Best Ever Simpsons Episodes!
After a lot of thought and thousands of hours watching reruns (to pick up all the nuances), I have compiled my list of the Best Simpsons Episodes Ever:
1. 'Itchy & Scratchy Land' is a perfect skewer of everything Disney, from the epic film, 'Scratchtasia' to Euro-Itchy & Scratchy Land. I love the park's different "lands", especially 'Searing Gas Pain Land' and 'Unnecessary Surgery Land'.
Professor Frink makes an appearance, explaining Elementary Chaos Theory and makes a minor miscalculation: "Oh, wait. I forgot to, er, carry the one."
2. 'Homer's Enemy' This eighth season episode is about the short, frustrating life and times of Frank 'Grimey' Grimes.
Homer's best line - during Reverend Lovejoy's boring eulogy at Grimes' graveside service: "Marge, change the channel!"
3. 'Homer the Clown' In this 1995 episode, Homer goes to Krusty's Klown Kollege and does such a good job of impersonating Krusty that the clown's bookie, Fat Tony, comes after him.
I wonder if Ned ever did put Speed Holes in the hood of "the 'ol Flanders-mobile"?
4. 'Treehouse Of Horror V' is from 1994 (Season 6). Though they're all good, this is the best of the Halloween horror series. 'The Shinning' is a great parody of Stephen King's movie.
I'll always remember Groundskeeper Willy's immortal words, "Shhhhh! D'ye want to get sued?"
'Time and Punishment' features Homer's time-traveling toaster which takes him to several alternate universes, including one where it rains donuts. 'Nightmare Cafeteria' features children-eating faculty at Springfield Elementary School.
The kids worry about chubby exchange student, Üder, when the cafeteria celebrates Octoberfest, featuring "Üderbratten".
5. 'Oh Brother Where Art Thou' In this 1991 second season episode, Homer meets his long lost brother, Herb, who owns automaker Powell Motors. Encouraged by Herb, Homer designs a car - 'The Homer' (featuring two bubble domes, fins as well as a horn that plays 'La Cucaracha') and it bankrupts Herb's company.
I especially like this episode because I once owned a car equipped with air horns which also played 'La Cucaracha'.
6. 'Homer's Barbershop Quartet' is from the fifth season and features the Be Sharps, a barbershop quartet whose story roughly parallels that of The Beatles.
Chief Wiggum is the Pete Best of the group, expelled early on for being "too Village People."
Barney's girlfriend is a Japanese conceptual artist (hello, Yoko); the two record a song in which the girlfriend repeatedly says "Number 8" over tape-loops of Barney's burps. At Moe's, she orders a drink consisting of "a plum floating in perfume served in a man's hat."
7. 'A Fish Called Selma' It's actor Troy McClure's big comeback story, with the DeLorean-driving Troy courting and marrying Marge's sister, Selma: "Oh Princess Fair, wilst thou grant me thine dainty hoof in marriage?"
McClure soon stars in the hilarious musical, 'Stop the Planet of the Apes, I Want to Get Off!' Alas, the marriage doesn't last but Selma gets the best exit line, spoken to her pet iguana: "Come on, Jub-Jub. Let's go home and I'll microwave you some nice roaches."
8. 'Marge Vs. The Monorail' Leonard Nimoy, a 'Music Man' send-up, a monorail, an escalator to nowhere, a skyscraper made of popsicle sticks (which, in an all too typical example of shortsighted urban-planning, was located across the street from a gigantic magnifying glass), radioactive squirrels and 'The Monorail Song' - what else do you need?
Sing along now: "... But Main Street's still all cracked and broken. Sorry, Mom, the mob has spoken ... Monorail! ... Monorail! ... Monorail!"
9. 'Bart's Comet' In this 1995 episode, Bart discovers a deadly comet that is headed toward Springfield. Hilarity and mass-panic ensue. The SuperFriends are introduced (they have their own song).
Cosine and Email, SF members, make their first appearances: "Oh no, no, no, this isn't right at all!"
Homer, for once, makes a frighteningly accurate prediction.
10. 'Krusty Gets Busted' In this season one gem, Sideshow Bob commits his first crime when he frames Krusty the Clown for a robbery at Apu's Kwik-E-Mart.
'Sideshow Bob' episodes are always good but this one is the best. Who can forget the PBS-ly pretentious 'Sideshow Bob's Cavalcade of Whimsy'?
And there's Apu's post-robbery comment to Homer, who had been hiding behind the potato chip display rack: "You can emerge now from my chips, sir. The opportunity to prove yourself a hero is long gone."
Honorable mentions include:
• 'Bart the Daredevil' (Homer tries to jump the Springfield Gorge; who can forget Truckasaurus?)
• 'Homer and Apu' (who is fired from the Kwik-E-Mart and replaced with James Woods)
• 'Flaming Moe's' (the barkeep steals Homer's secret drink recipe.)
