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Clancy Wiggum

Chief Clancy Wiggum is a fictional character from the animated television series The Simpsons, voiced by Hank Azaria.

Profile

Wiggum is the chief of police of the Springfield police department. He is an extreme stereotype: morbidly obese, dim witted, ignorant, grossly incompetent, and lazy, with a fondness for doughnuts and "Chintzy Pop". While he pretentiously feigns authority, he has little regard for individual rights or even public safety. He is disturbingly uninformed ("Some Chinese people claimed they were celebrating New Year's in February ... good food though") and flaunts his power, albeit with good intentions most of the time. He, along with the rest of Springfield's government and police force, is also corrupt, having asked for or taken bribes several times. As an example of this, in The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase he moves to New Orleans after being kicked off the Springfield Police Force for massive corruption (although this segment was something of a spoof). He has also notably solicited Troy McClure and Homer Simpson for bribes in exchange for "looking the other way" to their criminal activities. When Bart bribed him with stolen wedding presents, he said "Hey, read my badge!" At the bottom of the badge was the caption: "Cash Bribes only". He has a strained relationship with Mayor Quimby, as the two men vie to have control over the city, which once lead to a serious argument over who takes over during an emergency during the Monorail crisis. Wiggum claims to have compromising photographs of the mayor ("You don't scare me; that could be anyone's ass!"), which may help to explain why he has retained his job despite his inability to do anything his job requires of him.

He is often assisted by his more intelligent (but still quite lazy and often rather cocky) "top cops" Eddie and Lou. He is completely ignorant of Springfield's laws and often quotes sayings from the police handbook which cannot actually be found in the book ('like the book says, if you can't beat them, join them').

Biography

Clancy Wiggum was possibly born in Baltimore, Maryland. He mentioned he used to sell ribbons there with his father, Iggy Wiggum. Iggy was a war veteran who died in a parade float accident in 1979. He did, however, grow up in Springfield and was among the same class and age group as Homer Simpson, Lenny Leonard, Carl Carlson, Barney Gumble, and possibly Marge Simpson (née Bouvier). At an early age Wiggum played cops and robbers with Homer and other kids his age and he showed a clear ambition to become a police officer. At the age of 16, he was a hall monitor at high school, and possibly had a part-time security guard job at Springfield State University. Wiggum was present at the University's germ research labs (Prof. C. Montgomery Burns was chairman at the time) when Mona Simpson and the hippie activist group she was part of sabotaged the germ experiments. Wiggum, who had suffered from asthma prior to that, was cured by antibiotics that the group released to kill the germs, and helped Mona Simpson escape the police when she was on the run twenty-five years later.

In 1985 Wiggum was involved in the barbershop quartet called the Be Sharps. Wiggum was a member with Homer Simpson, Seymour Skinner, and Apu. However, a talent scout showed interest in the Be Sharps but didn't like Wiggum as a performer (for being too "Village People"), so he was thrown out of the group. When auditions were held to find a replacement for Wiggum, he attempted to be reselected for the quartet. He wore a disguise, but was found out. Early attempts to get into the Police Force when he was a teenager were unsuccessful on account of his asthma, so when it had been cured he could then pursue his ambition to become a professional police officer. Having entered the Police Academy by age 24, Wiggum managed to work around his many shortcomings and finally become a full fledged officer and by 32, he had managed to work his way up to the position of Police Chief of Springfield. In contradiction to this Wiggum reveals in the episode Papa's Got a Brand New Badge that he got his job by chance, as a former police officer had offered his badge to the next passerby who happened to be Wiggum.

Positive qualities

Despite his shortcomings, Wiggum does have redeeming qualities. He appears to have quite a loving relationship with his family, especially his son, whom Wiggum often supports and shows great patience towards, although unfortunately he can be somewhat clueless to Ralph's needs at times. In "Homer vs. The Eighteenth Amendment" it is implied that Clancy does use the money he earns as well as "acquires" for his family as much as himself. Wiggum doesn't appear to be a particularly judgemental person either, and generally gets along with others. He does on occasion even help various other characters, such as helping Homer find his wife in "Marge on the Lam", helping Lisa Simpson find Mr. Burns' assailant in "Who Shot Mr. Burns?" as well as helping backing her up in a school protest on one occasion in "The President Wore Pearls", and arriving just in time during a crucial moment such as the various times Sideshow Bob has attempted to kill Bart Simpson. Perhaps the best example of this is the episode "Mother Simpson", where it is implied that he leads the FBI astray in their search for Mona Simpson, allowing her to escape in gratitude for curing his asthma. Although Wiggum can often antagonize others as well, it's heavily implied that it's not out of malice but merely because he's doing his job or because he's ignorant of the situation. It is often implied as well that Wiggum genuinely wants to do good with his job, but a mix of complacency, various difficulties with being a cop, and his own limitations have made him weary of his duties. As well as the above, some interesting quirks of the character include rather unusual ingenuity in his job such as: using police hang gliders, riding an Ostrich, speaking hippie tongue, and using loud music to flush Seymour Skinner and Edna Krabappel out of Springfield Elementary (albeit with a poorly-chosen song) to which they locked down to name a few. He also has a tendency to rant about things during situations, a bit of a kinky side to him as shown in particular scenes in "I Love Lisa" and "Marge on the Lam" as well as others, and a fondness for acting and the performing arts. Wiggum often orchestrates or appreciates plays and other shows in prison with the inmates, played a major role in a production of A Streetcar Named Desire in the episode "A Streetcar Named Marge", and his fondness for the artform is even specifically stated in "Wild Barts Can't Be Broken". Some may find this an interesting parallel to his son, who is hinted to potentially have a very high degree of hidden performing talent.

