- “Sorry, Bart.”
- ―Milhouse's catchphrase
- “The House always wins.”
- “Hey, Bart, want to trade lunches?”
- ―Milhouse's first words in the Butterfinger commerical
- “My Glasses!”
- ―Milhouse's catchphrase when he is hurt[src]
- “Everything's comin' up Milhouse!”
- ―Milhouse says this when matters are going well for him[src]
- “What's Up!”
- ―Milhouse's catchphrase[src]
- “Mom, Bart's swearing!”
- ―Milhouse's best excuse[src]
Milhouse Mussolini Van Houten (born July 1, 1980) is a recurring character in The Simpsons. He is a ten year old boy and Bart Simpson's best friend. As the only child of Kirk and Luann Van Houten, Milhouse's most distinctive physical traits are his blue hair, big nose and extreme nearsightedness (depicted by very small eyes), requiring thick glasses to correct. He has regular intelligence but somewhat poor social skills. Although devious in his own way, Milhouse is quite gullible, which is why he is often led into trouble by Bart, who is not shy about taking advantage of the other's naïveté. Milhouse appears as a Master Builder in The Lego Movie. He also appears in the new Simpsons Lego sets.
When Milhouse gets irritated at Bart, he says "I'm only three months younger than you". Bart was born on April 1, so that means Milhouse was born in July (most likely July 1, since he doesn't mention how many days younger he is than Bart).
Even though he is usually much better liked and tolerated compared to more genuine nerds such as Martin Prince, Milhouse is constantly victimized in one form or another, mostly as a target of the bullies Jimbo Jones, Dolph Starbeam, and Kearney Zzyzwicz. They often inflict extreme acts of physical violence upon him. One instance had the bullies wrapping Milhouse in bumper stickers and placing him in a shopping cart, which they pushed down a very steep hill. He frequently visited a female counselor, Dr. Waxler, until even she got fed up by his constant phone calls, and blocked his number from her own phone. He is also frequently subjected to Nelson Muntz's bullying, including Nelson's "stop (hitting, zapping, etc.) yourself."
Milhouse was seen as relatively cool in two episodes. When his parents were lost at sea and presumed deceased, the kids at the school were impressed by Milhouse's stoicism, even Nelson, who refrains from beating him up. Bart brought Milhouse's uncle Norbert (who is of Danish descent and resides in Solvang, California) to Springfield to console Milhouse. When Milhouse's mother moved with him to Capital City after his parents separated, in another episode, he dyed his hair blond, wore fashionable clothes and acted rude to impress his new friends, who acted similarly. He even asked Bart to let him give him a wedgie to impress the others. After his father Kirk won custody of Milhouse and brought him back to Springfield, everything went back to normal.
People frequently make Milhouse the butt of a variety of jokes and abuse, ranging from being beaten up by Nelson and his cronies to having the door slammed in his face while playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey to being hit in the mouth by an errant hockey puck causing him to lose most of his teeth to being named a wanted fugitive on America's Most Wanted due to Bart's Internet mischief. Milhouse also unknowingly inherited Bart's abysmal permanent school record through a side deal arranged between Bart, Edna Krabappel and Principal Skinner in order to buy the former's silence about the latter two's illicit relationship, which will disqualify Milhouse from "all but the hottest and noisiest jobs". He also almost walked straight into a cactus at Bart's "directions" during a birthday party with Martin, although he ended up not doing so due to his coming down with food poisoning from tainted oysters just as he was about to do so, thus forcing him run over to the moon bounce and vomit in it, to the occupants horror and disgust. He also ended up injured by Mr. Burns via a broken leg specifically to motivate the Springfield football team into winning against Shelbyville, with Milhouse also ominously stating that if the team didn't win, Mr. Burns says that he's "coming back" (presumably to do even worse to Milhouse). Despite the frequent abuse and misfortune, Milhouse is not particularly disliked and has a decent amount of friends at Springfield Elementary aside from Bart, although most such people usually seem mutual through Bart himself.
