Nelson Muntz

Nelson Muntz[1] is a fictional character and the lead school bully from the animated television series The Simpsons, best known for his signature mocking laugh "Ha-ha!". He is voiced by Nancy Cartwright and was introduced in Season 1's "Bart the General" as an antagonist but later became a close friend of Bart Simpson.

Nelson Derbie Muntz
The Simpsons character
Nelson Muntz
First appearance"Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire
Created byMaria Just
Voiced byPamela Hayden (1990)
Nancy Cartwright
OccupationStudent at Springfield Elementary School
FamilyEddie Muntz (father)
Mrs. Marilyn Muntz (mother)
Dictator Muntz (Grandfather)

Role in The Simpsons

Nelson is a 12 year old student and bully at Springfield Elementary School. He is known to have terrorized virtually every kid in Springfield at one point or another. Most often, however, it is the school nerds and less popular students, such as Milhouse and Martin, who are the subject of his cruelty. Nelson shows the occasional glimpse of humanity, though, and other characters have occasionally warmed to him; Lisa dates him briefly in "Lisa's Date with Density", Marge informally adopts him in "Sleeping with the Enemy", and Bart is shown as a friend to him several times, such as in "The Haw-Hawed Couple".

His family life is dysfunctional. While some early episodes offer inconsistent histories (such as Nelson's dad going insane and abandoning him, Nelson's parents divorcing because of his mom's cough drop addiction, or Nelson's dad in prison while his mom "has bigger problems"), the canon story that has evolved is that he lives in a dilapidated house with his mother who works on the fringes of the sex industry, either as a waitress at Hooters or in a topless bar. The character design and voice portrayal of both parents has varied throughout the course of the series.

It is shown in many episodes that Nelson's father abandoned him and his mother at an early age when he "went to pick up some Pop-Tarts" although, later on in the series, he was said to have gone to pick up a pack of cigarettes. In the fourth-season episode "Brother from the Same Planet", Nelson's father is the children's soccer coach who awards Nelson with a free trip to Pele's Soccer and Acting Camp. Nelson's father also appears briefly in the sixth-season episode "Bart's Girlfriend"; depicted capturing Nelson with a leash as the children run through the cornfields in an attempt to avoid attending church. He also appears in the ninth-season episode "Bart Star" to congratulate Nelson after a football game victory and take him to Hooters (with Nelson turning down the invitation because he "doesn't want to bother [his] Mom at work"). Nelson's father returns in the sixteenth-season episode "Sleeping with the Enemy". It turns out that he did not leave Nelson deliberately; he bit into a chocolate bar, not knowing it had peanuts and had an allergic reaction, covering 90% of his body with large tumors. Looking like Joseph Merrick, he ran out of the store and encountered a circus that made him a part of its freak show. At performances, circus attendees threw peanuts at him, which perpetuated his reaction, preventing him from returning to normal. When the circus came through Springfield, Bart recognized him and brought him home to rid himself of Nelson (who had been taken into the Simpson home by Marge).

Nelson is also a natural athlete. In the episode "Bart Star", Nelson almost singlehandedly carries the entire Springfield Pee-Wee football team. As the team quarterback, he also on one occasion catches his own pass and plows through the opposing team with extreme ease. In various episodes, he gives out the impression that he is a lot smarter than he may first appear. Nelson often points out painfully obvious things to adults and kids alike that take them longer to grasp. Another example is a running joke where Nelson does a class assignment that is implied to be of high quality. However, he is always brushed off by the teachers before he gets to show them his work. Another running joke, though, is Nelson presenting ridiculously simple assignments, such as repeatedly showing a can of tomato paste in Show and Tell, and a presentation on The Grapes of Wrath, consisting of himself crushing a bunch of grapes with a hammer, stating "Here's the grapes, and here's the wrath!" In later episodes, Nelson shows signs of being a tormented artist type, even submitting a film to the Sundance Film Festival about his life as a child living in poverty with a single, unfit mother and no strong father figure. He memorably says in the documentary, "I like to cry at the ocean, because only there do my tears seem small."[2]

In the episode "Little Big Girl", it is revealed that Nelson is German-American. Ironically, in "Much Apu About Nothing", Nelson picks on foreign exchange student Üter for being German during Springfield's anti-immigration mania. He is shown to be a big fan of Andy Williams as he, Bart, Milhouse and Martin went to a concert performed by him in "Bart on the Road".