• 'Life on the Fast Lane' (Marge flirts with her bowling instructor.)
• 'There's No Disgrace Like Home' (featuring Dr. Marvin Monroe's electro-shock family therapy session)
• 'King-Size Homer' (with famous Bart summation: "I think it's ironic that for once Dad's butt actually prevented the release of toxic gas.")
• 'The Stonecutters' (The drinking song alone is good enough to put this episode show on the list. Best line is from Marge Simpson: "Oh, Homer, don't start stalking people again. It's so illegal. Remember when you were stalking Charles Kuralt because you thought he dug up your garden?")
• '22 Short Films About Springfield' (Dr. Nick Riviera appears before a medical review board and Principal Skinner makes a 'Steamed Ham' lunch for Superintendent Chalmers. And there's the comparison between Krustyburger and McDonalds:
Officer Lou: "You know, the funniest thing though; it's the little differences."
Chief Wiggum: "Example?"
Officer Lou: "Well, at McDonald's you can buy a Krusty Burger with cheese, right? But they don't call it a Krusty Burger with cheese."
Chief Wiggum: Get out! Well, what do they call it?
Officer Lou: "A Quarter Pounder with cheese."
Chief Wiggum: "Quarter Pounder with cheese? Well, I can picture the cheese, but, uh, do they have Krusty Partially Gelatinated Nondairy Gum-based Beverages?"
Officer Lou: "Mmm-hmm. They call 'em 'shakes'."
Officer Eddie: "Huh, shakes? You don't know what you're gettin'."
• 'The Simpsons Go To Tokyo' (includes a brief but hilarious look at the Hello Kitty factory - every time the smokestacks puff, there's a plaintive 'meow' - and a high tech Japanese toilet with a built-in television camera)
These are my opinions. Yours may vary. (Insert small-print disclaimer boilerplate here.)
** As Comic Book Guy said in 1997's 'Treehouse Of Horror VIII', "Oh, I've wasted my life."
The Simpsons Movie: Saw it. Three words: Spec. Freakin'. Tacular. This film is a potential health hazard because you're exposed to 87 minutes of Simpsons humor compared to the usual 19 or so.
Early in the flick, Homer asks, as he watches what seems to be the 'Itchy and Scratchy: The Movie (Part Deux)', "Why would you pay for something you can see for free on TV?" This indicates that the joke is on us. We have become the punch line and, therefore, honorary Simpsons.
Of course. The Simpsons are funny because they're just like real life. Pretty much.
The plot is simple: Homer thoughtlessly causes an eco-disaster. In an effort to shield the rest of the world from the hazards of Springfield, the EPA encases the town in an impenetrable transparent dome. The trapped citizens turn on Homer and, suddenly, the Simpsons are on the run. There is, as usual, a myriad of subplots and gags.
Many cartoon aficinados/critics have commented on ... (more >>>)
Call Me Incomprehensible: Ric, of the very fine blog, Pugs of War, wrote me about a phrase he's trying to spread: a "Bloodzilla moment." In The Simpsons, when Bart and Milhouse take over running the comic book store, there's a mention of the 'Bloodzilla' comic of which Bart says, "A vampire dinosaur! You can't make this stuff up!"
Ric proposes that "any instance of "you can't make this stuff up" becomes a Bloodzilla moment. Yes, I realize I'm trying to propagate an obscurity but obscurity feels just like home."
Unfortunately, I cannot agree to popularize this phrase; even though I watch a lot of Simpsons, I had no memory of the Bloodzilla quote. In the interests of objectivity, however, I checked it on the ORM (Obscure References Meter) and it scored dangerously high - reaching almost the toxic-level obtuseness of James Joyce's writings.
Sorry, Ric. The meter does not lie. However, in the interest of fairness, I must point out that "needs more cowbell" scored almost as high and seems to have caught on in certain circles. (posted 7/9/07, permalink)
How Could I Have Forgotten: Recently, I watched a memorable 1994 Simpsons episode, 'Bart of Darkness'. It was jam packed with great stuff: a hippie getting punched in the face, a visit to a local above-ground pool retailer, Pool Sharks (slogan: 'Where the buyer is our chum'), Epsom salt, Peeping Tom cops, appearances by Indian sitarist Ravi Shankar, Jimmy Stewart and AFL-CIO President George Meany, Melted MASH, a puddle of The Beatles, Itchy & Scratchy in 4994 AD, murderous Flanders ("I'm a mur-diddly-urderer"), Maggie sleeping on Jello and Hans Moleman catching on fire.
In 2007, I listed the top ten Simpsons episodes and neglected this one. It should have made the list. Sorry. (posted 2/22/10, permalink)
Dour Deutschland: The German broadcaster of The Simpsons said that it has decided not to show any episodes showing nuclear disasters in light of Japan's atomic emergency. "We are checking all the episodes and we won't show any suspect ones, but we won't cut any scenes," said Stella Rodger, a spokeswoman for the private broadcaster Pro7.
