In 2000, Patrick Stewart told the BBC, “I think my appearance in The Simpsons and an appearance that I did on Sesame Street … were perhaps the two most distinguished bits of work that I’ve done in the U.S.” Do we agree? While Marge is busy taking over as “The Listen Lady” at church, overshadowing a depressed Reverend Lovejoy, Homer, Bart, and Lisa go on a mission to find out why Homer’s head is on a Japanese box. The Jarring Spectacle of Having an Administration Worth Singing for Again. And Patty & Selma gave each other juicers on their birthday in Marge in Chains. Plow, that’s my name. But even as the episode pours on horror-movie-style incidents — referencing Psycho and A Nightmare on Elm Street as well as Cape Fear, driving the family into witness protection in a houseboat on Terror Lake, and replaying the show’s opening credits as “The Thompsons” — it somehow makes room for multiple, marvelous sight-gags and exchanges in each scene. The finale finds aliens Kang and Kodos running for president (against each other) by assuming the identities of 1996 presidential candidates Bill Clinton and Bob Dole. 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. As a non-linear show, The Simpsons succeeds at creating a portrait of a marriage through a series of snapshots. (Most memorably, he takes Bart to a very gay steel mill.). Her new persona is an anti-intellectual “cool” girl. It sounds hilariously absurd, but that’s the kind of plot The Simpsons thrives on. Lisa: “I feel like I’m gonna die, Bart.” Bart: “We’re all gonna die, Lise.” Lisa: “I meant soon.” Bart: “So did I.”. The company’s latest earnings report was full of positive news. Throw your vote away!”) The first two stories, though, have an imaginative depth that qualifies them as real science fiction (gags and all). She snaps at Lisa, and Homer sadly suggests, “You kids should thank your mother. Bonus points for the baby versions of Lisa, Bart, and especially Milhouse. Nelson … 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. 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. 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. Case in point: “Lisa on Ice,” an episode that starts with hyperbolic explosions on Kent Brockman’s “Action News” and ends with one of the show’s sweetest moments between Bart and Lisa. So, in the later seasons, sure they aren’t pumping out classic after classic, but the special ones are as special as the show ever has been. Free shipping . Of the show’s many achievements, one has to be its creation of a highly relatable and specific portrait of intelligence. This episode revolves around a budding friendship between Bart and Nelson. It becomes increasingly apparent to Homer how frustrating and isolating the world is for intelligent people. EPISODES. Bart is forced to attend Nelson's party by Marge, and Bart becomes friends with Nelson. It’s simple work, but he likes it and he does it well. The Haw-Hawed Couple Turns out the dish-detergent product Mr. Sparkle’s logo was actually just a coincidental combination of a fish and a lightbulb (or “fish-bulb,” as Bart calls Homer), but its preposterous story line has since created one of the show’s most iconic images, next to the “I Choo-Choo-Choose You” Valentine and the Inanimate Carbon Rod. Dave Chappelle Tests Positive For COVID-19, Cancels Texas Shows. The jokes fly fast and freely, and it’s always a treat when Bart and Lisa work together, as they do here, exposing Bob, who wins the election, as a colossal fraud. This episode answers the obvious question: Who needs the Kwik-E-Mart? This is an episode that rests on its complexity, and the structure is simultaneously silly and beautiful. But there is also a plot, one involving the family trying to convince Maggie to say her first word, and it’s more sweet and adorable and loving than any animated series’ flashback episode ought to be. The show is never afraid to spin more contradicting details to its biography, and that’s half the fun of keeping up with the many seasons of The Simpsons. Back in 2014, we assembled this list of the 100 most essential Simpsons episodes as a guide for fans both young and old, and for those who have yet to even see a single episode. It’s all in the title. Springfield’s mob mentality is what makes the town so united yet so, so blind to strange traditions such as Whacking Day (which was inspired by a real annual event in a town in Texas). Homer loses the plant’s Employee of the Month contest to an inanimate carbon rod that ends up stealing his space-hero glory, too, earning a ticker-tape parade and a magazine cover that announces “In Rod We Trust.”