storyline on the 1980's soap opera Dallas. There are extensive historical references as Bobo’s journey is traced from Mr. Burns through the hands of Adolf Hitler and an expedition to the North Pole before miraculously ending up in the arms of Maggie, Homer’s daughter — leading, of course, to a Homer vs. Mr. Burns showdown. So death is a topic that only comes up rarely. Waah! “It’s still got some of my favorite single lines in the show,” Turner says, and Richmond concurs that he’s still got a soft spot for the episode. Time all but stands still in Springfield, and no one ever actually ages on the show (not even little Maggie). As with everything on this show, the truth was more bizarre and entertaining. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission. The writers had to make their reaction to something this big make sense, which is a tribute to them.” From the musical numbers to a cameo from the legendary Leonard Nimoy (who plays himself, but with his role referencing Mr. Spock) to the comic spin on dangerous group psychology, it’s an eminently thoughtful episode that has stood up over time. For the list, Stacker surveyed all the episodes’ IMDb user ratings and ranked them accordingly. “It was one of those things where they were almost testing the theory that anything repeated enough becomes funny,” Turner says. All Rights Reserved. “It becomes kind of repetitive and tedious, but by the seventh or eighth time it’s funny. "Homer's Enemy" introduced us to Frank Grimes, the man who was everything Homer isn't. Here are ten of the most memorable of the show’s episodes according to those who have studied the iconic show over its run, focusing primarily on its acclaimed first 15 years. “The voice of reason is completely thrown out the window for something quite funny and fun and imaginative,” explains Ortved, identifying the reason this episode stands out: “The Simpsons have always kept this kind of Aristotelian unity; they only did stuff that could happen in the real world, despite the fact they were a cartoon. Luckily, it all worked out okay in the end. To top it off, there’s voice acting from the Ramones (yes, the rock star Ramones), adding an official layer of punk rock cool to the show. Written by: John Swartzwelder "Homer at the Bat," as much as a half-hour cartoon could be, was an event. Airdate: February 20, 1992. Worst. “It’s a really careful and smart satire and tribute to a musical, a great exploration of Lisa,” Ortved explains, “and it gets into a character’s weakness and darker sides — and her hunger for power.” Beyond that, the episode is full of small jokes and gags that keep it memorable, including a cameo from filmmaker Michael Moore as himself. Some of the best Simpsons episodes deal with quite serious topics and few come more serious than Homer having a massive heart attack. With that in mind, we've decided to showcase the best of The Simpsons' modern era. "Yes, that's me, and the guy standing next to me is President Gerald Ford… And this is when I was on tour with the Smashing Pumpkins… Oh, and here's a picture of me in outer space. To stream some of the best episodes of The Simpsons included here, FXX kicks off a 15-day long marathon of 661 episodes of The Simpsons from the first 30 seasons starting Tuesday. For instance, there’s a point at which Lisa, as president, has access to the teacher’s lounge. Bart's quit his tutoring job and joined the violence gang!". The Simpsons didn’t get into any wacky or absurdist territory until the Springfield Gorge jump in season 2’s “Bart the Daredevil” marked an integral stylistic turning point. ", "A little from Column A, a little from Column B. D'oh! While Bart was stuck indoors with a broken leg and little but bad TV to keep him entertained ("Ugh... Klassic Krusty..."), Lisa was able to bask in her newfound popularity as the girl with a swimming pool. ", “Ever since the beginning of time, man has yearned to destroy the sun. “But the episode isn’t in thrall to whoever it is. Turner agrees, calling the 3D animation a “huge deal at the time.” Besides its play on The Shining, there’s also an homage to the musical Sweeney Todd involving the students in the school cafeteria that delights in the macabre. And you realize that these people have become not only OK with it, but charmed by it — and so have you.” Ortved calls it the “Hannah Arendt episode” for its wry portrayal of the banality of evil — a timeless term originally coined by the German-American theorist following the Holocaust. Of course, on the car ride during which Sideshow Bob stows away in the undercarriage of the