Relationships with other characters

Even though in the first season (and for many seasons afterwards) Nelson seemed to be Bart's antagonist, he eventually becomes what can be considered as Bart's second closest friend after Milhouse.

In his debut episode, Lisa was the initial target of Nelson's bullying, which prompted Bart to defend her. Bart's actions resulted in frequent beatings by Nelson and his gang, but finally ended when Bart received help from Herman, who came up with the idea of standing up to Nelson and his gang by pelting them with water balloons. From that point on, Nelson shows a grudging respect for Bart, though he occasionally reverts to his past behavior towards him.

Although still prone to violence, Nelson hangs out with Bart and his less popular friends, such as Milhouse Van Houten and occasionally even common bullying target Martin Prince. In "The Debarted", it is shown that Nelson has become Bart's "other best friend", along with Milhouse.

Nelson has many other moments where he displays his hidden good nature, such as his brief amorous relationship with Lisa. Although he cannot control his delinquent tendencies, he treats her with respect and even tries to change for her, although both of them realize that he is not being true to himself by doing so. In "Lisa's Date with Density", Nelson kisses Lisa, only to be berated by Jimbo, Kearney, and Dolph, who believe that kissing girls is "gay" (despite the events that occurred revolving around Jimbo in "New Kid On The Block").

He also punishes Sherri and Terri for tormenting Lisa. Another curious example of his "good side" is with Martin, a boy whom Nelson picks on perhaps more so than any other kid in town. Despite the utter cruelty, there are occasional hints that Nelson does not harbor any real hatred towards Martin and only does so to maintain his 'tough guy' reputation. In "Dial 'N' for Nerder", when it is believed that Martin has died, Nelson endeavours to learn the truth and find Martin's killers. When it is revealed that Martin is alive, Nelson mocks and punches him, but also states that he is glad Martin is not dead. In this same episode, however, when Lisa tries to bribe him to not rat her out by offering to get back together with him, he rejects it. In another episode, it is revealed that both Martin and Nelson went to space camp, and that Nelson was a loyal officer to Martin. (See "I'm Spelling as Fast as I Can")

In "Loan-a Lisa", Lisa uses $50 to help Nelson fund his bicycle company, which becomes a success. When Nelson almost drops out of school to spend more time on the company, Lisa is saddened and attempts to stop him from doing so, but eventually respects his decision after realising he won't change despite the money used to fund it. Nelson eventually decides not to drop out after all and takes Lisa skating to make it up to her.

Though Nelson is often said to not really have friends aside from his on-and-off relationship with Bart and the others, Nelson sometimes hangs out with his fellow school bullies Jimbo, Dolph, Kearney, and (to a lesser extent) two smaller and younger fraternal twin minions known as the Weasels. Though only seen with them occasionally, Nelson is also ironically the leader of the school bullies (possibly by virtue of being the most often seen and most recognizable of the gang).

In "Sleeping with the Enemy", Moe Szyslak appears briefly during a Muntz family reunion. The facial similarities between Moe and the Muntz are surprisingly quite apparent and Moe's childhood experiences and behaviors are somewhat relatable with Nelson's. Moe briefly appears and claims that he is part of the family and is then shunned off screen by the Muntz' confused looks.


Nancy Cartwright
Nancy Cartwright voices Nelson, even though the role was not assigned to her originally.

