THE SIMPSONS ARCHIVE
FAQS, GUIDES & LISTS

CHARACTERS & PLACES

3.1 - The Simpson Family

What is the Simpsons' home address?

That depends.

   In Blood Feud                   94 Evergreen Terrace, Springfield, USA
   In Mr Lisa Goes to Washington   59 Evergreen Terrace, Springfield, TA
   In Bart the Lover               94 Evergreen Terrace, Springfield, USA
   In Kamp Krusty                  430 Spalding Way, Springfield, USA
   In New Kid on the Block         1094 Evergreen Terrace
   In Marge In Chains              742 Evergreen Terrace, Springfield
   In Homer the Vigilante          723 Evergreen Terrace
   In Bart vs. Australia           742 Evergreen Terrace
   In Sunday, Cruddy Sunday        742 Evergreen Terrace
   In the Oprah Winfrey Interview  742 Evergreen Terrace

The LISA currently acknowledges 742 Evergreen Terrace at being official, as it appears to be the only address currently in use (no variations have appeared since Season Five).

It has been suggested that the address used in Kamp Krusty hints to monologist and actor Spalding Gray, whose humor is also considered subtle, poignant, and yes, generally irritating to Republicans. The Evergreen Terrace address is in honor of the street MG lived on as a boy. The others were undoubtedly inspired by MG's alma mater.


What is the Simpsons' home phone number?

According to Principal Skinner's rolodex card at Springfield Elementary:

         Before Simpson and Delilah             After
         Home:  555-6528                        555-6832
         Work:  555-7334                        555-6754
In Season Three, their home number was 555-8707.

And the phone numbers from Homer's television debut in Mr. Plow are:

         Home:          KL5-3223
         Business:      KL5-3226

In The Canine Mutiny, Bart fills out a credit card application form with the phone number 555-3126. And in Dog of Death, the phone number on the lost dog poster is listed as KL5-3457.

The letters "KL" are in reference to the outdated practice of using letters in telephone prefixes, which was a common practice up to the 1960s. "Klondike" is a code name given to the letters to use as a mnemonic device. The song "Pennsylvania 6-5000" and the movie "Butterfield-8" are both named for telephone exchanges (PE6, or 736, and BU8, or 288, respectively). Other examples are NEptune and SYcamore.

Anyone with an alphanumeric phone can easily see that KL5 is the same as 555, which is the stereotypical phone prefix used on just about every television show ever produced.


How come the characters don't age?

The general reason given by the producers is that the nature of the series might change dramatically otherwise. One of the things that plagues long-running sitcoms is that child actors inevitably grow up and become too old for the characters they play. Often the cuteness and precociousness of those child characters is then lost.

As long as The Simpsons has the freedom to keep its characters the same age forever, it will take advantage of its ability to do that.


How much does Maggie cost in the opening titles?

Maggie is listed as costing $847.63, a figure once given as the amount of money required to raise a baby for one month in the US.


But the trivia question in The 138th Episode Spectacular said that the cash register read "NRA4EVER". What's going on here?

The trivia questions in The 138th Episode Spectacular are gags made to troll the audience, just like the images of Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, and Sam Simon in the episode are not what those people really look like. The cash register question is a gag referring to the people who have labeled the show as "the most liberal on television" by portraying it as having an ultra-conservative slant.


Is it me or do older episodes have a different opening? I seem to recall Bart stealing the "Bus Stop" sign, for example.

Good memory. The original opening sequence had a scene where a number of people were waiting at the bus stop. Bart swipes the "BUS" sign as he skates through the crowd, causing the bus to skip the stop and the crowd to run after it.

There is also a scene with Lisa on her bike. She is wearing a helmet and she has books tied to her bike basket.

At the beginning of Season Two, the title sequence was completely redone, producing a more polished look. Bart just skates through the crowd, and the Lisa bike scene is removed. Also, the strangers at the bus stop and nuclear plant were replaced with familiar supporting characters, such as Chief Wiggum, for example.

This redone second opening has been used ever since, and is the basis for the severely-shortened syndicated opening. The original long opening can be seen on the uncut versions found with the video tape sets and the Season One DVD set.


