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The Simpsons character
Dr Nick.png
Dr. Nick Riviera
Gender Male
Job Doctor
Relatives Unknown
Voice actor Hank Azaria
First appearance
The Simpsons "Bart Gets Hit by a Car"

Nick Riviera, M.D. is a recurring character on the animated television series The Simpsons. He is voiced by Hank Azaria, and first appeared in the episode "Bart Gets Hit by a Car". Riviera is an incompetent quack physician, a satire of doctors who have studied at dubious medical schools.

Contents

Role in The Simpsons

Personality

Dr. Nick has a medical degree from "Hollywood Upstairs Medical College" (where he apparently spent much of his time using his ability to acquire prescription drugs to impress a succession of attractive women).[1] Thus far, none of the patients he has swindled, maimed, or given useless or dangerous medical advice seems to have sued him—although a few have come after him in person. For example, in "Homer's Triple Bypass" a large angry man grabs him, and Riviera says "Well if it isn't my old friend Mr. McGregg—with a leg for an arm and an arm for a leg"; the man literally has an arm where a leg should be and a leg where an arm should be.[1] Riviera is a stereotype of shady, immoral doctors who perform medical procedures for money with little or no regard for medical ethics, or their patients' well-being. In "The Girl Who Slept Too Little" he is seen digging up corpses in the graveyard for body parts, presumably to use in operations on patients. In the episode "Much Apu About Nothing", he is seen taking a citizenship test, implying that prior to this he was not a citizen of the United States. In “Treehouse of Horror IX,” he injects himself with anesthetic before performing a hair transplant on Homer, using a pizza cutter.

The degrees in his office read "Mayo Clinic Correspondence School", "Club Med School", "Female Body Inspector" and "I went to medical school for four years and all I got was this lousy diploma".[2] He was part of the Sigma Chi fraternity house, according to the episode "Homer's Triple Bypass." He frequently appears on infomercials, pitching all sorts of bizarre medical offers, and has often turned his operations into TV spectacles. He is also shown as an inventor/huckster (in the style of Ron Popeil) on the television show I Can't Believe They Invented It!, with products such as the "Juice Loosener" in Marge in Chains, an inefficient juicer made in Japan which ultimately causes an influenza epidemic in Springfield (due to one of the workers at the factory having the disease, but still going to work, thus spreading his germs through the packaging).

He has operated on the Simpson family a couple of times (when they cannot afford their regular doctor, Julius Hibbert) notably when Homer needed a heart bypass. Lisa Simpson attended the live audience for the operation and saved the day by guiding the obviously clueless Dr. Riviera through the operation.[1] He also worked with Doctor Hibbert as an anesthesiologist during Bart's appendectomy but was of little help as he first failed to anesthetize Bart and subsequently passed out from the leaking gas.

Character

The design of Riviera is modeled on Gábor Csupó, the co-founder of Klasky Csupo animation studios (which animated the series for its first three seasons and The Tracey Ullman Show shorts).[3] The animators mistakenly believed that Hank Azaria was impersonating Csupó, when in fact he was doing a bad impression of Ricky Ricardo from the TV series I Love Lucy.[4]

Riviera is known for his exclamation of "Hi, everybody!" upon entering a scene, which is immediately followed by the other characters present with, "Hi, Dr. Nick!" except in "Who Shot Mr. Burns?" where Mr. Burns says "Ho, Mer. Simp-son", but with the same inflection as the usual greeting.

In The Simpsons Movie, Riviera is impaled by a large shard of glass that breaks and falls off the enormous dome covering Springfield, saying "Bye, everybody!" before passing out. Executive producers James L. Brooks and Al Jean confirmed that the character was dead, but that he would be "brought back to life à la Dr. Marvin Monroe".[5] Riviera is seen alive and well, without any explanation, working as Julius Hibbert's caddy in "Lost Verizon".

He appears again in season 20's "Eeny Teeny Maya Moe" where he was to perform a surgery on Moe Szyslak, but as usual, screws up (performing it on Springfield Elementary School band conductor Dewey Largo).

Reception

IGN placed Riviera 23rd on their list of the "Top 25 Simpsons Peripheral Characters".[6] In a tongue-in-cheek analysis, the Canadian Medical Association Journal compared the services of Riviera and Dr. Hibbert. It concludes that Riviera is a better role model for physicians, whereas Hibbert is a paternalistic and wasteful physician, unlike Riviera, who strives to cut costs and does his best to avoid the coroner, disproving Marge Simpson's claim that he is not a doctor at all.[7]

References

  1. ^ a b c "Homer's Triple Bypass". Apple, Gary; Carrington, Michael; Silverman, David. The Simpsons. Fox.
  2. ^ "Bart Gets Hit by a Car". Swartzwelder, John; Kirkland, Mark. The Simpsons. Fox.
  3. ^ Bernstein, Sharon (1992-01-21). "'The Simpsons' Producer Changes Animation Firms". Los Angeles Times. p. 18. 
  4. ^ Silverman, David (2003). Commentary for the episode "Saturdays of Thunder", in The Simpsons: The Complete Third Season [DVD]. Twentieth Century Fox.
  5. ^ Larry Carroll (2007-07-26). "'Simpsons' Trivia, From Swearing Lisa To 'Burns-Sexual' Smithers". MTV. http://www.mtv.com/movies/news/articles/1565538/20070725/story.jhtml. Retrieved 2007-07-29. 
  6. ^ Goldman, Eric; Iverson, Dan and Brian Zoromski (September 6, 2006). "Top 25 Simpsons Peripheral Characters". IGN. http://tv.ign.com/articles/730/730957p1.html. Retrieved 2008-10-30. 
  7. ^ Patterson R, Weijer C. D'oh! An analysis of the medical care provided to the family of Homer J. Simpson. CMAJ. 1998 Dec 15;159(12):1480-1. PMID 9988570 Free Full Text

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