Dan Castellaneta’s 10 Best ‘Simpsons’ Characters That Aren’t Homer

Homer’s shadow looms large, but don’t let it block out the other amazing characters Castellaneta brings to life on ‘The Simpsons’
Dan Castellaneta’s 10 Best ‘Simpsons’ Characters That Aren’t Homer

Homer Simpson’s reputation as a symbol of fatherhood will surely outlast all of us. After all, beneath a layer of clumsy, risky and thoughtless decision-making lies a heart of gold that usually figures it out and makes things right in the end. He’s such an iconic character, though, that it’s easy to overlook the real person behind him: Dan Castellaneta. And yet, it’s Castellaneta’s timing, delivery and ability to elicit so many different feelings — all with just his voice — that inform so much of Homer’s DNA. 

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That said, Castellaneta’s talent isn’t just confined to Homer. His vocal spirit brings countless other Springfieldians to life, too. Including personal favorites, like...

Squeaky-Voiced Teen


Also known occasionally as “Pimple-Faced Teen” or Jeremy Friedman/Steve Friedman, this greasy kid — whose vocal range couldn’t be more different than Homer’s — makes for tons of great jokes. Always working some entry-level position at Krusty Burger, the grocery store or movie theater, he’s often the punchline for whatever the retail scene needs. 

Mayor Quimby

While Castellaneta was initially doing a parody of the Kennedy family, the sheer run of the show has allowed Mayor Quimby to evolve into a dynastic presence all his own. Whether he’s going on vacation to avoid the town’s problems, having a child with a random mistress or mispronouncing the name of the very city he’s mayor of, he’s a perfect representation of all that’s wrong with the people who represent us in government. 

Sideshow Mel


Mel isn’t the focus of many episodes, but his absolutely absurd, over-the-top delivery of every single line is impossible to miss. 

Mel is best known for being Sideshow Bob’s replacement, but he still shares certain attributes with him. Both come from an Ivy League background, both use a slide whistle and both have wild hairstyles. He might take some abuse from Krusty, but he has a wife, poodles and even won the Springfield Entertainer of the Year Award. That last part must surely get under Bob’s skin the most.

Gil Gunderson


Like many Simpsons characters, Gil, who is always a second away from falling to pieces, is a spoof of another character that he will probably outlast. Based on Shelley Levene from Glengarry Glen Ross, the writers originally intended for Gil to be a one-off joke. The story goes that Castellaneta was so funny with the character at the table-read that they kept finding more ways to use him.

Hans Moleman


We barely know Hans Moleman, but in many ways, that makes him a perfect testament to Castellaneta’s abilities — he’s incredibly memorable nonetheless. While assumed to be an elderly man, Hans claims to be only 31 and to have had his life ruined by drinking. His soft-spoken innocence is usually compounded by bad things happening to him — being eaten by alligators, being torched by solar rays, etc. 

Aside from that, no one would have imagined him getting hit in the groin by a football would have such a lasting impression. All of these things are only heightened by his strange, struggling whisper of a voice — courtesy, of course, of Castellaneta.



Castellaneta makes up one-half of the Treehouse of Horror “mascots.” Like many of the characters on this list, Kodos is an easy one to miss and not associate with Castellaneta, but at this point, the show wouldn’t be the same without Kodos and his sister Kang, so it would be irresponsible not to rank him this high.

Groundskeeper Willie


Good ol’ reliable Willie. What would Springfield Elementary be without him? His passion for the school is so intense that he lives in a shack on the premises. His violent outbursts and disdain for Principal Skinner are a show staple, and you’ll never see anyone so enthusiastic about small turtles or unclogging the toilet.

Grampa Simpson

It only makes sense for Castellaneta to voice both father and son, their relationship ranging from awful to meaningful to everything in-between. Castellaneta also has a special knack for voicing Grampa, everyone’s favorite rambling, senseless old man, at different ages that absolutely clicks. 

Barney Gumble

Barney is the last character you’d expect to have such a journey within the show. We see him painfully addicted to alcohol, we see him clean up his act and we even see him become a hero by saving Bart and Lisa via helicopter, all before becoming an alcoholic again. All of which allows Castellaneta to show off his range, too. Further case in point: Barney also showcases how well Castellaneta can sing

Krusty the Clown

There are stories that an early idea for the show was for Homer and Krusty to be the same person, creating an arc about how Bart loved Krusty but resented his father — while they were secretly the same person. This obviously didn’t happen, but I like to think that an element of that idea stuck around. 

Homer and Krusty do have a ton in common. Neither makes smart decisions, and both are a bit shortsighted, tending to let down the ones who love them only to correct things at the buzzer. 

Still, Krusty’s pack-a-day voice is one-of-a-kind. And frankly so distinctive, that like Homer, it’s immediately recognizable — not just as Krusty the Clown, but as belonging to The Simpsons.

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