Is it me or does Lisa's sax solo in the opening always change? Does she play any particular songs?

Yes they do change. For the most part, the solos themselves are not from any one song in particular, though on occasion viewers have claimed to have heard pieces of music from Donovan, Frank Zappa, James Brown, and Charlie Parker.

In an October 1998 post to alt.tv.simpsons, Music Editor Bob Beecher came out of the woodwork to offer this:

"We recorded four different solos for the 1:08 version and the :49 version of the Main Title. The choice of which one to use is left up to the Music Editor for that episode. My particular favorite is the random, squeaky, wild one. The funky one is good too."

For a complete guide to Lisa's sax solos, please visit Lisa's Saxophone Solo List.


How old is Homer, exactly?

According to Lisa the Beauty Queen, Homer is 36. And since characters don't age in the series, the LISA chooses to acknowledge his age as being 36, despite those references in later episodes to him being 38 or 39.


What does Homer say? Doh? Dough? Where does it come from?

The correct way to spell it is "D'oh". Homer's trademark "D'oh" manifested out of a general exclamation to indicate anger, and therefore was and has always been referred to in scripts as "Annoyed Grunt." Therefore most titles that feature "D'oh" in them have the "D'oh" replaced with (Annoyed Grunt), e.g. E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt).

The origins of "D'oh" can be traced to Jim Finlayson, who played support in many Laurel and Hardy films. His trademark was to yell "D'oooooooohhh" whenever Laurel and Hardy would do something to agitate him.

When coming across the "annoyed grunt" phrase in early scripts, Dan Castellaneta had thought of the Laurel and Hardy character and begun using the elongated version of the phrase. Matt Groening thought it would have more effect if it was shortened, so it was. A national catch phrase was born.

In fact, "D'oh" has become so ingrained in popular culture that it has actually been included in the Oxford English Dictionary, listed as "Doh". "D'oh" is given as an alternate spelling. (Special thanks to Bruce Gomes for this information).


What do the J's stand for in Homer J. and Bartholomew J. Simpson?

In D'oh-in' in the Wind, it was revealed that Homer's "J" stands for "Jay."

According to MG, Bart's middle name is Jo-Jo, and not Jebediah as stated previously in the Rainy Day Fun Book. One can only guess that some facts got lost when the RDFB was made. The name was given to him by none other than Nancy Cartwright.

MG says that Homer and Abraham's middle initials are a token of admiration for Rocky and Bullwinkle (Rocket J. Squirrel and Bullwinkle J. Moose), whose initials were in honor of their creator, Jay Ward.


Why is Bart's shirt sometimes orange and sometimes blue?

On the show, Bart's shirt is almost always orange. Yet, on most Simpsons merchandise and memorabilia, Bart's shirt is light blue in color. There are also products featuring Bart in a red shirt, though these seem to be less common.

The exact reason for this is not known. The most popular explanation is that it may be a trick used for picking out counterfeit or bootlegged merchandise.

Another possible explanation is that Bart's shirt color changed during the Tracey Ullman era. The very first batches of Simpsons merchandise were produced before the half-hour series even started, so the shirt color may have simply reflected this, with further merchandise being made to follow that original standard.


What type of saxophone does Lisa play?

The accepted answer is a baritone saxophone, though sometimes the way it is drawn more closely resembles an alto or tenor. The sound of the sax is definitely a baritone, though.

The saxophone given to her by Bleeding Gums Murphy is most likely an alto, based on a higher-pitched sound and a simpler mouthpiece.


What is the name of the song played in (episode)?

Sung by Lisa with Bleeding Gums Murphy in Round Springfield?
"Jazzman", originally recorded by singer/songwriter Carole King in 1974, for her album Wrap Around Joy.

At the end of Lisa's Sax?
"Baker Street", recorded by Scottish-born singer Gerry Rafferty and found on his album City to City, which topped the US and British album charts in 1978. The memorable saxophone hook was performed by Raphael Ravenscroft. Two cover versions have been released, one by the UK group Undercover (which went to #2 on the UK charts in 1992) and one by the Foo Fighters in 1997.

