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The Simpsons character
Doctor Hibbert.png
Dr. Julius Hibbert
Gender Male
Job Doctor
Relatives Wife: Bernice
Children: (Three unnamed - two sons and one daughter)
Alleged younger brother: Bleeding Gums Murphy
Alleged twin brother: (Unnamed director of Shelbyville orphanage)
Voice actor Harry Shearer
First appearance
The Simpsons Bart the Daredevil

Julius M. Hibbert, M.D., is a recurring character on the animated series The Simpsons. He is voiced by Harry Shearer, and first appeared in the episode "Bart the Daredevil". Dr. Hibbert is Springfield's most prominent and competent doctor, though he sometimes makes no effort to hide or makes light of his high prices. Dr. Hibbert is very good-natured, and is known for finding a reason to laugh at nearly every situation.

Contents

Role in The Simpsons

Personality

Dr. Hibbert is the Simpsons' (usually) kind-hearted family doctor, a near-genius (with an IQ of 155), a Mensa member, a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and a member of the Thayer firm at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Hibbert is noticeably less dysfunctional than just about everyone else on the show, though he does have a bizarre tendency to chuckle at inappropriate moments. It is mentioned in Make Room for Lisa, that "Before I learned to chuckle mindlessly, I was headed to an early grave." He also gives questionable solutions to certain medical problems. For example, when Maggie saved Homer from drowning, he attributed it to common cases of superhuman strength in children whose parents' lives are in danger.[1] Likewise, he expressed only mild surprise when both of Abraham Simpson's kidneys were revealed to have exploded.

There are hints though, that Dr. Hibbert is not above dubious medical practices. After Marge talks him out of buying an unsuitable house, he suggests repaying her with black-market prescriptions[2]. When he realized that Marge Simpson was initially unenthusiastic about having a third child, he implied that a healthy baby could bring in as much as $60,000 on the black market. Hibbert covered for himself against Marge's horrified reaction by saying that if she had replied any other way, she would be sent to prison, claiming that it was "just a test".[3] It was also suggested in the episode "Wild Barts Can't Be Broken" that he does not in fact have a medical license.[4]

Despite his seemingly honest and good-hearted personality, there is evidence that he is, at heart, a committed mercenary. In "Homer's Triple Bypass", Hibbert announces to Homer that his heart operation will cost $30,000. When Homer has a heart attack in front of him in response to this news, he says, unmoved, that the cost is now $40,000 - hinting the heart attack made him now require a quadruple bypass. In "Bye Bye Nerdie", after Homer's baby-proofing business eliminates child injuries in Springfield, Hibbert complains that he is behind in his boat payments because of this. He is a committed Republican and attends Springfield's Republican meetings alongside Mr Burns and Rainier Wolfcastle. Hibbert also freely wears fur coats, believing that while fur itself may not be murder, "paying for it sure is!".[5]

Hibbert is often seen in flashbacks (for example, Lisa's birth, or Bart's accidents as a toddler), and each time has a different hairstyle (afro, dreadlocks, Mr. T-style Mohawk, etc.) appropriate for the time period.

Family

Dr. Hibbert is married; he and his wife Bernice have at least three children, two boys and a girl. When his entire family is seen together, they appear to be a spoof of The Cosby Show. Bernice is known to be something of a heavy drinker; this has been joked about on at least one occasion (in "Homer vs. the Eighteenth Amendment," she faints, along with other imbibers of renown, upon reading the news that Prohibition has been introduced in Springfield).

It is implied that he and Bleeding Gums Murphy are long-lost brothers; Hibbert says he has a long-lost brother who is a jazz musician, and Murphy says he has a brother who is a doctor that chuckles at inappropriate times, but somehow the two don't put these clues together. However, Murphy later died, so it will never be known for certain if they are brothers or not[6]. Hibbert also bears a striking resemblance to the director of the Shelbyville orphanage, who mentions a personal quest to find his long-lost twin to an indifferent Homer.[7]

He owns a poodle called Rosa Barks (an allusion to black civil rights activist Rosa Parks) who was impregnated by Santa's Little Helper. Unhappy with a litter of greyhound/poodle puppies, Dr. Hibbert leaves the puppies in the care of the Simpsons. Lisa and Bart distribute the puppies around Springfield. The known recipients of the puppies were Krusty, Snake and Groundskeeper Willie.[8]

Character

In writers Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky's original script for "Bart the Daredevil", Hibbert was a woman, named "Julia Hibbert", who they named after comedic actress Julia Sweeney (Hibbert was her married last name at the time). When Fox moved The Simpsons to prime time on Thursdays against NBC's top-rated The Cosby Show, the writing staff decided to make Hibbert a parody of Bill Cosby's character Dr. Cliff Huxtable.[9] Hibbert is usually shown wearing sweaters, a reference to Huxtable.[9] He is one of the few competent characters in the show, and was originally shown as being sympathetic to his patient's conditions, but that was eventually changed to him being less caring about his patients.[9]

Dr. Hibbert/Dr. Nick comparison

A tongue-in-cheek analysis in the Canadian Medical Association Journal compares the services of Dr. Hibbert and Dr. Nick Riviera, a quack physician often used by The Simpsons as an alternative source of medical advice. While Hibbert is praised for his sense of humor and quality of care, it concludes that Riviera is a better role model for physicians; Hibbert is a paternalistic and wasteful physician, unlike Riviera, who strives to cut costs and does his best to avoid the coroner.[10]

References

  1. ^ "Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder". Jean, Al; Anderson, Mike B.. The Simpsons. Fox. 1999-11-14.
  2. ^ "Realty Bites". Greaney, Dan; Scott III, Swinton O.. The Simpsons. Fox. 1997-12-07.
  3. ^ "And Maggie Makes Three". Crittenden, Jennifer; Scott III, Swinton O.. The Simpsons. Fox. 1995-01-22.
  4. ^ "Wild Barts Can't Be Broken". Doyle, Larry; Ervin, Mark. The Simpsons. Fox. 1999-01-17.
  5. ^ "A Milhouse Divided". Tompkins, Steve; Moore, Steven Dean. The Simpsons. Fox. 1996-12-01.
  6. ^ "'Round Springfield". Jean, Al; Reiss, Mike; Moore, Stephen Dean. The Simpsons. Fox. 1995-04-30.
  7. ^ "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?". Martin, Jeff; Archer, W.M. "Bud". The Simpsons. Fox. 1991-02-21.
  8. ^ "Today I Am a Clown". Cohen, Joel H.; Kruse, Nancy. The Simpsons. Fox. 2003-12-07.
  9. ^ a b c Groening, Matt; Jean, Al; Kogen, Jay; Reiss, Mike; Wolodarsky, Wallace (2004). Commentary for "Bart the Daredevil", in The Simpsons: The Complete Second Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  10. ^ Patterson R, Weijer C. D'oh! An analysis of the medical care provided to the family of Homer J. Simpson. CMAJ. 1998 December 15;159(12):1480-1. PMID 9988570 Free Full Text

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