Reverend Lovejoy

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Reverend Lovejoy
The Simpsons character
Rev Lovejoy.png
First appearance"The Telltale Head" (1990)
Created byMatt Groening
Voiced byHarry Shearer
OccupationMinister of the First Church of Springfield
SpouseHelen Lovejoy (wife)
ChildrenJessica (daughter)

Reverend Timothy Lovejoy, Jr. is a recurring character in the animated television series The Simpsons. He is voiced by Harry Shearer, and first appeared in the episode "The Telltale Head".

Rev. Lovejoy is the minister at The First Church of Springfield—the Protestant church in Springfield. Initially kind-hearted and ambitious, Lovejoy has become somewhat apathetic towards others because of Ned Flanders's constant asinine scrupulosity.

Role in The Simpsons[edit]


Lovejoy is the pastor of the Western Branch of American Reform Presbylutheranism First Church of Springfield, which most of the show's characters regularly attend.[1] He attended Texas Christian University.[2] He initially came to Springfield in the 1970s as an eager, enthusiastic, young man,[3][4] only to become cynical and disillusioned about his ministry, mostly due to Ned Flanders, who constantly pesters him with minor issues such as "coveting his own wife" or thinking that he "swallowed a toothpick".[3]

Lovejoy would deal with Flanders' concerns very briefly, so that he could return to playing with his model trains. At one point, Lovejoy "just stopped caring",[3] but rediscovered the joy of helping others, though Ned still irritates him.[3] Lovejoy even suggests Ned join another religion, as "they are all pretty much the same". In the season two episode "Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment", Lovejoy helps Lisa with her family's illegal cable hookup.

His sermons vary between dreary recitations of more opaque parts of the Old Testament,[5] to the occasional "fire and brimstone" about Hell.[6]


His tolerant side is demonstrated when he performs a Hindu marriage ceremony for Kwik-E-Mart shopkeeper Apu[7] (though Lovejoy does not know much about the faith, referring to it in an earlier episode as "Miscellaneous"), co-hosts a religious radio program with Krusty the Klown's rabbi father,[8] and admits evolution may be true. However, Lovejoy can also be intolerant. When Lisa Simpson converted to Buddhism, he referred to her as "Marge Simpson's devil-daughter".[9] He appears bitter about the tall Episcopal church across the street, wanting to build a larger steeple, and when mentioning the other church, placing the emphasis on "pis".[10] He maintains two rolodexes – one for Christians, and one for non-Christians.[11] While he seems to have originally accepted evolution, he later takes up the creationist cause to bolster his church's membership.[12]

He is especially intolerant of the Roman Catholic Church as he is shown brawling with a priest.[13] He tells Marge that he might as well do a Voodoo dance for Abe Simpson when asked to give him the last rites.[14] He also helps kidnap Bart to keep him from converting to Catholicism.[1] Lovejoy also claims in There's Something About Marrying[15] that while he is not against people of the same-sex being in relationships, he feels that something like marriage should only between a man and a woman, going so far as to say that he cannot marry two people of the same-sex "anymore than [Lovejoy] could put a hamburger on a hot dog bun.

Negative qualities[edit]

Lovejoy has been shown to do things that would be considered sinful. Lovejoy has been known to exploit his congregation for money, brawl with a Roman Catholic priest,[13] encourage his pet Old English Sheepdog to foul Ned Flanders's lawn,[16] and implied that he once burned down his church for insurance money.[17] In "Whacking Day", he made up a passage in the Bible to attempt to convince Lisa that "even God himself endorses Whacking Day". In "The Joy of Sect", the episode in which the whole town of Springfield is deceived into joining a cult, Lovejoy kidnaps Homer with Groundskeeper Willie from the cult and hits him across the head numerous times hoping to knock him out. Also, when Lovejoy sees the spaceship emerge from the "forbidden barn" he throws his religious collar on the ground. After it is revealed that the spaceship is fake, Ned Flanders notices his collar on the ground and informs Lovejoy, who picks it up and puts it back on.

Lovejoy is not always enthusiastic about the Bible, calling it a "2000-page sleeping pill".[9] It is unsure if he even owns a Bible, as it was once said he borrows one from the library every week. However, he can exactly quote even obscure passages from memory. In "Secrets of a Successful Marriage," an episode that dealt with marriage counseling, Lovejoy and his gossipy wife, Helen, both recommend that Marge should divorce Homer. Marge objects to this, pointing out how the Bible has strict guidelines against things like divorce, but Lovejoy says, "Marge, everything is a sin. (holds up the Bible) Have you ever sat down and read this thing? Technically we're not allowed to go to the bathroom."


