The long-running popularity of The Simpsons is a result not just of the likeability of the lead characters, but the full lineup of zany characters populating the town of Springfield. The episode 22 Short Films About Springfield shined a spotlight on these characters by presenting individual segments devoted to their personal adventures. Josh Weinstein, who helped write the episode, recently shared the script of a planned short revolving around Hans Moleman that was ultimately scrapped from the episode.
Unfortunately, we never got to see the script fully actualized on the show, but it sounds insanely fun. It features the mild, constantly-put-upon sad-sack character of Moleman, a man of indeterminate age, but who's every appearance and action invites pity and laughs from viewers.
In the planned short, Moleman goes against the grain of his usual pathetic existence with a series of ridiculous adventures. He beats up uber-macho actor Rainier Wolfcastle, steals his car and his date, invades a mafia meeting where he plays a high-stakes game of poker under threat of death, has a sword fight with his twin sister inside a giant skyscraper for his share of the family company, dies, and ends up in Heaven before being sent back to resume his sad life.
That's quite a bit of adventuring for the show's mildest character. Moleman ultimately showed up only for a brief scene in the episode, in a part that was much more in-character for him. After Apu leaves his store to attend a party for five minutes, he comes back to find Moleman waiting for him, fuming about the four minutes of his life that were wasted just now, and demanding Apu give them back. But then without waiting for an answer, Moleman immediately becomes resigned and leaves, musing that he would waste them anyway.
In response to a fan's question about other cut segments, Weinstein revealed that a number of shorts were ultimately removed from the final lineup, for one reason or another.
"Yes, there was a Ralph & Krusty one with them in an airplane, a Lionel Hutz one, and a couple more that weren't as memorable (the Ralph/Krusty one, this Moleman one and the Lionel Hutz one were all funny but cut for time. There was a logic to the cuts but one I don't remember!)"
The writer also mused that the segment on Moleman could have been known as a classic if only it had not been cut. Of course, there is always a chance for the show to make a new episode focussing on characters who are not from the Simpsons clan, which might finally give Moleman his chance to shine.