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Why Judge Harm From The Simpsons Sounds So Familiar

"The Simpsons" continues to run strong after three decades, proving that America's favorite animated family has a lot more to offer. While the series is largely episodic, "The Simpsons" has seen a number of guest characters return throughout the years. Characters like Sideshow Bob and Troy McClure show up sparingly but when they do, it's fair to say that even the most casual "Simpsons" fans can appreciate their appearances. Perhaps one of the more popular supporting characters is Judge Constance Harm, who like her name suggests, is a cruel disciplinarian who often doesn't take kindly to the Simpson family's exploits.

The character first appeared in Season 13, Episode 2, titled "The Parent Rap," and has been a permanent fixture of Springfield's courtrooms since. Since their 2001 appearance, Judge Harm has appeared 11 times in a speaking role, which includes a brief appearance in "The Simpsons Movie." Harm recently appeared in Season 34, Episode 2, titled "One Angry Lisa," which sees Lisa (Yeardley Smith) stepping in for jury duty. Judge Harm surprisingly forgets who Lisa is despite her and her family ending up in her courtroom several times over the last two decades.

While Judge Harm has a strong reputation amongst fans for being unforgiving, the actor behind the character has been a fan favorite on television for years. Voiced by Jane Kaczmarek, the actor is most well-known for playing the matriarch in the hit ABC sitcom "Malcolm in the Middle." Fans will be surprised to know that Kaczmarek has had a steady career in voice acting, particularly in children's television.

She voiced Captain Hook's love interest in Jake and the Never Land Pirates

While Jane Kaczmarek's first voice acting role was in "The Simpsons" as the hilarious Judge Harm, the actor has more voice credits for "Jake and the Never Land Pirates" than any other show so far. Set after the events of the animated "Peter Pan," the Disney Junior series follows the children recruited by Pan to protect Never Land. The leader of the new motley crew is Captain Jake, voiced by multiple actors including the late Cameron Boyce, who frequently squares off against the nefarious Captain Hook (Corey Burton). Interactive in the same vein as "Dora the Explorer," the musical series ran for over 100 episodes across four seasons, bringing in several high-profile stars for guest appearances.

Some of "Jake and the Never Land Pirates" guest stars include "Star Wars" star Mark Hamill, "Arrested Development" alumni Tony Hale, and "Modern Family" standout Ariel Winter. Joining the various high-profile stars for the animated Disney romp is Kaczmarek, appearing as Red Jessica, Captain Hook's love interest. For her role in "Jake and the Never Land Pirates," the Judge Harm voice actor can be heard sporting a typical English pirate accent. Kaczmarek's stint on the animated series lasted for 12 episodes (via IMDb). "Never Land" is the first of many Disney animated productions that Kaczmarek has appeared in, though "The Simpsons" is retroactively the first following Disney's purchase of Fox.

She made an unhinged appearance in Phineas and Ferb

In addition to popping up in "Jake and the Never Land Pirates," the Judge Harm voice actor lent her talents to another Disney-backed children's animated series. Jane Kaczmarek briefly appeared in "Phineas and Ferb," one of Disney Channel's most popular animated series. The Emmy-award-winning series follows the titular step brothers on their various chaotic adventures throughout their summer break. Several celebrities, such as Josh Gad, Ben Stiller, and Elizabeth Banks have joined Phineas and Ferb as they get up to no good (via Buzzfeed), making it no surprise that Kaczmarek can be heard in the series.

The "Malcolm in the Middle" star appears in Season 4, Episode 25, titled "Lost in Danville/The Inator Method." Appearing in the "Lost in Danville" segment, Kaczmarek appears as Denise, a woman who mysteriously lands in Phineas and Ferb's backyard alongside her husband, Bernie (voiced by Rob Morrow). Bernie claims to be Phineas from the future, though Denise quells her husband's accusations. While Denise and Bernie eventually leave the backyard, it's unclear what happens to the duo, making it one of the strangest and most surreal "Phineas and Ferb" episodes.

Jane Kaczmarek returned to Disney for Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero

Jane Kaczmarek decided to sign on for another Disney animated series, "Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero." Created by "Encanto" co-director Jared Bush, "Penn Zero" stars Thomas Middleditch as the titular character, who learns to become a part-time hero, saving several different universes and dimensions. Airing on DisneyXD for three years, "Part-Time Hero" also features the voices of Adam DeVine, Alfred Molina, and George Takei.

Kaczmarek appears in Season 1, Episode 19 of the series in the segment titled "Ultrahyperball." This episode is notable in that it's the first and only "Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero" that lead star Middleditch is responsible for penning. "Ultrahyperball" sees Kaczmarek and "Seinfeld" star Jason Alexander as two rival alien leaders competing in a sports game that dictates the fate of their respective planets. Instead of siding with one team over another, Penn Zero decides to make Kaczmarek and Alexander's characters profess their love for one another, ending the conflict. While the episode plays around with sci-fi tropes, it's great to see two sitcom veterans trade verbal blows with one another, making it one of the most memorable episodes from the short-lived Disney series. 

The Simpsons star played another judge in Animals

HBO has no shortage of irreverent and out-of-the-box shows. Perhaps one of their most underrated offerings in recent memory is "Animals," produced by indie trailblazers Mark and Jay Duplass. The series, which ran for three seasons, received positive reviews from critics, landing an impressive 84% on Rotten Tomatoes. Fan reception was positive as well, with the audience score on the review aggregate site resting at 76%.

While each episode had a plot meant to be adhered to, the adult animated series encouraged its revolving door of guest stars to improvise their dialogue, leading to an amalgamation of mumblecore and animated surrealism. The heart of "Animals" lies in the performances of creators Phil Matarese and Mike Luciano, who voice several recurring characters. Jane Kaczmarek appears in Season 3, Episode 7, titled "The Trial." The episode puts the focus on Phil and Mike's rats as they head to court to decide the better comedian: Jim Carrey or Adam Sandler. In true "Animals" fashion, the debate gets heated, leading to some of the show's most impressive bits. Kaczmarek steps into the role of a rat Judge, no doubt a nod to Judge Harm from "The Simpsons."

While Kaczmarek is most well-known on the live-action front for appearing as the overbearing Lois in "Malcolm in the Middle," it's her role as Judge Harm that has made her a staple on the animated front. As Disney's "The Simpsons" continues to truck along, it remains to be seen how many times audiences will be lucky enough to hear Kaczmarek return as Harm.