The Simpsons creator Matt Groening named Nelson after the wrestling hold of the same name.[3] Cast member Nancy Cartwright voices the character, which first appeared in the fifth episode of the first season, "Bart the General" (1990). American voice actress Dana Hill was first supposed to provide Nelson's voice, and attended the read-through of the episode. However, as Cartwright wrote in her autobiography My Life as a 10-Year-Old Boy, "the producers were still putting together this ensemble of [actors] and, come Monday, at the recording, she was nowhere to be found and the part was assigned to me. I didn't have time to ask why and I still don't have a clue."[4] Cartwright also commented that when she first found out she would be voicing Nelson, "I asked myself, 'What does a bully sound like?' Well... what you hear is what you get. When I first uttered, 'I'll get you after school, man!' I let out a sigh of relief when I got through the line and a double-sigh when it got a laugh."[4]

By the eighth season of The Simpsons, the writers had begun to explore the secondary characters of the show. "Lisa's Date with Density" (season eighth, 1996) was the first episode to center around Nelson and was used to explain why he acts the way he does. The idea of Nelson dating Lisa Simpson had already been around for a while, but this was the first time that the staff worked it into the show.[5] Cartwright said in 2012 that she thinks Nelson "has evolved the most out of all the characters I do. There's a soft spot in him that the writers have found. He's got this special attraction to Marge, and he sings these songs, and he's got a crush on Lisa. There's something about this poor kid – his mother works at Hooters, his dad went out to buy milk and never came back. I wouldn't want him to come over for dinner, but I really love doing his voice."[6]


The episode "The Haw-Hawed Couple" in 2007 was nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program.[7][8] The writer of the episode Matt Selman was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award.[9]

In his review of the season 22 episode "Loan-a Lisa", Rowan Kaiser of The A.V. Club commented that Nelson's character has undergone a "Spikeification", in reference to the bully's near-exclusive portrayal as being likable and vulnerable in later seasons of the program.[10]


  1. ^ Garza, Valentina; Faughnan, Matthew (October 3, 2010). "Loan-a Lisa". The Simpsons. Season 22. Episode 466. Fox.
  2. ^ "The Simpsons: Any Given Sundance — VIDEO". Retrieved 2011-05-26.
  3. ^ Groening, Matt (2004). Commentary for the episode "Lady Bouvier's Lover", in The Simpsons: The Complete Fifth Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  4. ^ a b Cartwright, Nancy (2000). "Lady, That Ain't No Gutterball!". My Life as a 10-Year-Old Boy. Hyperion. pp. 102–103. ISBN 978-0-7868-8600-5.
  5. ^ Scully, Mike; Weinstein, Josh (2007). Commentary for the episode "Lisa's Date with Density", in The Simpsons: The Complete Eighth Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  6. ^ Wilson, Stacey (2012-02-08). "'The Simpsons' at 500: Untold Stories". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2012-02-08.
  7. ^ 59th Primetime Emmy Nominations, Retrieved on 2008-07-11
  8. ^ Simpsons Channel | Simpsons Nominated For Emmy Award Archived January 10, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Writer's Guild Awards — Television Nominees 2008". Archived from the original on 2012-05-25., Writer's Guild of America West. Retrieved on 2008-07-11
  10. ^ Kaiser, Rowan (2010-10-04). ""Loan-a-Lisa"/"Cleveland Live!"/"Excellence in Broadcasting"/"100 A.D., Pt 1 of 2"". The A.V. Club. The Onion. Retrieved 2010-10-04.
1957 in animation

Events in 1957 in animation.

Any Given Sundance

"Any Given Sundance" (a play on the title of the film Any Given Sunday, but otherwise unrelated) is the eighteenth episode of The Simpsons' nineteenth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 4, 2008. It guest-starred Jim Jarmusch and John C. Reilly as themselves. After Lisa enters a film about her family into the Sundance Film Festival, Homer, Marge, and Bart, and Maggie are appalled by the candid behind-the scenes look at their family. Meanwhile, Principal Skinner and Superintendent Chalmers decide to enter the movie business.

Bart the General

"Bart the General" is the fifth episode of The Simpsons's first season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on February 4, 1990. The episode deals with Bart's troubles with the bully Nelson Muntz. Bart chooses to go to war with Nelson uniting the neighborhood children against him. The episode was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by David Silverman.

