Maude Flanders. Bleeding Gums Murphy. Fat Tony. In exactly one week there is going to be another name on that list of Springfield Cemetery residents.
In a late 2013 conference call, The Simpsons executive producer Al Jean dropped a bombshell: “We’re actually working on a script where a character will pass away.” Naturally, the ‘net immediately went into a tizzy, especially after Jean opted to dole out a clue: the actor playing the doomed character won an Emmy for playing that character.
With the Season 26 premiere days away, Jean hopped back on the phone for another conference call, but this time his lips were a lot less loose. “I’m afraid I can’t give out any more clues about anything,” said Jean, laughing. “It’ll blow the secret!” But after bemoaning the number of days that he still had to survive “without blurting it out” and before he moaned, “How many minutes ‘til the end of this interview and these questions that’ll trap me into revealing this secret?”Jean managed to let slip one more little tidbit: religion plays a part in the death. Hmmm…
Aside from the above information, all we officially know about the episode is that it’s called “Clown in the Dumps,” and that it was named that for a reason. We also have the official synopsis: “In the milestone 26th season opener of The Simpsons, the unthinkable happens: a Springfield resident dies. Also, Krusty retires after he’s offended by a comedy cable channel roast of him, and Lisa tries to protect Homer from getting hurt. Guest Voice Cast: David Hyde Pierce as Felix; Sarah Silverman as herself; Jeff Ross as himself.”
So who could it be?
Krusty the Clown
Is Krusty so offended that he decides to take his own life? Uh, actually, that seems a little dark to us, so we’re going to say no. But we have put together a Most Likely to Die list, one which we’ve narrowed down to those instances where the actors won their Emmy for playing that specific character:
Homer, Marge, Bart, and Lisa Simpson
Yes, Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, and Yeardley Smith have all won Emmys work their work as the aforementioned characters, but…well, call us crazy, but even with the inevitable ratings bump from the curious casual fans who’ll tune in to see which character’s gonna end up biting the dust, we can’t see the show deciding to kill off anyone who actually resides at 742 Evergreen Terrace, especially not when Jean recently reiterated that “when we kill ‘em, they stay dead.” Can you imagine The Simpsons without Homer, Marge, Bart, or Lisa? Nope, neither can we.
While this might seem like a legitimate possibility to sporadic Simpsons viewers, given that Marcia Wallace, the beloved Bob Newhart Show star who gave voice to Mrs. K, died herself on Oct. 25, 2013, Wallace meant too much to too many people for anyone to sign off on the idea of using Edna Krabappel’s death as a ratings ploy. More importantly, though, it’s too late, anyway: a quiet epilogue was added to the futuristic March 19, 2014 episode, “The Man Who Grew Too Much,” which featured Ned mourning his second wife. (Man, that guy really just can’t catch a break.)
Who needs the proprietor of the Kwik-E-Mart? We do, obviously. Although it’s well-documented that Apu – voiced by Hank Azaria – is risking life and limb every time he steps behind the counter (and has the scars to prove it), the idea that the show might be leaving the eight little Nahasapeemapetilons without a father seems unconscionable. Oh, sure, one of these days he might just get fed up with Anoop, Nabendu, Sandeep, Gheet, Uma, Poonam, Pria, and Sashi and skip out in the middle of the night to leave Manjula to fend for herself, but a man’s got to sleep sometime.
Given how often he’s tried to kill Bart, only to have his devious plans blow up in his face, odds are even that, whenever Sideshow Bob – voiced by Kelsey Grammer – meets his end, either he’ll get the death penalty or be caught up in an evil scheme gone horribly awry. But the big reason why we don’t see him taking life’s clown car to Heaven anytime soon? Jean recently disputed claims that he’d called the almost-departed character “iconic,” clarifying, “It’s a great character, but I never used the word ‘iconic.’” Who among us would describe Sideshow Bob as anything less?
Admittedly, this is the darkest horse in the race, given that the episode synopsis specifies that the character in question is described as a resident of Springfield, and the last time we saw Krusty’s former fiancée, she’d moved to France. Still, we also saw Krusty floating down the Seine with his beloved Princess Penelope (guest star Anne Hathaway), having reconciled with her after apologizing for bailing on their impending wedding, so, y’know, she could’ve moved back…and if she’s the one who’s dyin’, the fact that the episode is entitled “Clown in the Dumps” suddenly makes a whole lot of sense.
Rabbi Hyman Krustofski
But you know what makes even more sense? Consider the title of the episode and combine it with the knowledge that Dan Castellaneta has never won an Emmy for playing Krusty, per se (his 2004 award was for playing seven different characters, a roll call which includes Krusty, but using a cheap technicality like that would be out of character for Jean), and suddenly the odds-on favorite for Most Likely to Buy the Farm becomes Krusty’s father, Rabbit Hyman Krustofski, voiced by Jackie Mason. Papa, can you hear us? If so, you might want to get your estate in order.