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Hero Overview

"BURP!"
~ Barney Gumble's famous belching catchphrase

Bernard Arnold "Barney" Gumble is character on the American animated sitcom, The Simpsons. The character is voiced by Dan Castellaneta and first appeared in the series premiere episode Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire. He is the town drunk and he is obese because of it and he is Homer Simpson's best friend. His capacity for alcohol is a frequent butt of jokes on the show. Barney sobered up in the episode "Days of Wine and D'oh'ses", which was co-written by Castellaneta, and stayed sober for several episodes. Barney was inspired by the cartoon character Barney Rubble from The Flintstones and by several barflies from other television programs. In 2004, Castellaneta won an Emmy Award for voicing various characters, including Barney.

Role in The Simpsons

Barney's father, Arnie Gumble, was a World War II veteran who died in 1979 in a parade float accident. Little is known about his mother, except that she lives in Norway in later years and that she served in the United States Navy, including duty on a submarine. Barney himself was born on April 20 in 1956 (which Homer remembers as being on the same day as Lassie's and Barney's entry into the Springfield Film Festival in A Star Is Burns where Barney states that he is 40 years old), however in the original broadcast version of "Viva Ned Flanders".

Two different episodes give different reasons for his alcoholism. Mr. Plow suggests that Barney was considered to have potential. He had his mind set on going to Harvard University until Homer introduced him to beer the day before they were to take the SATs. However, Season 16's "She Used to Be My Girl" attributes his drinking to his high school girlfriend Chloe Talbot leaving Springfield to pursue a journalism career.

In "Homer's Barbershop Quartet", Barney formed a barbershop quartet with Homer, Apu, and Seymour Skinner called the Be Sharps. Barney was asked to join when the other members heard him singing in a beautiful tenor voice in the restroom of Moe's Tavern, replacing the group's original fourth member, Clancy Wiggum, who was kicked out. In 1986, the Be Sharps won a Grammy Award for Outstanding Soul, Spoken Word, or Barbershop Album of the Year. Soon, creative disputes arose, and Barney left the group in all but name when he began dating a Japanese conceptual artist. The group realized that they were no longer popular and split up.

Barney started a snowplowing business rivaling Homer's in "Mr. Plow". Barney's commercial defamed Homer, causing Homer to lose his customers. As revenge, Homer fooled Barney into plowing a driveway on Widow's Peak, a treacherous mountain outside of Springfield. When Homer saw a news report showing that Barney had been trapped in an avalanche, Homer immediately drove to the mountain and rescued Barney. The friends resolved their differences and agreed to work together. However, a heat wave hit Springfield at that exact moment, driving them both out of business.

After being forced to spend a sober night at Moe's Tavern serving as designated driver, Barney left town in Homer Simpson's car to, among other things, give a guest lecture at Villanova (although, by his own admission, the guest lecture could just have likely occurred on a street corner).

A gag in "Selma's Choice" suggests that Barney is the father of many local babies born through (presumably, paid) donation of semen and the resulting artificial insemination.

Barney made a documentary film about his life as an alcoholic, titled Pukahontas. It won the top prize at the Springfield Film Festival. In "Deep Space Homer", Barney trained to become an astronaut for NASA. Under their alcohol-ban, he quickly developed superior skills and was selected to fly with Buzz Aldrin. However, he reverted to his old ways when he was presented with a bottle of non-alcoholic champagne. Barney served in the United States Navy Reserve as a submariner on the USS Jebediah, alongside his mother, in "Simpson Tide".

In "Days of Wine and D'oh'ses", after watching a video of his drunken antics at his birthday party, Barney resolves to get sober. He attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, cleans up his appearance, and attends helicopter-flying lessons.

Character

Creation

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Voice

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Sobriety

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Reception

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Merchandising

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External links

Barney Gumble at the Simpsons Wiki.

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See Also
Alien vs Predator Heroes | American Dad! Heroes | American Horror Story Heroes | Blue Sky Heroes | Die Hard Heroes | Family Guy Heroes | Futurama Heroes | Garfield Heroes | Ice Age Heroes | Kingsman Heroes | Narnia Heroes | Planet of the Apes Heroes | Rick Riordan Heroes | Rio Heroes | Star Wars Heroes | The Simpsons Heroes | X-Men Movie Heroes | X-Men Heroes