This flashback episode is prompted by an unclear pregnancy test Marge takes (don’t trust Barnacle Bill), which causes Homer to tell the kids the story of how he and Marge got married and how he got his job at the nuclear power-plant. (Man in crowd: “Well, I believe I’ll vote for a third-party candidate.” Kang: “Go ahead! Throughout Springfield and all over its airwaves, people are talking about the mysterious Gabbo, who’s eventually revealed to be a kid’s-show host: a ventriloquist’s dummy whose aggressively outré antics and addictive catchphrase “I’m a bad widdle boy!” dampen Krusty’s ratings and move the network to cancel him. This doesn’t end well. Nothing gets by it. Gabbo! Best Simpsons episodes post-2000 (that you probably haven't seen yet) — British GQ. “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. You?” “Sure. I know its a hard choice since the simpsons have been around for like 15 years and have had alot of classic moments and episodes. That’s great. With the show’s signature mix of high concept and heart, “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” surprisingly feels fully formed. 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. The miniaturization story finds Bart and Lisa accidentally creating a race of tiny creatures in a science experiment, then messing with them, inadvertently and on purpose. “It all happened in 1990,” Homer says. “Bart on the Road” tweaks the trope, though, by ditching the coming-of-age nonsense and replacing it with something completely absurd — a story about Nelson threatening to beat up Bart, Milhouse, and Martin if they don’t go to an Andy Williams concert (“Bam, second encore!”). 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. 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. 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). Sensitively, of course. Tonally, “The Last Temptation of Homer” is one the show’s greatest achievements. An atmospheric storm brings giant fast-food and other capitalist mascots to life, and they go on a destructive tear through town. In her video will, the recently deceased Aunt Gladys implores Marge’s sisters, Patty and Selma, not to die alone, so Selma begins looking for a suitable life mate. Earlier this month, the new streaming service Disney+ became the exclusive streaming home of The Simpsons, meaning that if you don’t want to buy or rent episodes, wait around for reruns, or dig up your old DVDs, it’s the only place to watch one of TV’s most important and long-running comedies. (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. 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. It’s a sweet ending to a sincere episode, one that’s based on something real: We can’t imagine what it’s like to go into space, but we know what it’s like to worry for our loved ones. 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. “The Book Job” is the best reason to keep watching The Simpsons past season 20, so tightly plotted an episode it is. You’re upset. But this impressively adult episode is not about Bart; it’s about the two grown-ups, who bond over their mutual sadness. When a Lego episode was first announced, it was hard not to be skeptical, given how much it felt like a shameless promotional tie-in. The final shot — a roll call of future public-works scandals, confirming that Springfield learned nothing from this disaster — is oddly poignant. 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. 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. 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 good ones, not the leper ones” for him. First, it helps that the jokes were rooted in fleshed-out characters and real insecurities Homer and Marge have. At the least, it is funnier and more touching. Homer has yet another job, this time, as an adult-education teacher of a class that shares its name with the episode title. This causes a new side of Lisa to come out. (Krusty’s shifty-eyed expression when Homer exclaims, “You came here to save me!” will never not be funny.) 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. The A.V. At the end of the 30 days, Homer plans to race to Moe’s until he realizes there’s something he loves even more than Larry, Barney, and that guy who calls him Bill: spending time with Marge. 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. It’s psychedelic, but underneath it all is Homer’s fear that Marge might not be his soul mate following a misunderstanding. Everything related to The Simpsons! The rest soon join. Amanda Gorman Geeking Out Over James Corden Won Late Night This Week. (Bart: “Don’t we get to roast marshmallows?” Dolph: “Shut up and eat yer pinecone!”) As the kids eat Krusty Brand imitation gruel (“nine out of ten orphans can’t tell the difference”), endure forced marches, and manufacture wallets in a sweatshop, Bart gets fed up and finally leads a rebellion. What “I Married Marge” does best is create a heart-filled backstory that not only explains how Homer went from being a boy to a husband and father so quickly, but also reveals the undivided love between the two characters. But “I Married Marge” focuses solely on Marge and Homer’s firstborn. However, when Apu gets busted for selling expired meats — primarily to Homer — and is subsequently fired, he is suddenly thrust outside those confines. Bart and Nelson become unlikely best friends after Bart is the only kid who attends Nelson’s birthday party (complete with a fake Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus). Homer’s unable to sit still while working in his living room, and during the conclusion, his daring climb up the power-plant tower to prevent a “potential Chernobyl” is paired with Mr. Burns’s surprisingly lively “push out the jive, bring in the love” exercise class. To protect himself, Mayor Quimby passes the blame along to someone else: illegal immigrants. It would seem childish if we didn’t think that, under different circumstances, Homer wouldn’t do the same thing. If you buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission. This one follows up on season one’s “Krusty Gets Busted,” in which Bart saves Krusty from prison by revealing that it was Sideshow Bob who actually robbed the Kwik-E-Mart. Gathering together to round up and bash snakes, it’s animal lover Lisa who initially protests against the actions, but surprisingly, it’s Bart who uses his wits to save the day. But it wouldn’t be on this list if that were simply the case. A one-thing-after-another gagfest in mid-period Mel Brooks style, “You Only Move Twice” is one-stop shopping for Bond riffs. Airing in late 2012, “The Day the Earth Stood Cool” is the show’s hipster episode. The long-awaited live-action-movie version of Radioactive Man is scheduled to shoot in Springfield, starring Rainier Wolfcastle in the title role. 