Lisa's Date with Density

"Lisa's Date with Density" is the seventh episode of The Simpsons' eighth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on December 15, 1996. It was written by Mike Scully and directed by Susie Dietter. The episode sees Lisa develop a crush on Nelson Muntz, which eventually leads to Lisa and Nelson dating.

Milhouse Van Houten

Milhouse Mussolini Van Houten is a recurring character in the animated television series The Simpsons, voiced by Pamela Hayden, and created by Matt Groening who named the character after President Richard Nixon's middle name. Later in the series, it is revealed that Milhouse's middle name is "Mussolini."

Milhouse is Bart Simpson's best friend in Mrs. Krabappel's fourth grade class at Springfield Elementary School, and is insecure, gullible, and less popular than Bart. Milhouse is often led into trouble by Bart, who takes advantage of his friend's naïveté, and he is also a regular target for school bullies Nelson Muntz and his friends Jimbo Jones, Dolph Starbeam, and Kearney Zzyzwicz. He also has a crush on Bart's sister, Lisa, which is used as a plot element in many episodes. Milhouse is one of the few residents in Springfield with visible, in fact rather thick, eyebrows.

My Fare Lady

"My Fare Lady" is the fourteenth episode of the twenty-sixth season of the American animated sitcom The Simpsons, and the 566th overall episode of the series. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on February 15, 2015.

My Funny Valentine

"My Funny Valentine" is a show tune from the 1937 Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart musical Babes in Arms in which it was introduced by former child star Mitzi Green. The song became a popular jazz standard, appearing on over 1300 albums performed by over 600 artists. In 2015, it was announced that the Gerry Mulligan quartet featuring Chet Baker's version of the song was inducted into the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry for the song's "cultural, artistic and/or historical significance to American society and the nation’s audio legacy". Mulligan also recorded the song with his Concert Jazz Band in 1960.

Nancy Cartwright

Nancy Jean Cartwright (born October 25, 1957) is an American actress, voice actress, and comedian, known for her long-running role as Bart Simpson on the animated television series The Simpsons. Cartwright also voices other characters for the show, including Nelson Muntz, Ralph Wiggum, Todd Flanders, Kearney, Database and Maggie.

Cartwright was born in Dayton, Ohio. Cartwright moved to Hollywood in 1978 and trained alongside voice actor Daws Butler. Her first professional role was voicing Gloria in the animated series Richie Rich, which she followed with a starring role in the television movie Marian Rose White (1982) and her first feature film, Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983).

After continuing to search for acting work, in 1987, Cartwright auditioned for a role in a series of animated shorts about a dysfunctional family that was to appear on The Tracey Ullman Show. Cartwright intended to audition for the role of Lisa Simpson, the middle child; when she arrived at the audition, she found the role of Bart—Lisa's brother—to be more interesting. Matt Groening, the series' creator, allowed her to audition for Bart and offered her the role on the spot. She voiced Bart for three seasons on The Tracey Ullman Show, and in 1989, the shorts were spun off into a half-hour show called The Simpsons. For her subsequent work as Bart, Cartwright received a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance in 1992 and an Annie Award for Best Voice Acting in the Field of Animation in 1995.

Besides The Simpsons, Cartwright has also voiced numerous other animated characters, including Daffney Gillfin in The Snorks, Rufus in Kim Possible, Mindy in Animaniacs, Pistol in Goof Troop, Margo Sherman in The Critic, Todd Daring in The Replacements, and Charles "Chuckie" Finster, Jr. in Rugrats and All Grown Up! (a role she assumed in 2002, following the retirement of Christine Cavanaugh). In 2000, she published her autobiography, My Life as a 10-Year-Old Boy, and four years later, adapted it into a one-woman play. In 2017, she wrote and produced the film In Search of Fellini.

