It is tough to form an opinion from the 400 plus episodes of The Simpsons so I will not even try. I will say I like the first five seasons much more than any of the others and I feel I am not alone on that. For 18 years the animation has been apart of pop culture and has cleverly covered the “normal” nuclear family and the perils of suburban life. The one thing, however, about The Simpsons are the rich and indepth characters. For as long as the show is on the air, these characters have their own thirty minutes of spot light like McBain and his daughter dating Bart to Moe and his found riches in the “Flaming Moe.” But the characters I always enjoyed were the ones who came and left, never to be seen on another episode again even though they touched us (and the Simpson family) the most. Here are the ones that stand out to me.
Lisa’s substitue, Mr. Bergstrom was such a great character. He was a traveling teacher that moves from town to town, teaching from his heart rather than from a lesson plan. Lisa sees Mr. Bergstrom as the one person in the town of Springfield who appriciates her talents. She also developes a crush on him and knows he is intellectually superior to the only other man in her life, her father Homer. Unfortunatly for Lisa, as quickly as he came into her life he left. Mr. Bergstrom left by train to another town where he can inspire more kids to be who they are. But before he boards the train he is confronted by Lisa and he leaves her a note for insperation when ever she is down. It reads “You are Lisa Simpson.”
I don’t know why but I was touched a little. I hope there are Mr. Bergstom’s among the teachers in America. Maybe it was Dustin Hoffman’s voice for Mr. Bergstrom that made his character so likable but I can watch this episode over and over and I still feel a heavy heart when Lisa reads his note. I have to remember it’s a cartoon.
Another great character that only had a brief time in the spotlight was Karl. Karl was the angel in disguise that helped out Homer as his personal assistant. Homer cheated the system by comitting insurance fraud for a miracle hair replacement drug which by looks alone propelled him up the corperate ladder after his hair grew in over night. With a new position, Karl came to the rescue and gave Homer the confidence and knowlege to be a sucess. But soon Homer was found out and Karl, like a soldier, took the blame and was terminated. He even gave Homer his umbrella and walked to his car in the rain after his dismissal. What a guy. Some say he was gay and had a crush on Homer but I like to think he is just a nice person who gives a strange his all.
Beatrice Simmons also only had a short stay on the Simpsons. She stole Abe Simpson’s heart when they accidently had their pills mixed up at the retirement home. With one look at each other they fell in love and spent the day doing what old people do. Personally, I liked the provocative pill scene. Unfortunatly, good intentions from the Simpson family to take Abe on a day adventure to Discount Lion Safari, Abe missed Bea’s birthday and she also passed away during the night. But to show her “undying” love, she left Abe $100,00 dollars in her will. Determined to enjoy his new found riches, he spent the day trying to have fun but ultimately came to the conclusion that no amount of money can mend his broken heart. So with much thought he finally decided to spend the money and bring back dignity to the retirement home where he met Beatrice to begin with. Great story.
I think each of these three characters are far too rich to keep forever on the Simpsons. They bring a moral lesson to their own episode and help shape the main characters for future seasons. Mr. Bergstrom reinforced the need for Lisa to be proud of herself. Karl brought the same lesson to Homer but also taught him the lesson selflessness. Last but not least, Abe’s lost love, Beatrice, gave him love and the ability to bring dignity to the aging population of the retirement home. While all these characters are great I understand why they are the one hit wonders of the Simpsons. To bring morality lessons to the show we don’t need to see their faults. They are a bright spot in a long airing series and their mark has been left for all the future seasons.
I think I have been too serious about a cartoon.