Springfield's finest

Wiggum's incompetence is brilliantly showcased in "Homer's Triple Bypass". In a parody of Fox's COPS, Wiggum investigates a cattle rustler and uses a battering ram to knock down the suspect's door, only to find he has the wrong house. The occupant, Reverend Lovejoy, is very angry, especially since the cattle are clearly visible in the neighbor's yard. Snake, the suspect that Wiggum is after, is able to make a clean getaway. Wiggum describes Snake's vehicle as "a red... car of some sort" and "heading in the direction of that place that sells chili"; his only "helpful" tip is "Suspect is hatless! Repeat, hatless!". He has been known to use Agatha Christie novels as crime-solving reference guides. In the episode "Duffless" we see Wiggum misuse police terminology, phoning Marge Simpson to inform her Homer had been found DOA, only to correct himself and say he was DWI. He claims to 'always get those two mixed up.' After hanging up the phone he is approached by a woman whom he had told that her husband was DWI, but turned out to be DOA. He then hastily suggested that she talk to another officer and then told her he was going out to lunch. When chasing a car on a highway in "Marge on the Lam", he was asked to describe his location, and replied "I'm on a road, looks to be asphalt--aw jeez, trees, shrubs--uh, I'm directly under the earth's Sun...now." In the same episode, Marge and Ruth Powers elude Wiggum during a nighttime car chase by turning off the lights on their car, leading Wiggum to exclaim, "It's a ghost car!"

Wiggum also often fails to comply with his police duties in a real emergency. In one episode, he refused to believe calls from people saying that an elephant (Bart's pet elephant Stampy) destroyed their property. After two calls, he thought a call reporting a "liquor store robbery in progress, officer down" was also a fake call. In another episode he mocks people who come in to report crimes to him by telling them he will "write on his invisible typewriter." This includes a man with a lighter saying "I just torched a building down town and I'm afraid I'll do it again." On several instances, he has switched off his police radio in the middle of an important call because he did not want to be bothered. Such instances included a "riot in progress" during the episode I Love Lisa. He also leaves the station completely unmanned during night hours, save for an answering machine, once causing 75 emergencies to go unanswered (and were quickly erased). He has also expressed annoyance at the citizens he's supposed to be protecting; "Can't you people solve these problems yourselves? I mean we can't be 'policing' the whole city." He has also refused to come to the aid of citizens, claiming that they were just too busy to help, when all he was doing was playing checkers with one of the police dogs. In order to get off the phone during a state lottery drawing, Wiggum informed the caller that she had the wrong number and that "this is...912." (Ironically, it is later revealed, in "Homer the Great" that 912 is the real number)

Although his questionable competency at being an officer, Wiggum seems to be very attached to both the police force and his fellow officers. On the few occasions where Wiggum loses his commission, he breaks down shockingly fast (as seen in "Papa's Got a Brand New Badge"), even degrading to the level of a common mugger (as seen in "Homer vs. The Eighteenth Amendment"), although he isn't particularly good at this either as he had to sell the trigger and most of the handle of his gun to feed his family. This pathetic sight prompts Homer to help him get his job back. Once in a while Wiggum will have an argument with his fellow officers, which often end in dramatic, tearful moments of reconciliation. On one occasion, Lou had thought about leaving the force to pursue a career in home security, which leaves Wiggum nearly a tearful mess. In one of The Simpsons' 'spin-off' programs featured in "The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase", Wiggum stars in " Wiggum P.I.", wherein he is fired from the Springfield force for corruption and moves to New Orleans to start working as a private investigator.

Another good example is the episode "Pranksta Rap," where Wiggum is charged with finding a supposedly missing Bart Simpson. It is shown here as well that Wiggum is one of the few Simpsons characters that seems quite aware of his or her own incompetence, much to his dismay and an inevitable gorging on pancakes to lessen the blow. In the end, however, much to the shock of almost everyone in Springfield, including his own men, Wiggum finds Bart by using a rather clever tactical method and actually performs his job admirably. He is promoted to Police commissioner, and it seems things may be finally looking up for him. It is discovered eventually in the episode, however, that Bart's abduction was merely a hoax, distressing Wiggum greatly as he finally had done some great good but at merely the wrong time. Curiously, however, it doesn't seem that his position of Commissioner is taken away in the end of the episode, although he is never seen in this position of power again. This is most likely attributable to the series' rather notably loose continuity. Judging from his usual boredom with most cases and situations in his work, it would seem that perhaps when he is actually motivated he shows far greater skill and zeal. In several episodes it has been shown that the level of resources that the Springfield police have is shockingly low. It has been stated by Lou in one episode that Wiggum, Lou and Eddie are the only police officers in the city (however in other episodes this is not so.) In another episode Wiggum mentions to Lisa that the police force only have the resources to enforce the last law passed in Springfield, which even Wiggum admits is the worst system possible.

Creation

His surname "Wiggum" is Matt Groening's mother's maiden name. As "a conscious pun" Wiggum was designed to look like a pig. Hank Azaria first based his voice for Wiggum on David Brinkley but it was too slow and he switched it to an Edward G. Robinson impression.

References

External links

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