Friday, January 28, 2011

Phil Hartman Dedication Month: The 'Other' Characters

We end this month-long tribute to Phil Hartman by remembering the smaller roles he played, be it background characters with one or two lines, to one-and-done characters that left a lasting impression on us all. No matter who the character was, his performance was always top-notch. So without further ado, let's look over these characters.

I will start by listing off all the characters he's done (Including the ones I mentioned in the introduction):
  • Lyle Lanley
  • Bill Clinton
  • Fat Tony
  • The Godfather
  • Nelson's Father
  • Jimmy Apollo
  • Tom
  • Horst
  • Evan Conover
  • Moses
  • Shady Cable Man
  • Plato
  • God
Let's begin this part with something for the little roles. Phil Hartman did Fat Tony once for A Fish Named Selma because Joe Montegna  wasn't around (He's also the only other guy to voice Fat Tony). Moses, God, Plato, Nelson's dad, Jimmy Apollo and the Godfather were other notable minor characters as none of them really had more than 5 lines but you still remember them.With that out of the way, let's look over the bigger minor characters:

Bill Clinton:
Bill Clinton has been a character for the show before and after Phil Hartman did his voice for the Treehouse of Horror VII segment Citizen Kang. But Phil's performance was the best Bill Clinton in my opinion and it shows as this was the longest role for Bill Clinton.

Shady Cable Man:
Okay that's not his official name, but that's what I refer to him as. Essentially his main character is that he's a cable man who's basically a criminal and based on the moral of the episode, I'd say that Phil did a great job personifying the Devil in a human body (Seriously, never did think about it before but yeah, the cable guy is the Devil in human form).

Evan Conover:
Yeah this guy is basically Lionel Hutz if he worked for the Government but that's also a great reason why he's so memorable, he's essentially a more successful Lionel Hutz. I love his role in Bart vs Australia and I think it's one of the more memorable minor characters.

Not really much to say here, he doesn't really have much character, but at the same time, he's very memorable. Basically the instructor to Homer for his job that he eventually loses and just his want to make the power plant more efficient despite what we know just gives me a feeling of joy.

Yeah this was supposed to be for Tom Cruise, but the staff called up Phil and it worked out all right. Tom is basically the anti-Homer as he's a good guardian for Bart, he's healthy and fit, he has hair, and he's intelligent. The way his character is built up throughout the episode to lead up to the final battle I thought was just excellent.

Lyle Lanley:
Saved the best for last, this is by far my favorite Phil Hartman performance, I'd go so far to say it's better than Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz. But that's just my opinion. Anyways, Lyle is... you know what, do yourself a favor go watch Marge vs the Monorail I'll wait...
You done? Okay back to the character. Lyle is basically a Music Man homage as he goes town-to-town scamming people into buying a monorail system that costs a lot to buy, but nothing to make. Lyle is also so over-the-top hilarious in his actions ranging from leaving his plans alone for people to read (Plans with stick figures mind you) to trying to get to Tahiti to escape with the money (The cab and the layover in North Haverbrook made me crack up). Really there's not much more I can add, other than the staff thought it was Phil Hartman's best performance and the episode is on many people's top 10 lists, and I credit a lot to Phil Hartman.

Well that was an interesting month, I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did. See you next week

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