Stealing First Base

"Stealing First Base" is the fifteenth episode of The Simpsons' twenty-first season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on March 21, 2010. In this episode, Bart falls in love with a girl named Nikki from a second fourth grade class, but when he kisses her, Nikki begins treating Bart like dirt. Meanwhile, First Lady Michelle Obama teaches Lisa that there is no shame in being an overachiever, and Nelson Muntz teaches a blind boy how to be a schoolyard bully.

The episode was written by John Frink and directed by Steven Dean Moore.

The episode was also watched by 5.69 million households and received a 2.8/8 in the 18-49 Nielsen Rating.

The episode received mixed reviews from critics. The episode guest stars Sarah Silverman as Nikki and Angela Bassett as Michelle Obama.

The Fool Monty

"The Fool Monty" is the sixth episode of The Simpsons' twenty-second season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 21, 2010. In the episode, Bart finds Mr. Burns lying in the forest and takes him home, while Homer decides to get revenge. It was directed by Steven Dean Moore and written by Michael Price.

The Girl on the Bus

"The Girl on the Bus" is the twelfth episode of the thirtieth season of the American animated sitcom The Simpsons, and the 651st episode overall. It aired in the United States on Fox on January 13, 2019.

The Simpsons (season 1)

The first season of the American animated television series The Simpsons originally aired on the Fox network between December 17, 1989 and May 13, 1990, beginning with the Christmas special "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire". The executive producers for the first production season were Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, and Sam Simon.The series was originally set to debut in autumn 1989 with the episode "Some Enchanted Evening", which was meant to introduce the main characters; during the first screening of the episode, the producers discovered that the animation was so appalling that 70% of the episode needed to be redone.The producers considered aborting the series if the next episode turned out as bad, but it only suffered from easily fixable problems. The producers convinced Fox to move the debut to December 17, and aired "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" as the first episode of the series. The first season won one Emmy Award, and received four additional nominations. The DVD boxset was released on September 25, 2001 in Region 1 and September 24, 2001 in both Region 2 and Region 4.

The Simpsons (season 14)

The Simpsons' fourteenth season was originally broadcast on the Fox network in the United States between November 3, 2002 and May 18, 2003. The show runner for the fourteenth production season was Al Jean, who executive produced 21 of 22 episodes. The other episode, "How I Spent My Strummer Vacation", was run by Mike Scully. The season contains five hold-overs from the previous season's production run. The fourteenth season has met with mostly positive reviews and won two Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming less than One Hour), four Annie Awards and a Writers Guild of America Award. This season contains the show's 300th episode, "The Strong Arms of the Ma".

Writers credited with episodes in the fourteenth season included J. Stewart Burns, Kevin Curran, John Frink & Don Payne, Dana Gould, Dan Greaney, Brian Kelley, Tim Long, Ian Maxtone-Graham, Carolyn Omine, Mike Scully, Matt Selman, John Swartzwelder, Matt Warburton and Marc Wilmore. Freelance writers included Brian Pollack & Mert Rich, Sam O'Neal & Neal Boushall, Dennis Snee and Allen Glazier. Animation directors included Bob Anderson, Mike B. Anderson, Chris Clements, Mark Kirkland, Lance Kramer, Nancy Kruse, Lauren MacMullan, Pete Michels, Steven Dean Moore, Matthew Nastuk, Michael Polcino, Jim Reardon and David Silverman. The main cast consisted of Dan Castellaneta (Homer Simpson, Grampa Simpson, Krusty the Clown among others), Julie Kavner (Marge Simpson), Nancy Cartwright (Bart Simpson, Ralph Wiggum, Nelson Muntz), Yeardley Smith (Lisa Simpson), Hank Azaria (Moe Szyslak, Apu, Chief Wiggum, among others) and Harry Shearer (Ned Flanders, Mr. Burns, Principal Skinner, among others). Other cast members included Marcia Wallace (Edna Krabappel), Pamela Hayden (Milhouse Van Houten, among others), Tress MacNeille (Agnes Skinner, among others), Russi Taylor (Martin Prince) and Karl Wiedergott (Additional Voices). This season also saw the return of voice actress Maggie Roswell (Helen Lovejoy, Maude Flanders, among others), who had left the show during season 11 because of a contract dispute."Barting Over", which aired February 16, 2003, was promoted as the show's milestone 300th episode. However, "The Strong Arms of the Ma" was the 300th episode to be broadcast. According to Ben Rayner of the Toronto Star, "It's very difficult to find a straight answer why milestone status has been bestowed on ["Barting Over"]. Some rationalize that the 300 figure doesn't account for two early holiday specials, Fox maintains that there was some discrepancy between the original, scheduled broadcast date- deep in the heart of the ratings-mad February sweeps- and the number of episodes that were eventually aired leading up to it." "Barting Over" refers to the error when Marge tells Lisa "I can't count the number of times (Homer) has done something crazy like this." Lisa responds that it is 300, to which Marge replies that she "could have sworn it's been 302".

