The attic tale has the creepy power of the earlier myths and novels that it draws on, while the miniaturization story is a Frankenstein variant about the moral and philosophical implications of playing God with manufactured creatures. When Homer learns that his car has been illegally parked in New York City, the Simpsons decide to take a trip there as a family. “Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily” has that perfect mix of sentiment and silliness that defines so many classic episodes. Formatted like a classic sitcom flashback episode, “That ’90s Episode” succeeds as a perfect send-up of the ’90s and deepens our understanding of Marge and Homer’s relationship, telling the story of how Marge went to college and fell for one of her professors. Although Homer knows exactly what he loves — food, and lots of it — he’s unable to put his admiration into words that aren’t “SCREW FLANDERS,” so he gets Lisa to translate his drool into something more “groin-grabbingly transcendent.”. Terry Cashman’s song “Talkin’ Softball,” which plays over the end credits (a reworked version of his 1981 song “Talkin’ Baseball”) is one of the show’s most iconic, if only because it famously lists all the tragedies that befall the ringers. What Could JoJo Siwa’s “Born This Way” TikTok Possibly Mean? From stomping on the tiny camera inside Kent Brockman’s oversize novelty hat to essentially wasting a trip to the top of a mountain in India, this episode is a highlight for both characters. While there, Ned meets his childhood psychiatrist, and through a flashback, we learn that Ned used to be quite the little hell-raiser, until eight months of continual spanking took care of that. But that mix of spiritual belief and painful loss, along with a dash of Uncle Moe’s Family Feedbag, is why Matt Groening named this one of his favorite episodes. Poochie doesn’t last long, and his demise is brutally funny: Homer’s voice-over cuts off and is replaced by another actor who sounds nothing like him, and we see animators physically ripping away the animation cel that contains the offending canine. Based on an idea Conan O’Brien had before he left for Late Night, “Lisa’s Rival” introduces us to Allison Taylor (wonderfully voiced by Winona Ryder). Ned Flanders is a perpetual winner in the world of The Simpsons. This also contains the immortal scene in which Principal Skinner invites Superintendent Chalmers over to his house for a meal, ruins it, and ends up serving him Krusty Burgers, which he passes off as “steamed hams.” The Marx Bros. would approve. Evelyn’s also a fan of Marge’s keen fashion sense, and she invites the entire Simpsons family to the Springfield Country Club. Bart, Milhouse, Nelson, Martin, Todd, and Database sneak into their neighboring city on a rescue mission, only to find their beloved tree in an impound lot. 10 Best The Simpsons Characters (Who Only Appear In One Episode) From fan favorite Hank Scorpio to Beatrice Simmons and Frank Grimes, some of these one-off The Simpsons characters are fan favorites! Best The Simpsons episodes made after 2000, because we know you've already seen all of the classics from the 1990s. One of The Simpsons writers’ finest abilities has always been crafting great parodies of movies and TV shows. We're in lockdown, with nothing but the launch of Disney Plus to raise our spirits. Unlike most sitcoms, there is no one structure for a I episode: An episode could have one story, two, three, 22. The entire episode has an undercurrent of dread leavened by absurdity: When Lisa and Bart come home from school, respectively, shoeless (thanks to bullies) and wrapped in a burlap sack (his clothes burned to prevent the spread of lice), it’s funny but also horrifying because the kids are genuinely distressed. When Homer buys a giant plow following the Springfield Auto Show, he finds himself making money hand over plow by clearing snow from driveways and streets. Homer and Lisa stories routinely end up being the most touching — just look at this list, which is packed with them — and in this case, “Brick Like Me” does a wonderful job of grounding this highest of concepts. Homer becomes a part of traveling music festival, Hullabalooza … as a guy who takes a cannonball to his stomach. He’s smart, handsome, and understands the magic of Jim Carrey, so when he asks Lisa to marry him, she immediately replies yes. We're republishing it because The Simpsons is now streaming on Disney+. One of The Simpsons’ more assured dips into pure misery, “Kamp Krusty” finds Bart and Lisa in despair at conditions in the titular summer camp. The episode is colored by the brilliant irony of the one fixture of the ’90s that isn’t featured: The Simpsons. Of the show’s many achievements, one has to be its creation of a highly relatable and specific portrait of intelligence. Homer, a regular there, sees her walk in and falls in love at first sight. Instead of making her a flirty, seductress, the writers make her very real — she’s caught off guard by the situation just as much as Homer is. He then spends the rest of the episode trying to prevent Bart from becoming gay in the most hilariously inept ways. At the least, it is funnier and more touching. EPISODES. Slapstick was good enough for the silent-era clowns