When the Simpsons go to Canada?
"Take Off", a novelty hit single in 1981 for SCTV characters Bob & Doug McKenzie, with assistance from Geddy Lee, of Canadian progressive rock band Rush.

When Fat Tony goes looking for Homer in Poppa's Got a Brand New Badge?
"Woke Up This Morning", by A3, from the 1997 album Exile on Coldharbour Lane. Better known as the theme song from The Sopranos.

For a comprehensive list of all the music ever played, performed, parodied, or referenced on the show (excluding original compositions), please visit Music Featured on the Simpsons.


What happened to Snowball I?

Snowball I was killed in an automobile accident. Lisa's poetic words may explain it better:

          Meditations on Turning Eight, by Lisa Simpson
         
          I had a cat named Snowball --
          She died! She died!
          Mom said she was sleeping --
          She lied! She lied!
          Why oh why is my cat dead?
          Couldn't that Chrysler hit me instead?

3.2 - Springfield and Its Inhabitants

Where IS Springfield, anyway?

"Springfield" is a fictional location. One more time for the world: "Springfield" is a FICTIONAL location. It is not in Illinois, not in Massachusetts, not in Southern Missouri, not in Northern Kentucky. MG says he chose the name because it is one of the most common city names (121 Springfields exist in the U.S.) and the setting of the antithesis to The Simpsons, Father Knows Best.

There also happens to be a Springfield in his home state of Oregon. Coincidentally enough, Springfield happens to be located very close to, or even part of, the city of Eugene. The proximity of these two towns to each other may have been the inspiration for the Springfield/Shelbyville rivalry in the show.

On a side note, a L.I.S.A. reader adds, "There is a cemetery in the middle of the University of Oregon (located in Eugene) that has a statue of soldier whose head was cut off as a prank by college students. The prank was universally condemned." (Sound familiar? See 7G07).

According to Producer/Director David Silverman, Springfield is in the state of North Takoma, eight miles from Toon Town (although it appears this still isn't to be considered an "official" answer). In Duffless, the state abbreviation on Homer's driver's license is NT - NT probably representing North Takoma. See next question.

The bottom line, though, is that even when the series makes reference to places and events unique to a specific Springfield, it does not mean that the series takes place in that given state.

According to some sources on the group, Matt Groening has said that although Springfield is basically "anytown USA" it does have features somewhat similar to towns in Oregon, where Matt grew up.

Read Where Is Springfield? if you're still not convinced.


In Behind the Laughter, the Simpsons are revealed to be a Northern Kentucky family. But when they re-ran the episode later, it was changed to Southern Missouri. What's going on?

Behind the Laughter treats the Simpson family as "actors" on a sitcom playing the parts of the Simpson characters. These "actors" live outside the universe that is Springfield. Because of this, we suggest you take this episode along the lines of the Halloween Specials and the Bible Stories episode, which are written on a non-canonical level and therefore don't have to follow any of the established rules. The Kentucky/Missouri joke is an obvious attempt to stir more "Where is Springfield?" controversy and really shouldn't be taken seriously, especially when one considers that the location is changed in reruns.


Are Smithers and Karl gay (or bisexual)?

Yes. According to former Producer David Silverman, Waylon Smithers and Karl (Homer's secretary from 7F02, not Lenny's co-worker) are both gay. End of discussion.

When he spoke at Coffman Union at the University of Minnesota three years ago, Silverman was quoted as saying Smithers was "gayer than a Dutch bassoon."

Read the Simpsons Archive's page on Smithers' Sexuality for a list of all such hints revealed on the show.


Is Milhouse/Bart/Homer/Martin gay?

No, no, no, and probably not. Milhouse clearly has feelings for Samantha Stanky and Lisa. Bart clearly has feelings for Jessica Lovejoy. Homer is married and has been tempted on more than one occasion by other women, such as Maude Flanders, Lurleen Lumpkin, and Mindy Simmons.

Martin, though on the effeminite side, probably has it in for an equally nerdy female.

Unless one of these characters, or any other character for that matter, is actually "outed" on the show, posts indicating that any character is gay should not be taken seriously. Likewise, any such gags on the show (Bart wearing high heels, for example) should only be taken as a joke.


