The Simpsons has been a staple of pop culture for more than a quarter century now and that time has seen the rise of iconic characters like Homer and Mr. Burns. And amazingly, perhaps more than any show in TV history, The Simpsons’ success rate when it comes to characters is nearly flawless. It’s hard to find any characters that most people don’t like. And yet, there are a few lame characters who over the years have tried the collective patience of the fan base and because I am feeling like a big jerk, let’s take the time to point them out and complain, which is sort of like bitching about a tiny cloudy spot in a giant diamond but this is the Internet and this is what we’re contractually obligated to do. And thus, I bring you this, the eight worst Simpsons characters.
8. Sideshow Mel
Can you think of one interesting thing that Sideshow Mel has done? Like, ever? Hold on, I’ll give you a few minutes to think. You won’t come up with anything though and that’s because Sideshow Mel is the most boring character in the show’s history. Of course, it doesn’t help that he had to follow Sideshow Bob as Krusty’s sidekick, but it’s not like anybody’s asking him to try to murder Bart. Just do something, anything really, to remind people that he’s actually there. The bone through his hair is more interesting than he is.
7. Artie Ziff
Look, it’s hard to find major characters on this show who are total butts and so we have to start looking at some of the more minor characters who were majorly irritating and of this group perhaps no character has been more irritating than Artie Ziff, just one of the endless dudes on this show who have been inexplicably in love with that wet blanket Marge. It’s possible that Artie suffers because he only makes appearances during Marge-centric episodes and really, who out there actually likes Marge episodes? But it also doesn’t help that he’s incredibly obnoxious, and while that is by design, there is a thin line between entertainingly obnoxious and get the hell off my TV screen obnoxious and poor Jon Lovitz, err I mean Artie, definitely falls into the latter category.
6. Maggie Simpson
At best, Maggie is just a sort of innocuous presence, like Santa’s Little Helper or the family couch. At worst, she is a tiresome little turd. The “Maggie is actually a diabolical genius” riff isn’t so much funny as it is “Oh Jesus, what is this shit?” In fact, you can argue that the show’s Shark Jumping moment occurred when Maggie was obnoxiously revealed as Mr. Burns’ shooter in the “Who Shot Mr. Burns?” cliffhanger arc. I’m not judging you if you laugh at and enjoy baby genius Maggie but… okay fine, I’m totally judging you. Consider yourself judged.
5. Reverend Lovejoy
Reverend Lovejoy isn’t all that irritating a character, it’s just that he’s never all that interesting either. He’s just sort of there, rarely given anything interesting to say or do. And it’s not like he’s just some fringe character who shows up a couple of times a season. He’s there all the time. And considering that this has been going on for 25 years now that’s pretty incredible. The show can’t decide whether he’s a moralistic zealot fighting to rid Springfield of vice or whether he’s a cynical world-weary preacher man who wants to put his foot up Ned Flanders’ ass. Again, they’ve had 25 years to work this out. Pick a character and roll with it.
4. Maude Flanders
How lame is/was Maude Flanders? Well, she’s one of the few characters in the never-changing world of The Simpsons that the show actually killed off. At best she was boring, at worst she was, well… boring. I know you’re probably sitting there trying to come up with “What about the time Maude…” responses, but you can’t, can you? That’s because there is nothing there. This is a show that stubbornly keeps characters alive who never even speak and yet, Maude was so lame they had no choice but to kill her off. Now that’s a shitty character.
3. Dr. Marvin Monroe
Aside from Maude, there are only one or two recurring characters in the show’s long history who have been killed off. One of them is Dr. Marvin Monroe, the psychiatrist from the show’s early years. Dr. Marvin wasn’t just lame though, he was actively irritating, with a squawky nails on a chalkboard voice. But even if he wasn’t obnoxious to listen to, he was also completely superfluous as a character given that the show already had Dr. Hibbert and Dr. Nick for its medical related shenanigans. In the end, Dr. Marvin Monroe was so shitty a character that they didn’t even bother to give him an on-show death. They just quit using him. At least Maude got to die on-screen.
2. Marge Simpson
I’ve already alluded to it but come on, who out there actually likes a Marge episode? She’s the perpetual wet blanket whose only functions on the show seem to be either reminding Homer that he is actually a piece of shit or groaning in put-upon agony because her life sucks. Fun, fun, fun! To make matters even worse, though, the show pretends that she is some kind of irresistible catch, with the entire town of Springfield seemingly lusting after her at one time or another. Every new male character who gets introduced falls in love with Marge which inevitably leads to the 968th episode where Marge considers leaving Homer because he’s an insensitive dumbass only for them to reconcile when he gets his shit together at the very end. Seriously, they’ve been pulling this since the very first season when she almost left him for Jacques the bowling instructor. Let’s face it, Marge sucks.
1. Lisa Simpson
If Twitter and Tumblr were characters on The Simpsons, they’d be Lisa. She thinks she’s smarter than she is, she’s unbearably smug and moralizing, and, well… you exist here on the Internet so you see this sort of thing every day. As Mr. Burns famously said to her “My God, are you always on?” She is the godmother of ginned up outrage in this, the pop-culture age, and for that she can kindly go to hell. Which I suppose naturally makes her the obvious choice for number one on this list.
(Previously published on July 30, 2013.)
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