and The Simpsons has reinvented it for a generation that thought it passé. While the plot follows Homer, Moe, and Lenny as they chase down Carl after he skips off to Iceland with their lotto winnings, the episode is truly a perceptive look at male friendship. However, what made the decision controversial among fans, even those from New York — especially those from New York — is that in many ways, the episode is a celebration of the city, capturing through the show’s extremes both what’s terrific and terrifically terrible about New York. Also, the characters didn’t necessarily feel settled yet. Extra marks too for the Spike Lee title reference. This episode may not be an accurate retelling of The Simpsons’ history, but it is an amusing alternative narrative that would’ve just been as plausible and convincing. We’re in the middle of fall premiere season, when networks roll out a dozen or so new shows. Homer is unable to recall the events of the previous day due to taking the powerful “Forget-Me-Shot” at Moe’s, so in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Memento fashion (with a hint of “El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer,” too), he has to recall a painful memory he literally drank away. He falls well short of his goal, but Marge and Lisa chip in, and all of a sudden, the Simpsons are ON A BOAT. It’s a disaster. Mayor Quimby is impressed by the act of heroism, and he hires Homer as his personal bodyguard. Homer is ready to ship all the foreigners out of the country because he has to pay an extra $5 per month, but once he realizes this would include a friend, he begins to fight Proposition 24. Then the gurney is accidentally wheeled into the kindergarten class. “Bart Sells His Soul” is a unique episode — Bart is humbled to learn that a soul is something you can lose, which Lisa, usually the skeptic, already knows to be true. This Citizen Kane homage gets into the backstory of Mr. Burns, recalling his beloved childhood teddy bear, Bobo, that he discarded in exchange for ascension to a life of wealth — and his lifelong quest to recover the treasured object. Finally, he is airlifted and safely placed inside an ambulance, only for the ambulance to instantly crash into a tree and for his gurney to roll out the back. That might be why it’s lighter on belly laughs than a lot of the other episodes on this list, though it has its share of sly jokes, including Lisa mournfully regarding a picture of Gore Vidal and lamenting that he’s “kissed more boys than I ever will.” “Girls, Lisa,” her mother replies. In honor of the show’s 500th episode, the Guardian conducted a reader poll to pick the top ten, all of which not surprisingly came from the program’s first decade (yes I too haven’t seen an episode in many years). This is a Simpsons episode that makes you laugh and cringe at the same time for the way it critiques Springfield’s lack of sensitivity even as it’s mining it for laughs. Moe’s Tavern is a regular spot on the show, and Homer is often drunk. FIGHT!” upon finding out Bart and Lisa will square off in a match. (Don’t you ever forget.) Apparently, the family got into showbiz by producing a pilot for the show we’re now watching, then became hugely successful, squabbled over money, split up, and did whatever they had to do to pay the bills before finally reuniting at the Iowa State Fair. You’ve never been?” There are a lot of words one could use to describe Homer: fat, drunk, bald, fat (again). Like any show that's gone on for decades, though, it's understandable if someone fell off the show after a point. One of the show’s enduring strengths is the depth and range of its characters, nowhere shown to greater effect than in this episode when Springfield rises up as one after Marge successfully campaigns to have sugar banned from the town. They change characters, drop others, and push some into the background.”. It perfectly captures the idea of men having “side-by-side” friendship, in which, instead of talking to each other, they simply take part in the same activities next to each other. At the annual “Bi-Mon-Sci-Fi-Con,” Homer saves Mark Hamill’s life by carrying him away from a pack of ravenous nerds. 178. By focusing their defining characteristics — Lisa’s stern activism and Abe’s blundering old age — this episode builds story lines that force them to tackle these traits head-on. He retreats to his room and Lisa gives him her telescope with which to pass the time. Then, in Burns’s story, Moe starts telling a story … and so on. In defeat, she realizes something: The “little version of me I could hold in my arms” doesn’t have to be a child, it can also be a lizard named Jub-Jub. The 30 Best Simpsons Episodes. At story’s end, Kent Brockman intones portentously, “Even as I speak, the scourge of advertising could be headed towards your town!” Cut to commercial. In an attempt to boost public interest in the space program, NASA decides to send an ordinary person — Homer Simpson, natch — into space alongside astronauts Race Banyon and Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, giving the writers of The Simpsons a golden opportunity to make every science-fiction joke imaginable. And when you watch it you’ll get to know why it is listed among the 25 best Simpsons