Arguably so many side characters in The Simpsons are a little underrated, with the more prevalent supporting players in Springfield demanding the most spotlight. You could make a great case for Dr. Nick Riviera being one of the very best, and several fan compilations help make a strong argument.

The quack physician is voiced by Hank Azaria, who is a voice-acting veteran when it comes to the iconic Matt Groening show. He’s responsible for voicing the likes of The Simpsons favorites Moe, Chief Wiggum, and many more.

Hank Azaria as Comic Book Guy wearing blue tee holding a flag with his eyes wide in The Simpsons
The Simpsons episode 221 cr. Disney+ media player

He debuted the character of Dr. Nick in season 2 episode 10, Bart Gets Hit By A Car.

Marge deems him totally incompetent and seeks legal advice, and since this initial appearance the gag has generally been that Nick doesn’t hold a candle to, say, Dr. Hibbert. Known as the inventor of such zany creations as the Juice Loosener and Sun & Run, many of Nick’s appearances have been hilarious and quirky, with plenty of quotable lines—”Hi everybody!” being his catchphrase.

However, while he’s an undeniably funny character, you may be surprised to learn that the origins behind his name are actually pretty dark.

Dr. Nick was named after George “Dr. Nick” Nichopoulos, who was famous for being the personal physician of none other than Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll, whose hits Jailhouse Rock and Can’t Help Falling In Love helped make him one of the most popular and iconic musicians of all time.

However, their relationship would generate controversy in the wake of Elvis’ passing in 1977.

Elvis and Dr. Nick met in 1967 following his development and treatment of saddle sores. Following their meeting, they became close and Nick accompanied him on tour. The musician’s dependence on prescription drugs became apparent, with Nick supplying him with painkillers including Demerol, codeine, and Dilaudid.

Nick was interviewed by The Daily Beast in 2009 and he said “No one understands that Elvis was so complicated … I was one of his closest friends. At times I was his father, his best friend, his doctor. Whatever role I needed to play at the time, I did.”

It was reported that, in the 31 months leading up to Elvis’ death, Nick had been prescribed 19,000 doses of drugs; a final prescription was made out only 12 hours before his passing.

Due to this, their relationship was called into question. His license was suspended but he was acquitted on charges that he overprescribed drugs to Elvis in 1981. The license was then, on the other hand, permanently revoked by the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners in 1993. Nick passed away many years later in 2016 at the age of 88.

The Simpsons writers naming Dr. Nick after this figure is yet another example of the many examples of edgy and dark humor sprinkled throughout the show.

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