Groundskeeper Willie

Dr. William MacDougal, better known as Groundskeeper Willie, is a recurring character on The Simpsons, voiced by Dan Castellaneta. He is the head groundskeeper at Springfield Elementary School. Willie is almost feral in nature and is immensely proud of his Scottish origin. He is easily identifiable by his red hair and beard, as well as his aggressive temperament and thick, unrealistic Scottish accent.

Groundskeeper Willie
The Simpsons character
First appearance"Principal Charming" (1991)
Created byDavid M. Stern (writer)
Matt Groening (designer)
Voiced byDan Castellaneta
OccupationGroundskeeper at Springfield Elementary School
FamilyMr. MacDougal (father)
Mrs. MacDougal (mother)
Gravedigger Billy (cousin)
Seamus (cousin)

Role in The Simpsons

Groundskeeper Willie (who was once originally called "Groundskeeper Louie") is the janitor at Springfield Elementary School and lives in a shack on the school premises. He is a Scotsman with an aggressive temper. Willie is an uncouth and unpleasant character, though is essentially harmless. His personality is depicted as being incompetent, drunken, slow-witted, and quick to anger for little or no reason. Willie has shown antipathy to both his employer, Principal Skinner, and Bart Simpson, who frequently plays practical jokes on him. In Treehouse of Horror VI he plotted revenge on grown ups kids after getting burned to death.

Due to the deliberately inaccurate continuity of the series, he has claimed to be from various parts of Scotland during the series, most recently Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands in the 2012 episode 'The Daughter Also Rises'. This settled the previous continuity problem in which Willie had been stated to be a supporter of Aberdeen F.C, and to have lived in Glasgow. In early episodes, Willie's father was said to be dead. However, his parents were later introduced in "Monty Can't Buy Me Love", and lived near Loch Ness; which is near Inverness. In "The Girl Who Slept Too Little", it is revealed that he has a cousin, "Grave Digger Billy".

Willie plays a supporting role in most of his episodes, but he was a main character in the episode "My Fair Laddy", where Lisa Simpson introduced him to high culture as a science project.

Willie has a troubled, if distant relationship with his parents. In the episode “My Fair Laddy”, Willie recalls his birth and how his abusive father told him he would never amount to anything in life and would be lucky if he grew up to be "garbage".

On two occasions, Willie frames Bart for pulling pranks that Bart would normally pull. In "The Father, the Son, and the Holy Guest Star", he unleashes a giant pie of rats on the Springfield Elementary medieval festival to get revenge for being cast as the village idiot and his cruel treatment. Skinner is quick to blame Bart and expels him. Willie is never shown being found out as the culprit, but it can be assumed that he is eventually found out after Bart is enrolled in Catholic school and earns his way back into Springfield Elementary. In "Dark Knight Court", Willie causes hundreds of eggs to be splattered at the Springfield Easter celebration out of inbred hatred for the holiday. Bart is put on trial for the incident, only to be acquitted when Willie is caught and turned in by Lisa and Mr. Burns (as Fruit Batman).


Dan Castellaneta 2
Dan Castellaneta, the voice of Groundskeeper Willie

Groundskeeper Willie's first appearance was in the season two episode "Principal Charming", first broadcast on February 14, 1991. Originally, the character was written as simply being an angry janitor; his Scottish accent was added during a recording session. Dan Castellaneta, who voices several other characters including Homer Simpson, was assigned to do the voice. Castellaneta did not know what voice to use and Sam Simon, who was directing at the time, told Castellaneta to use an accent. He first tried a Spaniard's voice, which Simon felt was too clichéd. He then tried a "big dumb Swede", which was also rejected. For his third attempt, he used the voice of an angry Scotsman, which was considered to be more appropriate and was used in the episode.[1][2] Originally thought by the directors to be a one-off appearance, Willie has since become a recurring character.[3] Matt Groening later revealed that the character was based partially on Angus Crock, a kilt-wearing chef from the sketch comedy show Second City Television, who was portrayed by Dave Thomas[4] and Jimmy Finlayson, the moustachioed Scottish actor who appeared in 33 Laurel and Hardy films.[5]

A recurring joke, which was first shown in "Radio Bart", is that Groundskeeper Willie appears to have a beer belly, but whenever he takes off his shirt, he is very muscular.[6] One of Groundskeeper Willie's trademarks is a gruffly-spoken insulting retort, which take the writers a long time to come up with, although they do not consider them that funny.[7]

Cultural impact

Kirkwall Orkney-Mainland
Debate in Scotland over the hometown of Groundskeeper Willie ended when he was revealed to be from Kirkwall, Orkney (pictured)

Groundskeeper Willie's description of the French as "cheese-eating surrender monkeys"[8] from the episode "'Round Springfield" has become widely used, particularly in the run-up to the war in Iraq.[9] The newspaper New York Post used the phrase "Surrender Monkeys" as the headline for its December 7, 2006 front page, referring to the Iraq Study Group and its recommendation that U.S. soldiers be withdrawn from Iraq by early-2008.[10] The line was "most likely" written by Ken Keeler.[11] The phrase "Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys" has also been used by Jeremy Clarkson and Anthony Bourdain.

