By Dan Snierson/Entertainment Weekly
September 15, 2016

He taught us that a man can triumph over adversity, but also that you should always wear safety gloves when handling high-voltage cables while impersonating a coworker.

He was not long for this world of Springfield — he was introduced and killed in season 8’s classic if polarizing “Homer’s Enemy” — but Frank Grimes will be returning to The Simpsons to kick off the show’s 600th episode.

Grimey, as he liked to be called, suffered no fools (namely, Homer), and served as the voice of reason/audience, and his seething incredulity at and obsession with the incompetence of his fellow Nuclear Power Plant employee ultimately cost him his life. He hasn’t forgotten that fatal fact, and the fan-favorite character will issue his first lines of dialogue in almost 20 years at the beginning of the annual Halloween episode, “Treehouse of Horror,” which doubles as episode No. 600.

A couple of caveats: His guest spot is only a cameo, and it comes in the form of an apparition (see image above), as Sideshow Bob and the ghost of Grimey join forces with two other characters over a shared hatred. “They’re forming a sinister squadron of Simpsons enemies to try to kill the Simpsons,” executive producer Al Jean tells EW. “If that doesn’t make people tune in, I don’t know what else we can say.”

The series has referenced Grimes (who is voiced by Simpsons cast member Hank Azaria) multiple times in memoriam, introduced his son, Frank Grimes Jr., showed his tombstone, and, in a John Kricfalusi-created couch gag for last year’s “Treehouse of Horror,” even featured a monster rising from Grimes’ grave who sought gruesome revenge. In this year’s scarefest, though, it’s the first the he has spoken since his death, Jean notes, “and he’s certainly madder at Homer than ever.”

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