Dr. Nick (The Simpsons)
|The Simpsons character|
|Voice actor||Hank Azaria|
|The Simpsons||"Bart Gets Hit by a Car"|
Dr. Nick Riviera, usually referred to as Dr. Nick, is a recurring fictional character in the American animated sitcom The Simpsons. He is voiced by Hank Azaria, and first appeared in the episode "Bart Gets Hit by a Car". Dr. Nick is an inept quack physician, and a satire of incompetent medical professionals. Dr. Nick is known for his exclamation of "Hi, everybody!" upon entering a scene, which is immediately followed by the other characters present with, "Hi, Dr. Nick!", with one exception: in "Who Shot Mr. Burns?", Mr. Burns replied with "Ho, mer simp, son!", but with the same inflection as the usual greeting.
Role in The Simpsons
Dr. Nick has a medical degree from "Hollywood Upstairs Medical College", where he apparently spent much of his time using his ability to acquire prescription drugs in the 1970s to impress a succession of attractive women who were typically taller than him. Thus far, none of the patients he has swindled, maimed, or given useless or dangerous medical advice seems to have sued him—although a few have come after him in person. For example, in "Homer's Triple Bypass" a large angry man grabs him, and Riviera says "Well if it isn't my old friend Mr. McGregg—with a leg for an arm and an arm for a leg"; the man literally has an arm where a leg should be and a leg where an arm should be, and it is implied that this is Riviera's fault. Riviera is a stereotype of shady, immoral doctors who perform medical procedures for money with little or no regard for medical ethics, or their patients' well-being. His motto is, You've tried the best, now try the rest! In "The Girl Who Slept Too Little" he is seen digging up corpses in the graveyard for body parts, presumably to use in operations on patients. In the same episode he tells Lisa "you have a check-up on Thursday!", to which she replies "We don't go to you anymore, we have a better doctor!" and receives a congratulation from him. In the episode "Much Apu About Nothing", he is seen taking a citizenship test, implying that prior to this he was not a citizen of the United States (Although unconfirmed, much evidence supports this - not only is he likely of Latino descent, he is specifically given an Argentine accent in Spanish language dubs). In “Treehouse of Horror IX,” he injects himself with anesthetic after punching Homer in the face in order to knock him out before performing a hair transplant on him, using a pizza cutter.
The degrees in his office read "Mayo Clinic Correspondence School", "Club Med School", "Female Body Inspector", and "I went to medical school for four years and all I got was this lousy diploma." He was part of the Sigma Chi fraternity house, according to the episode "Homer's Triple Bypass." He frequently appears on infomercials, pitching all sorts of bizarre medical offers or endorsing dubious devices, and has often turned his operations into TV spectacles. He is also shown as an inventor/huckster (in the style of Ron Popeil) on the television show I Can't Believe They Invented It!, with products such as the "Juice Loosener" in "Marge in Chains", an inefficient juicer made in Japan which ultimately causes an influenza epidemic in Springfield (due to one of the workers at the factory having the disease, but still going to work, thus spreading his germs through the packaging).
Dr. Nick has operated on the Simpson family a couple of times when they cannot afford their regular doctor, Dr. Hibbert, notably when Homer needed a heart bypass. Lisa Simpson attended the live audience for the operation and saved the day by guiding the obviously clueless Dr. Riviera through the operation. He also worked with Dr. Hibbert as an anesthesiologist during Bart's appendectomy (in 'Round Springfield) but was of little help as he accidentally anesthetized himself instead. It is revealed in the episode "Homer's Triple Bypass" that his phone number is 1-600-DOCTORB, explaining that: "The B is for Bargain!". His catchphrase is "Hi everybody!", except in The Simpsons Movie, in which he was seemingly killed with a large shard of glass, saying, "Bye, everybody...Ow." However, he has made a few appearances since.
The design of Dr. Nick is modeled physically on Gábor Csupó, the co-founder of Klasky Csupo animation studios (which animated the series for its first three seasons and The Tracey Ullman Show shorts). The animators mistakenly believed that Hank Azaria was impersonating Csupó, when in fact he was doing a bad impression of Ricky Ricardo from the TV series I Love Lucy.
In The Simpsons Movie, Riviera is impaled by a large shard of glass that breaks and falls off the enormous dome covering Springfield, saying "Bye, everybody!" before he faints. Executive producers James L. Brooks and Al Jean confirmed that the character was not dead, but he just fainted, and he would be "brought back to life à la Dr. Marvin Monroe". Riviera is seen alive and well, without any explanation, playing golf with Dr. Hibbert in "Lost Verizon", as well as performing an operation in "Judge Me Tender".
He appears again in season 20's "Eeny Teeny Maya Moe" where he was to perform a surgery on Moe Szyslak, but as usual he screws up, and performs it on Springfield Elementary School band conductor Dewey Largo. Most recently, he appeared in the opening for the episode "To Surveil with Love," in which the characters sing Kesha song "Tik Tok". He can be seen underneath the couch as the bit is ending.
IGN placed Dr. Nick 23rd on their list of the "Top 25 Simpsons Peripheral Characters". The character was listed in Entertainment Weekly's "30 Great TV Doctors and Nurses" and in Philadelphia Magazine's "10 Best Doctors on Television". In a tongue-in-cheek analysis, the Canadian Medical Association Journal compared the services of Riviera and Dr. Hibbert. It concludes that Riviera is a better role model for physicians, whereas Hibbert is a paternalistic and wasteful physician, unlike Riviera, who strives to cut costs and does his best to avoid the coroner, disproving Marge Simpson's claim that he is not a doctor at all.
- Apple, Gary; Carrington, Michael; Silverman, David. "Homer's Triple Bypass". The Simpsons. Season 4. Fox.
- Swartzwelder, John; Kirkland, Mark. "Bart Gets Hit by a Car". The Simpsons. Season 24. Fox.
- Bernstein, Sharon (1992-01-21). "'The Simpsons' Producer Changes Animation Firms". Los Angeles Times. p. 18.
- Silverman, David (2003). Commentary for the episode "Saturdays of Thunder", in The Simpsons: The Complete Third Season [DVD]. Twentieth Century Fox.
- Larry Carroll (2007-07-26). "'Simpsons' Trivia, From Swearing Lisa To 'Burns-Sexual' Smithers". MTV. Retrieved 2007-07-29.
- Goldman, Eric; Iverson, Dan and Brian Zoromski (September 6, 2006). "Top 25 Simpsons Peripheral Characters". IGN.
- Wilkinson, Amy (June 15, 2009). "The Simpsons | Paging Dr. Feelgood: 30 Great TV Doctors and Nurses – Photo 19 of 28". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
- Palan, Erica (October 11, 2011). "10 Best Doctors on Television". Philadelphia Magazine. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
- Patterson R, Weijer C. D'oh! An analysis of the medical care provided to the family of Homer J. Simpson. CMAJ. 1998 Dec 15;159(12):1480-1. PMID 9988570 Free Full Text
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