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. This episode shows that it’s also the best TV show at figuring out how to use them. After the original Skinner is shipped out of town and Tamzarian becomes “Spanky” again, Judge Snyder decries that no one is allowed to mention what happened ever again, under penalty of torture. An episode that Matt Groening once called his favorite, “Bart the Daredevil” is maybe best known for the joke that changed everything. Primarily, it’s a story of Marge cheating to win a baking contest because she wants to be known as more than “the wife of a husband who doesn’t go to work.” The second plotline is a ridiculous arc in which, after Marge cuts all the naked pictures out of Homer’s Playdudes (The Simpsons’ Playboys), Bart finds them and starts enacting a Hugh Hefner–like lifestyle, just without the sex. For the generation of viewers who first caught The Simpsons when they were youngest, a million cultural referents were planted in their brains, just waiting to burst forth. It’s a poison-pen letter to commerce interfering with art (Homer, who eventually voices the character, destroys his new gig by offering dim-witted notes of his own), but the dose goes down easy thanks to the sweetness of Lisa and Bart, who point out that every great TV show starts to seem tired if it’s around long enough, and that it’s not a bad idea to remember that their creators are giving fans hundreds of hours of entertainment for free. 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. Then, in Burns’s story, Moe starts telling a story … and so on. Marge asks him to give up drinking for a month, which he agrees to, not realizing how difficult it is. The episode is absolutely packed with film references — Jurassic Park, Westworld, The Birds, Walt Disney — but it also has one of the series best ever punch lines: “No, my son is also named Bort!”. That’s what makes this a somewhat controversial episode — it has a different tone than any one before it, and none have come close to touching its super-dark humor since. 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. When Apu realizes Lisa’s potential to be a star goalie, she joins his hockey team and begins to outshine Bart. Any way you slice it, it's telling that our Top 25 Simpsons Episodes countdown didn't include a single episode produced after the year 2000. 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. Ned is so often the calm voice of reason in a town filled with LOUD OPINIONS, so what would it take to make him snap? Things only get sillier from there. 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. That’s what “Homerpalooza” is. 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. 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. 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. “Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily” has that perfect mix of sentiment and silliness that defines so many classic episodes. “All’s Fair in Oven War” demonstrates the show’s consistently incredible ability to tell two very different yet completely satisfying tales. When Homer wins a wishbone and hopes for Flanders’s new Leftorium to go bankrupt (at least it’s better than death), we see the same troubles that normally befall Homer happen to Flanders. 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. Evelyn’s also a fan of Marge’s keen fashion sense, and she invites the entire Simpsons family to the Springfield Country Club. Naturally, Moe blows it, but not before telling Maggie the plots of both Godfather films (including Moe Greene’s assassination) as a bedtime story. 10 Best Simpsons Episodes ... but after 597 episodes it seems like the Simpsons have practically done everything there is to do with a prime time television show. Yet “Like Father Like Clown” showed early on that it could train its eye on other character histories and find humor, pathos, and universality. 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). No show has ever done big and small storytelling concurrently as well as The Simpsons and this is a masterful example. Speaking of the treehouse, it’s there that a now grown-up (and drunk) Bart and Lisa have a very real, adult conversation about their respect for each other and the specific bond they share by growing up in the same house. The best: a pitiful Burns levels with Maggie and lets her keep Bobo, although not before giving her some advice: “Don’t make the same mistake I made.” It’s a rare moment of good will for an otherwise bad man. A look at his new gallery show of old-looking things. Gabbo!” the mysterious strobe-flash ads proclaim.). The final story is an exercise in pure silliness that plays like an animated “Shouts and Murmurs” column, but it has a sting: Even after Homer crashes a spaceship into the Capitol and tells the world that “Bob Dole” and “Bill Clinton” are actually tentacled space aliens, the public is told that it has to choose one of them anyway because it’s a two-party system. It’s finally time for the first elimination of the season, but first we must endure the first acting challenge of the season. It beautifully conveys the fact that marriage isn’t about not feeling tempted, it’s about realizing that what you have is more important. She snaps at Lisa, and Homer sadly suggests, “You kids should thank your mother. Best Disney Plus shows and movies to watch, A definitive Star Wars movies ranking, from best to worst, Everything you need to know about The Mandalorian, His Dark Materials series two lays the ground for all-out war, Thirteen best games of the console generation: from Tetris Effect to Breath Of The Wild. After the rumor well dries up, Homer begins making up stories, including one about how the government is controlling our minds through flu shots. 