How old is Mr. Burns, exactly?

104, according to Who Shot Mr. Burns? and/or 81, according to Simpson and Delilah.


Which one is Patty and which one is Selma?

Sometimes referred to as the "Gruesome Twosome". Patty usually wears a necklace with round beads and doesn't part her hair. Selma wears a necklace with oval beads and does part her hair. Selma wears earrings shaped like the letter 'S', and Patty wears triangle-shaped earrings. Marge differentiated them for Homer in Principal Charming thusly:

  Homer: "Which one's Selma, again?"
 
  Marge: "She's the one who likes Police Academy movies and Hummel 
  figurines and walking through the park on clear autumn days."

  Homer: "Oh, yeah yeah yeah. But I thought she was the one that 
  didn't like to be ... you know ... touched."

  Marge: "It's Patty who chose a life of celibacy. Selma simply
  had celibacy thrust upon her."


What are all of Selma's married names?

Selma Bouvier-Terwilliger-Hutz-McClure.

She's right. It is long enough without Nahasapeemapetilon.


But she never married Lionel Hutz!

Who says we had to know about it? The writers don't always tell us everything.

Obviously, the marriage didn't last very long.


Which one is Itchy and which one is Scratchy?

As Lisa and Bart explained to Herb Powell:

   Lisa: "The mouse's name is Itchy, and the cat's name is Scratchy."
   Bart: "They hate each other."
   Lisa: "And they're not shy about expressing it."


What are the words to the Itchy & Scratchy theme song?

 "They fight! And bite!
  They bite and bite and fight! 
  Fight fight fight!
  Bite, bite, bite!
  The Itchy and Scratchy Show!" 
Or if you prefer Marge's non-violent version used in "Porch Pals":
 "They love! And share!
  They love and love and share! 
  Love love love!
  Share share share!
  The Itchy and Scratchy Show!" 
Lemonade? Please.


Is it just me or are several of the characters left-handed?

No, many of the characters are indeed left-handed. This is because MG is in fact left-handed himself. Viewers with eagle eyes may notice that this is not always consistent however, especially in later episodes.


What are the names of the bullies who pick on Bart, and which is which?

Their names are Jimbo Jones, Dolph, and Kearney.

  • Jimbo is the tall kid with the purple stocking hat and black T-shirt.
  • Dolph is the short kid with the hair that hangs over his eyes.
  • Kearney is the stocky kid with the shaven head.


Is Bart's friend named Milhous, Millhouse, or Milhouse?

Although it is true that he is named after former U.S. President Richard Milhous Nixon, his full name is correctly spelled as Milhouse Van Houten.


What is the name of...

The guy who runs the Android's Dungeon?
He is referred to only as "Comic Store Guy", or "Comic Book Guy". Loosely based on cartoonist/filmmaker Ralph Bakshi.

The one-eyebrowed baby?
Gerald.

Milhouse's parents?
Kirk and LuAnne Van Houten.

The geeky teenager who works at odd jobs?
Referred to only as "geeky teenager", though in Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy Abe Simpson calls him "Mr Peterson".

The nerdy scientist who says "Ng-whiey"?
Professor John Frink.

The sarcastic man who works at other odd jobs like hotel clerk, limo driver, or pet store owner?

He is pretty much referred to as just "sarcastic man" or "sarcastic guy".


What exactly does Professor Frink say? Ng-hiey? Ng-wiey? Glaven?

Similar to Homer's "D'oh", which is written in the scripts as "annoyed grunt", Professor Frink's mumblings are written on the script simply as "Frink Noise", as confirmed in Simpson Comics' response to a fan letter in issue #30.


Is Groundskeeper Willy Irish or Scottish?

Definitely Scottish.

However, it is considerably less clear as to where exactly in Scotland he hails from.

In Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala-(Annoyed Grunt)-cious, he tells Sherry Bobbins that "the ugliest man in Glasgow wasn't good enough for her."

In Lard of the Dance, he tells Homer that he originally hails from "North Kilt-town."

In Screaming Yellow Honkers, he asks the audience if any of them are from Edinburgh, then makes a joke that North Edinburgh golfers putt differently than South Edinburgh golfers.

