Springfield was hit with some big news today as long-time voice actor/cast member Harry Shearer has announced that he will not be returning for the next two newly-renewed seasons of The Simpsons. Reports say that this is the result of a contract negotiation failure, but producer James L. Brooks has taken to Twitter to tell fans that they are currently still trying to work out a deal. Till then, Shearer has publicly made his statement and that’s a huge hit on the long-running animated series.
For those who are not familiar with which characters Shearer voiced, he was the man behind dozens of the show’s most notable names including Ned Flanders, Reverend Lovejoy, Seymour Skinner, Otto, McBain, Scratchy and even God. Shearer was God! With his supposed departure, it means that Springfield will be several characters short, but producers do assure fans that the show is prepared to move on into its 27th and 28th seasons without him.
Funny enough, it appears the show might’ve somehow predicted this news 15 years ago.
So with Shearer potentially not coming back, we’ve combed through the many years of The Simpsons to find some of Shearer’s very best moments on the show. Tell us your favourite moments from Mr. Burns, Flanders, Kent Brockman and more in the comments or @Much!
One of Springfield’s kindest human beings finally lost it in Season 8 when a hurricane destroyed the Flanders household. The town tries to rally together to rebuild Ned’s home, but when the house ends up collapsing again, Ned finally snaps and takes it out on everyone, including Homer who thought he got off pretty easy with just being called “the worst human being” Ned has ever met.
Bonus: “It feels like I’m wearing nothing at all!”
Skinner lives to impress Superintendant Chalmers and he took things to the extreme in Season 7’s “22 Short Films About Springfield”. In an attempt to make a delicious lunch for Chalmers, Skinner burns down his kitchen after running out to buy Krusty Burgers to replace his failed meal. When Chalmers asks about the fiery glow in the kitchen, Skinner gives one of the best excuses ever: “The Aurora Borealis?”
Bonus: This beautiful meme.
In season 7, Lisa decides to go vegetarian and rebels against a BBQ (sorry, BBBQ; the extra B is for BYOBB…that other B is a typo) Homer hosts. Horrified by the meat eaters, Lisa launches their roast pig into the air and the following bit is pretty much Simpsons history, including Mr. Burns’ joke about donating money to a charity when pigs fly. Unfortunately, even after seeing the pig fly by, Mr. Burns didn’t donate that money. Classic Mr. Burns.
Bonus: One of the show’s best songs, See My Vest.
Smithers loves Mr. Burns. Like, a lot. In this clip from the “The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular”, we see a montage of clips showing Smithers’ obsession with Burns that should answer the big question of “What is the real deal with Smithers?” but host Troy McClure is clearly no help.
Bonus: When Smithers gets a deadly bee sting and has to bike himself (and Mr. Burns) to the hospital…only for the nurses to rescue Mr. Burns instead of him.
Jasper is one of Springfield’s most well-known seniors and one of Abe Simpson’s friends at the Retirement Castle. Jasper finds lots of time outside of the old folks home, though, including this very informative school visit.
Bonus: Don’t put your beard in the pencil sharpener.
The origin story behind Reverend Lovejoy and Ned Flanders is pretty amazing. In season 8’s “In Marge We Trust”, we see flashbacks to how Lovejoy arrives in Springfield and his numerous therapeutic phone call sessions with Ned Flanders where he confides in Lovejoy about issues such as touching butts with another man and swallowing a toothpick.
Bonus: Whenever Lovejoy loses faith in things.
Springfield’s A-list actor is Rainier Wolfcastle, the man behind all those McBain movie clips you see The Simpsons watching all the time. In this interview clip, Wolfcastle explains his latest foray into comedy in McBain: Let’s Get Silly. And boy does it get silly!
Bonus: The full McBain movie is E-P-I-C.
In season 7, Bart’s favourite comic book hero Radioactive Man gets turned into a movie and Rainier Wolfcastle is chosen to play the lead part. During the filming of the movie, a nuclear flood washes Wolfcastle away and, well, let’s just say goggles can’t protect you from nuclear acid.
Bonus: This Radioactive Man movie clip looked phenomenal.
Springfield elementary’s school bus driver is the very definition of a slacker bro, but don’t let that fool you: he’s actually a very poetic man.
Bonus: “Otto is Otto backwards!”
Carl and Lenny go together like alcohol and night swimming. The perfect combo. Watch below.
Bonus: NOT LENNY!
There’s a reason why Dr. Hibbert is the best doctor in Springfield (okay, that’s not a fact, but we see him so much that we just assumed that). He’s able to take care of Homer’s millions of injuries and he can speak his language.
Bonus: “Is there anything you can prescribe, doctor?”
Springfield’s leading anchor can be a questionable resource for news sometimes… Okay, all the time.
Bonus: Seriously, don’t listen to Kent Brockman.