News broke this week that Harry Shearer (who voices Mr. Burns, Smithers, Ned Flanders, Reverend Lovejoy, Kent Brockman, Dr. Hibbert, Lenny, Principal Skinner, Otto the bus driver, Rainier Wolfcastle and others) has left the voice cast of ‘The Simpsons’ after… I dunno, something like eleventy skabrillion years? Or at least since 1989, a time when Stephen and I were fresh-faced teens leaving for college, excited at the prospects of adult life. Now, we’re old, and facing the prospect of Simpsons episodes with either 30% fewer cast members or recasting of some of seriously iconic voices. Sure, I’m happy that Maurice LaMarche is probably about to get more work, but they can’t do what they did with Mrs. Krabappel ten or fifteen more times (I hope), which leads us to today’s desperately-in-need-of-a-voice-over query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) only asks that we not start engaging in the “it hasn’t been funny for X years” nonsense, as THAT hasn’t been funny since 1999, asking: Do you think The Simpsons can continue without Harry Shearer? And SHOULD they?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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5 Comments

  1. May 15, 2015 at 11:30 am — Reply

    I think they CAN – they’ve already put out the names of replacement VAs to fill the various roles & it includes folks like Maurice LaMarche, Kevin Michael Richardson, & Billy West, who can definitely do the job. But I really, really don’t think they should. For as talented as the mentioned VAs are, there’s a chemistry change whenever a role is recast, and a lot of the times, it changes for the worse. Regardless of how one feels about the current Simpsons seasons (I haven’t watched a good long time), there is a comfortable chemistry with the cast. But so long as enough people keep watching, Fox will keep galvanizing the show’s proverbial carcass to make it dance.

  2. Alisha
    May 15, 2015 at 12:39 pm — Reply

    Can they? Sure. Should they? I don’t know.

    I love “The Simpsons”. I’ll admit that recent years haven’t been as good as they used to be (with a few exceptions), but I still truly enjoy the series through thick and thin. They have dealt with losing several cast members quite well (though usually because the voice actor passed away), but it is always sad to see Springfield get a little smaller.

    I honestly don’t know what to think about a Springfield without Mr. Burns or Stupid Flanders or Smithers or so many others, and I’m not sure I’ll be happy since there are rumors they are going to recast the roles rather than retire them.

    I don’t know what to think. I’ll just have to wait and see.

  3. Bill
    May 15, 2015 at 1:47 pm — Reply

    I haven’t watched the Simpsons in years, and it’s amazing how long they’ve lasted. Harry Shearer is an integral part of the show, and I think it would be impossible to recast all of the characters he’s played. That said, his leaving may give them an opportunity to overhaul the entire show. A move that would be hilarious to me would be for all of the Shearer-voiced characters to find a reason to leave Springfield, only to be replaced by nearly identical counterparts. Principal Skinner becomes superintendent of Shelbyville public schools to be replaced by Principal van Pelt. Fritz starts driving the bus when Otto goes on a pilgrimage to Colorado. Burns and Smithers elope to a tropical island and their respective long-lost nephews take over the power plant. Ned can head of to be with Maude in an appropriately poignant but hilarious way. Dan Wallonia will move in next door. “New” characters with new voices. What an amazing multi-part event it could be!

    Or put the whole thing to rest.

    Fox, feel free to use or ignore any of this as you see fit.

    • Alisha
      May 15, 2015 at 4:02 pm — Reply

      It might be more complicated than letting Ned be with Maude considering he has since remarried (and also lost) Ms. Krabappel (and while not shown, apparently Homer had a hand in that death as well). Maybe he can split in two like the original Superman Red/Blue, Flanders Diddly and Flanders Doodily, where each one goes off to eternity with one of the women?

  4. Kirby
    May 15, 2015 at 2:17 pm — Reply

    Some people talk about there not being 3 prequel Star Wars movies or two Matrix sequels.

    To me The Simpsons series finale was the Frank Grimes episode (I know there were one or two after that in that season.) It was a great finale, giving our two main stars a plot to deal with that fit both characters. It took a look back at some of the crazy adventures that were had, and gave all of the main voice actors a decent send-off. The series ended on a high (incredibly dark) note, with Lenny having the final line, emphasizing that The Simpsons greatest strength was its side characters.

    So no, they should not continue once Harry Shearer has left.

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