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The Simpsons Character Harry Shearer Hated Voicing

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Harry Shearer will always be the man who gave "The Simpsons" some of the series' most well-known voices. It seems quite appropriate for a man who, as a child, was a friend of the great "man of a thousand voices," Mel Blanc (via Ultimate Classic Rock). Though, funnily enough, it seems that Shearer didn't learn much in the way of doing voices for him.

Something must have rubbed off though, because the list of voices he has done during the series' 30-year run is remarkable: Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner, C. Montgomery Burns, Otto Mann, Lenny, Waylon Smithers, Kent Brockman, Kang, Scratchy, Rainier Wolfcastle, and so many others. Until 2021, he also voiced Dr. Julius Hibbert, before stepping aside in favor of Kevin Michael Richardson. Shearer doesn't even voice a member of the actual Simpson family, and yet it is clear that the show couldn't happen without him.

Still, this doesn't necessarily mean it's been all fun for Shearer. There was one voice, in particular, he hated doing. Thankfully, it was relatively short-lived in the universe of "The Simpsons."

Harry Shearer hated voicing Dr. Marvin Monroe

In an interview with The Maine Edge, Harry Shearer was asked which character was most difficult to voice. "That's easy," replied Shearer. "Dr. Marvin Monroe." It has been more than 20 years since we've heard from Dr. Monroe, but for a time he was as recognizable as any other recurring character Shearer voice.

First appearing in Season 1 as a family therapist attempting (and failing) to get the eternally dysfunctional Simpsons better communicate, Dr. Monroe stood apart for his nasal and scratchy voice. "The whole idea was to have a family therapist with the most grating and irritating voice imaginable." Not only was Dr. Monroe the kind of therapist you would hate to listen to during a session, but according to the DVD commentary on the Complete First Season, voicing him was such a strain on Shearer's voice that Matt Groening and company retired the character. It only took until Season 7.

"One year I turned on the show to watch the annual 'Treehouse of Horror' Halloween episode," continued Shearer, "which shows a little sequence of a graveyard, and I saw the headstone of Dr. Marvin Monroe and was greatly relieved."

But is Dr. Monroe really dead?

We're not quite sure which "Treehouse of Horror" Shearer is referring to, though. For while there have been many amusing tombstones presented to us in the Halloween episodes' opening sequences over the years, there doesn't seem to be one for Dr. Marvin Monroe in any of them.

Dr. Monroe's tombstone is indeed seen during Maude Flanders' funeral in Season 11's "Alone Again, Natura-Diddily," but while that episode's humor was pretty dark, it wasn't a "Treehouse of Horror" sequence. But even well before that, Monroe's death is confirmed in Season 7's "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular" via a snarky trivia question. Subsequent episodes saw references

All in all, even with his death presumably having taken place offscreen, it can safely be assumed that Dr. Monroe has gone to join the choir invisible. Except that he appears briefly, but definitely appears, in Season 15's "Diatribe of a Mad Housewife," purchasing a copy of Marge's (Julie Kavner) book. When asked by Marge about his supposed death, he simply replies, with his grating voice, that he's been very sick. And once again, he was voiced by Harry Shearer (via IMDb).