And in Monty Can't Buy Me Love, he meets up with his parents near Loch Ness, who own a nearby pub, complete with the pool table where he was "conceived, born, and educated."

One could imply from this that Willie's actual hometown is possibly another notorious ongoing gag the writers have created to stir up fan discussion.


What nationality is Dr Nick Riviera?

Though his surname vaguely resembles one of Hispanic origin, Dr. Nick's look and accent are loosely based on Gabor Csupo, the man in charge of Klasky-Csupo Animation, who animated the first three seasons of the show and the Ullman Show bumpers. Csupo is Hungarian.

The L.I.S.A. considers Dr. Nick to be of generic European background, perhaps reflected by the mixed influences given to him.

Even more interesting is how he may have gotten his name. Several L.I.S.A. readers have noted a possible connection to Elvis Presley's former doctor. Ray Smith writes:

"I've always harboured a theory that Dr. Nick Riviera (consistently greeted as Dr Nick) was a spoof on the doctor who over-prescribed Elvis Presley into an early grave. His name was Dr. George Nichopoulos, but he was always referred to around Graceland (and subsequently in the press) as Dr Nick. He became a symbol of bumbling, and criminal, medical incompetence."


Who is the Bumblebee Guy?

For those unfamiliar, he is the TV character on the Spanish network who wears a bumblebee costume and shouts lines such as "Ay! Un gato malodoro!".

Originally, he was referred to as just "Bumblebee man", though other aliases such as "Pedro" and "Chespirito" popped up occasionally, the latter of which was a reference to an actual real-life Spanish-language television show featuring a similar character.

Chilean Simpsons fan Alejandro Rivas confirmed the "Chespirito" connection:

"I'm sure it is a reference to El Chapulin Colorado ('The Red Grasshopper'), which was a Mexican TV show of the 70s. Its creator is Roberto Gomez Bola�os, alias 'Chespirito' (funny Spanish to say 'Little Shakespeare'), who was also the writer and starring as the Chapulin. It was a half-hour comedy about a phony superhero dressed like a red grasshopper, very much like The Simpsons Bumblebee Guy; lycras, hood with antennas, etc."

Rivas explains further, "Chapulin appears when any people in need said (in melodramatic tone): 'Oh, and now, who may help me?' The Chapulin comes out from the most unexpected [place] shouting: 'ME! THE CHAPULIN COLORADO!' and then [performs] a spectacular jump which always ends in an embarassing bump - and this happened every episode the same way."

The "Bumblebee" part of the equation may have been influenced by bee-costumed characters on early Saturday Night Live episodes.

For more information, see the Bumblebee Guy File.


Who is the guy who always says "Yeeeeeeeessssss?"

Although he is yet another character without an actual name, he is based on the late Frank Nelson. Best known for his roles on TV's I Love Lucy and The Jack Benny Show, his trademark would be to turn to the camera when asked a question and respond with his catchphrase, "Yeeeeeeeessss?" Looking much like his Simpsons caricature, with a moustache and a short, round stature, his career lasted over six decades until his death in 1986. His distinctive comedic voice was also used in many cartoons (more notably on The Jetsons.)

3.3 - Episodes and Events

Was Smithers black in one episode?

Sort of. When Homer's Odyssey was being produced, Smithers was accidentally animated with the wrong color. This goof is entirely the fault of Klasky-Csupo, and Producer David Silverman assures us that Waylon was always intended to be yellow. He elaborated on this in a radio interview in 1998:

"As far as Waylan Smithers, I think [Gyorgi Peluci, color stylist] didn't read the script. I'm pretty sure she didn't read the script because she never did, she just was sort of like, 'Oh I have to make it multi-ethnic, so I'll make this person white, I'll make this person black, la la la la la' and not really paying attention to what the script was about. No one was really paying attention to that, so when it came back we said 'Oh, we didn't really want Waylan Smithers to be black, we want him to be, you know, [Mr Burns'] white sycophant, so maybe we should repaint this,' ... 'No no, it costs too much,' because it was our mistake and would cost us too much to repaint it. But someone was thinking 'You might want to take care of this you know, at some point,' ... 'No, no, no. A hundred years from now what the hell difference does it make?' So here I am explaining this to you."

