Reception and Cultural Influence
Even after his retirement, Troy McClure remains a popular supporting character. IGN ranked McClure first in their 2006 list of the "Top 25 Simpsons Peripheral Characters", calling him "a wonderfully bizarre and entertaining character that showcases the best of what small roles on The Simpsons can be". In a 2007 article on Simpsons guest stars, Adam Finley of TV Squad wrote that McClure was "responsible for some of the funniest moments in Simpsons history". Hartman ranked first on AOL's list of their favorite 25 Simpsons guest stars. Chris Turner argues in Planet Simpson that McClure and Lionel Hutz "together...represent the most significant contribution to the show outside of its permanent cast", adding that "the show's Golden Age is hard to imagine without them". He continues, "The smarmy Hollywood type...has been done to death, but Hartman's version breathed new life into it with each appearance. McClure has become the apotheosis of the stereotype, a gut-achingly funny reinterpretation whose trademark introduction...has become a shorthand way to describe any grossly artificial media figure."
McClure's most prominent episode, "A Fish Called Selma", is often regarded as one of the best episodes in the show's history, and is a favorite of many staff members. Entertainment Weekly placed the episode eighth on their top 25 The Simpsons episode list, and IGN named the episode the best of the seventh season, calling it the "obvious pick". They also deemed McClure's Planet of the Apes musical the best moment of the episode and "maybe even the whole show".
McClure was one of Phil Hartman's best known-roles. He often used his McClure voice to entertain the audience between takes while taping episodes of NewsRadio. He remarked, "My favorite fans are Troy McClure fans." He added "It's the one thing that I do in my life that's almost an avocation. I do it for the pure love of it." When Hartman was murdered in 1998, many obituaries mentioned his work as McClure as one of the highlights of his career. The BBC said that " voice was known to millions" because of McClure and Lionel Hutz.
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