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Reverend Timothy Lovejoy

The Reverend Timothy Lovejoy is a recurring character in the animated television series The Simpsons. He is voiced by Harry Shearer, and first appeared in the episode "The Telltale Head". Lovejoy is the minister at The First Church of Springfield - the Protestant church in Springfield which most of the show's characters regularly attend. Initially kind-hearted and ambitious, Ned Flanders' constant personal worries have made him very apathetic towards others.

Role in The Simpsons


Rev. Lovejoy is the Pastor of the Church (of uncertain Protestant denomination, mentioned as "The Western Branch of American Reform Presbylutheranism) that almost everyone in Springfield dutifully attends. In earlier episodes Lovejoy is sometimes seen wearing a cassock.

In the episode "In Marge We Trust", he describes how he initially came to Springfield an eager, idealistic young man in the seventies, only to become cynical and disillusioned about his flock and ministry, mostly due to Ned Flanders, who constantly pesters him with religious non-emergencies such as "coveting his own wife". Lovejoy would dispatch such concerns with maximum brevity so that he could return to playing with his model trains. At one point, Lovejoy "just stopped caring", but by the end of this episode he had rediscovered the joy of helping others - though Ned still irritates him. Reverend Lovejoy even suggests Ned join another religion, as Lovejoy says they are all much the same. In the flashback scene in this episode that shows Lovejoy arriving in Springfield, he is driving a Volkswagen Karmann Ghia.

His sermons currently vary between dreary recitations of more opaque parts of the Old Testament, to the occasional "fire and brimstone" about Hell — and very little of the love and joy that his surname suggests. When congregation members begin to nod off, Lovejoy can awaken them by pressing a button on the lectern which results in pre-recorded irritating noises.

Lovejoy seems to be able to play the guitar, as in the episode "In Marge We Trust" he was seen with a guitar when he arrived Springfield and in "Faith Off" he tried to play the electric guitar in the church to compete against Bart's faith healing musical show.


His tolerant side is demonstrated when he performs a marriage for Hindus (though he apparently thinks Hindus are a Christian group, or he could believe that Jesus has commanded his followers to respect all people in his statement "Christ is Christ", and agreed to marry Apu and Manjula on the basis that he believes all people should take part in matrimony.), co-hosts a religious radio program with Krusty the Klown's rabbi father, and admits evolution may be true. However, despite the fact that he married a Hindu couple, he lists Apu's religion as "Miscellaneous" in Homer The Heretic, 4th Season ("Hindu!" snaps Apu, "there are 700 million of us.").

However, Lovejoy has become increasingly intolerant. When Lisa Simpson converted to Buddhism, he referred to her as "Marge Simpson's devil-daughter. Moreover, he appears bitter about the tall Episcopal church across the street, wanting to build a larger steeple and, when mentioning the other church, placing the emphasis on "pis". While he seems to have originally believed in evolution, he later takes up the creationist cause to bolster his church's membership.

He is especially intolerant of the Roman Catholic Church as he is shown brawling with a priest, though the other man participates as well. He tells Marge that he might as well do a Voodoo dance for Abe Simpson when asked to give him the last rites. He also helps kidnap Bart to keep him from converting to Catholicism.

Rev. Lovejoy is firmly opposed to same-sex marriage.

Negative Qualities

Despite being a clergyman, Lovejoy does not always follow the word of the Bible, and has been shown to do things that would be considered sinful (although, the fact that he lives in Springfield might have something to do with it). Lovejoy has been known to exploit his congregation for money, brawl with a Catholic priest, encourage his dog to foul Ned Flanders's lawn, and implied that he once burned down his church for insurance money. In 'Whacking Day' he made up a passage in the Bible to fool Lisa into thinking the Lord endorsed the event. In "The Joy of Sect", the episode where basically the whole town of Springfield is deceived into joining a cult, Lovejoy kidnaps Homer with Groundskeeper Willie from the cult and violently hits him across the head numerous times hoping to knock him out. Also, when Rev. Lovejoy sees the spaceship emerge from the "forbidden barn" he throws his religious collar on the ground and steps on it several times. After it's revealed that the spaceship is fake, Ned Flanders notices his collar on the ground and informs Rev. Lovejoy. He instantly picks it up and puts it back on making it seem like an accident.

Lovejoy is not always enthusiastic about the Bible and is often disparaging about its content and purpose, even calling it a "2000-page sleeping pill. He tends to stress attending church and community work over any involved study of biblical text. In another episode which dealt with marriage counseling, Lovejoy recommends Marge divorce Homer. When Marge objects that the Bible has strict guidelines concerning marriage and divorce, Lovejoy, in a tone of resignation, says it is not humanly possible to follow all the standards of the Bible.


Reverend Lovejoy's rarely-seen daughter Jessica loves to pull pranks and manipulate people. Her hijinks are revealed to stem from her hunger for attention, which her father does not sufficiently provide. Reverend Lovejoy sent her to boarding school in an attempt to curb her tendencies, but Jessica was expelled, having shown no improvement.

Lovejoy's wife, Helen was originally portrayed as a moralistic gossip, but in voice actress Maggie Roswell's long absence her character was seen but not heard. Now Helen is rarely seen without being at her husband's side.

His father is also, briefly, shown in the episode Bart After Dark as an older version of Lovejoy (including clerical collar) who visits the Maison Derrière but has no speaking part.


Matt Groening has indicated that Reverend Lovejoy is named after NW Lovejoy Street in Portland, Oregon (the city where Groening grew up), which is in turn named for Portland co-founder Asa Lovejoy.


External links

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