Lovejoy's wife Helen was originally portrayed as a moralistic, judgmental gossip, but in voice actress Maggie Roswell's long absence, her character was seen but not heard.

The Lovejoys' manipulative daughter Jessica was the focus of the episode "Bart's Girlfriend" where she was voiced by guest star Meryl Streep, but is otherwise rarely seen.[18]

Lovejoy's father is briefly shown in the episode "Bart After Dark" as an older version of Lovejoy (including clerical collar) who visits the Maison Derrière.


Matt Groening has indicated that Lovejoy is named after Lovejoy Street (which in turn is named for Portland co-founder Asa Lovejoy)[19] in Portland, Oregon, the city where Groening grew up.[20][21][22] Lovejoy became the central character in the episode "In Marge We Trust". By season eight, the show had begun to explore secondary characters. Lovejoy was selected for this episode because, aside from being noted as "the priest who didn't care", he had not had much character development.[23]


  1. ^ a b Warburton, Matt; Polcino, Michael (May 15, 2005). "The Father, The Son & The Holy Guest Star". The Simpsons. Season 16. Fox.
  2. ^ "Wedding for Disaster"
  3. ^ a b c d "In Marge We Trust"
  4. ^ In "Faith Off" he uses an electric guitar in the church to compete against Bart's faith healing musical show.
  5. ^ Long, Tim; Doyle, Larry; Selman, Matt; Kruse, Nancy (April 4, 1999). "Simpsons Bible Stories". The Simpsons. Season 10. Fox.
  6. ^ Daniels, Greg; Archer, Wesley (October 8, 1998). "Bart Sells His Soul". The Simpsons. Season 7. Fox.
  7. ^ Appel, Richard; Moore, Steven Dean (November 16, 1997). "The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons". The Simpsons. Season 9. Fox.
  8. ^ Kogen, Jay;Wolodarsky, Wallace; Lynch, Jeffrey; Bird, Brad (October 24, 1991). "Like Father, Like Clown". The Simpsons. Season 3. Fox.
  9. ^ a b Frielberger, Bill; Moore, Steven Dean (December 16, 2001). "She of Little Faith". The Simpsons. Season 13. Fox.
  10. ^ Gould, Dana; Mercantel, Michael (March 19, 2006). "Bart Has Two Mommies". The Simpsons. Season 17. Fox.
  11. ^ Episode #8F05 Like Father Like Clown, Airdate October 24, 1991
  12. ^ Burns, J. Stewart; Persi, Raymond S. (May 14, 2006). "The Monkey Suit". The Simpsons. Season 17. Fox.
  13. ^ a b Swartzwelder, John; Polcino, Michael (May 19, 2002). "The Frying Game". The Simpsons. Season 13. Fox.
  14. ^ Swartzwelder, John; Anderson, Mike B. (December 6, 1998). "Homer Simpson in: "Kidney Trouble"". The Simpsons. Season 10. Fox.
  15. ^ Burns, Stewart J.; Kruse, Nancy (February 20, 2005). "There's Something About Marrying". The Simpsons. Season 16. Fox.
  16. ^ Daniels, Greg; Reardon, Jim (April 14, 1996). "22 Short Films About Springfield". The Simpsons. Season 7. Fox.
  17. ^ O'Donnell, Steve; Moore, Steven Dean (February 8, 1998). "The Joy of Sect". The Simpsons. Season 9. Fox.
  18. ^ Collier, Jonathan; Dietter, Susie (November 6, 1994). "Bart's Girlfriend". The Simpsons. Season 6. Fox.
  19. ^ Corning, Howard M. Dictionary of Oregon History. Binfords & Mort Publishing, 1956.
  20. ^ Turnquist, Kristi. Cover Story: D'oh! The Oregonian, July 27, 2007.
  21. ^ Carlin, Peter Ames. 'The Simpsons' Cleaverly captures an even bigger slice of Portland life. The Oregonian, November 4, 2000.
  22. ^ Levy, Shawn. Matt Groening: On what's so funny about Portland. The Oregonian, September 3, 1999.
  23. ^ Weinstein, Josh (2006). The Simpsons: The Complete Eighth Season DVD Video Collector's Edition commentary for the episode "In Marge We Trust" (DVD). Twentieth Century Fox.

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