In part two of our two-part series on the best TV devils, we turn now to animation. When I realized that three out of five of my choices were cartoons, I had to give them their own list. So, without further ado, my five favorite cartoon devils.
Satan, South Park
The oversized red devil is portrayed as a meek, introspective homosexual in South Park. His long-time boyfriend, Saddam Hussein, is the one pulling the strings in that relationship, using Satan's position to his own ends. He is emotionally abusive to the Prince of Darkness, and Satan finally gives him the boot. He ends up with hippie-dippy Chris, but is lured back to Saddam's bed by his bad boy attitude.
Fun Fact: Creator Matt Parker says that he and Trey Stone were inspired to make Satan a wuss by Pinhead in Hellraiser 3.
Killer Quote: Saddam: "Satan, your ass is big and red. Who am I going to mistake you for, Liza Minnelli?"
Ned Flanders, The Simpsons (Episode: "Treehouse of Horror IV")
It is natural that the neurotically-religious Ned Flanders would portray the devil in The Simpsons' annual "Treehouse of Horrors" episode, and this is one of my favorite segments. When Homer discovers Lenny and Carl have taken the last of the work donuts, he offers to sell his soul for a donut. Cue the devil Flanders, who takes that deal. When Homer finishes his donut, his soul belongs to Devil Flanders. Homer outsmarts him by leaving one bite behind. His hunger is his outdoing when he sleepwalks into the kitchen that night and finishes the "forbidden donut." Devil Flanders comes for his soul, but Marge insists that Homer get a fair trial. Homer wins when Marge presents their wedding photo, on which Homer pledged his soul to her.
Key Moment: Devil Flanders fills the jury with Benedict Arnold, Lizzie Borden, Blackbeard the Pirate, John Wilkes Booth, John Dillinger, the 1978 Philadelphia Flyers, and Richard Nixon (at the time, Nixon was still alive, but he owed Devil Flanders).
Killer Quote: "You Americans with your 'due process' and 'fair trials.' This is always so much easier in Mexico."
In Futurama, all the celebrities or infamous characters exist either as a floating head in a jar, or a robot. The devil falls into the latter category. Robot Devil (or Beelzebot) has pretty much all the same qualities of the regular devil: he's red, has horns, collects souls, is cunning, and likes to play games. In my favorite Robot Devil episode, Fry makes a deal with Robot Devil to exchange hands so that Fry can learn to play the holophone, the world's most complicated instrument, in hopes of impressing Leela. In true "Gift of the Magi" style, Leela loses her hearing. Rather than admitting she is deaf, Robot Devil offers her her hearing back - in exchange for her hand. In other words, hilarity ensues.
Key Moment: In the episode "Ghosts in the Machine," Robot Devil sings a song called "Robot Hell" with the floating heads of the Beastie Boys.
Killer Quote: "Your lyrics lack subtlety! You can't just have your characters announce how they feel! That makes me feel angry!"
The Devil, Lucy, Daughter of the Devil
This short-lived cartoon that ran on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block follows 21-year-old Lucy whose father - the devil - wants her to join the family business. The devil isn't your typical evil demon. He doesn't mind biding his time while schemes come to fruition. He has gone high tech with a website where people interested in selling their souls can just fill out a quick form. And he always wears a Bill Cosby-style sweater.
Key Moment: The devil is determined to put Senator Whitehead into the White House, marking him the first openly Satanic president.
Fun Fact: The pilot episode of Lucy, Daughter of the Devil first aired in October 2005, but didn't get picked up for a full season until September 2007.
Killer Quote: "We celebrate the quest for power. We desecrate with blood and fire! But first, please put your hands together for our opening act. You've seen him on Premium Blend. Folks, please welcome the very funny Reggie Goldstein!"
The SuperDevil, Family Guy (Episode: "Boys Do Cry")
The SuperDevil doesn't actually have a "role" in this episode. He is made mention of in a news report. The Griffins hides out in Texas when their neighbors think that Stewie is possessed by the devil and drive them out of Quahog. But they call off their manhunt when "Vatican scientists announced today that the devil is not the greatest threat to salvation, due to last weeks discovery of the SuperDevil." Aside from the news report, a photo of him with George W. Bush, and Brian accidentally shooting him out of the sky, the SuperDevil doesn't really have much of a role. But he's super, so he's bad-ass.
Fun Fact: According to the news reporter on the show, the SuperDevil "is at least six inches taller, he has a flying motorcycle, and a jar of marmalade that we believe forces you to commit adultery."