Dr. Hibbert

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The Simpsons character
Doctor Hibbert.png
Dr. Hibbert
Gender Male
Job Doctor
Relatives Wife: Bernice
Children: (Three unnamed - two sons and one daughter)
Brothers: Bleeding Gums Murphy and Shelbyville's Orphanage Owner
Voice actor Harry Shearer
Thurl Ravenscroft (singing voice)
First appearance
The Simpsons Bart the Daredevil

Dr. Julius M. Hibbert, usually referred to as Dr. Hibbert, is a recurring character on the animated series The Simpsons. His speaking voice is provided by Harry Shearer and his singing voice was by Thurl Ravenscroft, and he first appeared in the episode "Bart the Daredevil". Dr. Hibbert is Springfield's most prominent and competent doctor, though he sometimes makes no effort to hide or makes light of his high prices. Dr. Hibbert is very good-natured, and is known for finding a reason to laugh at nearly every situation.

Role in The Simpsons[edit]

Personality[edit]

Dr. Hibbert is the Simpsons' (usually) kind-hearted family doctor, a near-genius (with an IQ of 155), a Mensa member, a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, a former stripper, and a member of the Thayer firm at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Hibbert is noticeably less dysfunctional than just about everyone else on the show, though he does have a bizarre tendency to chuckle at inappropriate moments. It is mentioned in Make Room for Lisa, that "Before I learned to chuckle mindlessly, I was headed to an early grave." He reacts questionablly to certain medical problems. For example, when Maggie saved Homer from drowning, he attributed it to common cases of superhuman strength in children whose parents' lives are in danger.[1] Likewise, he expressed only mild surprise when both of Abraham Simpson's kidneys were revealed to have exploded.

There are hints though, that Dr. Hibbert is not above dubious medical practices. After Marge talks him out of buying an unsuitable house, he suggests repaying her with black-market prescriptions.[2] When he realized that Marge Simpson was initially unenthusiastic about having a third child, he implied that a healthy baby could bring in as much as $60,000 on the black market. Hibbert covered for himself against Marge's horrified reaction by saying that if she had replied any other way, she would be sent to prison, claiming that it was "just a test".[3] It was also suggested in the episode "Wild Barts Can't Be Broken" that he does not in fact have a medical license.[4]

Despite his seemingly honest and good-hearted personality, there is evidence that he is, at heart, a committed mercenary. In "Homer's Triple Bypass", Hibbert announces to Homer that his heart operation will cost $30,000. When Homer has a heart attack in front of him in response to this news, he says, unmoved, that the cost is now $40,000 - hinting the heart attack made him now require a quadruple bypass. In "Bye Bye Nerdie", after Homer's baby-proofing business eliminates child injuries in Springfield, Hibbert complains that he is behind in his boat payments because of this. He is a committed Republican and attends Springfield's Republican meetings alongside Mr Burns, Rainier Wolfcastle, and a Nosferatu-like creature. Hibbert also freely wears fur coats, believing that while fur itself may not be murder, "paying for it sure is!"[5]

Hibbert is often seen in flashbacks (for example, Lisa's birth, or Bart's accidents as a toddler), and each time has a different hairstyle (afro, dreadlocks, Mr. T-style Mohawk, etc.) appropriate for the time period.

Family[edit]

Dr. Hibbert is married; he and his wife Bernice have at least three children, two boys and a girl. When his entire family is seen together, they appear to be a spoof of The Cosby Show. Bernice is known to be something of a heavy drinker; this has been joked about on at least one occasion (in "Homer vs. the Eighteenth Amendment", she faints upon reading the news that Prohibition has been introduced in Springfield).

In the sixth season episode 'Round Springfield, it is implied that he and Bleeding Gums Murphy are long-lost brothers; Hibbert says he has a long-lost brother who is a jazz musician, and Murphy says he has a brother who is a doctor that chuckles at inappropriate times, but somehow the two don't put these clues together. However, Murphy later died, so it will never be known for certain if they are brothers or not.[6] Hibbert also bears a striking resemblance to the director of the Shelbyville orphanage, who mentions a personal quest to find his long-lost twin to an indifferent Homer. In the 1999 episode "The Grift of the Magi" we learn that Dr. Hibbert lives next door to Police Chief Wiggum.[7]

Character[edit]

In writers Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky's original script for "Bart the Daredevil", Hibbert was a woman, named "Julia Hibbert", who they named after comedic actress Julia Sweeney (Hibbert was her married last name at the time). When Fox moved The Simpsons to prime time on Thursdays against NBC's top-rated The Cosby Show, the writing staff decided to make Hibbert a parody of Bill Cosby's character Dr. Cliff Huxtable.[8] Hibbert is usually shown wearing sweaters when not on duty, a reference to Huxtable.[8] He is one of the few competent characters in the show, and was originally shown as being sympathetic to his patient's conditions, but that was eventually changed to him being less caring about his patients.[8]

Dr. Hibbert/Dr. Nick comparison[edit]

A tongue-in-cheek analysis in the Canadian Medical Association Journal compares the services of Dr. Hibbert and Dr. Nick Riviera, a quack physician often used by The Simpsons as an alternative source of medical advice. While Hibbert is praised for his sense of humor and quality of care, it concludes that Riviera is a better role model for physicians; Hibbert is a paternalistic and wasteful physician, unlike Riviera, who strives to cut costs and does his best to avoid the coroner.[9] In the twelfth season episode "Trilogy of Error", in which Marge accidentally severs Homer's thumb, she expresses disappointment with how Hibbert handles Homer's plight and attempts to go to Riviera instead.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jean, Al; Anderson, Mike B. (1999-11-14). "Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder". The Simpsons. Season 11. Fox.
  2. ^ Greaney, Dan; Scott III, Swinton O. (1997-12-07). "Realty Bites". The Simpsons. Season 9. Fox.
  3. ^ Crittenden, Jennifer; Scott III, Swinton O. (1995-01-22). "And Maggie Makes Three". The Simpsons. Season 6. Fox.
  4. ^ Doyle, Larry; Ervin, Mark (1999-01-17). "Wild Barts Can't Be Broken". The Simpsons. Season 10. Fox.
  5. ^ Tompkins, Steve; Moore, Steven Dean (1996-12-01). "A Milhouse Divided". The Simpsons. Season 8. Fox.
  6. ^ Jean, Al; Reiss, Mike; Moore, Stephen Dean (1995-04-30). "'Round Springfield". The Simpsons. Season 6. Fox.
  7. ^ Martin, Jeff; Archer, W.M. "Bud" (1991-02-21). "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?". The Simpsons. Season 2. Fox.
  8. ^ a b c Groening, Matt; Jean, Al; Kogen, Jay; Reiss, Mike; Wolodarsky, Wallace (2004). Commentary for "Bart the Daredevil", in The Simpsons: The Complete Second Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  9. ^ Patterson, R, Weijer, C (1998). "D'oh! An analysis of the medical care provided to the family of Homer J. Simpson". Canadian Medical Association Journal 159 (12): 1480–1. PMC 1229893. PMID 9988570. 

External links[edit]