So The Simpsons turns 25 years old this year, remarkably.
Though it now competes for attention with a number of other shows in a way that it didn’t have to in its early days, the show still holds its unique, special position in popular culture and in public consciousness.
It is beyond a mere national treasure of its nation of origin, but is a fully global phenomenon, firmly embedded forever in the fabric of many, many people’s lives.
I can’t even remember the last time I caught a new episode of The Simpsons, but I know so many episodes like the back of my hand and still consider it part of the fabric of my own life, from back when I was a little kid, right through my twenties and to now.
It’s difficult to imagine our culture without Matt Groenig’s groundbreaking show.
I considered trying to write a post compiling my 25 Funniest Simpsons Moments initially; then realised how hard it would be to pick those choices and how long it would take, given just how much Simpsons there is to consider.
Instead I’ve considered something else; like The Cleveland Show spun off from Family Guy, what 5 Simpsons characters would be the best options for any potential Simpsons spin-off…?
There are so many characters to think of; I can’t think of another show in any genre that has such a massive extended family of quality recurring characters and familiar faces.
But I’ve narrowed it down and here are my top 5 candidates for hypothetical Simpsons spin-off shows…
1. Krusty the Clown
Probably my favorite Simpsons character, even more than Homer. Who wouldn’t want to see the cranky, bitter children’s idol and lapsed Jew in his own spin-off?
A show that would chart the life and times of an ill-spirited superstar, a monumental hypocrite and his joyless, bitter showbiz lifestyle. It sounds like an absolute winner from the get-go.
2. Kang and Kodos
Hailing from the planet “Rigel 7”, the oversized, one-eyed alien villains of many a Simpsons Halloween Special. From impersonating President Clinton and Bob Dole in order to enslave America to going on The Jerry Springer Show to resolve fatherhood/custody of Maggie Simpson, Kang and Kodos have been the vehicle for some of the show’s best moments.
A Kang and Kodos, outer-space-based spin-off cartoon could have brilliant potential. Just like the Guardians of the Galaxy movie will do for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a Kang/Kodos spin-off would expand The Simpsons from an earth-bound fictional universe to a cosmic one!
3. Lionel Hutz
The most incompetent lawyer in television, this hypothetical spin-off would see the hapless Mr Hutz pursuing his legal career in typically incompetent fashion.
Naturally playing off of legal-drama television tropes and cliches, hilarity and hijinks would naturally ensue.
4. Gil Gunderson
The woefully unsuccessful salesman, based on Jack Lemmon’s portrayal of Shelley Levene in Glengarry Glen Ross. Is tied with Dan Castenalletta’s Hans Moleman for the most miserable, constantly down-on-his-luck resident of Springfield.
A series of pure comedy gold and existential crisis would await were he to inherit his own show.
5. Sideshow Bob
The continuing (mis)Adventures of Sideshow Bob would hypothetically see Springfield’s fallen clown (and homicidal maniac) leaving town and trying to make a new, Bart-less life for himself, perhaps in England’s green and pleasant land.
With Kelsey Grammar reprising his classic role and David Hyde-Pierce regularly guest-appearing as Bob’s prudish brother, how would this not be a classy, verbose little offshoot? Presumably, further attempts at murdering Bart Simpson would be a recurring theme.
Or perhaps Bob could once again run for leadership of the Republican Party? Hell, maybe Bob could even win the presidency! Now there’s a premise for a show!
Of course, there are probably more than five Simpsons characters who could warrant a spin-off show. This top five didn’t even include my favorite Simpsons character (Milhouse, if you’re asking). Whether it’ll ever happen remains to be seen.
In the meantime, here’s to another 25 years of The Simpsons…