Moe Szyslak

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The Simpsons character
Moe Szyslak.png
Moe Szyslak
Gender Male
Job Proprietor of Moe's Tavern
Voice actor Hank Azaria
First appearance
The Simpsons "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire"

Moe Szyslak /ˈsɪzlæk/ is a fictional character in the American animated television series, The Simpsons. He is voiced by Hank Azaria and first appeared in the series premiere episode "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire".[1] Moe is the proprietor and bartender of Moe's Tavern, a Springfield bar frequented by Homer Simpson, Barney Gumble, Carl Carlson, Lenny Leonard, Sam, Larry, and others.

Moe's personality includes a short and violent temper, which has also involved numerous suicide attempts. Other running jokes featuring him include being prank called by Bart Simpson, running illegal activities from his bar, and an ambiguous ethnic origin.

Role in The Simpsons[edit]

Moe's Tavern[edit]

Moe is the owner and operator of Moe's Tavern, frequented by Homer Simpson and other characters including Lenny Leonard, Carl Carlson, Sam and Larry and his former most loyal customer, Barney Gumble. The bar is noted for its depressing atmosphere and uncleanliness. The regular patrons of the tavern have been abandoned by Moe in several episodes in which he changes its target audience. The first of these was "Flaming Moe's", in the third season. As a running joke, Moe is sometimes seen engaging in unlicenced or illegal activities at the tavern, such as smuggling pandas in the episode "Cape Feare". Particularly in earlier episodes, the Tavern was frequently prank called by Bart Simpson, who would ask for a name which when said by Moe would involve innuendo or insults (e.g. Mike Rotch/"My crotch").

Personality[edit]

Moe's temperament is characterized by a short, violent temper, coupled with homicidal and suicidal tendencies (the latter of which has become more apparent in later episodes of the show). He frequently threatens various people with a shotgun, particularly if they do not pay their tab, and threatens prank callers to his bar with sadistic violence. In the episode "Simpsons Christmas Stories", Moe is shown to attempt suicide every Christmas Day. He also is occasionally shown to have a sentimental and caring side to his personality, such as reading to sick children and the homeless, although he is secretive about such behavior. In "Thank God It's Doomsday", he asks for salvation, because "I've done stuff I ain't proud of. And the stuff I am proud of is disgusting."[2]

Relationships[edit]

Moe has an almost non-existent love life due to his vulgarity towards women and his ugly appearance. Despite this, he has had a number of romantic experiences, including sleeping with his bartender Collette,[3] dating a woman named Renee, [4] and briefly enjoying the company of many women after he had plastic surgery.[5] He also has a relationship and proposed to a little person named Maya, but Maya broke up with him after Moe kept cracking jokes about her height. He has long been infatuated with Marge Simpson, whom he calls 'Midge', and has on occasion tried to win her away from Homer.[6][7] He has been romantically involved with Edna Krabappel[8] as well as Marge's sister Selma. Moe's romantic attractions have resulted in run-ins with the law; he has stalked Maude Flanders and other townspeople, he must register as a sex offender, and he has a restraining order placed upon him. At one point he is seen on his way to a "V.D. clinic".[9] Despite his creepy approach, Moe has showed to be a caring and devoted lover. While dating Renee (and previously Edna), he wholeheartedly spoiled them with whatever they wanted and vowed to give up his bar and take them away from Springfield forever, even if it means losing his own money and doing illegal acts to make more money. When he thought he finally won Marge's heart, he promised to be "the best man she'd ever had."[7]

Biography[edit]

Characters in the Simpsons rarely have fully consistent backstories, and previously-given backstories are often intentionally undermined for humor in subsequent episodes. In "Flaming Moe's" (1991), he is called Morris by his lover, while in "The Springfield Connection" (1995), Homer refers to Moe by the Arabic "Moammar", and in "Eeny Teeny Maya Moe" (2009), he suggests that he only changed his name to Moe when he purchased Moe's Tavern. The show's many conflicting stories as to Moe's heritage have been sent up in the tie-in book The Book of Moe (2008), where Moe is depicted in several different foreign national folk costumes commenting upon them. An early joke in the series was that Moe was a European immigrant to the United States. In "Much Apu About Nothing" (1996), Moe is depicted taking his United States citizenship test;[10] previously, "Bart's Inner Child" (1995) had depicted Moe's own inner child chastising him for abandoning his native Italian accent. Later, in "Bart-Mangled Banner" (2004), he reveals himself to be Dutch, and in "Lisa Goes Gaga" (2012), Moe describes himself as "half monster, half Armenian." Moe is also hinted to be Armenian in "Judge Me Tender" (2010), claiming that Armenian Idol is his favorite show. As for indications he was born in America, in "Homer the Heretic" (1992), Moe's claims "I was born a snake handler and I'll die a snake handler" while in "Day of the Jackanapes" (2001) he claims to have been born in Indiana.[11] In "Moe Goes from Rags to Riches" (2012), an infant Moe is even depicted living on Mount Everest as the son of a Yeti.[12]

Moe (left) as "Smelly" in The Little Rascals.