. “The Book Job” shows that even after two-plus decades, The Simpsons still has bite to it. Homer, a regular there, sees her walk in and falls in love at first sight. It’s easy to forget how big of a deal the “Who Shot Mr. Burns?” series was when it aired. What begins as a fairly simple story about Homer buying a computer turns into an elaborate parody of The Prisoner that was understood by probably about 5 percent of Simpsons fans. Producers fiddle with shows all the time. “All’s Fair in Oven War” demonstrates the show’s consistently incredible ability to tell two very different yet completely satisfying tales. Building on the Krusty-centric episode “Like Father, Like Clown,” “Today I Am a Clown” delves even deeper into the clown’s Jewish roots, starting with Krusty strolling along Springfield’s Jewish Walk of Fame with his new puppy (acquired via Lisa, part of a litter spawned when Santa’s Little Helper impregnated Dr. Hibbert’s dog, Rosa Barks) and continuing with an alternately goofy and heartfelt journey into a sepia-toned past modeled on The Jazz Singer. (Krusty’s shifty-eyed expression when Homer exclaims, “You came here to save me!” will never not be funny.) Periodically, especially in later seasons, The Simpsons takes on an issue of the day and nails it. Short answer: Homer. Lisa’s battle with the sexist Malibu Stacy doll company may be permanently stalled when her rival doll is dropped in favor of a last-minute hat upgrade, but it still results in Lisa’s strongest feminist statement on the show yet. It seemed reasonable at the time, as a large portion of the episode takes place at the World Trade Center. 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. Mayor Quimby is impressed by the act of heroism, and he hires Homer as his personal bodyguard. It’s a pre–Mad Men plot twist that’s only successful because it’s done out of love: Tamzarian becomes Skinner because he can’t let Seymour’s mother, Agnes, know that her son is gone. One of the wonderful things about Treehouse of Horror episodes is that they allow the show’s writers to go absolutely nuts and indulge in the weirdest, cruelest, most cutting parts of their imaginations. “$pringfield” is one of the earliest episodes to involve so many Springfield residents. This story was originally published in October 2014. 12 Simpsons Homer Bart Lisa Cupcake Cake Topper Food Pick Favor Party Birthday . Press J to jump to the feed. 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. This episode is a Trojan horse — hiding an emotional story inside a visually sumptuous package. The Simpsons is an animated show, but its psychological game runs deep. There, he’s … 3-D! Scorpio, this house is almost too good for us. What ensues, obviously, is a meta-episode that somehow loops in guest appearances from Jim Jarmusch and John C. Reilly, a great montage using Spoon’s “I Turn My Camera On,” and a clever nod to The Simpsons Movie. Until a tiny Lisa walked by a music store; Homer prayed for a sign, and a clerk put a literal one right in the window: “Musical instruments: the way to encourage a gifted child.” In they go, and out they walk with one saxamaphone. 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. don @ minifie-1. He seems perfectly content living the sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll lifestyle, minus the sex and drugs, in “How I Spent My Strummer Vacation.” After receiving a one-week crash course in rock from Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Tom Petty, Lenny Kravitz, Elvis Costello, and Brian Setzer, Homer scores a gig opening for the assembled musicians at a benefit show. The Simpsons is essentially a sitcom, but over time, it has taken on a role not unlike that of Saturday Night Live — an institution that’s expected to comment on the state of culture. All 22 minutes are very good, but the episode becomes “all-time great” near the end, when the Simpsons and at least two dozen other recurring characters squeeze into Ned’s bomb shelter. This year, the show will be tackling Toy Story with one of its parodies, and the segment has … We’re going to describe it here for those who have seen it to remember — if you haven’t, skip ahead and come back later. After a series of COVID related postponements and a late start, the two R&B songstresses went toe-to-toe on Thursday, January 21. “All’s Fair in Oven War” features two very funny Simpsons stories. “It’s so nice to be with a person who can’t understand the horrible things I say,” remarks Moe after seeing a copy of Alice in Wonderland and presuming it’s a take on that movie he just saw, Alice in Underpants. In one timeline, Homer is thrilled to discover that his dreaded sisters-in-law Patty and Selma are dead, but that the world no longer has doughnuts. “Bart’s Comet” is a sterling example of the humor that arises when you bounce them all off each other. We jump ahead to the 1970s in an episode that dials up the weirdness and confusion, for better and worse. He falls well short of his goal, but Marge and Lisa chip in, and all of a sudden, the Simpsons are ON A BOAT. Still, “$pringfield” is best known as the episode in which Mr. Burns goes full Howard Hughes, in what is seriously one of the show’s craziest, silliest arcs ever. “Boys kiss girls.”. First, it helps that the jokes were rooted in fleshed-out characters and real insecurities Homer and Marge have. 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. 6 accounts per household included. After all, it’s a part of us all, a part of us all, a part of us all. 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. What 10-year-old saw this episode and knew that the rope bridge moment was referring to William Friedkin’s Sorcerer, or that the flashback to pre-alcohol Barney grabs its slow-dissolve montage from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, or that Bart’s felling by snowball was a nod to the end of Bonnie and Clyde? Luckily, the second half is pretty great, too. The show wanted to create an event around its season-six cliff-hanger, and it did just that. 