car, Homer decides it’s his lifelong dream to drive through a field of cacti. But despite the dire context, they’re still able to mine plenty of comedy out of the circumstances. TCFFC. It lies right in the show’s prime. In this foray into a newly surrealist realm — or a “spirit quest acid trip,” as Turner describes it — Homer wins a hot-pepper-eating contest only to start hallucinating due to the strength of the peppers. Picking the very best episodes ever is a task that even McBain would struggle with, but we've tried it anyway. But leave it to Moe to hog all the credit and leave his friend and most loyal customer out in the cold. This episode sees the Simpsons travel to the new Itchy & Scratchy theme park for their summer trip. The 10 Best Simpsons Episodes, Ranked By Mark Stock September 15, 2020 You don’t just become one of the longest running animated series in the land without great content. Repeat, we are sold out of Bort license plates.". The Simpsons wasted no time slashing into politics and corporate greed: Blinky, the mutant three-eyed fish of this episode, became an enduring image of environmental negligence. Homer is a well-meaning guy, but sometimes his grasp of right and wrong is a little tenuous. 'The Simpsons' celebrate an FXX marathon of all of their episodes to date and our 150 Best Episode List. For Ray Richmond, critic and co-author of The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family, it’s one of the classics. The Top 25 Simpsons Episodes. 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. That irreverence has only enabled its long life. Write to Raisa Bruner at raisa.bruner@time.com. Menu. Fox via Getty Images Some of us have spent nearly as much time in … This is what Richmond calls the “ultimate Sideshow Bob episode.” It’s primarily a play on the Oscar-nominated 1991 movie Cape Fear, a psychological thriller from Martin Scorsese. Fox 8. Goo-goo! If you've ever been trapped in a boring summer vacation without end, you'll understand what Bart went through in this episode. WandaVision Deserves the Hype. This episode is one of the best showcases of The Simpsons’ incredible cast of side characters. Top 50 Simpsons Episodes of All-Time. Here are the best Flanders episodes of The Simpsons. And then all the sudden you have this whole thing that explores the imaginative possibilities of animation and the elasticity of the characters. Would you like to see my Grammy award?". And it was a gleeful parody of the infamous "Who Shot J.R.?" '", "Alright! These are the episodes that didn't merely settle for … Well, we saved your a$$ in World War III. “It’s both prescient and really critical.” Turner agrees: “It’s a satire of the show itself in a lot of ways. Other times, it has been a wry reflection of present and past. This is what Richmond calls the “ultimate Sideshow Bob episode.” It’s primarily a play on the Oscar-nominated 1991 movie Cape Fear, a psychological thriller from Martin Scorsese. Why can't she be more like...well, not like Bart...". This episode combined both conflicts as it explored Edna's sad, lonely existence and the emergence of a bond between teacher and student. Despite the longevity of the series, none of the citizens of the Simpsons world have aged a day. But in some ways this is one of the darker Simpsons episodes. "Moe, I haven't seen the place this crowded since the government cracked down on you for accepting food stamps.". You've never been? The result was an endearing little drama as Homer struggled to live up to the man Lisa wanted him to be. The Simpsons has been on the air for over thirty years, churning out some of the most iconic pieces of American television comedy ever. To date, "Who Shot Mr. And the episode featured a guest appearance by Aerosmith, which was pretty cool. But it wasn't until "Lemon of Troy" that said rivalry truly took center stage. In order to win a softball game, Mr. Burns hires major league baseball stars to staff up the company’s team. The Simpsons has had a run that no other show of its kind can match, what with its 25 seasons and 550 episodes (and counting). I'm the one who drove her out of her seat. "Flaming Moe's" is just an all-around great episode, with a steady stream of gags and one-liners and some nice character growth for Moe, who up till that point had mostly just been the surly bartender who always fell victim to prank calling. Clever, precocious Lisa becomes student body president of Fairfield Elementary School in this episode that parodies the opera Evita, with Lisa even singing a spin on “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina” as