The Simpsons Guy

"The Simpsons Guy" is the first episode of the thirteenth season of the American animated television series Family Guy, and the 232nd overall episode. "The Simpsons Guy" is a 44-minute-long crossover with The Simpsons, and was written by Patrick Meighan and directed by Peter Shin. It originally aired in the United States on September 28, 2014, on Fox, where both The Simpsons and Family Guy have aired since their respective debuts.

In the episode, the Griffins meet the Simpsons for the first time and decide to stay with them after the Griffin family's car is stolen just outside Springfield. After the Griffins get their car back, Peter is taken to court as a representative of the Pawtucket Patriot brewery, his employer, when it is discovered that its ale is an unauthorized copy of Duff Beer.

The idea for a crossover episode was suggested by Family Guy executive producer and former Simpsons writer Richard Appel, and the episode was announced by Fox in July 2013. Five of the six main members of the voice cast of The Simpsons—the exception being Harry Shearer—voiced their characters in the episode. "The Simpsons Guy" was met with a mixed reception by critics, who had differing opinions on how well the two shows combined.

Treehouse of Horror XIX

"Treehouse of Horror XIX" is the fourth episode of the twentieth season of The Simpsons. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 2, 2008. This is the nineteenth Treehouse of Horror episode, and, like the other "Treehouse of Horror" episodes, contains three self-contained segments: in "Untitled Robot Parody", Transformer robots run amok in Springfield; in "How to Get Ahead in Dead-Vertising", Homer is hired by ad agents to kill celebrities so their images can be used for free; and in a Simpsons-style parody of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (called "It's The Grand Pumpkin, Milhouse"), Milhouse summons a demon pumpkin who goes berserk when it sees humans carving its brethren into jack-o-lanterns as part of Halloween tradition. It was written by Matt Warburton and directed by Bob Anderson.

A total of 12.48 million viewers tuned in to watch during its first airing, more than any other episode since "The Wife Aquatic". The episode received mixed reviews from critics, who generally regarded "It's the Grand Pumpkin, Milhouse" as the best segment. Shortly after airing, the episode was criticized by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) because a character (Nelson Muntz) casually uses the adjective "gay" to insult The Grand Pumpkin.

Ultimate Alternative Wavers

Ultimate Alternative Wavers is the first full-length album released by indie rock band Built to Spill. The line-up consisted of Doug Martsch on guitar and vocals, Brett Netson on guitar and bass, and Ralf Youtz on drums, although there was some variation in instrumentation on a few tracks. The album was recorded at Audio Lab in Boise, Idaho in the fall of 1992, and released in 1993 on the C/Z Records label. It eventually went out-of-print, but was re-released in late 2006. The song title "Nowhere Nothin' Fuckup" is the title of a song by the main character, Jason Taverner, in Philip K. Dick's Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said. The song's lyrics, also, are in large part borrowed from The Velvet Underground's "Oh! Sweet Nuthin'".

The song "Shameful Dread" features a sample of Simpsons character Nelson Muntz saying his catchphrase, "Ha-ha!" This sound effect is featured in the episode "Marge Gets a Job".

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