episode. That name again is Mr. Plow.” It’s simple, vaguely palindromic, and catchy enough for children to carry with them all their lives. What happens when the kids of Springfield Elementary are trapped in the school with Principal Skinner and Groundskeeper Willie because of a devastating blizzard? This terrifies Bart, so with some help from Treat Williams, he convinces everyone on board that a fatal virus has spread on the mainland and it’s up to them to keep humanity alive. Marinating in despair over her unpopularity, she resolves to reinvent herself during a family vacation to a beachside town, amping up the symbolism by bringing along an empty suitcase. It makes perfect sense in the actual episode, which includes a visually rich parody of those “Take a Photo of Yourself Once a Day for Five Years” videos. (Lisa: “Oh my God! Plot and character in perfect harmony. By the time we get to the finale, with Bart stalling for time by convincing the vain Bob to sing the complete score to Gilbert & Sullivan’s “H.M.S. There’s only one problem: Homer hates New York City. Homer finally gets everything he’s ever wanted, only to realize he can’t find the ANY key. When Bart realizes that Whacking Day is actually a sham, he helps Lisa lure the town’s snake population into the their home by inviting Barry White, who is equally appalled by the holiday (“You people make me sick!”), to sing and use his baritone voice to create vibrations that attract the snakes. Filmmaker Declan Desmond (voiced by Monty Python’s Eric Idle) checks in on Springfield residents every eight years to track their growth from youth (apparently everyone in Springfield went to school together) to adulthood. Lisa develops a crush on him, fueled mainly by her realization that Bergstrom’s sensitivity and love of learning fill needs that her often brutish and anti-intellectual dad isn’t equipped to handle. Kirk loses his job and tries rather pathetically to reinvent himself as a single guy, even dating a radio-station employee named Starla and recording a demo; Luann has better luck, hooking up with an American Gladiator who goes by the name of Pyro. As much as it pains him to reject the offer, Homer has to, because he can see how much his daughter loves the stuffed animal. Krusty’s debt, by the way, is $48. Also, by setting it in the future, it allows for a lot of incredibly absurdist bits, like Bart’s treehouse tree grumpily coming to life and revealing his resentment. It’s also about so much more, namely Homer and Bart’s relationship, and the bizarre lengths to which Homer will go to in order to teach a fatherly lesson. Leading the charge is Homer, until he learns that Apu isn’t from this country and he’s not supposed to be here. After a series of unsuccessful robberies, Burns reroutes all the beer trucks heading to Springfield, which will remain “dry as a bone” until Homer gives up the bear. Happy streaming! Or so he thinks: Homer’s actually just a roadie, but once he sees his family cheering for him in the audience, he starts acting like a headliner. It would seem childish if we didn’t think that, under different circumstances, Homer wouldn’t do the same thing. Lisa’s need for braces coincides with Mr. Burns’s attempts to take the nuclear-plant union’s dental plan away. Though it starts with the simple concept of Homer playing on the power plant’s softball team, it descends (or ascends) into madness when Mr. Burns brings in nine professional baseball players to act as ringers. Bonus points for the baby versions of Lisa, Bart, and especially Milhouse. Everyone in town is terrified of bears roaming the streets, but their glee once again turns into hostility when their taxes are raised to pay for the Bear Patrol that’s keeping them safe. Except it’s gone, having been stolen by a gang of no-good kids from Shelbyville. To viewers in 1995, when the flash-forward episode “Lisa’s Wedding” first aired, that must have seemed like the impossibly distant future, a future in which The Simpsons probably wasn’t even on TV anymore. Though this episode aired first, it wasn’t the first Simpsons episode, as it aired before the first season as a Christmas special, and it wasn’t the first episode produced. He’s the opposite of self-made man Frank Grimes, whom we’re introduced to as the newest employee of the plant in “Homer’s Enemy.” It’s also Grimes’s final episode. Here, Abe’s disorienting rambles drive people away, but it’s an attribute that earns him the spotlight in many other memorable episodes. Airing in late 2012, “The Day the Earth Stood Cool” is the show’s hipster episode. Lisa and Hugh travel to Springfield, where the wedding’s to be held, as happy as can be, but the similar-seeming couple quickly learns just how different they really are. “The Book Job” shows that even after two-plus decades, The Simpsons still has bite to it. I think he broke his leg.” Nelson: “I said ha-ha.”), necessitating a cast that will keep him out of the pool for the rest of the summer. In “Time and Punishment,” Homer accidentally creates a time machine while fixing a broken toaster, leading to a flurry of quick-cut riffs on time-travel logic, many of them spinning off the punch line of Ray Bradbury’s classic short story “A Sound of Thunder,” in which the