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Barney Gumble

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―Barney's catch phrase
Bernard Arnold Gumble
222px-Barney Gumble
Hair Messy brown (previously blond)
Occupation Unemployed
Snow plow driver
worker at Barney's Bowlarama (his brother owns the business)
Relatives Parents: Arnie Gumble and Mrs. Gumble
Uncle: Al Gumble
Brother: Barney Sr.
Children: untold amount [1]
Ex-girlfriend: Daria
Girlfriend: Phillips
First Appearance Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire
Voiced By Dan Castellaneta

Shelby Grimm (singing voice) [2]

Bernard "Barney" Arnold Gumble is the Springfield town drunk, the most prominent of several alcoholic Springfieldians and Homer Simpson's high school friend, although they only keep acquainted companionship in the present. Being a frequent customer at Moe's (to the point of sleeping there) Barney considers Moe to be his best friend, however is ofter abused in the process, mainly due to Moe's personality. Barney was an A-student back at Springfield High, but lost it all due to the alcohol and is since then seen as a disgrace by his whole family, none of whom drink.


Barney was born on April 20, sharing his birthday with Adolf Hitler [3]. His father, Arnie Gumble, died in a 1979 parade float accident along with Sheldon Skinner, Iggy Wiggum, Etch Westgrin, and Griff McDonald, all of whom had served in Abe Simpson's WWII squad, the Flying Hellfish. Barney once had a near-death experience in which he expects to be reunited with "my loved ones, my dad, and that plant I never watered," perhaps implying that he did not get along with his father, though this line could also be interpreted as Barney reuniting with his "loved ones: my dad and that plant I never watered." [4]

As a teenager, Barney showed much potential. He was Harvard-bound until Homer introduced him to beer on the night before they had to take the SATs. He took to drinking after his high-school sweetheart Chloe Talbot left Springfield to become a successful TV reporter. He used to have blond hair, but later dyed it brown [5].

Later on, with Homer, he was a member of The Be Sharps barbershop quartet, in which his stellar Irish singing voice was discovered. Barney showed his artistic side again when he won top prize at the Springfield Film Festival for his moving docume-ntary about his life as an alcoholic, unfortunately titled "Puke-a-hontas"[6].

Mr. Black also hired Barney to act like Krusty the Clown for the campers at Kamp Krusty, although Bart was not fooled by his attempt at defaming Krusty (as Barney was poorly disguised as Krusty), and also ends up confirming Bart and the rest of the campers suspicions of Black just "slapped a clown suit on some wine-o" by answering that he is "Krunchy the Clown," as well as declaring for Krusty's return (or as he calls him, "Krunchy").

Barney was inspired by Homer's Mr. Plow business to have his own snow removal service, calling himself the Plow King and buying a snow removal truck much bigger than Homer's. He even got Linda Ronstadt to sing on his commercials. "We've been looking for a project to do together for a while," he explained. He took away all Homer's customers and earned the key to Springfield (which was taken away from Homer). Homer eventually fools Barney into traveling to "Forbidding Widows' Peak" to plow through the snow for a $10,000 bill, but is caught in an avalanche. Homer ends up saving Barney, they become friends again and team up, only to find the snow melting (after Homer comments "When two best friends team up, not even God himself can stop them." To which a voice from the sky replies "Oh, no?" and promptly beams down a ray of light to melt the snow), and Homer's truck repossessed [7]. Barney is seen driving his plow as the Plow King again in several occasions [8][9] .

When Mr. Burns caused Moe's Tavern to close down and was shot later, Barney became a major suspect for shooting Burns after Burns blocked the sun (despite his easygoing nature, Barney apparently carries around a derringer at all times) [10][11].

Barney served in the United States Navy Reserve for a short time, as a submariner on the USS Jebediah with his own mother as his superior officer, although he briefly served in the U.S. Army during his youth [4].


Before Barney started drinking, he was a very intelligent young man, but while studying for the S.A.T.s Homer offered one of Abe's beers. After giving into Homer, Barney took his first sip and quickly downed the entire can. His clothes and hair quickly began a mess and he ran out of Homer's house.

Barney is almost always seen in Moe's Tavern, where he is a regular. His desperation for alcohol has been the source of many jokes. He has a quavering, slightly broken voice and a distinctive loud belch (although he sings completely differently, having a beautiful "Irish tenor" type voice), as well as a characteristic wandering eye. He remains friendly and good-natured despite his unfortunate condition. Heavyset, slovenly, and unmarried (though occasionally seen with women), he lives in a very untidy and sparsely-furnished apartment. It has also been implied that he has "lived" in Moe's Tavern. Barney drinks so compulsively that Moe had to send his beer tab to NASA for it to be calculated: it ultimately came out as fourteen billion dollars worth of beer (Although Moe mistakenly stated it was seventy billion dollars until he realized that that was actually the cost of the Voyager Spacecraft),[12] and has contributed to at least one of his fellow barflies' beer tab (such as when Homer went to Japan).[13]