In 2009, Willie was added to the "Famous Glaswegians" webpage of Glasgow City Council, based on his line in "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious". A spokesman for Aberdeen F.C. disputed Glasgow's claim to the character, citing the episodes "Scuse Me While I Miss The Sky" and "The Dad Who Knew Too Little".[12][13] In Season 23 Episode 13 "The Daughter Also Rises", first aired in 2012, it was finally stated that Groundskeeper Willie is from Kirkwall in Orkney, therefore ending this dispute.[14]

In September 2014, Groundskeeper Willie featured in an official video in which he endorsed a vote for Scottish independence in an upcoming Scottish referendum, and put himself forward to lead a potentially independent Scotland while standing in front of the St. Andrew's Cross with a tattoo on his chest that read: 'Aye or Die!'.[15] Following the result of the referendum where the Scottish electorate voted to remain as part of the UK, the producers released an image of Willie now standing in front of a Union Jack flag, looking depressed with his "Aye or Die!" tattoo replaced with a picture of the Queen and empty bottles of whisky with a newspaper featuring Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who was widely credited with giving the "No" campaign a last-minute boost.[16]


In 2006, Groundskeeper Willie was named the fourth-best peripheral character in the history of the show by IGN,[17] who said "high-points for the character were being trained to be civilized, wrestling a wolf that was let loose in the school and becoming a substitute for the French language teacher – 'Bon jourrr! You cheese-eating surrender monkeys!'" IGN also named "My Fair Laddy", the only episode which centres around Willie, the best episode of the seventeenth season.[18] Jim Slotek of Sun Media called Willie the ninth-best Simpsons supporting character, and also made a Top Ten quotes list, which included Willie's quote "Och, back to the loch wi' ye, Nessie", from "Selma's Choice".[19] The Times reported in late-2005 that "he is the most instantly recognisable Scot in the world: better known than Billy Connolly or Ewan McGregor, even Sean Connery." The same article quotes Simpsons creator Matt Groening as saying "We wanted to create a school janitor that was filled with rage, sort of our tribute to angry janitors all over the world".[20]


Three Groundskeeper Willie action figures were created by Playmates Toys for the World of Springfield series: Willie depicted in his usual appearance, released in 2001 in wave 4;[21] "Ripped Willie", released in 2002 as part of wave 8;[22] and "Kilted Willie", released in 2003 in wave 14.[23]