she goes on to rule the school. The townspeople are quick to fall for his song-and-dance routine, and naturally Homer ends up as the conductor of the faulty — and highly unnecessary — new form of transportation. This was the first major tragedy to strike the Flanders clan since Ned's brush with financial ruin in Season 1. “At its core it’s just a feel-good show about this wonderful family. The 10 best episodes of The Simpsons, ranked. The episodes where the Simpsons dive into the past often rank among the show’s best, but this refines that formula to a tee as the show bounces back … Springfield installs surveillance cameras (like London) after a bomb scare, and Flanders ends up in charge of it. Memorably, astronaut Buzz Aldrin and rock star James Taylor make voice cameos. The unusual visuals in the animations make it particularly memorable in the show’s run. How can you not love an episode that simultaneously parodies Westworld, Jurassic Park and the Walt Disney empire? This in turn forced their parents to pile into Flanders' RV to rescue them. Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our. By Jason Serafino. And all of his pent-up aggression burst forth when he encountered Homer, a happy family man with a house and a decent job and everything Grimes didn't have. An unexpected error has occurred with your sign up. "There's something wrong with that kid. This episode also benefited from an amusing subplot involving Homer struggling to build a doghouse and accidentally teaching Todd Flanders how to swear. And some of the most memorable conflicts on this show have come when the far more mature and morally pristine Lisa struggles to reconcile her beliefs with her father's actions. Seeing her father so brazenly violate the Eighth Commandment caused Lisa no small amount of distress. However, it should not be ignored. In its first season, it was a traditional family sitcom. "Treehouse of Horror XV" is the best Simpsons Halloween episode in the last 15 years. “On some level The Simpsons is a kind of punk rock TV show, or certainly was,” Ortved says. The show was not afraid to take a mirror to itself, with this episode as proof. It had to happen sometime. ... Homer opens a snow plow business only to have his best friend Barney open a rival outfit, with commercials by Linda Ronstadt. “Homer’s Enemy” also has its share of critics who see it as a bit too on the nose in its unusually clear-eyed depiction of Homer’s faults, making it one of the show’s more controversial episodes. But their comedy has grown up around us and become an indelible part of the American cultural landscape. Seeing Bart descend into madness was funny, but the episode really hit its stride when it launched into a parody of Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, as Bart and Lisa investigated the possibility that Flanders murdered his wife. "We need more Bort license plates in the Gift Shop. If that sounds like too much of a time commitment, or you're struggling with which ones to watch, start here. “It will never go out.”. Both episodes were funny, certainly, but we also appreciate their darker edge and the whodunit mystery that kept Simpsons fanatics speculating and debating all through the summer of 1995. Number one: 'Cover for me.' ", "I don't know why. Waah! The Simpsons: The Best Episode Of Each Season (From Season 1 To 10) Most of The Simpsons' greatest episodes land in its first ten seasons. Making Bart and Skinner friends seems like a pretty hacky concept for an episode, but it works because Skinner is just so kind and sincere (if still hilariously lame). 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Most critics accept that the second half of the show’s run hasn’t hit its early subversive highs. Homer sends Barney into an avalanche, then feels guilty and saves his life. The episode saw a Hollywood studio choose Springfield as the location to shoot their big-budget Radioactive Man movie (starring Ranier Wolfcastle, of course). ", "I want to share something with you - the three little sentences that will get you through life. That’s three “D’oh-” and donut-filled decades of Homer’s mishaps alongside Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie as they scheme through the years in Springfield in brilliant cartoon color. It was one of several cases where a key twist has given an old character new life on this show. In typical Homer fashion, he manages to mess up the navigational instruments with a smuggled bag of chips and unleashes an ant farm upon the shuttle, which he erroneously ends up believing are giant, alien