Wait a minute, this sounds like rock and or roll!
―Rev. Lovejoy

Reverend Timothy Lovejoy Jr., better known as Rev. Lovejoy, is a recurring character on The Simpsons. He is the local Presbylutheran Minister in Springfield.

Early life

Timothy Lovejoy Jr. once was a bible salesman and one day, he went to a small house on the prairie not too far from Springfield. He and the person who lived there with her parents, Helen Schwartzbaum, soon had a great bond. By force of habit, Helen accidentally spread a rumor about herself and Timothy Lovejoy, and they were forced to marry.[2] Thankfully, it was just what they wanted. Later, he met his friend, Seminarian Gohan.

Appearance

Reverend Timothy Lovejoy Jr. usually wears a bubblegum coloured collared shirt and a navy or sky blue tie or he wears his reverend collar with a black shirt and pants. When he is in Church or officiating weddings, he wears his reverend robe over his usual wear. Sometimes he wears it over his bubblegum shirt and sometimes over his black shirt and pants with his reverend collar. He has black hair and bags under his eyes and he usually has his eyes half-lidded.

Personality

Reverend Timothy Lovejoy Jr. is sometimes seen with an Episcopal Priest's cassock. He is a Man of God and a marriage counselor. He was trained to be a priest at Pepperdine, a catholic priest university.

It is revealed that he may be friends with Rabbi Hyman Krustofsky because they do a radio show together about religion called Gabbin' about God.[2] His biggest competitors are the NFL, warm beds on a Sunday morning, and cable.

He describes how he initially came to Springfield an eager, idealistic young man in the seventies, only to become cynical and disillusioned about his flock and ministry, mostly due to Ned Flanders, who constantly pesters him with such non-emergencies as coveting his own wife. Lovejoy would dispatch such concerns with maximum brevity so that he could return to playing with his model trains (his true passion), and in one case, his dessert.[3] He wrote a book called Hell: It's Not Just for Christians Anymore and a pamphlet called Satan's Boners.

Regarding his ministry, he once explained to Marge, "I just stopped caring. Fortunately, by that time it was the eighties, and no one noticed." Lovejoy demonstrates a thorough knowledge of the Bible, citing parables such as the "foolish man who built his house on sand" in an attempt to warn Homer against the dangers of founding a self-serving "religion".[4] Homer retorts with a random passage of his own, which Lovejoy cites immediately as having no relevance to the discussion. Homer then tries in vain to cover himself by saying, "Yeah ... think about it!"

His sermons currently vary between dreary recitations of more opaque parts of the Old Testament, to the occasional "fire and brimstone" scaremongering about Hell — and very little of the love and joy that the Reverend's surname suggests. However, some of the sermons, such as the sin of Gambling, occur on weeks that are highly ironic, such as the fact that Reverend Lovejoy's anti-gambling sermon occurring on a week where Bingo is going to be played on Tuesdays, an implied Gambling convention called Monte Carlo night on Wednesday, and having a retreat at Reno, Las Vegas on Saturday.[5] Lovejoy is also implied to be a closet drinker. Burns' Surveillance Room shows him drinking heavily from a flask.[6] When congregation members begin to nod off, Lovejoy can awaken them by pressing a button on his lectern resulting in pre-recorded sounds, including an eagle, an ambulance siren, a disco whistle and a blimp attack. He has his dog do his "dirty business" on Ned Flanders' lawn.

Lovejoy is depicted as the image of Christian tolerance and diligence within the town of Springfield. When he first became a reverend in the 1970's he was initially passionate and idealistic about helping people with their problems but as Springfield's citizens (namely Ned Flanders) began to pester him with trivial problems every day, Lovejoy lost enthusiasm and eventually stopped caring altogether (although no one seemed to observe this matter). 

