UPDATE: On Thursday, James L. Brooks, one of the developers and writers on The Simpsons, tweeted about the situation and claimed that they are still trying to resolve it with Shearer. "Hey, we tried. We're still trying," said Brooks in the tweet. "Harry, no kidding, let's talk.
The Simpsons has been on for such a long time that it's one of those shows you can probably talk about with your parents, if not with your children. Since the pilot episode premiered in 1989, we've gotten to know the huge ensemble cast of Springfield very well — and now we're losing a few of them. Harry Shearer, who voices Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, and more, announced that he's leaving The Simpsons due to alleged contract disputes and to have the freedom to do other work. Sure, Shearer isn't the only person to have ever voiced Mr. Burns (the character's first appearance comes to mind), but he's voiced the character ever since and, even if The Simpsons decides to keep Mr. Burns around, it just won't be the same. It's like watching Pokémon and marveling at how different Jesse and James sound now in the early '00s.
Since I can't imagine the show without the greedy, money-grubbing corporate fat cat we've all come to know and loathe, I'm glad to hear that The Simpsons will simply be recasting the character instead of writing him out entirely. While it's difficult to narrow down his best moments to a respectable seven, these are some clips from times when Shearer really made Mr. Burns come alive, whether in a way that is truly iconic to the character or in a way that just features some good old (horrible) advice to live by. Let's take a walk down memory lane as we wait to hear who will become the new voice of Charles Montgomery Burns.
1. When He Endorses Mitt Romney
Did you honestly believe that he would endorse anyone else?
2. Mr Burns, On Cheating
Hey, he's got a point. It's our right as Americans to cheat. Apparently. I don't know. It's a good speech, though.
3. When He Sang About Being Hated
If this song doesn't get stuck in your head all day, then obviously you're not a True Fan, and you need to take the day off work in order to memorize the lyrics right now.
4. When He Waited 25 Years For This
Totally worth the wait.
5. When Homer Asks Mr. Burns For A Favor
If ever you need something from your boss, just wait until he's not in the right mind. That always works out well for everyone involved.
6. On Public Image
That's going to help.
7. His Infamous Catchphrase
How many times have you steepled your fingers and said, "Excellent?" If the answer isn't several times a day, you aren't doing it nearly enough.