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. “Lisa’s First Word” isn’t so much a full-length episode as it is a giant collection of quotes. Essentially, it’s the same as Springfield, only with yellow fire hydrants instead of red ones. Over the years, he has terrorized most male kids in Springfield and was even seen bullying teenagers (also known as Jimbo Jones and the Squeaky-voiced Teen). 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. Happy streaming! It’s like the cabin scene from A Night at the Opera, but with everyone involved trying to prove they’re worth saving because the door won’t close and someone needs to be booted. “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. Utter chaos, that’s what. PlotEdit. Longtime Simpsons showrunner Al Jean has said that “Holidays of Future Passed” was originally written to be a finale, just in case the cast members’ contract negotiations didn’t pan out. (If you haven’t yet seen this episode, find it, watch it, and come back here.) “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. Then Bart gets injured (Nelson: “Ha-ha.” Milhouse: “Hey, Nelson, he’s really hurt. Written by With the public on his side, Bob decides to run for mayor of Springfield, despite being an ex-con who recently tried to murder a young boy. Marge asks him to give up drinking for a month, which he agrees to, not realizing how difficult it is. And because of the “Treehouse of Horror” tradition, there was just so much material for the writers to pull from in their first foray in joking about the actual holiday. With his Springfield pride swelling, Bart goes to visit the town’s greatest resource: a lemon tree. The results are decidedly sadder, making this episode more somber than most, but Homer redeems himself in a triumphant moment where he rallies up friends to help revive Flanders’s business à la It’s a Wonderful Life. Then Marge gets pregnant with Maggie, and he finds himself having to balance his dreams with his responsibilities as a father. (“Gabbo! The Planet Earth channel is its hidden gem. Was this review helpful to you? Also, the characters didn’t necessarily feel settled yet. As The Simpsons turns 30, a superfan picks the best 20 episodes ever. And sometimes it’s worth it. He can occasionally be a decent guy, so long as he has his Bobo. He observes a neighbor commit a terrible act. “Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace” is the cruel one, effectively riffing on Wes Craven’s “you dream, you die” conceit. It’s a classic tale of sibling rivalry that’s prompted by the threat of Lisa failing gym. Springfield Up offers yet another take on Homer and Marge’s history by putting it through the lens of a documentary called Springfield Up (which parodies the U.K.’s Up series), and it proves to be one of the more successful rewrites in recent seasons. Instead of John Lennon saying the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus,” the Be Sharps named their second album, Bigger Than Jesus. The Simpsons’ writers came across an issue of Time that theorized what would happen if a comet were to hit Earth. But high up on the list is lucky. Besides being the first episode that aired, it is also the first of a very popular type of Simpsons episode: one in which Homer gets a different job. MARGE SIMPSON. Bart’s entry is just cruel hidden-camera footage of his dad trying to squeeze into too-small pants; Ned Flanders makes an amateurish film about Moses that sends one of his children careening down a river; Hans Moleman’s “Man Getting Hit in the Groin by Football” is self-explanatory. You\'ll receive the next newsletter in your inbox. Keep track of everything you watch; tell your friends. Funny Adult Birthday Invitation Wording. It’s this sort of balance of dark and light that makes for such a compelling episode. Except it’s gone, having been stolen by a gang of no-good kids from Shelbyville. This time, after paying off all his debts, he quits the power plant to work at a bowling alley. “When Flanders Failed” reverses the dynamics between Homer and Flanders, though, and for the first time, we see Flanders spiraling downwards instead of his erratic neighborino. Increasingly ridiculous — from Roger Clemens thinking he’s a chicken to Ken Griffey Jr.’s gigantism to Ozzie Smith falling into space for all eternity — the misfortunes offered a specific weirdness that would come to define the show after season five. Then Barney buys a bigger truck, and the two become rivals. And you can sense it. It goes from being about Homer’s slowness to a tour of the town’s adult-education classes (including Moe teaching “Funk Dancing for Self-Defense”), to Homer becoming a teacher, to Marge kicking Homer out, leaving him insane, homeless, and “as dirty as a Frenchman.” Any of these stories would’ve been enough for a normal show, but The Simpsons weaves it all together seamlessly. These 100 episodes best paint a picture of all the things the series does best. 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. 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. *Sorry, there was a problem signing you up. The problem is, those “secrets” end up being Homer and Marge’s actual marital problems and sexual particularities. It’s as meta as “The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show,” though in a different way. They’d be allowed to go at their own pace.”) The omnipotent malevolence of Bond villains is played for laughs here: At one point, Scorpio asks Homer if he likes France or Italy better, then launches a missile at Homer’s second choice, France. View production, box office, & company info. © 2021 Vox Media, LLC. 