Lester and ElizaEpisode: Season 7's "The Day the Violence Died"
Original airdate: March 17, 1996
Who are they... really? Just two kids from the neighborhood
Like "Bart the Fink," this is another episode where Bart's pluck and inventiveness ends up causing huge problems he has to help fix.
In this case, it's the discovery of a tramp named Chester Lampwick who may have just invented Itchy and Scratchy. Unfortunately, in trying to help Lampwick get what's coming to him, Bart accidentally brings about the end of Itchy and Scratchy Studios, which has to shut down in bankruptcy to pay back damages.
Bart and Lisa do manage to hatch a scheme that might save "Itchy and Scratchy," but before they get a chance to tell everyone the good news... Lester and Eliza show up with the solution.
Drawn to resemble Bart and Lisa from the old-school "Tracy Ullman Show" days, Lester and Eliza at first seemed to be bonafide rivals to the Simpsons kids dominance of the Springfield kid mystery solving field. There's even a chilling final shot in which Bart sees Lester glaring at him outside his window.
But the duo disappeared after this one appearance, never to be seen again. Isn't that convenient? I guess everything's wrapped up in a neat little PACKAGE, now isn't it? No, seriously. I hope that didn't seem sarcastic.
Walt WarrenEpisode: Season 21's "The Bob Next Door"
Original airdate: May 16, 2010
Who is he... really? Aaaah! It's Sideshow Bob!
Yes, that's right, a rare late episode of "The Simpsons" getting references, from only last year. I'm an equal opportunity "Simpsons" fan. (Don't get too used to it though...)
In a play on both "Face/Off" and any number of prison escape movies, Bart's long-time nemesis Sideshow Bob hatches a fiendish scheme to swap identities with his cell mate, Walt Warren.
Performing late-night plastic surgery to switch faces with the soon-to-be-paroled Warren, Bob ends up skipping out on the rest of his sentence while his hapless victim remains in the Springfield Penitentiary in his stead.
The episode has all the trappings of a classic Sideshow Bob escapade, including references to Bob's love of Gilbert & Sullivan and self-aware mockery of voice actor Kelsey Grammar's most famous roles in TV and film. (Yes, there's a "Down Periscope" reference.) The voice of Walt Warren himself is provided by "Simpsons" regular Hank Azaria, doing a riff on his Jimmy Stewart impression.
Max PowerEpisode: Season 10's "Homer to the Max"
Original airdate: February 7, 1999
Who is he... really? Homer. To the max.
Max Power is not just some pseudonym Homer started using after America fell in love with a TV oaf named "Homer Simpson." It's also one of the top 3 or 4 best fake names Homer has ever made up, coming in just behind Rembrandt Q. Einstein, Handsome B. Wonderful, and Hercules Rockefeller. (It's also the only one of those he was able to spell correctly, probably because he was reading it off of a hair dryer.) Plus he legally changed his name to Max Power in a court of law, so this was not just some crazy whim.
Also, Max Power has his own theme song (sung to the tune of "Goldfinger"):
Max Power, that's the man whose name you'd love to touch,
but you mustn't touch!
That name sounds good in your ear, but when you say it,
you mustn't fear.
'Cause that name could be said by anyone!
By the by, I'd love to play you a clip of Homer singing the Max Power theme song, but Fox has wisely made it unavailable in any embeddable form around the Internet. Because, as everyone knows, were we to show you a hilarious clip from "The Simpsons" right now, you'd never spend another dollar on anything related to the show for the rest of your lives, having seen the best moment here on Ranker.
[TRIVIA TIME! What were the names Homer suggested that Marge switch to while he was at the courthouse changing his name back to Homer Simpson? If you guessed Chesty La Rue, Busty St. Claire or Hootie McBoob, congratulations. You know how to read one sentence ahead in a standard paragraph.
Hans SprungfeldEpisode: Season 7's "Lisa the Iconoclast"
Original airdate: February 18, 1996
Who is he... really? Jebediah Springfield is really him
The character of Jebediah Springfield was introduced in the eighth episode of the show ever produced, "The Telltale Head." In that episode, Bart removed the head of the Jebediah statue in Downtown Springfield, attracting the ire of the townsfolk. Oh, that Season 1 Bart... Such an underachiever. And proud of it! It's almost like he didn't want us to have a cow.
Anyway, the origin story of Springfield became rather entrenched over time - a group of determined pioneers/circus freaks left Maryland and, due to a misreading of the Bible, started out on a journey to New Sodom. Among them were Jebediah Springfield and Shelbyville Manhattan, who disagreed on whether or not the new town should encourage marriage between cousins. And thus, the towns of Springfield and Shelbyville were born.
"Lisa the Iconoclast" introduced a wrinkle into the classic Jebediah legend, alleging that he was in fact a bloodthirsty pirate named Hans Sprungfeld, who had a long bitter rivalry with George Washington.
The whole crazy story depends on the testimony of the head of the Springfield Historical Society, voiced by Donald Sutherland in a part that was written specifically for him. (I guess the writers really wanted to hear Donald Sutherland repeatedly use the term "johnny cakes.")
This episode is most notable for introducing not one but TWO new words into the English language. The first, "embiggen," as in Jebediah Springfield's credo: "A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man." The second, "cromulent." When Ms. Krabappel says she never heard the word "embiggen" before moving to Springfield, Ms. Hoover replies that it's a perfectly "cromulent" word.
Both embiggen and cromulent have been found in dictionaries and various scholarly publications. Two separate writers who worked on this episode - Dan Greaney and David X. Cohen, respectively - are credited with inventing the words.
José FlandersEpisode: Season 7's "Lisa the Vegetarian"
Original airdate: October 15, 1995
Who is he... really? Ned Flanders' Latin American cousin
Lisa's newfound, hardline vegetarianism clashes with Homer's desire to throw an awesome meat-filled barbecue in this classic episode from Season 7. But the whole barbecue situation only happened because Homer became jealous of the Flanders Family Reunion he spotted happening next door.
The gathering includes numerous relatives who all closely resemble Ned, Maude, Rod and Tod Flanders with only superficial differences. This would possibly just count as a case of close familial relations IF the other Flanders didn't all speak in the same recognizable "Flanders" style that clearly indicates more than just a distant blood relation between everyone present. It's some kind of crazy cloning experiment gone horribly wrong.
And consider this peculiar piece of evidence. Ned's English relative, Lord Thistlewick Flanders, tries NOT to speak in a familiar Flanders style, and only offers a timid "a googely-doogely" under duress. Why does such gibberish, then, come so easily to José Flanders, who boldly greets Homer with "Buenos ding dong diddly días señor" with no prompting at all. Perhaps because they are... ALTER-EGOS! Did I just blow your mind?
No? It's just a silly joke from an old "Simpsons" episode? Okaly-dokaly.
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