The Simpsons is one of the longest-running and most popular TV series in history. It’s also one of the most heavily marketed properties of all time, with an abundance of merchandise spanning decades. Even with its huge cast of characters, after over twenty years one would think there was a plastic incarnation of every popular — and even not-so-popular — character seen across the five hundred plus episodes… yet this isn’t the case.
Playmates definitely gave it the best shot, with their long-running and popular World of Springfield action figure series covering the majority of the known characters as well as many variants. The Promotions Factory followed up on this with their collectible Greetings from Springfield and The Simpsons 20th Anniversary limited edition PVC figurine collections. But there are still plenty of great characters who, for one reason or another, have never seen the light of plastic day. Here are nine of the most notable.
9) Mona Simpson
Voiced (in her most memorable appearances) by Glenn Close, Homer’s mother has been seen repeatedly throughout the series, in person, flashbacks, and even dreams, and is a major omission in Simpsons toys — especially in series that have included numerous variants of her husband Abe (a.k.a. Grandpa Simpson). In the 1960s she became a political activist and was threatened with arrest by a (somewhat) younger Monty Burns after a germ research protest got out of hand. Fearing the repercussions to her family, she left them behind to live in a hippie commune, painting murals of the son she missed, and wouldn’t re-enter Homer’s life until 1995 when he faked his death to avoid work. A loving mother to Homer and grandmother to Bart, Lisa and Maggie, she once again goes on the lam after being spotted by Burns, and returns to Springfield two more times before her sad passing. Despite her significance as a character in the series, she has never been immortalised in toy form.
Lisa Simpson is rarely seen with friends, but one exception is Janine “Janey” Powell, who has been Lisa’s pal since the very early episodes. Though her character has little development outside of odd tidbits — her dislike of ice cream, her crush on Milhouse — she is frequently seen around Lisa, either as her friend or in crowds laughing at her. She was to be included in a World of Springfield playset with the Springfield Elementary Playground, but it sadly never saw the light of day. Another two-pack of students, Richard and Lewis, was also never produced.
7) The Capital City Goofball
The iconic Capital City Goofball, who was featured prominently in the memorable episode “Dancin’ Homer,” is practically crying out for a toy — his crazy baseball-alien design is wonderful and would look amazing on any shelf. He’s been a recurring character since the early episodes: in “Bart vs. Lisa vs. the Third Grade” we see him as a state congressman (“Mr. Speaker, the time has come to redesign our state flag. This Confederate symbol is an embarrassment, particularly as we are a northern state!”), while “Holidays of Future Past” shows his outline chalked on the floor of Moe’s Tavern, where he perished alongside many others. Even more sadly, there has never been a Goofball toy.
6) Sanjay Nahasapeemapetilon
Apu’s brother Sanjay Nahasapeemapetilon has been seen frequently, usually working at the Kwik-E-Mart. His most notable appearance was in Apu’s short for “22 Short Films About Springfield,” in which they party hard for only five minutes. He also has a daughter and son; the former entered the Beauty Pageant against Lisa (and performed an amazing song that only he and Apu enjoy) and the latter once looked after the Kwik-E-Mart. Sanjay was to be a late entry into the World of Springfield, but he missed out when the line ended.
5) Cecil Terwilliger
Cecil Underdunk Terwilliger is the younger brother of Sideshow Bob, first seen in the episode “Brother from Another Series” — so named for the voice actor David Hyde Pierce, who played Sideshow Bob voice actor Kelsey Grammer’s brother Niles on Frasier. Here he plays Sideshow Bob’s brother Cecil, a young man whose dream was to become Krusty the Clown’s sidekick. When Bob accompanies Cecil to the audition, Krusty hires Bob on the spot, spawning a resentment that would last well into adulthood. Cecil has been seen across the series repeatedly, concocting his own schemes against Sideshow Bob as well as the Simpsons children, but regrettably never made it into any of the Simpsons toylines.
4) Rabbi Krustofsky
Hyman Krustofsky, Krusty the Clown’s estranged father, is a respected Rabbi in Springfield’s Lower East Side. His rejection of son Herschel’s desire to be a clown led to his most memorable appearance, in “Like Father, Like Clown”, in which Bart and Lisa attempt to reconcile the Rabbi with the son he abandoned. An occasional Jewish presense on the show, he was to appear in the World of Springfield Celebrity Figures line, but was cancelled for reasons unknown.
3) Roger Meyers, Jr.
The scummy CEO of Itchy and Scratchy Studios, Roger Meyers, Jr. made early appearances when Marge took objection to the violence in Itchy & Scratchy, and would later hire Abe Simpson to write the show despite the latter never having seen an episode. The creator of Poochie (who would have earned a spot on this list but for an appearance as a Promotions Factory PVC) is selfish, obnoxious and has nothing but disrespect for his young audience. Sadly he was never even considered for World of Springfield or any other line.
Akira is Springfield’s resident Japanese stereotype, first appearing early in the series as a waiter at the Happy Sumo restaurant that served Homer deadly blowfish. He later appeared as a karate teacher at Springfield Martial Arts Academy and an employee at Costingtons, as well as appearing occasionally as a background character. A send-up of racial cliches, Akira has made numerous appearances on the show (including helping Homer identify the Mr. Sparkle detergent box) and nearly made it into the World of Springfield line.
1) Maude Flanders
Previously discussed in this list, the late wife of Jesus superfan Ned Flanders just missed a spot in the World of Springfield line. She was supposed to be part of Flanders’ Rumpus Room playset, but the line was cancelled shortly before its release. Many fans see this as a major gap in the line, although her memory lives on in a photograph accessory included with sons Rod and Todd.