See also


  1. ^ Reiss, Mike (2002). The Simpsons season 2 videocassette commentary for the episode "Principal Charming" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  2. ^ Reiss, Mike; Klickstein, Mathew (2018). Springfield confidential: jokes, secrets, and outright lies from a lifetime writing for the Simpsons. New York City: Dey Street Books. p. 104. ISBN 978-0062748034.
  3. ^ Kirkland, Mark (2002). The Simpsons season 2 DVD commentary for the episode "Principal Charming" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  4. ^ Horne, Marc (July 21, 2007). "Groening lifts toilet lid on the real-life Groundskeeper Willie". Scotland on Sunday. Retrieved 2007-08-02.
  5. ^ Simon, Jeremy (February 11, 1994). "Wisdom from The Simpsons' 'D'ohh' boy". The Daily Northwestern.
  6. ^ Weinstein, Josh (2003). The Simpsons season 3 DVD commentary for the episode "Jean, Al" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  7. ^ Weinstein, Josh (2004). The Simpsons season 5 DVD commentary for the episode "Sweet Seymour Skinner's Badassss song" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  8. ^ Sound recording of Groundskeeper Willie's line About: Political humour. Retrieved on December 27, 2006
  9. ^ Wimps, weasels and monkeys – the US media view of 'perfidious France' The Guardian. Retrieved on December 27, 2006
  10. ^ Lathem, Niles (December 7, 2006). "Iraq 'Appease' Squeeze on W." New York Post. Retrieved April 3, 2015.
  11. ^ Mentioned in The Simpsons Season 6 DVD Commentary for the episode "'Round Springfield".
  12. ^ "Famous Glaswegians". Glasgow City Council. Retrieved June 16, 2009.
  13. ^ Horne, Marc (May 24, 2009). "Civic war centres on Simpsons star". Scotland on Sunday. Retrieved June 16, 2009.
  14. ^ "Groundskeeper Willie finally reveals his Orcadian roots". The Scotsman. 3 February 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  15. ^ Gye, Hugo (13 September 2014). "Groundskeeper Willie says Yes: Scottish Simpsons character 'comes out for independence' in joke campaign video". Daily Mail. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  16. ^ "The Simpsons Groundskeeper Willie gutted after Scots 'No' vote". 2014-09-20.
  17. ^ Eric Goldman; Dan Iverson; Brian Zoromski (2006-09-06). "Top 25 Simpsons Peripheral Characters". IGN. Retrieved 2007-06-08.
  18. ^ Goldman, Eric; Dan Iverson, Brian Zoromski (2006-09-08). "The Simpsons: 17 Seasons, 17 Episodes". IGN. Retrieved 2007-08-02.
  19. ^ Slotek, Jim. "'Simpsons' makes jump to big screen". Sun Media. Archived from the original on 2013-01-15. Retrieved 2007-08-02.
  20. ^ Turpin, Adrian (October 23, 2005). "The strange world of Oor grown-up Wullie". London: The Times. Retrieved 2007-08-02.
  21. ^ "Series 4". The Simpsons Action Figure Information Station. Retrieved 2008-11-04.
  22. ^ "Series 8". The Simpsons Action Figure Information Station. Retrieved 2008-11-04.
  23. ^ "Series 14". The Simpsons Action Figure Information Station. Retrieved 2008-11-04.
'Round Springfield

"'Round Springfield" is the 22nd episode of The Simpsons' sixth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on April 30, 1995. In the episode, Bart is rushed to the hospital after eating a jagged metal Krusty-O and decides to sue Krusty the Clown. Whilst visiting Bart, Lisa discovered her old mentor, jazz musician Bleeding Gums Murphy, is also in the hospital. He encourages her ahead of a school recital, but the next day, she finds he died overnight, and resolves to honor his memory. Steve Allen (as himself) and Ron Taylor (as Bleeding Gums Murphy) guest star, each in their second appearance on the show. Dan Higgins also returns as the writer and performer of all of Lisa and Bleeding Gums' saxophone solos.

It was written by Joshua Sternin and Jeffrey Ventimilia, based on a story idea by Al Jean and Mike Reiss and was the first episode directed by Steven Dean Moore. Jean and Reiss, who were previously the series' showrunners, returned to produce this episode (as well as "A Star Is Burns") in order to lessen the workload of the show's regular staff. They worked on it alongside the staff of The Critic, the series they had left The Simpsons to create. The episode marks the first time in which a recurring character was killed off in the show, something the staff had considered for a while. The episode features numerous cultural references, including Carole King's song "Jazzman", the actor James Earl Jones and the Kimba the White Lion/The Lion King controversy.

The episode also features the phrase "cheese-eating surrender monkeys", used by Groundskeeper Willie to describe the French. The phrase has since entered the public lexicon. It has been used and referenced by journalists and academics; it appears in two Oxford quotation dictionaries.

1957 in animation

Events in 1957 in animation.

Dan Castellaneta

Daniel Louis Castellaneta (; born October 29, 1957) is an American actor, voice actor, comedian, producer and screenwriter, best known for his long-running role as Homer Simpson on the Fox Broadcasting Company animated sitcom The Simpsons. He also voices many other characters for the show including Abraham "Grampa" Simpson, Barney Gumble, Krusty the Clown, Sideshow Mel, Groundskeeper Willie, Mayor Quimby and Hans Moleman. Castellaneta also had roles in several other programs, including Futurama for Fox Broadcasting Company, Sibs and Darkwing Duck for ABC, The Adventures of Dynamo Duck for Fox Kids, Back to the Future: The Animated Series for CBS, Aladdin for Toon Disney, Taz-Mania for Warner Bros. Animation and in Hey Arnold! as Grandpa Phil for Nickelodeon.

In 1999, he appeared in the Christmas special Olive, the Other Reindeer, and won an Annie Award for his portrayal of the Postman. He released a comedy album I Am Not Homer, and wrote and starred in a one-person show titled Where Did Vincent van Gogh?

