Moving to Springfield: A Look at the Best Moving Companies from “The Simpsons”

The Best Movers to use when Moving to Springfield

Since The Simpsons first debuted on the Tracey Ullman Show on April 19, 1987, we’ve seen many of the characters move from one place to another. One-time Simpsons neighbors George H.W. Bush and Sideshow Bob have come and gone. Milhouse’s parents broke up and moved back in together. And of course Simpson patriarch Homer has taken jobs in new cities that have forced the title family to move to such places as Capital City and the Globex Corporation’s Cypress Creek before once again moving to Springfield.

Strangely enough, however, we have not seen much in the way of the heroic characters that make such residential relocations possible: movers and the moving companies they work for.

In honor of these fictitious workers, we at Safe Responsible have decided to highlight some of the few memorable movers seen on prime-time television’s longest running scripted show. So, in no particular order, we fondly remember some of Springfield’s Finest:

Moving Man (with the Moving Van)

“Treehouse of Horror” — Original Air Date: October 25, 1990

Seen in the series’ inaugural Halloween special from its second season, the Moving Man (played by James Earl Jones) appears in the “Bad Dream House,” vignette. The parody of 1979’s The Amityville Horror features the Simpson family moving into a magnificent new house — a mansion whose price has been shockingly “slashed and slashed and slashed,” according to Marge.

The house on which 1979's "Amityville Horror" was based

If Safe Responsible Movers were asked to move a family into the the house from the 1979 film The Amityville Horror (pictured above), we’d show up with at least three movers, and very likely more. Photo by Seulatr (Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

As the story begins, we see Homer signing the final bill after the Moving Man says, “That’s all of it. Sign here!”

Homer then hands Moving Man his clipboard and a tip and proudly says, “there you are my man . . . and a dollar for yourself.”

“A buck. I’m glad there’s a curse on this place,” the mover replies, presaging the later parts of the story during which the walls bleed and the anthropomorphized house tries to persuade the family members to murder each other.

What’s most impressive is not that the house has a personality and can summon magical powers, but that a single man moved the Simpson family from their suburban four-bedroom home (piano included, presumably) into a Gothic mansion.

Whenever Safe Responsible moves a single family home, we generally show up with a minimum of three movers and a 24-foot truck. If the move includes a piano, we’ll often have four movers. And some larger suburban homes require two trucks and a five- or six-man crew.

So our natural conclusion is that a single mover getting this done without complaint from notoriously impatient Homer is by far the least realistic element of this episode (which also features English-speaking space monsters). And while we never offer comment on a customer’s tip or lack thereof, certainly, at least in this instance, we can relate to Mr. Moving Man.

Fun Fact: Jones plays two other characters in this episode. He’s Serak the Preparer in the Twilight Zone spoof “Hungry Are the Damned” and narrates Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” in the episode’s most famous segment.

Neat & Tidy Piano Movers

“Homer the Smithers” — Original Air Date: February 25, 1996

With Homer feeling guilty after his brief-but-incompetent turn as Mr. Burns’ executive assistant results in the firing of Burns’ longtime chief aide Waylon Smithers, Lisa offers her father comfort by saying, “don’t worry, Dad. Mr. Smithers is a resilient man. I’m sure he can get a great job at any corporation he wants.”

The very next shot is a close-up of Smithers, smiling hopefully in front of a sign that reads “AT&T,” only to quickly reveal a broader perspective: the “AT&T” we saw was simply the middle of the sign for “NEAT & TIDY PIANO MOVERS.”

“Meet your new piano mover,” says the former Springfield Nuclear Employee of the Month to his prospective boss, before an immediate cut to an injured Smithers in the office of the eminent Dr. Julius Hibbert. “We’re gonna have to put a steel rod where your spine was,” the doctor says.

Moving pianos is one of the most difficult and labor-intensive tasks that movers do. And there are a great many companies dedicated to moving pianos and only pianos. It’s no wonder a lifelong executive (purported to be in his early 40’s) wasn’t well-suited for the job. We’re one of the area’s most highly rated moving companies, and even we think that certain larger objects are better left to professionals.

Also, if you ever find a piano moving company that has a strip-mall style storefront (where would they keep the trucks?) and takes walk-in applications from 40-year-old men dressed in business casual attire, let us know.

Fun Fact: In this episode, the writers have Mr. Burns answer the telephone with the phrase, “Ahoy-hoy,” to illustrate one of his many absurdly out-dated social customs. In fact, “Ahoy” was the original greeting word to use when answering the telephone; it was promoted by inventor Alexander Graham Bell. “Hello” was a relatively uncommon word until fellow inventor Thomas Edison (modernizer of the telephone and later rival of Homer Simpson) suggested it.

Telephone operators were sometimes called "Hello Girls" because "Hello" was Thomas Edison's preferred greeting on the medium.

Female switchboard operators were called “Hello Girls,” and not “Ahoy Girls,” as telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell and presumable contemporary C. Montgomery Burns would have preferred. By Seattle Municipal Archives from Seattle, WA (Telephone operators, 1952) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Clumsy Student Movers

“New Kid on the Block” — Original Air Date: November 12, 1992

This is the episode in which Bart develops a crush on the girl from Roseanne when she moves in next door to the Simpsons after the Winfields, the Simpsons’ elderly neighbors, leave Springfield for Florida to, as Homer says, “run out the clock.”

When moving to Springfield, Bart’s crush Laura and her mother (played by Amy Poehler’s mom on Parks and Recreation) use Clumsy Student Movers. In the few seconds we see the company on screen, we don’t see much: only their commendably self-aware name lettered on the side of their box truck and one of their hapless movers breaking a lamp.

