entertainer Krusty the Clown. 24 years after his first appearance on The Simpsons, it has been reported that Krusty (or Herschel Shmoikel Pinchas Yerucham Krustofski as he is formally known) will be killed off in the first episode of season 26. In honour of one of Springfield’s favourite characters, here’s a look at some other great peripheral characters who appear regularly on the show.
Based on Budman, a former mascot for Budwiser, Duffman is a realistic representation of contemporary marketing and advertising. He is the brainless face of a gigantic corporation with a trademark costume, his very own catchphrase (Oh yeah!) and trademark hip-thrust. Duffman remains to be a key recurring character in the show as he often provides a lot of comical value when interacting with Homer and the rest of the guys at Moe’s. Unlike Maude Flanders or “Bleeding Gums” Murphy, Duffman can never be written out of the show because “Duffman can never die; only the actors who play him”.
4. Superintendent Chalmers
Gary Chalmers is the superintendent of Springfield’s school district. He is a strict, short-tempered man, who always shows up at Springfield Elementary when Principle Skinner is in trouble. Like all good minor characters, Superintendent Chalmers has his own catchphrase – “SKIN-NER!” – which is often shouted at Principle Skinner due to a mistake or problem. At its core, the Skinner-Chalmers relationship is actually quite a sweet one. Chalmers is fond of Skinner, and this is shown on many occasions – most notably when there is an explosion at the school, and he fears for Skinner’s safety. This relationship has certainly developed over time, and they have been able to extend their working relationship and put aside their differences by forming a production company together.
3. Ralph Wiggum
Ralph Wiggum is Springfield’s resident oddball. He was written into the show to give the audience a quick laugh – and he definitely does this. His dim-witted behaviour and awkward spontaneity provide most of the comedy in the show, but his best feature lies in his memorable quotes. Fans often quote lines such as “That’s where I saw the Leprchaun. He tells me to burn things!” and “My Cat’s breath smells like cat food.” It’s interesting to note that most of the writing staff will take credit for creating Ralph, as he’s one of the most popular characters on the show.
2. Milhouse Van Houten
Milhouse is Bart’s best friend and a loyal companion who will often sacrifice himself to save and protect his friend. Milhouse is quite possibly the most unfortunate name for a child to have, and Springfield Elementary’s resident tough-guy, Nelson Muntz, often bullies him. He is vital to the show due to his lust over Lisa, as well as the fact that he’s a relatable character. Everyone knows a Milhouse and this is why he works so well.
1. Lenny Leonard and Carl Carlson
Lenny and Carl are Homer’s drinking buddies and co-workers at the Nuclear power plant. They are best friends who have a very, very close relationship and this often causes a certain ambiguity about their sexuality. Even Homer questions their sexuality after he has married all of Springfield’s same sex couples. Fortunately, Marge steps in and says “Don’t you push them – they’ve gotta work that out for themselves”. Revealing the true nature of their sexuality would be a huge mistake, as it’s the vagueness and uncertainty that keeps audiences laughing.