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. Though it’s always implied that Homer and Marge have a solid sex life (or “snuggle life,” as Marge would likely call it), “Natural Born Kissers” foregrounds that assumption when the couple reignites their lost spark by realizing they like to do it in public. A collection of screenshots of weird faces made in the animation of The Simpsons. When Lisa’s regular teacher Miss Hoover is stricken with Lyme disease, her class is taken over by a substitute named Mr. Bergstrom (guest-star Dustin Hoffman), a gentle, funny, guitar-strumming, everybody’s-best-friend-and-mentor type. What follows is an impassioned speech from Homer about piracy and how, to quote Lisa, everyone is “trying to steal as much money as they can.” “Steal This Episode” never takes a side in the pirates-versus-producers war — it doesn’t have to. Her disgust is Homer and Bart’s get-rich-quick scheme, and before long, they’ve drafted Skinner, Patty, Moe, Frink, and even special guest-star Neil Gaiman to write the Perfect YA Novel. Few scenes throughout the history of television and movies capture NYC better than the one in which Homer tries to remove the boot on his car by chewing off one of the bolts. “Homer to the Max” is undoubtedly assisted by its meta humor (Homer has gone through various levels of intelligence since season one), but it also works as yet another funny episode about how ridiculous TV can be. Side note: The episode features a hilarious B story, in which Bart and Lisa discover an alternate ending to Casablanca. “Homer’s Phobia” and “Much Apu Nothing” are maybe the most classic examples. When Martin dies in class after getting frightened in a dream, the sheet is accidentally pulled off of his gurney to reveal his death rictus. Milhouse is unhappy in the role because he only accepted it to appease his money-grubbing parents. And then, because he takes it to such an extreme, when he realizes the error of his ways, it is that much more compelling. Homer’s attempt to discuss this conflict with his boss is interrupted by government troops attacking Scorpio’s headquarters. Nelson declares Bart his best friend after Bart is the only child to turn up for his birthday party. 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. (The first few minutes show Krusty lighting a cigarette with a copy of Action Comics #1.). Once you stop this car, I’m gonna hug you and kiss you. Presumably, it would look a lot like this episode, in which Bart mistakenly discovers a comet that’s heading straight toward Springfield. Barney, as is often the case, reveals unexpected refinement, directing a black-and-white psychodrama about his alcoholism, but Homer, who’s on the judging panel, prefers the one with the football in the groin. Then 9/11 happened, and it was taken out of syndication. Fans of Rusicals and runway reveals, this is your episode. Jennifer Lopez Slips ‘Let’s Get Loud’ Into Her Biden Inauguration Performance, Bali Influencer Influences Bali to Deport Her, I Ate the Shawn Mendes Bowl the Way Shawn Intended, Sarah Jessica Parker Misses Restaurants So Much It Hurts, “One of the greatest gifts in New York is the discovery of everywhere else.”. He takes incorrect stances to such extremes that they reveal the absurdity of the position even in the most minor sense. Bart chafes at Ned and Maude’s God obsession and strictness, but Lisa finds that she appreciates the routine. No show has ever done big and small storytelling concurrently as well as The Simpsons and this is a masterful example. S.,” à la Fonzie on Happy Days, and eventually announces that he’s moving into his own apartment “with two sexayyy ladies.”. 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. What Could JoJo Siwa’s “Born This Way” TikTok Possibly Mean? The worst: Burns learns that Maggie is in possession of his cherished childhood teddy bear (à la the main character’s sled in Citizen Kane) and is willing to give the Simpsons “a million dollars and three Hawaiian islands. But she perseveres in her beliefs. 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. “This punishment is not boring and pointless,” Bart writes on the chalkboard at the start of “Kamp Krusty,” foreshadowing miseries to come. Eight episodes into The Simpsons’ second season, something clicked with “Bart the Daredevil.” The episode focuses on Bart seeing the Evel Knievel-like Captain Lance Murdoch and becoming inspired to try to pull off stunts on his skateboard, highlighting the “Dennis the Menace for the ’90s” persona that would go on to sweep a “Bartman”-crazy nation. From there, Homer is accused of sexual harassment by the babysitter he hired to watch the kids, even though he was only trying to grab the gummy from her “sweet-sweet can.” He’s labeled as a monster by the press (and in the made-for-TV movie, Homer S.: Portrait of an Ass-Grabber). The school bully, while defending Lisa and Abe will always be grouches, but any cross-creative awkwardness once... Nelson is throwing a birthday party pretty great, too obesity, and hillbillies picking up hitchhikers finds that baked. Daniel Craig ’ s not up to us to choose which laws we want to obey fall returns you\ receive... 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