Otto Mann, known as Otto the Bus Driver prior to Season 8 (and so stylized after Bart calling him "the Otto man" on several occasions), is a former school underachiever and later college dropout who now works as the bus driver for Springfield Elementary. Otto was initially conceived by Shearer himself as a caricature of heavy metal music aficionados who mostly play guitar and do drugs while occupying a low-level labor job. He then became a character well known for his party tendencies and calling others slang such as "dude", "lady", or "pops". He is friends with Bart on some occasions, despite their age difference, and dreams of starting his own rock band to become a celebrity, all while getting the school bus into trouble one time after another.
Otto is notable for his drug use, maniacal driving, love of heavy metal music, and propensity for the 1980s junkie lifestyle. According to his driver's license, he was born on January 18, 1963, thus making him 30, as of "The Otto Show." Otto also attended Brown University, where he graduated Sigma, taught briefly and almost received tenure.
He was placed under suspension at least twice: Once after he not only crashed a school bus full of kids for the 15th time, but was also revealed not to possess a driver's license and another time when he spanked Bart out of fury after Bart stole the bus (and thus cost him his one and only chance of proving himself to Metallica by giving them a ride).
He has been seen at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings: "My name is Otto, and I love to get blotto!" Otto has been seen smoking marijuana and during Trappuccino, he used a bong. He once had a hallucination in which his shoes were talking to him as a result of his drug use. Skinner stated that also, at one point, he was apparently driving the bus while on narcotics, wondering if Metallica was indeed the real Metallica with their tour bus broken down, until a narcotic-induced hallucination of a dragon confirmed he wasn't seeing things in regards to Metallica. Otto once submitted a urine sample as part of an application for a job as a prison guard, which contained "crack, smack, uppers, downers, outers, inners, horse tranquilizers, cow paralyzers, blue bombers, green goofers, yellow submarines" and "LSD Mach 3". He only managed to pass because he swapped his sample with Homer's.
Otto has a passion for rock music, being very skillful at playing the guitar (saying that it was the only thing he did in high school). Otto's favorite songs include "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath, "Dazed and Confused" by Led Zeppelin, "Frankenstein" by The Edgar Winter Group, "Freebird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd, "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" by Poison, "Purple Haze" by The Jimi Hendrix Experience and "We're an American Band" by Grand Funk Railroad. He claims that music is about far off lands (Immigrant Song), deals with the devil (The Devil Went Down to Georgia) and smoke in relation to water (Smoke on the Water). He also likes Metallica, which is referenced several times, but he doesn't state particular songs. He once actually met the band after driving past their broken tour bus. Otto apparently saved Kirk Hammett from quitting the band after seeing his lighter in a concert at Springfield Arena in 1997. When he tried to offer Metallica a ride, Bart drove off with the school bus. He also once mistook a line at the Post Office set up for tax day for a Metallica concert, and didn't realize his mistake until after Kent Brockman asked him why he waited until the last minute to file his tax returns. At a mock-medieval fair at the school, Otto played a lute solo in the style of Jimi Hendrix's guitar solos. He put the lute behind his head to play it, smashed it, and then lit the remains on fire on the floor (just as Hendrix did on June 18, 1967 at the Monterey Pop Festival). Otto was engaged to be married and plays "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" by Poison while proposing to Becky, but when forced to choose between his fiancée and his music, he prefers his music, dumping her.
Otto is also implied to be a comic book fan, and even has an artistic side. He even created and designed a superhero named Busman, a man who drives a school bus by day and fights vampires in a post-apocalyptic warzone by night. He went to a comic book convention to present the idea to Jack Tate, and it's unknown what came of it.
He is often found homeless, having been evicted from his apartment and once forced to live with the Simpsons. He was once found squatting in the Simpsons' recently vacated home after the family moved to Cypress Creek.
It's implied that Otto had sex with Agnes Skinner, due to the both of them leaving an overturned jester head from the aftermath of the Mardi Gras party and raising one of the straps to her dress up.
Otto's ability and competence to drive any kind of vehicle, let alone a school bus, is highly questionable. Otto does not seem to have any respect for the rules of the road, although on one occasion, he told Bart that state law disallowed him from intentionally crashing the bus. This showed that Otto at least had some common sense, or a clear desire not to go out of his way to cause trouble and put children in danger.
He once told Principal Skinner that he has a record of crashing his school bus 15 times without a single fatality (although whether he had indeed achieved it without fatalities is questionable, as it was implied that he killed Spinal Tap when he demolished their tour bus when he was rushing to school). He was dismissed from his job when the authorities discovered that he did not hold any kind of license, or any kind of identification at all (he stated that his identification was the fact that he wrote his name on his underwear, only to discover that he was wearing someone else's). He only attained his driving license thereafter because Patty passed him, and this was despite him completely failing to drive the bus in a restrained and secure manner (she passed him because they shared a mutual hatred of Homer, although Otto's license had a "PROBATIONARY" stamp on it). Otto has also been shown smoking or being under the influence of marijuana while driving the bus.
At one time, Otto crashed the bus full of children into the ocean (in this particular instance, it isn't his fault; he has grapefruit citric acid in his eyes that was caused by Milhouse rolling a grapefruit down the passenger aisle and it being caught between the brakes.), leaving his passengers to be washed up on an exotic island. Otto himself was seemingly rescued by a Chinese fishing trawler, unaware that its crew was actually planning to enslave him below decks. He accidentally drove his bus into an auto wrecking yard once, crushing it into a scale model of the bus. Once, Otto got the bus stuck onto a railroad track, and while he was jamming to rock music, the bus was struck by an oncoming train.
- Otto is of German descent.
|“||This is for every bus driver, lunch lady, gym coach, hall monitor...||„|
|~ Otto as he spanks Bart for hijacking the bus in "The Mook, The Chef, The Wife and Her Homer"|