Top 10 One Time Appearance Characters from The Simpsons

Recently at camp Burning Red, we have started a new blog writing/content creation group called REDmatter. The idea is simple, every Thursday, group members are sent a title, to inspire you to write a blog. The first task is a Top 5 or Top 10.  I’ve decided to do a stupid/fun top 10…

Over the last few weeks I’ve been discussing long running TV shows and how they developed over time. Star Trek (various), they always picked up around season 3 or 4. South Park, as much as I haven’t watched recent episodes, I have been reliably informed it has improved enormously with time. Moving away from immature fart jokes and pushing a more satirical envelope. Have I Got News For You, Never Mind The Buzzcocks…its a long list.

The main show, for me, is The Simpsons. About 2 years ago, I started watching  it from the beginning, every episode, in sequence, to find out when it really took a turn for the worst or jumped the shark. As it happens, personally, around season 12, when celebrities started to appear as themselves, is the turning point. Long gone were the days when a guest star would do a random cameo as a completely disposable character (see Jeff Goldblum as Troy McCleur’s agent McArthur Park) for the sake of an excellent gag.

This got me thinking about more entirely disposable characters from the early years of the show, whose sole purpose was to further a gag and nothing else. Their screen time is usually less the 10 seconds, but what a contribution.  The important difference between these characters and say (the amazing) Hank Scorpio, is time. Episodes centred around Hank Scorpio, Frank Grimes, Cecil (Sideshow Bob’s brother), Larry Burns…these guys, in and out, but never forgotten.

Considering I have been talking about this for weeks (actual weeks) with my friends, this seemed like an excellent opportunity to write it up and perhaps, stop me talking about it.

So, here in no particular order are my top 10 one time appearance characters from The Simpsons.

(I’ve done my best to find a picture/youtube link/episode reference, if you don’t know these characters.)


1. Guy Incognito (click for video)

Episode – Fear of Flying

I will never forget this moment. It felt like the beginning of an awful joke, that wasn’t really going anywhere, but turned into something with a level of ridiculousness I wasn’t expecting and offered a classic Homerism in the process.


2. Sugar Thief (click for video)

Episode – Lisa’s Rival

Such a bizarre character, but so perfectly placed to push the gag of Homer and his sugar pile to another level.


3. “Tis a fine barn, but sure tis no pool English.” (click for video)

Episode – Bart of Darkness

What a moment of complete left field genius. How did the Simpson family manage to turn their pool into a barn? AND why was an Amish man watching them building it without saying anything?


4. Relocation FBI agents (click for video)

Episode – Cape Feare

Perhaps the longest on screen time in the whole list, but what a classic scene that built to another classic Homerism as they slowly tried to convince Homer he was now Homer Thompson. It’s nearly 20 years since I first saw this episode, but I still find myself cracking out the “I think he’s talking to you…” when confronted with something I don’t understand.


5. Giant Hand Man

Episode – The Last Temptation of Homer

He may have been tired about the jokes about his giant hand, but I’m not. I would still love to know what Lenny did to Karl because of alcohol.


6. Mr McGreg (with a Leg for an arm and an arm for a leg)

Episode – Homer’s Triple Bypass

Ah, Doctor Nick… Mr McGreg, a clear reason no one should ever trust Doctor Nick.


7. Joey Joe Joe Junior Shabbado (click for video)

Episode – The Last Temptation of Homer

This scene perplexes me enormously, where did Joey Joe Joe Junior Shabbado come from? Clearly Barney knew him and up until this point of the show we were lead to believe that Barney never left Moe’s Cavern. So, why on earth did Moe not know Joey Joe Joe Junior Shabbado?


8. Bort (well 2 people) (click for video)

Episode – Itchy and Scrathy Land

Itchy and Scratchy Land, possibly one of the best episodes. I do wonder if there are nerds somewhere on this planet who called their child Bort in the hope of one day finding a personalised license plate for their son in a theme park…


9. Shelbyville Millhouse

Episode – Lemon of Troy

But he thought he was the only one…


10. Handsome Pete (click for video)

Episode – Bart the Fink

He danced for nickels and played the accordion, whilst looking like a distorted midget version of Krusty. Seriously now, the Monday after this episode aired, I was in high school and I remember a group of us mimicking the Handsome Pete dance.

Dishonourable mention:



Episode – The Itchy and Scratchy and Poochie Show

Roy was meant to be an inside joke inside a parody of desperation to insert some energy into a long running TV show. The problem was, Roy, rather than being a funny addition to a funny episode, he became a symbol that the writing staff were losing their edge, the episode wasn’t particularly funny, and the addition of Roy was stupid. In every Simpsons series, there were episodes that weren’t to the high standard of the rest, but this was one of the first times I felt the show hit a new low. Sadly for Roy, he was that low.

P.S…(added on 15/10/13)

I feel I may have let myself down…I may have failed to include one of my favourite moments ever.

“I see you’ve played knifey spoony before.”

28. September 2013 by Michael Partridge
Categories: General, Personal | Leave a comment

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