Recently, we noticed that our old friends from Yankee Pot Roast had written a book called Underrated: The Yankee Pot Roast Book of Awesome Underappreciated Stuff. At first we assumed that they'd misspelled overrated, and that their book making fun of lame stuff had an insanely ironic title. But as we got deeper into the book (or rather as our interns read more of it to us while we lifted weights), it became increasingly clear that they had gone and done something totally and utterly insane. They were writing about things they ... liked. In a daring move that will probably break the internet (which is overrated anyways) we decided to let them try it on our website. Behold, for maybe the first time on the internet: nice things being said about stuff.
If you're thinking Comic Book Guy or Moe are underrated, you're obviously not a Simpsons fan. Wacky supporting characters of that sort are cult-classics, universally recognized and beloved. They're rated exactly where they should be. We're running down some of the truly underrated Springfieldians: those who remain underused and are still rife with potential for unexpected hilarity.
Aw, c'mon, do it for ol' Gil! Essentially a parody of Jack Lemmon's desperate, beleaguered real-estate agent from Glengarry Glen Ross, poor old Gil is the ultimate sad sack: A salesman whose only asset is his expired charm. The poor guy's an inch away from losing his job, wife, house (that is, his shitty job, cheating wife, and whatever roof he currently calls home). All he needs is one more sale--just one sale, please, pretty please?--but he is completely unable to seal the deal. He practically sweats desperation.
Gil is great because he makes you feel good about yourself. No matter how miserable your life, at least you're not that guy. Like many of The Simpsons' finest characters, Gil fills a niche you didn't even know was empty till he appeared. He's like a grownup version of the Squeaky-Voiced Teen in that he pops up any and everywhere, never holding the same crappy job twice. He sells shoes, used cars, doorbells, even Coleco computers ("Now, let's talk rust-proofing. These Colecos'll rust up on ya' like that, er ... shut up, Gil. Close the deal ... close the deal!").
Gil is best when used sparingly; the perfect one-joke cameo. Pop up, make us laugh, disappear. Of course they gave him a starring episode--even Crazy Old Cat Lady is due her leading role--where he moved in with the Simpsons (and who hasn't yet stayed at that house?), but we like Gil best when he's tried to sell us something obsolete, failed, and limped away, dejected but eternally optimistic he'll nab the next one.