death of one butterfly changes everything. Homer convinces a hip family (voiced by Portlandia’s Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein) to move from Portland to Springfield, effectively transforming the city, with the Tire Fire becoming a farmer’s market, Android’s Dungeon becoming a Taschen, and the Kwik-E-Mart turning into Apu’s House of Spats. Homerland. I keep expecting to get the bum’s rush.” Scorpio: “We don’t have bums in our town, Marge, and if we did, they wouldn’t rush. Sure, it’s filled with classic bits (namely, Homer realizing he was saying Krabappel’s name wrong, Ralph explaining seeing the couple kissing, and “Sex Cauldron”), but what makes the episode classic is how much you end up caring about two characters that no fan would ever rank in the top 20 — two characters who usually just exist to react to Bart’s pranks. “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” is a much, much better episode of television than the next seven that aired, which were still grappling with the show’s tone and pacing. The final segment was memorable at the time for expanding into computer animation. It’s a viewpoint that we’ve always gotten a glance at throughout the seasons, but this episode truly exposes Lisa’s inner judgements while also serving as a spot-on critique of the film-festival scene. (Krusty: “Ugh, 35 years in show business and already no one remembers me, just like what’s-his-name and whose-it, and you know, that guy, always wore a shirt?” Bart: “Ed Sullivan?”) And like many Simpsons episodes, this one has great fun observing the populace falling for a grandiose hard-sell, this one tinged with subliminal mind-control techniques. Lisa and Abe are widely cast as wet blankets on The Simpsons. Linguo – the grammar-correcting robot created by Lisa for her science project and instantly broken by Homer after he pours beer down its throat – is the star of the show, but the Rashomon-style narrative structure, with three different characters’ days converging, make this a wholly satisfying episode of comic perfection. The most I can say about this episode is even if you haven't seen the Simpsons and never planned on watching it, you still owe it to yourself to watch this episode. The show’s crowning touch is the sudden and unexplained appearance in the Simpsons household of Poochie’s doppelgänger, a teenager named Roy who, calls Homer “Mr. Homer grows so desperate for a single sip of Duff that he admits in an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting that he “snuck into the football stadium and ate the dirt under the bleachers.”. But layer the word regicide on top of that reference, and it remains funny for the rest of days. “Lisa’s Wedding” is packed with clever allusions to the, um, future, but it’s more concerned with how much one little girl loves her father, no matter how “trying” he is. In order to keep his “Cal Ripken-like streak of school openage” intact, Skinner ignores the punishing weather and makes his students come in on the last day before Christmas break. No show has ever done big and small storytelling concurrently as well as The Simpsons and this is a masterful example. Homer’s shuffled through hundreds of jobs, but if he could settle on just one, he’d probably go with world-famous musician. S.,” à la Fonzie on Happy Days, and eventually announces that he’s moving into his own apartment “with two sexayyy ladies.”. Here, of course, the “something” is nothing less than America itself, the compromises and corruptions of which she is forced to confront after going to the nation’s capital following her victory in an essay contest. Dylan Adler Is the Premiere Kombucha Lyricist of Our Time. It’s ostensibly a parody of the thriller Cape Fear (more the 1991 Martin Scorsese remake than the 1962 J. Lee Thompson original), has a similar-sounding score, and it hews closely to that template, which gives the episode a propulsive quality that’s unusual for this digressive show. But high up on the list is lucky. Lisa” is one in a long line of “The Simpsons go to another city/country and interact with the local sights” episodes — “Bart, get out of the Spirit of St. Louis” — and is precedent for many, many “Lisa against the world” (“Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy,” “Lisa the Vegetarian) stories to come. Their relationship nearly falls apart, though, when Homer learns that Quimby’s working with Fat Tony to sell rat “malk” to the children of Springfield Elementary. After Homer stops Bart from trying to jump over Springfield Gorge on … ... so we’re just left with 10 highly rewatchable episodes … Gabbo!” the mysterious strobe-flash ads proclaim.). Plus, the Brokeback Mountain kicker where Bart hugs his Nelson vest while Nelson shouts, “Haw haw, I touched your heart!” nails The Simpsons’ mix of bite and heart with one joke. “Bob Roberts” (named after the Tim Robbins movie) is packed with decades of references — including one to the Kennedy vs. Nixon debate, with Bob ably filling in for JFK — yet it’s never bogged down by dated satire. Throw your vote away!”) The first two stories, though, have an imaginative depth that qualifies them as real science fiction (gags and all). Krusty has subcontracted everything in this lakeside hellpit to