David suggests that you imagine that Smithers had just come back from a vacation in the Caribbean with a deep tan when the episode took place.


When and how did Dr. Marvin Monroe die?

Dr. Marvin Monroe passed away quietly sometime during Season Six, his death marked only by the appearance of the Marvin Monroe Memorial Hospital in Who Shot Mr. Burns? - Part II, and a tombstone bearing his name in another episode.


Why was he killed off?

It was no secret that he was a very unpopular character on the production staff, though it is not known why, exactly. Perhaps his voice really was that annoying.


When and how did Maude Flanders die?

In Alone Again, Natura-Diddly, Maude Flanders is knocked off a racetrack grandstand after being hit in the face with a flying t-shirt and falls to her untimely death.


Why was she killed off?

Actress Maggie Roswell, who provided Maude's voice, left the show after 10 seasons due to a contract dispute. This prompted the producers to write Maude Flanders out of the show. See related question in Section 4.1 for more information.

Roswell did return to voice Maude's ghost in the opening segment of Treehouse of Horror XIII.


What is the spelling of Bart's fake Scrabble word in Bart the Genius?

Kwyjibo. K-W-Y-J-I-B-O.

Defined as "a big, dumb, balding, North American ape, with no chin (and a short temper)."


What's the deal with the rake scene in Cape Feare?

According to the writers, the truth is that the episode was running short, and so the rake scene was stretched out in order to fill time.


In Sunday, Cruddy Sunday, why do Moe and Lenny cover their mouths when they mention the two Super Bowl participants?

Dialogue for the shows are recorded months before they air, so there is no way for anybody to predict the two Super Bowl participants. "Denver Broncos" and "Atlanta Falcons" are blatantly dubbed in, and the hand gag saves the animators the chore of changing lip movements, while at the same time providing a laugh at the non-subtle nature of the dubbed lines.


Bart uses the line "So I says to Mabel, I says" in El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Homer. What is this in reference to?

Some a.t.s. readers have attributed this quote to George Burns and Gracie Allen, as some kind of old vaudeville routine. Others have speculated that it is the type of thing you would hear an old gossipy housewife use on a 1950s sitcom and that Bart's use of it is the joke, much like his use of Cockney phrases or those of an 1890s prospector. Consarnit.

One fan reports to have also heard the phrase on a 1995 Monty Python CD-ROM game.

But the mystery of the actual reference has been revealed at last - or at least it seems - by a reader named Funkychuck: "It's actually from [the book] The Great Gatsby. The main character meets these two women who are already deep in conversation and the one says 'so I says to Mabel, I says' as he walks in. They have a short, pointless back and forth, the main character leaves, and the lady resumes the conversation with the same line over again. I'm not 100% on this, but I had just read the book when that episode aired and I remember feeling quite smart at having caught such an obscure reference. Unless I'm completely wrong, in which case I can resume feeling stupid. Hope this helps!"


Why does Mr Burns use "Ahoy, hoy!" as his phone greeting?

As quoted directly from the 3F14 capsule:

This was an old greeting used on the phone. Benjamin Robinson says, "When the phone was first coming into popular use, a problem arose - what to say when you answer it? Several alternatives were suggested, and one of them was 'Ahoy!'. It looks as though Burns stuck with that, even as the rest of the world had moved on to 'This had better be good' [or 'What?!' - ed]."

Jason Hancock further adds that according to Cecil Adams' book More of the Straight Dope (1988) it was common to say this when answering the phone and was replaced by "Hello" as the time progressed. Greg Franks adds that Alexander Graham Bell said this was the proper way to answer the phone.


Barney seems a lot more clean-cut in recent seasons. What changed?

In the episode Days of Wine and D'oh'ses, our favourite drunk decides to take helicopter-flying lessons and, as a result, has to give up drinking. The writers have chosen to give the new Barney some continuity by keeping him relatively well-groomed.


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Copyright © 2004 by Tammy Hocking & Matt Rose (See Sec 7.3)


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Tammy Hocking (kwyjibo@snpp.com) & Matt Rose (mrose@snpp.com)



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