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The 10 Most Memorable Simpsons Alter-Egos

Updated June 12, 2019 115.1k views10 items

After more than 25 seasons, there's not a whole lot about the residents of Springfield, USA, that we don't already know. Or so you'd think. But it turns out, a number of the town's most notable and famous residents are not entirely who they seem.

Numerous characters on The Simpsons have suffered identity crises over the years. Usually it's Homer, who's adopted the names Rock Strongo and Guy Incognito. among many others. But it's happened to other people as well! Remember when Krusty was once jailed in a case of mistaken identity and later used an assumed name to try to evade rightful punishment. (More on that later.) It turns out, even the town's esteemed founder may have been living a secret double life with another name.

Why does The Simpsons keep returning to the notion of alter-egos and alternate identities so often? Because the writers sometimes get lazy and re-use gags that worked the first time around, especially because, after so many episodes, only total dorkfaces like myself would even remember? Of course not, silly. It's tapping in to the fantasy we all share of leaving behind our responsibilities and starting life anew with a clean slate. Duh.

What are some memorable Simpsons alter egos? Take a look here and see some of the funniest fake names in the show's history.

So enjoy this collection of the most memorable alter-egos, assumed identities, doppelgangers, and doubles from the history of The Simpsons. And remember... your name is Homer Thompson. Hello, Mr. Thompson. 
  • Photo: The Simpsons / Fox

    Guy Incognito

    Episode: Season 6's "Fear of Flying"
    Original airdate: December 18, 1994
    Who is he... really? A guy actually named Guy Incognito, who is Homer's exact double.

    The one-time-only appearance of Guy Incognito at Moe's Tavern remains one of the greatest gags and most frequently repeated gags in Simpsons history. Here's the setup: Homer has been banned from Moe's after a prank war went one step too far. Suddenly, a man looking just like Homer, but wearing a silly mustache and speaking in a fake-sounding British accent, arrives at the bar, introducing himself as "Guy Incognito."

    Obviously, Moe believes this to be Homer pulling a cheap stunt in order to get back into the bar, and he and the other regulars beat him up and throw him out. (Yeah, it's a little violent.)

    This is one of only two mentions of Guy in the entire Simpsons canon. He appears briefly on an altered 'Wanted' poster in Springfield after the city has been covered by an impenetrable dome in The Simpsons Movie. Presumably, once more, Homer was in trouble and used the presence of his exact double to escape justice.
  • Photo: The Simpsons / Fox

    The Thompsons

    Episode: Season 5's "Cape Feare"
    Original air date: October 7, 1993
    Who are they... really? The Simpsons

    "Cape Feare," in my humble estimation, may be the single best episode of The Simpsons ever made. There, I said it. Certainly, it's a top drawer Sideshow Bob episode by any standards, expanding the Sideshow Bob mythology massively in his second appearance on the show. This is the first time we see his obsession with killing Bart Simpson, and we're introduced to a number of the character's trademarks, including his lifelong love affair with Gilbert and Sullivan's operettas. Plus, it's a full-blown parody of the Scorsese remake of Cape Fear. Not bad for 22 minutes.

    After Sideshow Bob is released from prison and the Simpsons have started receiving death threats, they relocate to the wisely-chosen Terror Lake under the assumed name of "The Thompsons." This was chosen most likely due to the similarities with their previous name, making it easier for some members of the family to remember. Unfortunately, it still didn't work.

    The whole "Homer Thompson" ruse ends up being a big waste of time, as Bob follows the family to Terror Lake by hanging on the underside of their own car. In fact, "wasting time" ended up being kind of a theme for the entire episode, as it came in short and had to be artificially expanded later. Most infamously, this involved extending the bit where Sideshow Bob accidentally steps on a rake. It was intended to just happen once... it ends up being nine individual rake hits in the final episode:
  • Worker and Parasite

    Video: YouTube

    Episode: Season 4's "Krusty Gets Kancelled"
    Original air date: May 13, 1993
    Who are they... really? Рабочий И Паразит

    We only get brief glimpses of the Krusty the Clown Show, and it's typically up to the audience to fill in the considerable gaps with their own imagination. Aside from the occasional bit where Krusty, say, creams a French person with pies for 10 minutes, and pauses to show Itchy and Scratchy cartoons... what actually happens during a standard Krusty episode? How much time can really be wasted throwing things at Sideshow Mel?

    We get some answers in the Season 4 finale, when Krusty's ratings get crushed by a new competitor, the sentient ventriloquist's dummy Gabbo. With Itchy and Scratchy moving to the newer, more popular show, Krusty is left with cartoons from Eastern Europe's favorite cat and mouse team, Worker and Parasite.

    Their nonsensical Communist Bloc hijinks were apparently made in 1959, if the opening credits are to be believed. Those credits, by the by, are made to look Cyrillic, but don't actually mean anything. Much like everything else in the cartoon. 
  • Photo: The Simpsons / Fox

    Armin Tamzarian

    Episode: Season 9's "The Principal and the Pauper"
    Original air date: September 28, 1997
    Who is he... really? Principal Seymour Skinner

    "The Principal and the Pauper" is one of the most discussed and debated episodes in Simpsons history, cited by critics as one of the first visible signs of the show's creative decline, which most agree occurred some time around the 9th and 10th seasons.

    It's controversial mainly because of the presence of Armin Tamzarian, which apparently, is the real name of the man we've come to know as Seymour Skinner. Apparently, Tamzarian went to war and, after what he presumed was the death of his superior officer – Sergeant Seymour Skinner – he assumed the man's life and identity, even returning to his hometown of Springfield, moving in with his mother Agnes, and becoming the local high school principal.

    (If the basic story sounds familiar, that's either because it's based on a real case from 16th Century France or because it's also how Dick Whitman became Don Draper on "Mad Men.")

    The jig is up for Tamzarian when the real Seymour Skinner (voiced by Martin Sheen) returns to town and tries to re-enter his life. The episode ends with everything being set right, of course, and also with a clever, self-aware nod to the fact that the discovery of Tamzarian's real identity won't come up in future episodes. (Judge Snyder decrees that no one ever mention the events of the episode ever again.)

    In the world of The Simpsons, audiences accept that Bart, Lisa, and Maggie have remained the same age for decades, and that a relatively small town contains every single type of building, institution, and attraction known to man. But for some reason, fans have always had a hard time with this particular reset. Maybe it's the fact that Tamzarian is living with a woman he's pretending is his mother but who actually didn't meet him until she was an old lady... That's just kind of unsettling, reset schtick or no.

    [BONUS TRIVIA: Writer Ken Keeler got the name "Armin Tamzarian" from an insurance claims adjuster who helped him following a car accident. He didn't bother to tell the guy he was using his name in a Simpsons episode.]