bureaucratic underling Mr. Black, who, in turn, delegates to thuggish enforcers Jimbo, Dolph, and Kearney. The show had dealt with infidelity in the past — namely, “Life on the Fast Lane” and “Colonel Homer” — but “The Last Temptation of Homer” surpasses them both. They leave Bart, Lisa, and Maggie under the care of Grandpa Abe, who botches the job so badly that Child Protective Services takes them away, names the Flanders as their foster parents, and informs Marge and Homer that they can’t get their kids back until they take a parenting class. It seemed reasonable at the time, as a large portion of the episode takes place at the World Trade Center. In its second season, now on Netflix, the glassblowing-competition series offers the warmth you crave on a cold January day. Nearly every line from the season-four classic, which largely takes place after Lisa is born, is endlessly repeatable, from “can’t sleep, clown’ll eat me” to “everybody loves me, I am so great” to “a baby and a free burger, could this be the best day of my life?” to “iron helps us play.” (Hello, Joe!). In “The Haw-Hawed Couple,” which in itself is a pun on The Odd Couple, there are references to Goodfellas, Brokeback Mountain, and even an entire subplot devoted to a faux–Harry Potter book series. Things start off well enough, but the Simpsons gene eventually kicks in, and Bart and Homer are arrested for various indiscretions, and a gang of Itchy and Scratchy robots are ready to kill. The rest soon join. The only problem is that Bart saw it all happen, so the couple bribes him to keep his mouth shut and to serve as a go-between. It’s a deeply satirical episode, spoofing not only the Twilights of the world, but also Ocean’s Eleven (Andy García plays the hack publisher). It would’ve been a perfect finale. In one of the series’ most ambitious, structurally daring episodes, “Trilogy of Error” is split into Homer’s Day, Lisa’s Day, and Bart’s Day, and they all intersect. “Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace” is the cruel one, effectively riffing on Wes Craven’s “you dream, you die” conceit. Everyone remembers the A plot of this one — Marge somehow wins the role of Blanche DuBois in a community-theater production of a musical version of A Streetcar Named Desire, written and directed by Llewlyn Sinclair (guest-star Jon Lovitz) — and deservedly so. It’s psychedelic, but underneath it all is Homer’s fear that Marge might not be his soul mate following a misunderstanding. Whether it is Gore Vidal revealing he got the title for Burr by seeing it on an advertisement for Eskimo Pie, Thomas Wolfe requesting everyone’s leftover garlic mashed potatoes, or the violent rivalry between Michael Chabon and Jonathan Franzen (all four authors provided their own voices), the show succeeds at somehow turning these literary heavyweights into buffoons. Krusty’s never funnier than when he’s wallowing in melodramatic self-pity, and “Krusty Gets Kancelled” helpfully provides him with an Olympic-size pool in which to marinate. The good ones, not the leper ones” for him. It’s high school, and Marge gets sent to detention for the first time ever. He agrees to continue working with the mayor, but only if he’ll arrest the mobster. Ramin Bahrani, one of our great directors, adapts Aravind Adiga’s international best seller. Director: Mike B. Anderson | Stars: Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith Votes: 4,159 Viral sea-shanty singer Nathan Evans has landed a contract with Universal. He gets a job at a fast-food restaurant, eats his way to obesity, and bemoans his fate every chance he gets. Interweaving pop-culture parody and social satire in the best Simpsons tradition, “Marge vs. the Monorail” is a treasure trove of quotable bits and indelible moments, many of which brush against the surreal. The pool story shows Lisa (and poor pantsless Martin) how fickle popularity can be, while the Bart plot delivers its own unrelated humor, including a incredible sight gag (Bart’s leg in a trashcan, in a patch of grass, etc.). Indeed, the complex series of events, culminating in Martin delivering a wedgie upon himself, suggest the show’s writers could have lent Jack Bauer’s crew a hand with their plotting. Yes, you read that right: “The Simpsons.” If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard the aspect-ratio complaints yet, more than 660 episodes of … ... Best Simpsons episodes post-2000 (that you probably haven't seen yet) Then 9/11 happened, and it was taken out of syndication. Beyond Mindy, the episode succeeds in not selling Homer out, by letting him honestly feel the temptation. The Simpsons’ writers came across an issue of Time that theorized what would happen if a comet were to hit Earth. The episode also works as a meta-commentary on Simpsons fans themselves and their reluctance to accept change. It’s not often Bart cares about something, but when he does, he’s all in. This is a pantheon episode for the show’s writers and its musical director, Alf Clausen. The episode succeeds at both telling the story of Homer’s desire to still be cool and making fun of what was cool at that time. Anger came out at once highbrow, medium-brow, lowbrow mixture that we for. 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