With 20 seasons and a successful movie under their belts, the next logical expansion of the Simpsons empire would be a spin-off. If it's going to happen, here's a list of characters that would be perfect in the spotlight, plus a few that would totally suck.
13. Kent Brockman
Spin-off title: The Brockman Report
Think along the lines of Fox's Kelsey Grammar-driven, Back to You only in cartoon form and with jokes that people can actually laugh at. They could introduce a whole newsroom full of new characters from the wacky weather man to the surly sports woman who doesn't take crap from anybody. Or, they could just make him the cartoon Colbert.
12. Lionel Hutz
Spin-off title: Hutz Happenin'
Sadly, Phil Hartman is no longer with us to voice the shadiest lawyer in town, but if he was, his character could easily fill the void left so long ago by Night Court. There are already plenty of serious law shows on the air, we could use one that's not afraid to have a little fun and rip off a few clients. It's the perfect venue for Simpsons cameos, too. Who else is Otto going to go to when he gets a DUI or Moe when he violates a restraining order?
Spin-off title: Clown About Town
He is one of the oldest and most well-known secondary characters on the show, so we wouldn't have to go throught that awkward character exposition phase. Plus, he has a long and eventful history in show business that could provide plenty of funny and new material to carry a show. I'm picturing an animated Larry Sanders with more jokes about speed and Matzo.
10. Comic Book Guy
Spin-off title: Best. Spin-off. Ever.
He's a fan favorite with the Comic Con crowd, which all but assures that the show would be a success. It would be the perfect venue for a lot of Family Guy-style pop culture references, which isn't the most original idea, but could certainly be entertaining. It could even be set in the comic book store, like the Clerks animated series which deserved way more of a chance than it got.
9. Fat Tony
Spin-off title: Fat Tony and the Family
With The Sopranos gone, there's a serious dearth of mobsters on TV at the moment. They could easily make a show about wacky gangsters, but I think it would be more interesting if they went in a more serious direction. How cool would it be to see Fat Tony whack someone in cold blood. It's about time we got to see Springfield's seedy underbelly.
8. Dr. Hibbert
Spin-off title: Dr. Hibbert's Office
Doctor shows are extremely popular, but usually really depressing. With no Scrubs around, the market is ready for a doctor show with more jokes and less doctors who screw each other instead of dealing with patients. Fox already has House to fill the grumpy MD slot, and I can think of no better foil for him than the jovial Dr. Hibbert. Plus, he could have Dr. Nick as a sidekick.
Spin-off title: Otto (when you're making a show for stoners, simplicity is good)
He's lovable, non-threatening and ready to get into whatever situation presents itself. He could spend a whole season as a roadie for Metallica or even just showing what he does after he drops the kids off at school. There's plenty of opportunity for ganja-fueled shenanigans between 8 and 3.
6. Hank Scorpio
Spin-off title: Scorpio
We only got to know him for one episode, but he sure did leave an impression. He's an evil billionaire genius with unlimited resources and the time to talk to any of his employees when they need him, even when he's under attack from ninjas. That's the kind of character you want to get to know. He's sort of like Dr. Evil, only much smarter and a lot less annoying. I picture a Pinky and the Brain type series where his failed attempts at global domination do nothing to hinder his ambition and spirit. Plus, there has to be at least one episode where he visits the hammock district.
5. Snake and 4. Wiggum
Spin-off title: Ever Blue Terrace
Snake has robbed and terrorized almost every inhabitant of Springfield and that has to be getting under the skin of the good-hearted police chief. Sure, he's lazy but a man can only be embarrassed so many times before he pulls up his size 54 pants and actually starts doing his duty. Since both are voiced by Hank Azaria, they could keep the main cast fairly small.
3. Lenny and 2. Carl
Spin-off title: A Semi-Carl Kind of Life
Their relationship has been a mystery to us for all these years, it's time we finally get to know Lenny and Carl for the men they truly are. Are they gay? Is Lenny's eye finally healed enough to get pudding in it once again? What ever happened to Lenny's plastic surgery that made him smile all the time? Those are all questions I would love to see answered. It would be the buddy comedy to end all buddy comedies. Then, when it gets old after a few seasons, they can throw a kid in there to mix things up. Or Poochie.
1. Frank Grimes
Spin-off title: The Story of Grimey
Sadly, Frank is dead, so the only real option would be to make the whole series a prequel to his episode, but the man lived a full life before he crossed paths with Homer Simpson. His story could be touching and funny all at the same time, sort of like the clown at my seventh birthday party. It would be nice watching a show, knowing that the hero eventually achieves his modest dream. And then he's electrocuted to death.
Three characters that don't deserve their own show.
I can barely deal with this whiney bastard for the short amounts of time that he's on screen as a secondary character. All of his mumbling and whining gets old fast. It would be like giving Bill from King of the Hill his own show, only worse.
I know there are those of you out ther that love the Sideshow Bob episodes, but for this die-hard Simpsons fan, they fall right above Lisa episodes and right below the awful clip shows on the chart of suckiness.
While Moe is a great character, he has proven that he can be really annoying when a whole episode is devoted to him. The only way I could see it working is if the show focused around his tavern rather than himself. That way, Barney could help carry some of the load.