Over 33+ seasons, the cast of The simpsons exploded into a massive library of comic book characters. While some have become recurring cast members on the show, others serve as joke characters or play small roles. At one point, there was a fan-made addition to The Simpsons in the form of Ricardo Bomba. But don’t be surprised if you don’t remember him – he only appeared once and was killed almost instantly.
“Million Dollar Maybe” was a Season 21 episode that focused on perpetually broke Homer winning $1 million in the local lottery. But because Homer skipped a wedding ceremony he and Marge were supposed to attend, he spends the episode trying to hide the situation – even if it means going along with Bart’s various absurd demands. The episode was funny, but it also holds a unique place in the show’s history, as it featured the result of a contest Fox had held the previous year.
The “Best. Character. Ever.” The contest was announced in 2009 to honor the show’s 20 years on the air. The contest saw fans submit their own concepts for a new character, and out of more than 25,000 entries, the winner was Ricardo Bomba – a muscular ladies’ man who could be the Casanova of Springfield. Its creator, Peggy Black from Connecticut, flew to Los Angeles, was presented at the The Simpsons the animation team and helped design the character. But despite all the effort invested in its creation, Ricardo didn’t have much of a lifespan.
The simpsons Executive producer Al Jean claimed that Ricardo could become a recurring figure on the show – only for that potential to be upended by the actual events of “Million Dollar Maybe”. At one point in the episode, Homer’s car was sent to the side of the freeway, rolling down a mountain. He passed by Ricardo, who was heading to Springfield with the intention of settling there. Played by series regular Hank Azaria (and former voice of Apu), Ricardo recited his self-admitted catchphrase – “Soon you’ll be mine!” – but was so distracted that he crashed his car into the side of the mountain and died.
It was a sudden and violent end for the character, which isn’t all that unusual for the show that casually killed off characters like Frank Grimes almost from the moment they were introduced. What made Bomba’s death more surprising was that she quietly turned the whole contest into a joke. The stunt created the possibility that the winning character was about to become a new addition – only to have the producers instantly kill him as if commenting on the whole concept.
Ricardo’s potential role as an attractive man in Springfield wasn’t a bad concept, as it would likely have added fun potential drama to his various pursuits. But that kind of character is also one the show has tackled before, dating back to Season 1’s “Life on the Fast Lane” and Jacques, the bowling instructor who tried to start an affair with Marge. Other characters like Apu and Lou have also played this kind of role at various times. With that in mind, there wasn’t much room for Ricardo in Springfield, so maybe it’s better that he never got there.