Look, part-time movers certainly get a bad wrap (get it?) — but let’s face it, very few kids grow up dreaming of being a mover. Most movers — yes, even the very best of us — got into it as either a student in need of quick cash or as a musician or artist looking for flexible hours to fund a different passion. But then something interesting happens. Over time, anyone with a talent for this kind of work develops pride in doing a good job at it. Once you have that pride, you want to get better. And then, all of the sudden . . . Wow! People really like how good of a job we’re doing.

So now you want to keep it up, because you’re a professional mover, and you get a measurable, difficult task done every time you show up to work. It’s not a job for everyone, and it’s certainly not the kind of work you want to be doing in your fifties. But we take pride in it — how long we’ve done it, how good we’ve become at it, and how hard we work everyday. So we have a soft spot for the guys just starting out. (Unless, of course, they’re working for a rival company in the same building that we are. In that case, get out of our elevator, boys, and let the professionals do the geometry.)

Fun Fact: One of the episodes written by Brookline native Conan O’Brien, “New Kid on the Block” originally had a subplot featuring Homer laughing obnoxiously at a performance of planned guest star Don Rickles, according to Wikipedia. In the original version, Homer would have stopped laughing at the insult comedian once Rickles got fed up with his interruptions and turned against Homer, culminating in a lawsuit between the two (an obvious maneuver to include O’Brien favorite Phil Hartman as attorney Lionel Hutz). Though Conan was fairly certain Rickles would sign on to the episode, the comedian declined. So instead we got the first instance of the Sea Captain, whose “all-you-can-eat” seafood restaurant, The Flying Dutchman, does not, in fact, provide Homer with all he can eat, and a lawsuit (with Homer represented by Hutz) ensues.

Conan O'Brien in "The Simpsons" writing offices in 1992

Brookline native, Harvard alumnus, and “New Kid on the Block” writer Conan O’Brien hanging out in The Simpsons writers’ room in 1992. By Bill Oakley [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Starving Teachers Moving Co.

“Milhouse Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” — Original Air Date: February 15, 2004

Definitely not one of the “golden age” episodes of the show, “Milhouse Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” features Bart’s best friend engaging in more and more “bad-boy” behavior before finally revealing that he and his mother are moving to Capital City.

Milhouse drops the bomb on Bart outside of his house, letting him know he’s moving away before opening his front door to reveal a room full of packed-up belongings. As Bart struggles to process the impending loss of his best friend, the moving company pulls up. The lettering on the company’s moving truck tells the whole story: Starving Teachers Moving Co.

Despite having only seen Clumsy Student Movers for a few seconds in which they break a lamp, we at Safe Responsible are of one opinion: we’d strongly recommend them over Starving Teachers. Don’t get us wrong — we’re sure Springfield Elementary gym teacher Mrs. Pommelhouse and her “Sousaphile” colleague, music teacher Dewey Largo, are fine movers. We don’t see them make any mistakes.

But moving, at least for the best companies, is a full-time job, not a supplemental income for workers who are full-time elsewhere. While most movers start out part-time, the expertise and care necessary to be a great mover are developed as ingrained habits over time.

Fun Fact: Capital City, the largest city in the state, is the most common destination to which characters on The Simpsons move and vacation. Its first appearance was in the second season’s “Dancin’ Homer,” when Homer’s drunken antics at a Springfield Isotopes game land him a gig in the big leagues as a pinch mascot for the famed Capital City “Goofball.” The job offer prompts the family to move from Springfield to the bright lights of the “Windy Apple.”

Capital City is a tour stop for Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth, Peter Gabriel, and Cypress Hill in the seventh season’s “Homerpalooza,” is revealed to have been the hometown of a once sass-talking Principal Skinner ( Armin Tamzarian) in the “The Principal and the Pauper,” and is the site of “The Last Temptation of Homer.”

Lisa’s Substitute,” another second season favorite, has Lisa’s inspiring teacher, Mr. Bergstrom (played by an uncredited Dustin Hoffman), moving to Springfield ever so briefly. He then breaks the eight-year-old’s heart when he abruptly moves again, this time to Capital City to help less fortunate students.

The scene showing the substitute teacher’s departure is perhaps the most tear-jerking in all the show’s’ 27 years on the air: after admitting that he is, in fact the “best teacher she’ll ever have,” he explains to a sobbing Lisa that the problem with being middle class is that “anybody who really cares will abandon you for those who need it more.” Mr. Bergstrom then gives her a folded piece of paper. “Whenever you feel that you’re alone and there’s nobody you can rely on, this is all you need to know,” he tells her. He boards the train to Capital City while Lisa, devastated, runs alongside it. Mr. Bergstrom then shouts to her, “You’ll be okay! Just read the note!”

As the train disappears, Lisa unfolds the paper to read what it says:

You are Lisa Simpson.

Dustin Hoffman played Mr. Bergstrom, Lisa's inspiring substitute teacher on "The Simpsons."

Dustin Hoffman plays Mr. Bergstrom in “Lisa’s Substitute,” a teacher who is clearly not an employee of Starving Teachers Moving Co. By Studio (ebay) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

(To continue the non-moving related tangent: Do yourself a favor if you haven’t seen the show in a while. Watch this episode. (It’s currently available on YouTube, FXNOW, Amazon, Vudu, Google Play, and iTunes.) Then call your dad. Or your mom. Or somebody.)

Back to moving: Did we miss any of your favorite movers from Springfield? Let us know when requesting a quote and we’ll discount 5% of your total bill if you end up booking your move with us!