Curly and Matt Groening

Curly and Matt Groening

I have been trying to find out if Matt Groening has ever publicly spoken about The Three Stooges.  While I cannot confirm it, I have a feeling that he is a fan of the classic show.  More importantly, like any good “Stooges” fan, I think he is a fan of one in particular… Curly.

Curly was the best.  He absolutely made the show, the other two stooges merely contributed to the overall genius that was the comedy of Curly.  His actions, his behaviors, and his mannerisms were the selling points of the show.  If you think I have exaggerated his importance, watch a Curly episode and then a Shemp episode.  I am right. 

As I have already established valid reasoning for the possibility of Groening to have an affinity to Curly, I’d like to apply this idea to Groening’s work in order to prove the influence that the best stooge had on Groening.  The Simpsons episode “Last Exit to Springfield” featured a direct reference to one of Curly’s primary actions: Homer ran in circles while laying on the ground, as he repeatedly yelled “whoo whoo whoo whoo!”

For me, this in itself is confirmation of the influence that Curly had on Groening’s work.  At the very least, it confirms that Homer was influenced somewhat by the stooge.  That was one of Curly’s two primary gigs.  Curly’s other gig was later referenced by Bart.  The episode “Duffless” featured Bart imitating Curly’s humor.  As Bart smacked himself in the face and made Curly noises, Groening confirmed his affinity to Curly.  Also in this same episode, Bart said "eeeh, certainly...nyak nyak nyak."  This was another Curly reference.

As television shows are written and created by a group of people, rather than an individual, it is always difficult to try to figure out the contributions of individuals.  I am willing to say that Groening added The Three Stooges references personally.  The reason I can say this is found in Matt’s other Fox cartoon: Futurama.

Dr. Zoidberg has also repeatedly imitated Curly.  There have been many occasions in which Zoidberg has made Curly’s whooping sound.  This appeared throughout the series, as it was incorporated into one of the character’s mannerisms.  The squid-like doctor routinely whooped when scared or fleeing from danger.  Sometimes he would also squirt ink while making the sound.  He is, afterall, a squid. 

References to Curly have appeared numerously in the work of Matt Groening.  These were not limited to any specific characters, and were seen in some of Groening’s best characters.  Curly’s influence is clearly seen in his work.