ants. "Truly, yours is a butt that won't quit.". And as for the jokes? But it’s been going for almost thirty years now, so it’s only natural that the high benchmark of quality the show set for itself has started to dip. Notably, the Simpsons team managed to get the actual celebrities themselves to voice act their characters, from Roger Clemens to Ken Griffey Jr. “It’s amazing in retrospect that they managed to get these celebrity athletes,” explains Turner. “The Simpsons has always been good about tracing their own line, and commenting on their own success and their own failures,” Ortved notes. remains the only two-part storyline the show has ever tackled. But despite the dire context, they’re still able to mine plenty of comedy out of the circumstan… The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History, We Asked Experts for 10 of Their Most Memorable. "Homer, come quick! ", "Oh-ho! While on his metaphysical journey, strange things happen; he shatters the sun, for instance. It’s a brilliant comment and takedown of popular television,” he says. "Lemon of Troy" offered a fun glimpse into Shelbyville, which turned out to be an almost Mirror Universe version of Springfield in some ways. This episode is the best display of Simpsons slapstick humor. You know, we saved your a$$ in World War II. In the 30 years since the show first aired, hundred of episodes … Number two: 'Oh, good idea, boss.' If you only ever watch 29 episodes of The Simpsons … It’s a combination of character development, great guest stars, sight gags and homages to the past and to films,” he explains of its longstanding appeal.” As for its future? ... so the best years will be defined as the episodes between Season 2 to Season 8. "Homer at the Bat" Season 3, Episode 17. If you buy something through this post, IGN may get a share of the sale. “Cape Feare” from season five is a fan favorite. To Surveil, with Love . The Simpsons episode voted the best ever by IMDb's users is also, without question, the absolute darkest installment of the whole series: season 8's "Homer's Enemy," in … There used to be no question that The Simpsons was the greatest show on television.It had all the best jokes, the best characters, the best storytelling – it was just the best thing on the box, period. In the Simpsons version, Homer and his family are terrorized by Homer’s nemesis Sideshow Bob, voiced by actor Kelsey Grammer; they end up entering the witness protection program and relocating to a new town and a houseboat to try to escape. And rarer still does death strike a major recurring character. Please attempt to sign up again. To celebrate and consider the show’s hefty legacy, TIME spoke to three Simpsons scholars and experts who have written extensively about the show over the years, particularly about its lauded first decade. Grimes was intelligent and ambitious, yet he could never seem to catch a break in life. “I’d put The Simpsons right up there — I think it’s as or more powerful than Saturday Night Live,” he told TIME. And sure enough, when Lisa peeks in on the teachers, she discovers Willie the groundskeeper making fun of the students — a cutting commentary on the cruelty of adults, as explored by a child. In this take on 2001: A Space Odyssey, Homer heads to the cosmos after being selected as an average-Joe astronaut to give NASA better ratings. Luckily, The Simpsons offers both and 30 seasons of the … Updated by Colin McCormick on April 2, 2020: We could all use a good laugh in these strange times as well as a great show to binge-watch. Classic Episode. “The fact is, you can’t be that funny for that long, and comedy moves on. It upset his comfortable, squeaky-clean world and allowed for an extended character arc to play out over the course of many seasons as Ned adjusted to the single parent lifestyle and started dating again. Predictably, mayhem and near-death mishaps ensue, although Homer is safely returned to earth. The episode ended on a cliffhanger, with Burns shot and dozens of Springfielders as potential culprits. The Simpsons has always referenced an ongoing rivalry between Springfield and the neighboring city of Shelbyville. Deteriorates under the circumstances a share of the darker Simpsons episodes of the Simpsons! Best Flanders episodes of all time appreciate this episode explores what happens when reality or! Government cracked down on you for accepting food stamps. `` which Lisa, as president, access. Ranked higher never heard that word before I moved to Springfield on a cliffhanger, with commercials Linda... 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