Various episodes have shown nuclear waste dumped in a children's playground, plutonium used as a paperweight as well as a replacement for AAA batteries on a TV remote, cracked cooling towers, luminous rats, irradiated squirrels with glowing, laser eyes and three-eyed mutant fish, as well as near-meltdowns (usually caused by Homer).
Don't the Germans have any sense of humor? I can't help but think of that 1991 episode in which Germans buy the Springfield nuclear powerplant for $100 million from Montgomery Burns. A spokesman is sent to interact with the plant workers: "Guten Morgen. I am Horst. The new owners have elected me to speak with you because I am the most non-threatening. Perhaps I remind you of the lovable Sergeant Schultz on Hogan's Heroes."
The new owners quickly find out that the plant is so decrepit that it requires $100 million in repairs to bring it up to code.
Finding themselves outsmarted by Burns, who buys the badly-flawed plant back for a relative pittance, the Deutschlanders grumble threateningly, "We Germans aren't all smiles und sunshine." Indeed. (posted 3/30/11, permalink)
Not Available In Stores: Best breakfast cereal ever:
... as seen on a recent episode of 'The Simpsons'. It would make a great St. Patrick's Day gift. (posted 10/10/13, permalink)
TV Show Imitates Real Life ... Again: Last month, I wrote about the Duke of Fluke (a fluke is a member of the large-tooth flounder family). The top-hatted, monocled Duke is the mascot of a fishing charter service operating out of Sommers Point, NJ.
Recently, I spotted the duke's cousin on an episode of 'The Simpsons'. SwankyFish, whose sign shows a fish wearing a top hat and monocle, is a Japanese restaurant located in downtown Springfield. It was seen in the episode 'What Animated Women Want', first aired in April 2013.
In related news, the Washington Post has put together a 'Who Said It' quiz of statements that could plausibly have come from either Donald Trump or Montgomery Burns.
Try it. I scored 9 out of 10. (posted 8/10/15, permalink)
Coming Attractions: On a January 2017 episode of 'The Simpsons', Bill O'Reilly's next book was previewed:
Holy Cow! The Simpsons producer Adi Shankar confirmed that Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, the Kwik-E-Mart convenience store owner, is being dropped from the show due to complaints that the character promotes racist stereotypes of people of Indian and Asian descent. Shankar sees the decision as a mistake, saying: "If you are a show about cultural commentary and you are too afraid to comment on the culture, especially when it's a component of the culture you had a hand in creating, then you are a show about cowardice." Indeed. Too many people are humorless scolds these days, spending their hours searching for anything that offends their sensibilities.
Oh, well. I'll always treasure this exchange with Apu and his wife during a drive in their minivan:
Manjula: I don't know why you listen to Sanskrit 93.7, The Dot.
Apu: I like Mamud, Maheet and Badujin in the morning. No caste is safe from their merry japes.
Manjula: Having a Ma-hot-ma or Ma-not-na contest is not a jape. It's sexist sacrilege.
Apu: Well, you have so much in common: non-stop talk at drive time!
Manjula: Take it back!
Apu: I take it back. ... (mutters) ... If only that mark on your forehead was an off button.
Apu, we hardly knew ye. I wish I could toast you with a Squishee.
In somewhat related news, the nation's Zombie population complained of Halloween costume cultural appropriation. (posted 1/1/18, permalink)
Behind The Scenes: Here's a great story about how 'The Simpsons' episode 'Marge Versus The Monorail' was developed.
Summary: With a script by Conan O'Brien then an energetic young comedy writer and meticulous yet joyful direction by Rich Moore who subsequently won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature with Zootopia the result is a wild ride, as charming conman Lyle Lanley convinces Springfield to spend $3 million on a monorail through the power of song alone. Disaster ensues until Homer saves the day, with the help of Lard Lad Donuts.
It's a great read. Josh Weinstein, Story Editor, said, "If a gun was put to my head, and they said, "Tell me the best episode of television ever," it's this. It's 'Marge vs. the Monorail'. At the time it blew people's minds, in a way, because nothing had been like that until that moment, with the different levels of comedy and everything going on in one episode.
I think it was eye-opening for people, including on the staff too, in terms of what could be done on a show. All the original writers, and Sam and Matt and Jim, created this new thing, and this episode is a big step in its evolution."
I've listed it in my 'Top Simpsons Episodes', noting that it has Leonard Nimoy, a 'Music Man' send-up, a monorail, an escalator to nowhere, a skyscraper made of popsicle sticks (which, in an all too typical example of shortsighted urban-planning, was located across the street from a gigantic magnifying glass), radioactive squirrels and 'The Monorail Song' - what else do you need?
Sing along now: "... But Main Street's still all cracked and broken. Sorry, Mom, the mob has spoken ... Monorail! ... Monorail! ... Monorail!"
Everyone knows that the old Simpsons episodes are the best ones. (posted 12/2/20, permalink)
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