He is occasionally seen doing some sort of manual labor, such as working for his Uncle Al at Barney's Bowlarama, but has also been the owner of a successful snowplowing business and been employed by NASA as an astronaut. Barney states that he is 43 years old and his first name was revealed to be Bernard, although he also appears to be in the same high school class as Homer in flashbacks [6]. When streaking at his high school prom earned him "about a decade's worth of detention", it was hinted that he was either to be held back a year, or had already repeated. He had also ended up having to do court-issued community service with picking up roadside litter where he attacked Principal Skinner [who was trying to cross the interstate with a tank of gasoline for his car at the time] after hallucinating that Skinner was a giant beer can.[14]

Barney has survived experiences such as exploding zeppelins[15], malfunctioning Jet packs [16], and being crushed by a falling table[17].

Barney also apparently takes pictures of Legs' sister. As stated in "Homie the Clown" when Homer states he is "Barney Gumble" after the mob picks him up thinking he is Krusty.

When alcohol is not readily available, Barney is seen drinking just about anything, such as turpentine, varnish, rubbing alcohol, and brake fluid. In addition, when someone forces him to be sober from alcohol, he also becomes somewhat murderous and deranged, which happened on at least two occasions: The first time was when, due to Mr. Burns' slant drilling operation forcing Moe's Tavern to close due to the toxic fumes, he brought out a gun with the intention of wanting to murder Mr. Burns for this, although he never actually got a chance to use it before Mr. Burns was shot by Maggie.[18] The second time was when Mr. Burns diverted all the beer from Springfield and then issued a manhunt on TV to force Homer to give back Bobo, to which Barney was at the door with a gun threatening Homer to do as Mr. Burns says, although he ended up accidentally shooting and presumably killing a woman who was crossing Evergreen Terrace after Homer slammed the door on his face, and was implied to be arrested for this action shortly thereafter.[19]



Barney was once forced to remain sober for the drinking night at Moe's when he received the position of Designated Driver that night (Coincidentally on the same night that he was to get free beer from Duffman as a reward.). As revenge, he decided to drive Homer's car to New York City and leave it there [20].

Barney once attempted to kick his alcoholism habit. For his birthday, Moe gave him a gift certificate for helicopter flying lessons, not expecting Barney to actually use them. "Can you imagine this tanked-up loser at the wheel of a whirlybird?", Moe asked. This comment, coupled with a humiliating videotape of Barney's actions while inebriated, gave Barney the drive he needed. Barney attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, became sober, and took the helicopter lessons. He became fairly proficient at it, though he admitted he had not yet mastered right turns. This new skill helped Homer rescue Bart and Lisa from a forest fire. Unwilling to lose one of his most crucial customers to his tavern, Moe figured out a way to channel Barney's tendency for addiction into a dependency on the caffeine in espressos [21].

Barney once made a movie about his struggle with alcoholism and submitted it to the Springfield Film Festival. When he won the grand prize, he vowed to remain clean and sober from that point forward, but quickly backed off his vow when it was announced that the grand prize was a lifetime supply of Duff Beer[6].

Homer encouraged Barney to drink a beer when he played Ulysses S. Grant in a re-enactment of the Battle of Springfield (though this, surprisingly, did not cause him to become alcoholic again, even surprising Barney, who was hesitant to drink a beer, even for the role, as he was a recovering alcoholic.). He briefly sobered up and got back behind the controls of his helicopter to rescue his old girlfriend Chloe from a volcanic lava flow. He was also relatively sober and piloting his helicopter again when helping Homer take celebrity photographs [22]. When he suggested that an indicted Marge go to a particular rehab clinic to help her kick her drinking habit, He stated that the clinic had "cured him six times," implying that he has been switching between a current and recovering alcoholic [23]. It's revealed that he's always sober in the morning until he enters Moe's Tavern [24].

During Trappuccino, he was one of the barflies who run into the church, and even later Barney was attending an AA meeting and went crazy when the coffee ran out.[25].

Website Biography

If there's one thing Barney Gumble loves more than beer, he hasn't discovered it yet. And not for want of trying. Hard liquor, sterno, cough syrup, turpentine, he's tried them all. Once, in a fit of desperation, he drank some non-alcoholic champagne, with near-fatal consequences. But Beer! Wonderful Beer! Barney would kill his own brain for a beer. He's drunk beer out of ashtrays, sucked beer our of bar rags, licked windows made of beer bottles, and, realizing a dream come true, drunk straight from the tap until his heart stopped. As he's said more than once, "If Moe's Tavern didn't close, I'd never leave."