His own disinterest in his religion has caused his Sunday sermons to become a bleak monotone. Lovejoy seems aware of how much the townspeople hate his sermons but he continues to drone his delivery out further, quite frankly maliciously due to being embittered by how his enthusiasm was crushed, often finding passive-aggressive ways to spite the townsfolk, including pretending to conclude his sermon by stating "a..." then going onto another verse when they believed he was about to conclude "amen" in excitement and then took an exaggerated amount of time before really finishing, only doing it when Homer threatened him. He once repeated his entire sermon when near to the end upon noticing a "few people" were not paying attention, commanded his dog to defecate on Ned's front yard and even had the church choir sing Homer's song, Everybody Hates Ned Flanders, an entire song dedicated to slandering Ned.

Lovejoy's faith in Christianity itself is rather dubious. His ideals and behavior of his own religion is also rather Draconian. His tendency to lead mass burnings, partake in mob rioting and his willingness to prosecute children, crucify and burn people show this. Lovejoy also has little tolerance for gays, opposite religion, or the descending opinion of evolution, shown by the way he refused to marry gay couples when same-sex marriage was legalized in Springfield and leading a slander attack on Darwin's theory of evolution with Ned Flanders. Lovejoy rarely gives meaningful advice to people who actually seek it, normally directing them to a bible verse that has no actual relevance to their own problem at hand. Moe claims that he became suicidal because Lovejoy rarely gave him encouragement that he had something to live for and he became so fed up with Flanders calling him that he attempted to sway him to a different religion, claiming "they're all about the same thing". This lack of dedication was also witnessed by the way he threw his reverend collar when it seemed the Movementarians religious cult beliefs were actually true and only picked it up when pointed out by Ned and pretending it was an accident. He is implied to be money-hungry and previously burnt down his church for the insurance and regularly asks, at times demand and even exonerate generous donations to the church collection plate. It is presumed however that whatever funds Lovejoy gains are used towards the church which is in shoddy condition.

Despite his lack of enthusiasm, Lovejoy becomes deeply disturbed when he believes someone is quitting Christianity as he went to great lengths to persuade Bart from becoming Catholic and when the Simpson family became Movemanterians. When Homer refused to come to church anymore, Lovejoy gave a meaningful bible verse to persuade him to come back and led the town in prayer when Homer "made God angry" and was flooding Springfield. In "In Marge We Trust ", he became saddened when his audience was paying more attention to Marge than him and finally spoke in a more passionate caress in his sermon when recalling how he rescued Ned from a school of vicious baboons.

Lovejoy is an avid collector of model trains. However, his collection is usually ruined such as when one of his trains was derailed off its tracks whilst talking to Ned on the phone and when Homer plowed through his set, leading him to believe that God hated Lovejoy's trains. He also seems to have very little tolerance for the use of the word "butt" being used in front of him, or any similar-sounding word, as he threw Bart out of the house during a dinner date with his daughter Jessica because of Bart using that word, either not understanding or not caring if he, in fact, was meaning the contraction rather than the slang term for someone's posterior.

Tolerance

His tolerant side is demonstrated when he performs a marriage for Hindus (though he apparently thinks Hinduism is a Christian group) and co-hosts a religious radio program with Krusty the Clown's rabbi father. However, despite the fact that he married a Hindu couple, he is unable to identify Apu's religion sometimes.

At times, he has been shown to have a lack of empathy. His words of comfort to death-row inmates are "Well, if that's the worst thing to happen to you today, consider yourself lucky.", specifically when Hans Moleman was unable to eat his last meal.

At one point he claimed that all of the major religions are "pretty much the same", however, this was only because he wanted to get rid of Ned Flanders.

However, Lovejoy has become increasingly intolerant. As such, his antagonism towards Ned Flanders has diminished in recent seasons. He called Lisa, who had converted to Buddhism, "Marge Simpson's devil-daughter".[7] Moreover, he appears bitter about the tall Episcopal church across the street, wanting to build a larger steeple and, when mentioning the other church, placing the emphasis on "pis". He also read to Lisa an excerpt from the Bible to justify Whacking Day (during which many snakes are killed) but refused to show her the supposed text supporting his argument. While he seems to have originally believed in evolution, he later takes up the creationist cause to bolster his church's membership. He has also driven a "Book-burning-mobile", further revealing an extremist nature. He seems rather stingy and pessimistic as well. Similarly, when Krusty the Clown was framed of armed robbery, he led a burning of all Krusty merchandise.