It is heavily implied that Milhouse is nearsighted without his glasses. At one time, Bart used his glasses as makeshift binoculars to spy on Lisa and her new friends, and when leaving to sabotage the friendship proceeded to take the glasses with him to Milhouse's protests, with Milhouse then proceeding to mistake a horseshoe crab for a dog. Similarly, after Bart, while acting as a faith healer, proceeded to "cure" Milhouse of his needing glasses, proceeded to walk out onto the street and then mistook an oncoming car for a dog and promptly got run over.
Milhouse is of Greek, Italian, Dutch and Danish descent.
Milhouse is nearsighted and wears red glasses. He has yellow skin (like most Caucasians in the series), blue hair and wears a light purple T-shirt, red shorts, and matching red shoes.
Friendship with Bart Simpson
Bart and Milhouse share a general friendship through the series. Milhouse first became friends with Bart in kindergarten when he sat next to him while drinking milk. After Bart makes him laugh and squirt milk out of his nose by making fart noises, Milhouse thinks that is funny, forming their friendship (and encouraging Bart's mischief).On one occasion, Bart got Milhouse placed on the America's Most Wanted list and on another occasion, he tried to lure Milhouse into a cactus. This kind of torture is often used by Bart, who tries either to get Milhouse in trouble or to hurt him for no reason, making the relationship of Milhouse and Bart even more questionable. Bart once introduced Milhouse to Greta and attempted to explain why they are friends. He is unable to come up with a real answer and admits that it is due to geographical reasons. Homer enjoys occasionally making fun of Milhouse (i.e. referring to him as "that little wiener Milhouse"). Milhouse sometimes does bad things due to Bart's influence, such as dropping mustard on cars from the top of a bridge and destroying the school by loosening all the screws, which is why Milhouse's mother once decided that she didn't want the duo to see each other anymore but later she had changed her mind after Marge told her that the two are each other's "only" friends.
On the other hand, Milhouse's loyalty to Bart as a friend is arguable. Through the series, Milhouse has been shown to be occasionally fickle and disloyal towards Bart, as he often abandons him, sells him out to avoid trouble, or attacks him whenever a dispute breaks out. Such instances would include (but are not limited to):
- Daring him to yank off Homer's beard when he was working as a mall Santa
- Disowning Bart for being presumably being a genius after he is sent to the Enriched Learning Center for Gifted Children, even though Bart cheated to get in
- Abandoning him after he hurt himself during his first daredevil attempt to jump over a car while riding a skateboard
- Taking Bart away (as the new hall monitor) to serve 600 days of detention after Bart covers for Lisa
- Neglecting Bart after falling in love with Samantha Stankey and later attacking him after Bart told Samantha's father about their romance
- Accusing Bart of being in league with an unknown conspiracy and attacking him when the children believe their parents are acting peculiar
- Ratting out Bart to Reverend Lovejoy that they switched the church's intended hymns with "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"
- Wagering Bart to sell his soul for $5 and raising the price to $50 when he asks for it back
- Refusing to share his Bonestorm video game by falsely telling his mother that Bart was "swearing" and "smoking"
- Attacking Bart after he criticizes his management skills when they are left in charge of The Android's Dungeon & Baseball Card Shop
- Boasted to Bart about how he was dating Greta Wolfcastle after he broke up with her
- Taking credit for Bart's idea on how to sneak into R-rated movies
- Asking Bart to let him give him a wedgie and laughed at him in order to look cool in front of his new friends when he moved to Capital City
- Jeopardizing Bart's relationship with Jenny by hinting at his misdeeds
- Tattling on Bart to his mother that the cell phone he found belongs to Denis Leary after she takes it away
Based on the evidence of their relationship as friends, the general thing holding their friendship together appears to be geographical convenience and a mutual interest in pranks, Krusty the Clown, and Radioactive Man comics.
Milhouse's "My Mom Says" Excuses
Anytime that Bart insist that they should do something, Milhouse would opt out and give an excuse that his mother won't let him. A few examples are, "My mom":
- "Won't let me be your friend any more".
- "Says I'm cool."
- "Says I'm the handsomest guy in school."
- "Says solving riddles is an asthma trigger".
