Last night, word broke that Emmy-winning Simpsons voice actor Harry Shearer would be leaving the show after 26 seasons.
Our hearts broke.
This morning, CNN Money revealed that Shearer was turning down a $14 million dollar deal for two seasons.
Our hearts broke again.
When we discovered that The Simpsons won’t kill off his characters (phew!), we were relieved.
…and then we were immediately heartbroken once again when Al Jean, longtime producer of the show, revealed that they would be re-casting a number of the roles that Shearer played on the show.
Naturally, we here at FirstSlice are in a period of mourning.
So in honor of Shearer’s 26 seasons on the show, we present to you the 26 reasons we will miss Harry Shearer on The Simpsons.
1. Ned Flanders
Hens love roosters, geese love ganders, everyone else loves Ned Flanders!
Shearer’s pitch-perfect line readings could always make us love, hate, laugh, and cry at the ups and downs of everyone’s annoyingly perfect next door neighbor.
2. Rainier Wolfcastle
Any time there was a McBain drop in, Simpsons’ fans would go crazy. And Up and at them is enough to qualify for the comedy hall of fame.
3. Mr. Burns
Montgomery Burns is a legend. If he’s not included on your all-time lists for greatest villains, you have an invalid list.
4. Waylon Smithers
When you realize that one man was able to come up with two distinctive vocal characterizations for two pivotal characters who regularly interacted with one another like Mr. Burns and Waylon Smithers, you have to give it up to the guy. One of the most consistently hilarious dynamics of the show was Mr. Burns and Smithers.
5. Lenny Leonard
Has anyone broken the news to Carl?
6. Jebediah Springfield
I mean, if they’re going to seek out replacements, can we humbly offer up a suggestion in that of Nick Offerman?
7. Reverend Lovejoy
A fun character whose biting commentary about his parishioners was only outweighed by his annoyance in dealing with one Ned Flanders (again, Shearer nailing the dynamic of two conflicting characters who interacted on a regular occurrences).
8. Dr. Hibbert
Tell me you can’t hear that laugh as you see this picture.
9. Otto Mann
What easily could have been a one note Keanu Reeves impression, Shearer’s vocalization for Otto has evolved to a point where he could easily steal the show with one-liners like this.
10. Kent Brockman
Forget Walter Cronkite, Kent Brockman has been the most trusted man in news since day one.
Especially after taking the time to make an editorial comment during one show, proclaiming his love for the Earth’s new ant overlords.
11. Seymour Skinner
You never would have assumed Principal Skinner to have one of the richest Simpsons backstories when the series began, but Shearer adeptly committed to every crazy scenario and line read they gave Seymour Skinner. The ultimate deadpan delivery.
12. Marvin Monroe
One of the very first Simpsons characters. I will never forget the sounds of Marvin Monroe pleading with the Simpsons to stop shocking one another.
13. Jasper Beardly
Replacin’ Shearer’s voice for Jasper Beardly, that’s a paddlin’.
14. Devil Flanders
A great twist on the character that provided a healthy set of laughs on this classic Treehouse of Terror episode.
15. Dewey Largo
I think we all know a teacher or two who sound like Dewey Largo.
16. George H. W. Bush
When The Simpsons did something as unthinkable as making our 41st President to be a comic foil for Homer Simpson, Shearer not only worked around a framework of a George H.W. Bush impression, but also gave him a little bit of the edge to make him stand out among the many other Presidential impressions he ended up doing on the show.
17. Alien Burns
Dat high-pitched vocal doe. I always laugh at this. Always.
You may not get to hear Eddie talk a lot (as one of two Chief Wiggum sidekicks), but when you do see him in action, it’s blissfully silly.
20. Fred Rogers
I don’t care how many times he may or may not have appeared on the show, few things are funnier than hearing “Mr. Rogers” say, “it’s a beautiful day… to kick your ass!”
21. Clancy Bouvier
A critical character that helped digger a little bit deeper into the Marge mythos.
22. Herman Hermann
“The key to Springfield has always been Elm Street. The Greeks knew it. The Carthaginians knew it. Now you know it.”
“God closes a door, he opens a gunshop!”
Those two quotes alone make Herman worthy of inclusion.
It’ll be hard to imagine what one half of those space aliens will sound like without him.
You know the guy was versatile when they choose him to fill in for God on the show.
25. Ron Snyder
You can practically hear the disappointment in this vocalization.
26. Hugh Jass
One of the show’s early recurring jokes reached its apex when Shearer gleefully played with the convention of the silly prank calls.
That’ll do it for our list. There are tons of other characters he’s voiced over the years, so we’re just scratching the surface here.
We’ll miss you a lot Harry. But thank you so much for 26 great years and for making even the most miniscule of characters on the show matter. Us fans have always appreciated it!