I was talking about this with a friend of mine the other day. I concluded that it would have to be Mr. Burns, but does anyone actually know?
Any of the characters in the opening titles sequence would have a darn good claim.
I think it would be Santa’s Little Helper. Unlike many other characters, he’s been around since the first episode. It also depends on what you mean by “most shown”. In the most episodes? Number of times per episode? I ain’t even gonna TRY to figure that one out.
By “most shown” I mean given the most airtime.
Time, being measured in minutes, seconds, hours, milleniums…
I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong, but to the best of my knowledge, Santa’s Little Helper has not been around since the first episode. I do believe it was the Christmas episode from the first season in which Homer “rescued” Santa’s Little Helper. So he’s early, but no earlier than some of the others.
My candidate for most screen time other than the five immediate Simpson family members? Either Abe Simpson or Ned Flanders. That’s just a guess, though.
Heidy-ho, neighborino! Okily-dokily!
The Christmas episode with SLH was the first episode of the series. It was a midseason replacement, December 1989.
My guess would also be Mr. Burns. He gets a lot of plotlines that center around him, so plenty of screen time.
Barney and/or Moe also would rate highly since Homer invariably ends up at the bar at some point.
So in this question, we’re assuming our favorite family are the top five, right? I disagree; I think Burns and Moe get way more airtime than Maggie. There have been some episodes where she disappears completely, and she’s only had a few episode with a plot or subplot themed around her (The Ayn Rand daycare one, and the one where Homer gets famous are the only ones I can think of).
Santa’s Little Helper was rescued in the very first Fox Simpsons episode “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire,” which aired on December 17, 1989. The first NON Christmas broadcast “Bart the Genius,” was broadcast on January 14, 1990.
My guess for the OP, though, would be either Smithers or Apu. My number 5, however, would be Burns. I’d guess that Maggie is somewhere around 8.
I’m officially declaring this question too stupid for GQ and closing it. Try a Simpsons fan site.