Producer of ‘The Simpsons’ apologizes for unexpected death of character

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Fans of “The Simpsons” are still reacting to the surprising death of Moe’s Tavern regular Larry Dalrymple — aka Larry the Barfly — in Sunday’s episode, “Cremains of the Day.” And co-executive producer of “The Simpsons,” Tim Long, has the explanation for why the show did this.

“I’m sorry if some fans are upset, but we really wanted to use Larry’s death as a way to show that even the most peripheral people in our lives have dignity and worth, and that we really shouldn’t take anyone for granted. Long wrote in an email shared with Variety. “To paraphrase Shakespeare, nothing changed Larry’s life as he left it: drunk, lonely and with an ass full of sapphires.”

In the episode, Moe discovers Larry dead in the bar. According to the episode’s logline: “When someone in Homer’s life dies, he and the Moe boys go on a road trip to scatter the ashes… but will their friendship die too?” Larry was a background character on “The Simpsons,” appearing at Moe’s Tavern since the show’s very first episode in 1989, “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire.” The balding character rarely spoke, but was voiced by Harry Shearer.

“To me, it’s fitting that some fans are taking Larry’s passing as hard as Homer and his friends,” Long said. “It’s just a measure of how much the show still means to people. I mean, no one would have been mad if the Flintstones had killed the Great Gazoo. At least they would have been happy.

“The episode is about many things, but mainly about the fear of death. Simpsons characters have always had unusually rich emotional lives, and this episode is really about their fear of ‘what comes next’ (and I don’t mean ‘Krapopolis’),” he added. “What I find bittersweet about this episode is that it took Larry’s death for Homer and his friends to appreciate him and each other.

“Again, we are sorry if anyone is upset about Larry’s death; we certainly didn’t kill off the character lightly. But I should also point out that Larry was never really one of the breakout stars of the show. I don’t remember any kids wearing a “Larry” t-shirt or doing a “Larry the Drunken Lonely Barfly” dance. It would have been cool if they had.”

‘The Simpsons’ has been no stranger to killing off characters over the years, including Maude Flanders, Frank Grimes, Mona Simpson and Edna Krabappel.

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