Dan Castellaneta filmography

The following is a complete filmography of the actor Dan Castellaneta. Active since the 1980s, Castellaneta has appeared in numerous films, television series and video games. Along with his live-action work, he has often worked as a voice actor, including for his longest-running role as Homer Simpson in the animated sitcom The Simpsons. Castellaneta has also written six episodes of the show with his wife Deb Lacusta, and has won three Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Voice-Over Performance for it.

From Russia Without Love

"From Russia Without Love" is the 645th episode of The Simpsons and the sixth episode of season 30.

Girly Edition

"Girly Edition" is the twenty-first episode in the ninth season of the American animated television series The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on April 19, 1998. In the episode, Lisa and Bart Simpson must co-anchor a new news program, though when Bart is seen as a more successful news anchor, Lisa becomes jealous and seeks revenge. Meanwhile, in the subplot, Homer Simpson gets a monkey helper because of his laziness.

"Girly Edition" was the first episode written by Larry Doyle and was directed by Mark Kirkland. Much of the subplot was inspired by the film Monkey Shines. Critics gave the episode positive reviews and it is also one of Yeardley Smith's favorite episodes of the series.


Groundskeeping is the activity of tending an area of land for aesthetic or functional purposes; typically in an institutional setting. It includes mowing grass, trimming hedges, pulling weeds, planting flowers, etc. The U.S. Department of Labor estimated that more than 900,000 workers are employed in the landscape maintenance and groundskeeping services industry in the United States in 2006. Of these over 300,000 workers were greenskeepers for golf courses, schools, resorts, and public parks. Compare gardener.

Homer Badman

"Homer Badman" is the ninth episode of The Simpsons' sixth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 27, 1994. It was written by Greg Daniels and directed by Jeffrey Lynch. In the episode, Homer is falsely accused of sexual harassment and must clear his name. Dennis Franz guest stars as himself portraying Homer in a movie.

Lard of the Dance

"Lard of the Dance" is the first episode of The Simpsons' tenth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on August 23, 1998. Homer discovers he can make money by stealing and reselling grease, but eventually stops after negative encounters with Groundskeeper Willie and the Springfield Grease Company. Meanwhile, Lisa becomes jealous that a new student (voiced by Lisa Kudrow) is distracting all her friends by using her fashionable personality. The episode was written by Jane O'Brien and directed by Dominic Polcino.

Love, Springfieldian Style

"Love Springfieldian Style" is the twelfth episode of The Simpsons' nineteenth season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on February 17, 2008, three days after Valentine's Day. It includes three self-contained stories about romance. The three tales are parodies of Bonnie and Clyde, Lady and the Tramp and Sid and Nancy.

Monty Can't Buy Me Love

"Monty Can't Buy Me Love" is the twenty-first episode of The Simpsons' tenth season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 2, 1999. In the episode, Mr. Burns is jealous of megastore owner Arthur Fortune, who is beloved by the people of Springfield. In order to win the people's love, Burns gathers the help of Homer Simpson, Professor Frink and Groundskeeper Willie to capture the Loch Ness monster.

The episode was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by Mark Ervin. The idea for the episode was pitched by the Simpsons writing staff, who wanted to make an episode in which Mr. Burns becomes a "thrillionaire", a millionaire who goes on thrilling adventures. Although it would originally be green, a mistake in the overseas animation led to the Loch Ness monster looking pink, a mistake that was ultimately too expensive to fix.

In its original broadcast, "Monty Can't Buy Me Love" was seen by approximately 7.26 million viewers, and finished in 43rd place in the ratings the week it aired.

Following the release of The Simpsons: The Complete Tenth Season, the episode received mixed reviews from critics.

My Fair Laddy

"My Fair Laddy" is the twelfth episode of The Simpsons' seventeenth season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on February 26, 2006. This is the first episode that centers on Groundskeeper Willie. The title and plot are based on the Broadway musical and film My Fair Lady.

Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance

This is a list of winners and nominees of the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance.

In 2014, the award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance was separated into two categories – Outstanding Narrator and Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance. As with longform and reality, this split acknowledges and accommodates a general industry uptrend in the distinctly different achievements that are VO narration and VO character performance.

Principal Charming

"Principal Charming" is the fourteenth episode of The Simpsons' second season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on February 14, 1991. In the episode, Marge's sister Selma is looking for a husband, so Marge orders Homer to help her find one. Things go wrong, however, when Homer invites Principal Skinner over for dinner and Skinner instead falls for Selma's twin sister Patty.

The episode was written by David M. Stern and directed by Mark Kirkland. The characters Hans Moleman, Groundskeeper Willie and Squeaky Voiced Teen make their first appearances on The Simpsons in the episode. "Principal Charming" features cultural references to film such as Vertigo, Gone with the Wind, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Since airing, the episode has received mostly positive reviews from television critics. It acquired a Nielsen rating of 14.1, and was the highest-rated show on Fox the week it aired.