He is also anti-gay. In "There's Something About Marrying", when Springfield legalized gay marriage, Reverend Lovejoy called it sinful, despite Marge's protests.

He is especially intolerant of the Roman Catholic Church as he is shown brawling with a priest, telling Marge that he might as well do a Voodoo dance for Abe Simpson when he asked him to give him the last rites, and helped kidnap Bart to keep him from converting to Catholicism.

Despite being a clergyman, Lovejoy does not always follow the word of the Bible and has been shown to do things that would be considered sinful. Lovejoy has been understood to exploit his congregation for money, brawl with a Catholic priest, encourage his dog to foul Ned Flanders' lawn, told Moe he had little to live for, burned down his church for insurance money, and partakes in a gambling scheme in "Sky Police".

Lovejoy is not always enthusiastic about The Bible and is often disparaging about its content and purpose, ("Have you ever really read this thing? Technically, we're not allowed to go to the bathroom.") this most likely means that he believes it is impossible or very hard to be completely free of sin. He tends to stress church and community work over any involved study of biblical text. He is also annoyed by Helen’s ranting and gossiping and scolded Helen for mocking Marge in "El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer " (although he has been shown to gossip in "The Father, the Son and the Holy Guest Star" when the waitress criticizes their lack of tips).

He is proven to be a poor parent; he is usually seen spending more time with his wife and hobbies rather than with his daughter Jessica, who he sends to boarding school for the majority of the time. Because of this, Jessica has resorted to theft and smoking for attention.

Also, he has been known to be somewhat enthusiastic about burnings, as evidenced by the fact that he owns a van which sole purpose is to burn books (named the burning-bookmobile), which he thanked Lisa personally for writing the article that inspired him [8] and his declaration that his entire parish, as well as the entire town, try to burn Krusty the Clown products after it was believed that he committed an armed robbery at the Kwik-E-Mart.[9] This is a negative quality because the Christian Faith denounces any burnings in regards to objects, regardless of whether they are satanic in origin or not. This trait of his also has passed beyond into his personal behavior; he also had deliberately set his church on fire several times to gain the insurance money covered with the repairs.

It is no secret that he hates Homer. He even wanted Marge to leave him, but Marge refuses to do it. Lovejoy usually tells everyone that Homer is horrible and even wrote "Jesus Died For This!" Picture of Homer sleeping in church. However, he has shown to be patient with Homer in some episodes, such as when he, Homer and Apu thought that one of their wives were going to leave with Moe, they tried to think about how they were treating their wives recently.

Family

Reverend Lovejoy's daughter Jessica is normally ignored by her father who refuses to believe she is worse than Bart even after she stole the church's donations.[10] He also does not care that Jessica is a bully and smokes cigarettes.

Lovejoy's wife, Helen, who looks about the same age as her husband, is a moralistic gossip. Now Helen is rarely seen without being at her husband's side. Despite the 1950s aura, it is she, not her husband, who is the driver of the van that takes the Lovejoys out of town when Homer Simpson is deeded the church by the court after suing them for falling in a hole outside the church building and ends up bringing the wrath of God upon Springfield, which is allayed only by the Lovejoys' return.[11]

Reverend Lovejoy's father has appeared once, in Springfield's burlesque house, La Maison Derrière.[12]

Lovejoy also has a bad relationship with his mother in law and mentioned that after Helen's father passed away, she never stopped visiting.

