5 best Scotland references in The Simpsons as the hit cartoon celebrates its 30th anniversary

The Simpsons has become such a timeless part of our popular culture that it's now hard to imagine a world before D'ohs and Duff Beer.

Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 11:47 am

Celebrating its 30-year anniversary this month, the comedy cartoon has contributed 31 seasons, 672 episodes and an innumerable amount of jokes, quotes and philosophical musings over the years.

Its satirical eye has roamed far and wide, with jokes made at the expense of celebrities and cultures across the globe - and Scotland has had its fair share of the fun.

To honour the show's big day, here's are the best moments when the Scots got Simpsonified.

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The Simpsons celebrates its 30th birthday this month. Picture: 20th Century Fox

Groundskeeper Willie

The most prominent piece of Scottish to be found anywhere in Springfield is of course the flame-haired, short-tempered, heavy drinking custodian of the elementary school ground, William Sean McLavel – better known as Groundskeeper Willie.

With his curmudgeonly spirit and love of a good, hard drink, Willie has become synonymous with Scottishness to audiences around the world.

He coined the famous anti-French descriptor “cheese-eating surrender monkey” and, in 2005 was found to be the person who Americans most associate with Scotland – beating out the likes of Billy Connolly, Sean Connery and Ewan McGregor.

Will Willie throw his weight behind another independence referendum? Picture:20th Century Fox

Years of speculation on where in Scotland Willie hails from were put to bed with the season 23 episode "The Daughter Also Rises", when it was revealed that he comes from Orkney – his father was an Uppie and his mother was a Doonie and it nearly tore his family apart.

Prior to that, both Aberdeen and Glasgow had laid claim to him based on passing references in the show - although whether or not he is indeed the “Aberdeen Strangler” remains a matter of some suspicion.

He was also known, in his own words, as “the ugliest man in Glasgow.”

The Simpsons on Scottish independence

Fiery Scottish chef brought his trademark tough love to Springfield. Picture: Roy Rochlin (Getty Images)

In 2014, Willie was featured in an official video endorsing the Scottish Independence movement.

He even offered to take over as the country's leader, describing himself as “a grand leader in the tradition of William Wallace or Andy Murray”.

The short clip showed him standing before a Scottish flag with the words “aye or die” etched across his chest. After the movement failed, he was seen looking dejected in front of a Union flag, the slogan replaced by an image of the Queen and an empty whisky bottle at his feet.

Willie also provided Independence-supporting viewers with the line that best summed up their feelings towards their countrymen and which found itself being widely shared following the referendum.

“Brothers and sisters are natural enemies. Like Englishmen and Scots! Or Welshmen and Scots! Or Japanese and Scots! Or Scots and other Scots! Damn Scots! They ruined Scotland!”

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Scottish celebrities

As The Simpsons grew from an intimate, animated show about family life into a global phenomenon, it quickly gained the star power to attract some of the world's most famous actors, athletes, musicians and other glitterati to lend their voices for an episode.

By this point, you haven't really made it unless you've appeared on TV in four-fingered form.

Naturally, over the show’s 31 seasons, several of Scotland's most celebrated sons and daughters have joined the ranks.

One of Scotland's most successful American exports, the foul-mouthed master chef Gordon Ramsay, stops by in season 23 after Marge becomes an aspiring foodie.

In the same season, Dumbarton-born Rock'n'Roll Hall of Famer David Byrne also adds his musical talents into the mix. He previously appeared in the show's 14th season as himself.

Known mostly for his role in Lord of the Rings as Peregrin “Pippin” Took, Billy Body stopped by for a swords and sorcery themed episode, which aired as the premier of the season 29.

The Loch Ness Monster

Perhaps the only Scottish resident who is more famous across the globe than Groundskeeper Willie, is the elusive Loch Ness monster. In the show's tenth season, Nessie joined a long line of Scottish celebrities, being immortalised in Simpson character form.

When Springfield's resident evil billionaire, Mr Burns, becomes disillusioned with how unpopular he has become, he enlists Homer to help plot a series of high profile stunts in an attempt to revamp his image.

When free give-aways, radio appearances and charitable donations don't get the job done, he has only one choice – to find and capture The Loch Ness Monster.

With Groundskeeper Willie as their guide, the pair succeed in draining the loch and finding Nessie, before flying her back to Springfield where she gets a job at Mr Burns' casino.


Hit television series Outlander has helped put Scotland back on the TV map, thanks in no small part to the musclebound physique of its leading star Sam Heughan. And the time travel drama recently reached an important milestone with a punchline in The Simpsons.

Season 30 episode "Krusty the Clown" sees Homer become a successful episode recapper before he incurs the wrath of Krusty the Clown by panning his show. When Krusty is hauled into court for trying to murder him in revenge, Homer's unforgiving sisters-in-law jump to the clown's defence, saying: "It was justifiable homicide, he gave Outlander a B minus!"

It's a put-down that many Springfielders find unfair, with one yelling in response: "That show knows what it wants to be, come on!"

Either way, the show's stars Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe took to social media to express their delight at being name-checked, describing the moment as "better than any award."