Skinner's Sense of Snow

"Skinner's Sense of Snow" is the eighth episode of The Simpsons' twelfth season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on December 17, 2000. In the episode, a snowstorm traps the students with principal Seymour Skinner and Groundskeeper Willie in Springfield Elementary. When Skinner uses his army skills to control the students, they overthrow him and take over the school. Meanwhile, Homer and Ned set out to rescue the children using Ned's car.

"Skinner's Sense of Snow" was written by Tim Long and directed by Lance Kramer. While the episode's premise is based on an occurrence in Long's childhood, the setpiece came from staff writer Matt Selman. Because the episode takes place in winter, Kramer found it difficult to animate. It features references to Smilla's Sense of Snow, The Deer Hunter and Kristi Yamaguchi, among other things. In its original broadcast, the episode was seen by approximately 8.8 million viewers, finishing in 33rd place in the ratings the week it aired. Following the home video release, the episode received mostly positive reviews from critics.

The Daughter Also Rises

"The Daughter Also Rises" is the thirteenth episode of the twenty-third season of the American animated sitcom The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on February 12, 2012. The episode parodies the MythBusters program in that Bart and Milhouse are inspired by a show called MythCrackers to debunk some urban schoolyard legends. The hosts of MythBusters, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, guest starred in the episode as themselves, while actor Michael Cera played Lisa's new love interest Nick. "The Daughter Also Rises" received a 2.0 Nielsen rating in the demographic for adults aged 18–49, and was viewed by around 4.26 million people. The reception from critics has been mixed to negative.

Treehouse of Horror VI

"Treehouse of Horror VI" is the sixth episode of The Simpsons' seventh season and the sixth episode in the Treehouse of Horror series. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on October 29, 1995, and contains three self-contained segments. In "Attack of the 50 Foot Eyesores", an ionic storm brings Springfield's oversized advertisements and billboards to life and they begin attacking the town. The second segment, "Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace", is a parody of the A Nightmare on Elm Street film series, in which Groundskeeper Willie (resembling Freddy Krueger) attacks schoolchildren in their sleep. In the third and final segment, "Homer3", Homer finds himself trapped in a three dimensional world. It was inspired by The Twilight Zone episode "Little Girl Lost". The segments were written by John Swartzwelder, Steve Tompkins, and David S. Cohen respectively.

An edited version of "Homer3" would appear alongside several other shorts in the 2000 American 3-D animated anthology film, CyberWorld shown in IMAX and IMAX 3D.

The first version of the episode was very long, so it featured a very short opening sequence and did not include several trademarks established in previous Treehouse of Horror episodes. "Homer3", pitched by executive producer Bill Oakley, features three dimensional computer animation provided by Pacific Data Images (PDI). In the final scene of the episode, Homer is sent to the real world in the first ever live-action scene in The Simpsons. "Attack of the 50-Foot Eyesores" includes a cameo appearance from Paul Anka, who sings the song "Just Don't Look".

In its original broadcast, the episode was watched by 22.9 million viewers, acquired a Nielsen rating of 12.9, finishing 21st in the weekly ratings, and was the highest-rated show on the Fox network the week it aired. In 1996, the "Homer3" segment was awarded the Ottawa International Animation Festival grand prize and the episode was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming Less Than One Hour).

True Scotsman

"True Scotsman" is a humorous term used in Scotland for a man wearing a kilt without undergarments. Though the tradition originated in the military, it has entered Scottish lore as a rite, an expression of light-hearted curiosity about the custom, and even as a subversive gesture.However, in 2010, the Director of the Scottish Tartans Authority, Brian Wilton, described the tradition of not wearing undergarments as "childish and unhygienic". In response, racing driver David Coulthard and some kilt manufacturers spoke in favour of the tradition, while MSP Jamie McGrigor and Wimbledon champion Andy Murray admitted to wearing underwear under their kilts.

William McDougall

William McDougall may refer to:

William McDougall (politician) (1822–1905), Canadian lawyer and politician from Ontario

William McDougall (Nova Scotia politician) (1816–1886), Canadian shipbuilder and politician from Nova Scotia

William McDougall (Quebec politician) (1831–1886), Canadian lawyer, judge and politician from Quebec

William McDougall (psychologist) (1871–1938), British psychologist and author

William Currie McDougall (1840-1920) Scottish minister and poet, central to the Coatbridge Free Church Scandal

Bill McDougall (born 1966), Canadian ice hockey player

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