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The Simpsons' Hank Azaria Finds Moe's Darkness To Be A Good Outlet For His Own Anger

Adult animation owes a lot to Fox's "The Simpsons." While it certainly wasn't the first on the scene — that would come decades earlier with films and shorts that pushed boundaries — the series helped usher in a period that kicked off a televised revolution for an entire genre. What makes this series stand out is its unique look, creative writing, and characters that just about anyone could identify in a second.

The fictional Springfield is full of citizens whose weekly escapades range from humorous to surprisingly thought-provoking. More than just additions to the central family narrative, these characters have proven time and time again that their own stories are equally entertaining. One of those regulars is local bartender Moe Szyslak, who runs the namesake Moe's Tavern. Over the years, Moe has been there for Homer Simpson, Barney Gumble, and every other resident looking for an alcohol-fueled hideaway. He's also been featured in a few storylines which revealed the character's dreams and failures.

Some would argue that Moe's most recognizable trait is his unique brand of social skills; no-nonsense and disagreeable to a fault, his attitude has been the punchline time and time again. His temper gets the better of him at the worst of times. Bart's prank phone calls offer the perfect test of Moe's temperament, with him hitting peak anger in response to his unknown caller. For the man behind Szyslak's voice, that irritability hits close to home.

Moe is somewhat close to being Hank Azaria's alter-ego

Hank Azaria has been the voice of various "Simpsons" favorites for over thirty years; his role as Moe has been one of the most consistent among those countless figures. During that time, he's created a complex relationship with the exasperated bartender. The actor explained the connection as part of a Reddit AMA with fans in 2014.

It all started with a question about how far Azaria went inside Moe's psyche. The user wanted to know if that was a terrifying prospect. The actor laughed about it before stating that Moe is, to some degree, an alter-ego. He also elaborated that this extends to every role, even those outside of animation.

What draws Azaria to the down-on-his-luck bartender? It seems to be in the very anger that Springfield residents know all too well. "He's so bitter and dark that when I get really angry or bummed out, I can very much relate to Moe's point of view," the actor wrote. For Azaria, voicing Moe offers a release from the stresses of the outside world. "And sometimes performing Moe does genuinely feel like a release of my own tension and angst," he added.