Numerous one-off jokes have been made regarding Moe's childhood and his earlier adult years as well. In "Radioactive Man" (1995), he is depicted as having been one of the original Little Rascals, but was fired after killing the "original Alfalfa." As Homer's boxing coach in "The Homer They Fall" (1996), he shows photographs from throughout his own boxing career, stating that his ugly appearance was the result of competing in the sport. Moe's college years are also depicted, in "Homer the Moe" (2001), which shows Moe as having attended "bartending school" at Swigmore University (a play on Skidmore College) before opening what became Moe's Tavern.[13] In "Springfield Up" (2007), footage from a documentary called Growing Up Springfield shows an 8 year-old Moe claiming that his father was a circus freak.[14] Teenaged Moe is shown again in "She Used to Be My Girl" (2004), where he is depicted working in the school cafeteria, given as his first job "since prison"; Marge is responsible for having him sent back there. "The Seemingly Never-Ending Story" (2006) depicts scenes set years prior to the series' present in which Moe and schoolteacher Edna Krabappel are shown to have had a brief love affair. In "Them, Robot" (2012), a flashback scene depicts a young child being stomped on by an elephant, and his face then changing to Moe.

Character[edit]

Creation[edit]

The creator of The Simpsons Matt Groening based Moe on Louis "Red" Deutsch who was made famous when he was repeatedly prank called by two Jersey City residents. These prank calls were the inspiration for Bart Simpson's repeated prank calls to Moe, and Deutsch's often profane responses inspired Moe's violent temper.[15] Comedian Rich Hall, an acquaintance of The Simpsons writer George Meyer, has stated that he believes further inspiration was drawn from himself and that Groening has verified this to him.[citation needed] Moe's surname "Szyslak" was revealed in "Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part One)". Writers Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein found the name in a phonebook and gave it to Moe so that he would have the initials M.S., and hence be a suspect in the Burns shooting.[16] Moe was designed by animator Dan Haskett and his facial appearance was modeled after a gorilla.[17][18] Animator Mark Kirkland said that he usually lets pass through production off-model drawings of Moe because the character is so ugly that no one will notice.[19]

Voice[edit]

Moe was the first voice Hank Azaria performed for the show. During the time of his audition, Azaria was doing a play in which he had the part of a drug dealer, basing his voice on actor Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon. He used the same voice in the audition, and was told by Matt Groening and Sam Simon, who were directing him, to make it more gravelly like Deutsch's voice. Groening and Simon thought that it was perfect and took Azaria over to the Fox network recording studio. Before he had even seen a script, Azaria recorded several lines of dialogue as Moe for the episode "Some Enchanted Evening".[20][21] Moe was originally voiced by actor Christopher Collins. Collins recorded several lines as Moe which never aired.[21]

Reception[edit]

In 2001 and 2003, Hank Azaria won Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance for voicing Moe and various other characters.[22]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rhodes, Joe (2000-10-21). "Flash! 24 Simpsons Stars Reveal Themselves". TV Guide. 
  2. ^ Audio snippet from Thank God It's Doomsday
  3. ^ Cohen, Robert; Moore, Rich; Smart, Alan (1991-11-21). "Flaming Moe's". The Simpsons. Season 3. Episode 10. Fox.
  4. ^ "Dumbbell Indemnity". The Simpsons. Fox.
  5. ^ "Pygmoelian". The Simpsons. Fox.
  6. ^ "Secrets of a Successful Marriage". The Simpsons. Fox.
  7. ^ a b "Mommie Beerest". The Simpsons. Fox.
  8. ^ Maxtone-Graham, Ian; Persi, Raymond (2006-03-12). "The Seemingly Never-Ending Story". The Simpsons. Season 17. Episode 13. Fox.
  9. ^ "Lost Our Lisa". The Simpsons. Fox.
  10. ^ "Much Apu About Nothing". The Simpsons. Fox.
  11. ^ "Day of the Jackanapes". The Simpsons. Fox.
  12. ^ "Moe Goes from Rags to Riches"
  13. ^ "Homer the Moe". The Simpsons. Fox.
  14. ^ "Springfield Up"
  15. ^ Kaulessar, Ricardo (2005-08-10). "Joke on 'Simpsons' started in JC". The Hudson Reporter. Retrieved 2007-10-26. 
  16. ^ Oakley, Bill (2005). Commentary for "Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part One)", in The Simpsons: The Complete Seventh Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  17. ^ Silverman, David (2001). Commentary for "Bart the General", in The Simpsons: The Complete First Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  18. ^ Reiss, Mike (2004). Commentary for "Homer's Barbershop Quartet", in The Simpsons: The Complete Fifth Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  19. ^ Kirkland, Mark (2004). Commentary for "Bart Sells His Soul", in The Simpsons: The Complete Seventh Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  20. ^ Azaria, Hank (2004-12-06). Fresh Air. Interview with Terry Gross. National Public Radio. WHYY-FM. Philadelphia. Retrieved 2007-08-15. 
  21. ^ a b Azaria, Hank; Jean, Al (2004). Commentary for "Homer's Barbershop Quartet", in The Simpsons: The Complete Fifth Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  22. ^ "Primetime Emmy Awards Advanced Search". Emmys.org. Retrieved 2008-12-10. 

External links[edit]