Marriage

Timothy and Helen have a stronger marriage than many other Springfieldians (save for Ned and Maude, and probably Dr. Hibbert). Many couples turned to divorce (Kirk and Luann Van Houten[4]) or consistently argue, bear many kids, and have trouble with money (Cletus and Brandine Spuckler); however, Helen is somewhat patient of Timothy. Once Timothy spends more time on his own and slowly loses his mind, but Helen remains patient, however worried.[5] In "In Marge We Trust" we see the bravery it took Helen, who is doesn't like showing vulnerability, to be able to swallow her pride, push through the awkwardness and ask her greatest rival, Marge Simpson, for help about her husband's mental health. This shows just how much Helen loves her husband. Helen once mentions her mother is going to visit them and Timothy makes an insult saying that after Helen's father died, her mother visits them too much. However, once when her daughter, Jessica Lovejoy was running down the field to shoot a soccer goal. Helen yelled, "Get it in, sweetie, and save our troubled marriage!"[6]

Non Canon Appearances

Ssi 5.PNG The contents of this article or section are considered to be non-canon and therefore may not have actually happened/existed.

The Simpsons Game

  • Reverend Lovejoy appears in the level Mob Rules as one of the people Marge can use to protest the sales of the Grand Theft Scratchy videogame to minors.

The Simpsons Road Rage

Future

In "Lisa's Wedding", he is minster for Lisa Simpson's and Hugh Parkfield's wedding.

In "Days of Future Future", he is minster for Homer Simpson's many funerals.

Treehouse of Horror

In the "Treehouse of Horror VI" segment Homer³ Lovejoy provides solace saying Homer would be in a better after he gets trapped in the third dimension.

In the final of "Treehouse of Horror VIII", he speaks to the mob about having done the Lord's work after Marge is pushed off the cliff but is interpreted when Marge flies upon a broomstick revealing herself as a witch.

In the second segment of "Treehouse of Horror X", he is the minister of Ned Flanders funeral.

In the second segment of "Treehouse of Horror XXVII", he is the minister for the funeral of Janey, Sherri and Terri.

In the "Treehouse of Horror XXVIII " segment The Exor-sis, after Ned Flanders suggests an exorcism to cure Maggie and looks pointedly at Lovejoy, he says "I'm afraid they didn't teach me those at Pepperdine."

Behind the Laughter

Matt Groening has indicated that Reverend Lovejoy is named after NW Lovejoy Street in Portland, Oregon (the city where Groening grew up), which is in turn named for Portland co-founder Asa Lovejoy.

Trivia

  • Lovejoy is a fan of the Steven Spielberg movie, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. [13]
  • Due to the fact that, as listed above, he seems overly-enthusiastic in regards to burning (such as the mass burning of Krusty merchandise as well as even owning a van of which its sole purpose other than driving is burning books), as well as having burned down his church a few times, it's possible that he has pyromaniacal tendencies (which may also explain why of Rev. Lovejoy exacerbated make an apology to Hell fire).
  • In many episodes, Reverend Lovejoy is seen with his model trains. This is most likely a joke off of the Reverend W. Awdry, a pastor like Lovejoy who is the creator of The Railway Series in which Thomas the Tank Engine originated from.
    • There is also a running gag where his trains are always getting destroyed.
  • Reverend Lovejoy's first name, Timothy, means "Honored by God".
  • Several episodes depict Reverend Lovejoy playing a guitar of some sort with varying degrees of success.
  • In "Homer's Triple Bypass", he is shown to live next door to Snake.
  • In "Wedding For Disaster", Helen remarks how he and The Parson were college buddies at Texas Christian University (TCU).
  • In "Homer Scissorhands", the flaws Homer sees connected to Reverend Lovejoy are: chews Bible ribbon, cheats at bowling, gives bad foot rubs, and makes rolling stops.
  • In "Pulpit Friction", it is noted by Edward Norton that he has unusually small feet and has no idea how he is held up by them.
  • He has a similar voice to Principal Skinner and Dr. Hibbert.
  • In "The Girl on The Bus" He can be seen breaking and entering into the Temple Beth Springfield

Gallery

Timothy Lovejoy.png
The full image gallery for Timothy Lovejoy Jr. may be viewed at Timothy Lovejoy Jr./Gallery.

Appearances

References

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