The Eight Greatest One-Note Recurring Characters in ‘Simpsons’ History

Yar! There be many dimensions to the ol’ Sea Captain, but we don’t care to ever find out
The Eight Greatest One-Note Recurring Characters in ‘Simpsons’ History

Sometimes, ignorance truly is bliss. While The Simpsons has done a number of episodes where they’ve explored the life and backstory of a joke character — like GilDuffman or Comic Book Guy — there are others who have remained delightfully one-dimensional. And it’s my hope that they stay that way.

Take, for example, Captain McCallister. I don’t want an episode where he struggles with the symptoms of scurvy, or you learn more about his formative years in the Navy. All I want is a timely “Yar!” once a season, and that’s it. One-note Springfieldians like that aren’t first-, second- or even third-tier characters, they’re the one-note gags that offer us nothing else, which, again, is just perfect. 

Here are the eight best of them…

Like stand-up comedy where every single thing is funny and doesn't waste your time? Follow Cracked Comedy Club on Instagram and YouTube for exactly that. 

Üter Zörker

Üter is a German exchange student who likes chocolate and is a target for bullies. He’s also killed off in a number of the non-canon “Treehouse of Horror” episodes. The most the show has done to develop him is make him friends with Groundskeeper Willie. Just keep stuffing your face with chocolate, Üter, that’s all we need from you.

Raphael aka Wiseguy aka Sarcastic Clerk

Neil Arsenty, creator of On This Day in Simpsons History on X/Twitter, says Raphael, who is more commonly called “wiseguy” or “sarcastic clerk,” is among his favorite one-note characters. Raphael has worked a number of different jobs around Springfield, as the writers just plop him in as-needed in order to deliver some snark. 

Squeaky Voiced Teen

The Squeaky Voiced Teen, who has also been called Steve Friedman, Jeremy Friedman and the Pimple-Faced Teen, is another character who bounces from job to job, having worked at the local Krusty Burger, the grocery store and the movie theater, just to name a few. Basically, he’s always there to be a pathetic loser in a thankless, dead-end job.

Just Stamp the Ticket Man

When something is too mean for Raphael to say, they give it to “Just Stamp the Ticket Man.” He first appeared in the Season Three episode “When Flanders Failed,” delivering the line that made him a fan favorite. As Flanders is being all chummy and Flanders-y, the man tells Flanders to “just stamp the ticket” to validate his parking. It was a hilarious moment that birthed a delightful background character.

Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel

Cletus Delroy Montfort DeMontblanc Bigglesworth Spuckler has 44 children with his sister/wife Brandine. From their comfort with incest to their love of bluegrass, the entire Spuckler family is one big redneck stereotype that’s perfect for a quick joke. 

Bumblebee Man

A parody of Telemundo programming, Pedro Chespirito, better known as the Bumblebee Man, is almost never seen out of his costume. He only ever gets hurt and shouts in Spanish, often inaccurately. In the beloved episode “22 Short Films About Springfield,” the writers pull a pretty hilarious bait-and-switch, where it seems like they’re going to explore Chespirito’s home life, only to quickly reveal that he’s as accident-prone at home as he is on TV. 

Captain Horatio McCallister

Created by Conan O’Brien, Captain Horatio McCallister has admitted that he isn’t a real captain, though he’s been portrayed as piloting several ships, usually into some sort of disaster. He’s an equally poor restaurateur, as he owns The Frying Dutchman, a failing buffet spot. Why is there an old sea captain in Springfield who seems like he’s from 200 years ago? I don’t know — and I never want to know.

Disco Stu

Disco Stu is the quintessential gag character that needs nothing else. He was created as a one-off joke when the Simpsons held a garage sale and he declined to buy Homer’s “Disco Stu” jacket (it was supposed to say “Disco Stud,” but he ran out of room). Since then, he’s popped up periodically with a disco-themed joke. In Season 18, we found out that Disco Stu used to be known as Nautical Stu before he got into disco, and that he once had a promising career as a sea captain. Fortunately, it stopped there.

To any current or future Simpsons writers — no matter how many seasons The Simpsons goes on for, please don’t give Disco Stu any additional depth or pathos. He should remain just as shallow and meaningless as his favorite genre of music.

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