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. The Simpsons is an animated family sitcom, and the animated family is the Simpsons. Rush Limbaugh fill-in Birch Barlow pressures Mayor Quimby into releasing Sideshow Bob from prison. Instead of John Lennon saying the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus,” the Be Sharps named their second album, Bigger Than Jesus. And sometimes it’s worth it. It’s the perfect encapsulation of each character’s true self: Homer is dopey, but ultimately very devoted; Marge is the voice of reason, but not a stick in the mud; Bart’s mischievous and naughty, but only because he’s looking for validation and companionship; Lisa feels a little underappreciated, but comes to see how much her parents really love her. By episode’s end, he’s back with the Simpsons, the best club in town. A common thread among all of the Simpsons origin stories is the untimeliness of Marge’s pregnancies. 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. "You could choose every other episode from the first 200 episodes for your top 100 and you wouldn’t be too far off," one Simpsons writer told me. He takes incorrect stances to such extremes that they reveal the absurdity of the position even in the most minor sense. The episode stars Lisa as its Robert Langdon, as she searches for an ancient gem as a way of finding Maggie. “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. It might seem small, but there is one joke at the very end of the episode that feel so completely Simpsons that it could’ve worked in any episode in any of the next 25 seasons: When Homer comes home with the family’s new dog, after it seemed like the family would go with out presents this year, Marge hugs him and says, “This is the best gift of all, Homer.” Adding, “Yes, something to share our love and frighten prowlers.”. The Simpsons’ humor operates on several comedic levels at once — situational, character-based, visual, audio, and just the individual jokes themselves — and when all of those are operating in concert, at maximum efficacy, it’s a sight to behold. This episode answers the obvious question: Who needs the Kwik-E-Mart? “$pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)” is kind of like a morality play, examining the many ways in which gambling can affect a small town. All products are independently selected by our editors. Both episodes deal with the alternative culture of the day, as a way of showing Homer facing the fact that he has aged out of relevance. 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. The most politically loaded episode of the entire series, “Sideshow Bob Roberts” is a masterful examination of how easy it is to convince a lazy, willing nation of, well, pretty much anything. And the first time we realized that most of a TV series’ early episodes were pointless was when Lisa told her father, “The first episode was just a pilot, Dad. 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. It’s easy to watch “Homer’s Phobia” now and think the stance the show takes is obvious, but it’s important to remember the time and the audience, many of whom were likely getting their first exposure to gay rights through the show. This is also the first Simpsons episode in regular run to compact its opening credits and cut straight to the couch gag (in this case, a repeat of the one from season two’s “Itchy and Scratchy and Marge,” in which the family enters the living room and finds the couch missing). Mayor Quimby is impressed by the act of heroism, and he hires Homer as his personal bodyguard. That it also reveals Snake’s backstory as an archaeologist with the unhelpful surname of Jailbird is just an added joy. The training sequence requires Homer’s crew mate Barney to go without booze, unleashing his inner gymnast and opera singer (he performs two lines of the Major General’s song from The Pirates of Penzance; shades of “Cape Feare”), and Homer’s fears of space travel are realized when he opens a bag of smuggled potato chips in zero gravity and causes an Apollo 13–style crisis. Everyone has a great time, especially Bart, until he hears the cruise director, played by the instantly recognizable Steve Coogan, sing a song about how the passengers should enjoy themselves now, because before long, they’ll be back to their boring ol’ lives. Then Marge gets pregnant with Maggie, and he finds himself having to balance his dreams with his responsibilities as a father. In its second season, now on Netflix, the glassblowing-competition series offers the warmth you crave on a cold January day. 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. You can literally pinpoint the second when audiences fall in love with “I Love Lisa”: It’s that fateful scene in which Ralph clutches his chest after Lisa, who is fed up with his courting, explodes and tells the poor guy, “Now, listen to me, I don’t like you! 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. 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. Like a lot of Lisa-centric episodes, this one cuts to the heart of a young girl’s struggle to invent an identity for herself without being dishonest about her nature. 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. Homer struts around Springfield for the next week, taking advantage of his unearned fame, but in the next episode, Cool Homer is turned into Bumbling Sidekick Homer. It is a very much a Homer-centric episode. 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.). 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. “Homer’s Phobia” and “Much Apu Nothing” are maybe the most classic examples. 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