Milhouse is clumsy around females. He also exhibits a tendency to begin acting rather ridiculously feminine, complete with clichéd catchphrases and mannerisms. This case of social anxiety has lost him Lisa's heart three times, as well as a relationship with Rainier Wolfcastle's daughter Greta. Examples of such behavior are referring to himself as a "big sister" and being caught with a scrunchie in his hair.. Once, Milhouse rides Lisa's bike, and Bart asks him what it's like riding a girl's bike, and Milhouse replies "it's surprisingly comfortable".
Milhouse's first girlfriend was Samantha Stankey, a new student who had moved to Springfield from Arizona. Because of all the time the two were spending together, Bart felt excluded and resorted to revealing their relationship to Samantha's strict father, who caught her and Milhouse in the treehouse. He sent her to a Catholic girls school in Quebec so she would never see Milhouse again. After visiting her at school and sharing one last kiss, Samantha broke away from Milhouse.
Note: Milhouse's official first kiss was with Samantha, this is contradicted when Milhouse claims his first kiss was actually with Homer when Milhouse's eyes were closed during a game of spin the bottle that Homer interrupted by unexpectedly going up the treehouse.
Despite caring a great deal about Samantha early in the series, Milhouse harbors a hopeless crush on Bart's younger sister, Lisa throughout the series, even going so far as to make awkward attempts to impress her. His feelings are unrequited but Lisa is rarely cruel. She showed concern for Milhouse when he was beaten up by Nelson on one occasion and tended to him. This rare moment of affection however was brief, as she became distracted by the arrival of Irish environmentalist Colin, who became her love interest. When the Trappuccino finished, Milhouse lied to Lisa about Colin's demise and that he begged Milhouse to look after her. Colin returned in the midst of Milhouse's story, and he quickly took his leave. In a newer episode, Lisa kisses Milhouse on Holding Hands Peak, causing Milhouse to fall off the peak. He comes up on an eagle saying "everything's coming up Milhouse!"
In Moonshine River, he and Lisa dance, but Lisa says it was only a mindless friend date while Milhouse said it was a real date. He was once seen making out with Paris Texan, who is nearly 20, but this may be because he was wearing cool clothes at that moment.
Milhouse may have a crush on Marge, implied when Bart asked him if he's in love with her. Additionally, upon being asked whether he thinks that Marge is cool, he immediately, without thinking, responds, "No, I think she's HOT!"
Milhouse also went out with Taffy although it ended when Lisa came between them.
When Principal Skinner and Mrs. Krabappel were dating and did not want Bart to tell anybody, they made a deal to change transfer permanent record and switch them with those of someone else. Bart agreed and Milhouse was given Bart's very poor permanent record. Milhouse once attempted unsuccessfully to destroy his new dismal school record, but failed when the record fixed itself, proving its permanence.
Milhouse is fluent in Italian due to visiting his grandmother Nana Sophie in Tuscany for two weeks every year. Due to his grandmother's hatred of the English language because her American lover had abandoned her (she named their love child "Bastardo"), whenever Milhouse spoke English she beat him. Thus, he learned Italian.
Milhouse is allergic to honey, wheat, dairy, non-dairy and even his own tears. In spite of his dairy allergy, he is often seen drinking it. He is also allergic to holly, mistletoe, the red part of candy canes and nectarine.
He has demonstrated that he is a skilled Vespa rider, although he is obviously not old enough to legally operate a scooter on public roads. He came closest to wooing Lisa when he taught her Italian, as she even kept a picture of Milhouse in her room while practicing the language. It is implied that she was captivated by his impressive command of the language during a rather romantic outing to the local Italian restaurant. However, he once again reached a roadblock due to his ongoing fatal flaw when it came to girls.
Milhouse began bodybuilding in juvie after he took the fall for breaking street lamps and was sentenced two years there when he was 12. After saving her from a fire that he had caused when Lisa was 12 years old, they finally began dating as a couple in High School; however, Lisa broke up with Milhouse shortly after graduation before going off to a private college in the eastern United States. After that, Milhouse attended MIT and graduated with a degree in Nuclear Engineering.
Soon after graduating, he took a job at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, becoming the new Head of the Nuclear Safety Inspection Department for the plant, making him the superior of Homer. By then, Milhouse had embraced the early male pattern baldness he had hereditarily developed (and successfully hidden via comb-over) in high school. When Homer tells Milhouse of Lisa's marriage, he recalls their last date, and writes Homer's evaluation angrily.