When not entertaining the rest of the barflies with his lip-rippling belches, Barney seeks semi-occasional employment. He has worked as a sneeze-guard tester, handed out pamphelts dressed in a diaper for Lullabuy$ Baby Shop, appeared as a float in a temperance parade, and made regular donations to the Springfield Sperm Bank. However he was also given the key to the city for his heriocs as the Plow King, and won a Grammy as tenor singer for Be Sharps, a barbershop quartet comprised of Homer, Apu, Skinner, and Barney. His romantic life, also semi-occasional, has ranger from Linda Ronstradt and Japanese conceptual artist Kako to Selma Bouvier to the woman in front of the drugstore who's always yelling things.

Being the swinging single that he is, Barney's apartment is decorated in an early 70's style -- replete with cable spool table, Farrah Fawcett poster, and empty pizza-box motif. A style guaranteed to keep Barney a swinging single forever. For this fundamentally existential lifestyle, Barney owes Homer Simpson thanks. They have been friends since high school and it was Homer, on the eve of the all-important SAT test, introduced Barney to his first beer, sparing him the shame of an Ivy League education and the burden of steady employment.

Non-Canon Appearances

Ssi 5 The contents of this article or section are considered to be non-canon and therefore may not have actually happened/existed.

The Simpsons Game

Barney first appears as one of the contestants in the Duff Ultimate Eating Challenge in the level Around the World in 80 Bites. He also appears in Mob Rules as one of the people Marge can use to protest the sales of the Grand Theft Scratchy videogame to minors.

Behind the Laughter


Barney was partly based on "Crazy" Guggenheim, a character from Jackie Gleason's American Scene Magazine.[26] Matt Groening noted: "Barney was taking the standard sitcom sidekick and just making him as pathetic as possible. And also there was a sort of unspoken rule about not having drinking on television as a source of comedy. So, of course, we went right for it."[26] In "Days of Wine and D'oh'ses" Barney was sobered up, a move that many staff members were against believing "a wide-awake, freshly showered, sober Barney just isn't as funny as an unkempt, disoriented, drunk one." Castellaneta did not change his voice after the sobering, because "[he thinks Barney's] still got 15 years of booze left in his veins."[26]

The name Barney Gumble is a parody (and near homonym) of Barney Rubble, Fred Flintstone's best friend on Hanna-Barbera's The Flintstones. In several of the episodes of the first season, Barney Gumble's hair was yellow, just like Barney Rubble's hair. He was also born on April 20, 1956.

Barney first appeared in the episode "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire", in which he worked as a department store Santa and gave Homer a tip for winning at the dog track. The Season 1 DVD indicates that the script writers originally intended for Barney to be Homer's next-door neighbor.

Barney is also a major character on the show and has been central in a few episodes such as Mr. Plow, Homer's Barbershop Quartet, and Days of Wine and D'oh'ses. Barney has also appeared in every single season although in season 19 he made only cameo appearances. In season 2,3,4,5, Barney made lots of speaking appearances aproximately 10-15 episodes, because he was always seen in Moe's. He has appeared in 274 episodes.


  • In Homer's Triple Bypass, Barney once mistook Homer's heart operation as him trying to go through a sex-change operation.
  • Barney in Season 1 had blond hair.
  • Barney's bar tab at Moe's is at $14 billion, but after Barney payed $2,000, Moe said that it's "at least halfway." But could be him not going to school or missing math lessons.
  • At one point, Barney was implied to have been severely injured by a Crow mafia led by Homer Simpson when they enveloped him.
  • In "Homer vs Lisa vs the 8th Commandment," Barney is at Homer's house, but in The Simpsons Movie he is seen in the mob of angry people who do not know where the house is at.
  • In Selma's Choice, we learn Barney is a sperm donor and has fathered an untold amount of children.
  • In "Mr Plow", Homer is awarded the key of Springfield for clearing the town of snow. But when Barney took Homer's idea and made himself the Plow King, Homer was forced to give up the key to Barney.



  1. Selma's Choice
  2. Homer's Barbershop Quartet
  3. Viva Ned Flanders
  4. 4.0 4.1 Simpson Tide
  5. She Used to Be My Girl
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 A Star is Burns
  7. Mr. Plow
  8. Miracle on Evergreen Terrace
  9. O Brother, Where Bart Thou?
  10. Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part One)
  11. Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part Two)
  12. 22 Short Films About Springfield
  13. Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo
  14. Lost Verizon
  15. Lisa the Beauty Queen
  16. Deep Space Homer
  17. The Boy Who Knew Too Much
  18. Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part One)
  19. Rosebud
  20. The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson
  21. Days of Wine and D'oh'ses
  22. Homerazzi
  23. Co-Dependent's Day
  24. Lost Our Lisa
  25. The Simpsons Movie
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 Joe Rhodes. "Flash! 24 Simpsons Stars Reveal Themselves", TV Guide,. Retrieved on 2007-08-15. 

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