Over the course of its nearly 30-year run on television, The Simpsons has built a gigantic cast of entertaining characters. Everybody’s heard titular Simpson family and B-tier supporting cast – like Milhouse, Principal Skinner, and Ned Flanders – but what about the C-list characters? The Simpsons has a lovable collection of characters that only appear in an episode once or twice a season. These five characters are some of the best in the entire series, even if they don’t get many chances to shine.
Originally a one-shot character, Gil Gunderson earned his recurring status by being the biggest sad-sack in all of Springfield. Nothing ever goes right for Gil as he cannot help but ruin whatever good fortune he receives by saying the worst possible thing at the worst possible time. It’s easy to feel sorry for poor old Gil as his staggering lack of confidence makes it clear that he has a tremendous amount of self-loathing.
However, Gil is a fantastic character for the same reasons that make him pitiable. As he appears throughout the series, he stumbles into new and more easily preventable ways to get fired from his latest job and often fails so that the main cast of characters can succeed. Like when he describes how rainwater will strip the paint off a car Homer wants to buy or when he fails as a realtor so that Marge can have a career. Maybe one day he’ll catch a break, but until then Gil’s ineptitude is a great source of laughs on The Simpsons.
The Simpsons has gotten a lot out of this pretty one-note character. He’s feeble, accident-prone, and according to one episode, only 31 years old. We’ve seen him die numerous times only to return unharmed in later episodes, he has a sword in his walking cane, and him getting hit in the groin with a football is one of the best short films ever made. He also stole the Griffin family’s car in that bizarre Simpsons-Family Guy crossover special.
Hans Moleman only appears once every several episodes, but when he does show up, he always brings a laugh. Moleman is a really fun character and has yet to completely wear out his welcome, even after 30 years of basically the same joke.
Artie Ziff hasn’t appeared in an episode of The Simpsons since 2012, despite his character traits becoming more relevant to modern world events. While he is madly in love with Marge despite her rejecting him, he is also a billionaire internet entrepreneur. He gained his wealth by creating an adapter that turns the annoying sound of a dial-up modem into relaxing music, only to lose all his money when his sketchy accounting practices become known.
Compared to his first and second appearances in 1991 and 2002, there are a lot more sketchy internet millionaires and billionaires around today. While Artie has a bit of a character arc and is a somewhat better person in his second to last appearance on the show, his character offers a great opportunity to explore a lot of modern-day issues in the tech sector.
Herman Hermann only makes meaningful appearances a few times within The Simpsons nearly 30-year run. Originally he was going to receive a different backstory on how he lost his arm in each of his appearances, however, the joke only appears twice in the series. Instead, episodes involving Herman usually focus on his unhinged personality, his fanatic collection of military equipment, and his suspicious demeanor.
The best jokes in the iconic episode “22 Short Films Over Springfield” (yes, even better than the steamed hams meme) involves Herman capturing Chief Wiggum and Snake in an homage to Pulp Fiction. Over the course of its ongoing run, a lot of Simpsons’ characters were sanitized or give some kind of sympathetic characteristic. Thankfully, though, Herman remains as mean and bitter as his first appeared in the first season of The Simpsons, and that’s pretty impressive.
Hank Scorpio only appears meaningfully in one episode of The Simpsons and is perhaps the best one-off character in the series. He is a fantastic boss and extremely welcoming to the Simpson family. This makes for hilarious juxtaposition with the fact that he’s also a murderous supervillain who’s willing to kill innocent people for his own gain.
Hank Scorpio gained internet fame a year ago when the Xbox One X was still under the working title ‘Project Scorpio’ and speculation and memes were running wild. This was great because more people knowing about Hank Scorpio can only make the world a better place. While there are plenty of reasons to love Hank Scorpio, his maniacal laugh while using a flamethrower is easily the top of the list.