Friday, January 7, 2011

Phil Hartman Dedication Month: Introduction

Hi there! I'm KK (Or Kriken) you may remember me from such blog posts as; "Episode 1: Elementary School Musical" and "Episode 5: Lisa Simpson, This Isn't Your Life". I'm here to pay homage to one of the greatest guests that the show ever had: Phil Hartman. I can't recall a single performance he gave that I didn't like, he always had a way of stealing the scene or episode whenever he was around, God bless him. It was very tragic what happened to him to end his life so abruptly. So I thought I'd begin this month with a little bit of insight about Phil Hartman from characters, to episodes, to even how he became a part of this show.

To begin let's go over all the different characters Hartman voiced:
  • Lionel Hutz
  • Troy McClure
  • Lyle Lanley
  • Bill Clinton (No Seriously)
  • Fat Tony (We'll get more into this later)
  • The Godfather
  • Nelson's Father
  • Jimmy Apollo
  • Tom
  • Horst
  • Evan Conover
  • Moses
  • Shady Cable Man
  • Plato
In short, the man was a great talent and provided the show with tons of characters. Not all of them were memorable, but they were all great to watch. Of course his two most famous are Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz and I'll go into more detail about them later this month.

Probably the thing I find most interesting about Hartman was the fact that he was only supposed to be a one-time character as "Competent, funny lawyer Lionel Hutz" (That lasted a long time). But sources say (Wikipedia and DVD commentaries) that he enjoyed the writing staff so much he asked to come back as recurring characters and thus Homer vs Lisa and the 8th Commandment was made (Okay it wasn't JUST for Hartman, but it was the launch of Troy McClure so I get points here). Over the years, Phil Hartman would return for a few episodes per season and eventually Hartman grew so attached to the character of Troy McClure, he asked the staff about making a live action Troy McClure movie (More on that later). I could list my favorite performances, but I feel that leaving any of them off the list would be a grave injustice to the man's work. But I will say that my all time favorite performance from him has to be Lyle Lanley in Marge vs the Monorail. That is an all-time great episode and I felt that Hartman just stole the show with his Music Man character who is just over-the-top expressive. The character has no subtly in the way he act but is just great in the way he is able to manipulate people into giving him their money for his scam. I don't think there was a moment when he was on screen where I didn't enjoy him. Where was I going? Oh yeah back to the introduction... Really not much more to add to this post, I basically just wanted to introduce the concept of what's to come the next few weeks. There will be more detail to come as I talk about certain characters, certain episodes and scenes in greater detail about a great man.

In short, I hope this month is as successful as the "Juice Loosener" and you all come back for more.

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