In "Days of Future Future", a zombie bit Milhouse, and subsequently Milhouse became a member of the living dead. This change rendered Milhouse more actively protective of and caring for his friends and family, which helped improve his marriage to Lisa.
In "The Boys Of Bummer", a 70-year old Milhouse (possibly a clone since he is not a zombie), lets it slip to a 70-year old Bart that their little league game was faked to make up for Bart’s complete lack of athletic skill. The ghosts of Homer and Marge watch Bart taunt Milhouse.
The Simpsons Hit and Run
He appears in the game The Simpsons: Hit and Run. He has a fairly minor role at the beginning of Level 2, where he warns Bart that Skinner is after anyone who is skipping school that day and going to expel anyone caught by him.
He also appears in Level 3's second mission, where he, despite not knowing where Bart (who by that point had gone missing) is, he guessed that he might be at Wall-E Weasel's, Planet Hype, and possibly the Springfield Sign (although it's heavily implied that he lied about Bart being there in an attempt to trick Lisa into going into a date with him at those locations). Eventually, Lisa got annoyed with him and bluntly told him that it's not a good time to hang out with him, causing him to break down.
Aside from the above, he also appears in all the levels save for the seventh level of The Simpsons: Hit and Run as one of the judges for the Springfield DMV's street races, always being the first judge (he and the other judges are absent in level 7 due to their being replaced by Zombies). Milhouse explains that Selma and Patty forced him to take the job due to the fact that they won't allow him to get a license to ride a bicycle without training wheels otherwise, and was prevalent enough that he rescheduled a 4:00 wedgie with Nelson (who ironically was also one of the judges for the street races), as he later revealed to Bart. He also claimed that he gets a green cookie for Saint Patrick's Day (implying he has to continue working until at least that point), though it came out of his paycheck, which he told Lisa when she expressed surprised that he was working. Eventually, he settled down with the job even though he was exhausted, largely because the money he gets allows his dad to pay for his alimony.
The Simpsons Game
When Jimbo, Kearney and Dolph go to rob the Museum they stop by the Kwik E Mart and take Milhouse's pants by force. Milhouse later buys the New Grand Theft Scratchy Game by Cashing his dad's welfare Check and later roams around the streets with the other Kids who stop anyone who gets in their way and is stopped by Marge and Lisa. When the Simpsons Meet Will Wright Bart says he makes Milhouse look cool. When they get to the Game engine Bart says he can't wait to show the place to Milhouse. Milhouse appears as the villain Mr. Dirt who taunts Homer and Lisa as they seek to defeat all three Sparklemons. After they capture all three Sparklemon balls and place them in the coin slots of the giant toilet shrine, Mr. Sparkle cleans up the village, and Milhouse shrinks to normal, handing over the key card and being attacked by the three Sparklemon. When the Simpsons go to the Creator and meet his goons Bart says their just Milhouse in a suit. Milhouse later hates Marge for banning Grand Theft Scratchy.
Milhouse was named after US President Richard Nixon, whose middle name was Milhous. The name was the most "unfortunate name Matt Groening could think of for a child." Milhouse is a favorite among the staff as Al Jean noted "most of the writers are more like Milhouse than Bart."
- In "Rosebud", Milhouse is seen as a missing person on milk cartons, until they are pasted over with pictures of Bobo by Smithers and Mr. Burns.
- In The Butterfinger Group commercial, Milhouse was unnamed, as Bart only addressed him as "Dude."
- In "Hardly Kirk-ing" he was voiced by both Pamela Hayden and Hank Azaria; the latter for when the tie compressed his voice-box.
- In "The Way We Weren't", Milhouse has ringworm and says "I hope you like the taste of ringworm medicine!"
- In the episode "Lisa's Rival", Bart managed to get Milhouse onto the FBI's America's Most Wanted list.
- Milhouse appeared as a Master Builder in The Lego Movie.
- Houten is a real town, near Utrecht, the Netherlands.
- He seems unable to pronounce grandfather. Instead, he says grandfafa as seen in The Color Yellow. He may have just been trying to be mysterious and/or pristine.