When you've grown up with a cast of characters, it's hard to accept that any of them might die, even if they're cartoons. But just as death's a part of life, it's a part of animated existence, too. After all, several Simpsons characters have kicked the bucket over the years, most recently Maude Flanders in 2000. Now, with the show's 25th season in progress, executive producer Al Jean has announced that another will soon meet his or her end. Jean didn't say who, when or how this will go down, but he did give one hint – the actor who plays the doomed character once won an Emmy for the role. So who is it? We froze our hearts to come up with five Springfield residents worthy of a ticket to heaven.
Krusty the Clown's floppy-footed former sidekick may be brilliant, charming and goofy-looking, but he also exhibits serious sociopathic tendencies. Sure, it's understandable that he'd have a burning vendetta against Bart Simpson – the little hellraiser has foiled practically all of his devious schemes. But you'd figure the man born Robert Terwilliger would eventually get over it, instead of trying to kill Bart time and time again. As for the time he married aunt Selma just to try and blow her up – that's just wrong, man. Here's hoping this oft-incarcerated maniac finally gets the prison shank to the gut he so deserves.
As Springfield's most lovable drunk, Barney is known as much for his signature, gut-busting belch as for his vast stores of wasted potential. Once a straight-A student, he's won accolades for his singing prowess, learned to fly a helicopter and even trained with NASA. And yet, despite efforts at getting sober, he's repeatedly returned to his first love, Duff Beer. If Barney finally gets taken out by liver failure, that would be a powerful television moment. Even Duffman himself would shed a tear.
It's easy to dismiss Grampa Simpson as a crazy old kook, what with his endless supply of rambling, implausible yarns. But the man has led an incredible and varied life: He fought in World War II, went to Woodstock, cross-dressed on multiple occasions, got involved with many women, worked some hard jobs, and did a lot of other things, according to his recollection, that may or may not be true. Now he can come to his final resting place at the Springfield Retirement Castle, knowing he's had a solid run.
A perennial womanizer who engages in all sorts of illegal shenanigans – embezzling city funds, bribing mob bosses, delivering kickbacks to Chief Wiggum – Mayor Quimby makes a real-life disgraced politico like former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner look like a choirboy by comparison. Quimby's had a few close calls over the years, and once Sideshow Bob even briefly took over the mayor's office. But for some reason, Quimby keeps getting elected. Either a whopper of a scandal needs to surface and kill his political career, or he should have a heart attack.
Charles Montgomery Burns
Mr. Burns is so frail that he can't even steal a piece of candy from a baby (see the classic two-part episode "Who Shot Mr. Burns?"). But as the owner of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, he's gotten away with more devious schemes than a thousand Lehman Brothers bankers combined. While there's little to no chance that Mr. Burns will actually get killed off in a future episode (since voice actor Harry Shearer has not won an Emmy), there's got to be more than a few folks in Springfield who're anxious to see the old billionaire hurry up and die already.