I am a huge Simpsons fan. My love affair goes back a long time, I remember watching the first episode as a child and in college I used to have trivia contests with friends to see who knew more random quotes. We still tag each other on Facebook with random Simpson quotes just to laugh.
In honor of The Simpsons coming to FXX and the network playing EVERY SINGLE EPISODE in order (seriously, this is the greatest thing a network can do for a Simpsons fan), I’m counting down my top ten favorite episodes. Now I’ll be honest, my list may be a little ’90’s biased but that doesn’t mean I don’t like the newer episodes, I just have a soft spot for the classics. If you are new to the show, which is hard to believe but if you are out there, here are some episodes to look out for during the marathon starting August 21st.
10) Behind the Laughter (Season 11, Episode 22)
This episode is done in the fashion of VH1’s Behind the Music and it shows the Simpson family as actors on a sitcom playing themselves and the story of their demise. The interviews and “behind the scenes” stories are hilarious and show that the show could take pop culture and use it to their advantage.
9) The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson (Season 9, Episode 1)
After being forced to be the designated driver one night, Barney goes nuts and ends up leaving Homer’s car in New York City. Even though Homer vowed never to go there again due to a bad experience years ago, he ends up getting talked into it. After locating the car at the World Trade Center, (Sidenote: After the 9/11 attacks, this episode was not played for a long time in the US. Some fans thought they would never see it again) he waits hours for the parking officer to come and take the boot off. But thanks to a Khlav Kalash cart and a lot of crab juice, he misses the officer while taking a bathroom break. So he drives the car, boot and all around the streets of NYC.
Homer: Alright New York, I’m comin’ back! But you’re not gettin’ this! (throws his wallet into the fireplace)
Lisa: Dad, our baby pictures were in there!
Homer: Don’t you start!
8) E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt) (Season 11, Episode 5)
Homer sees Zorro at the movies and starts challenging everyone in town to duels. Everyone backs down until an old-fashioned Colonel takes him up on the challenge. Scared, Homer takes the family and flees to the country to become farmers. Since Homer haphazerdly planted seeds, he accidentally comes up with a new crop “Tomacco”. The tomato/tobacco plant becomes a success due to it’s addictive nature. But just as Homer is about to cash in on his crop, he learns why you never mess with an animal and their tobacco.
7) Bart Gets an Elephant (Season 5, Episode 17)
Bart wins a radio contest which allows him to choose between two prizes: $10,000 or an elephant. Bart shocks the radio DJ’s by choosing the elephant. He names him Stampy and keeps him in the backyard. After discovering how much it costs to feed an elephant, Homer tries to sell him to an ivory dealer which causes Bart and Stampy to run away. After Stampy saves Homer’s life in the Tar Pits, Homer agrees to give Stampy a good life at a wildlife preserve.
6) Lisa the Vegetarian (Season 7, Episode 5)
After a family trip to Storytown Village, Lisa has a hard time eating lamb and decides to become a vegetarian. Everyone tries to change her mind which comes to a head when Lisa ruins Homer’s BBQ by sending his roast pig literally flying through town. She almost cracks under the pressure, but after a talk with Apu and Paul and Linda McCartney she realizes she can tolerate others rather then try and force her beliefs on them.
Homer: “Lisa, honey, are you saying you’re never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon?”
Homer: “Pork chops?”
Lisa: “Dad! Those all come from the same animal!”
Homer: [chuckling] “Yeah, right, Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal.”
5) Marge vs. The Monorail (Season 4, Episode 12)
After collecting a $3 million fine from Mr. Burns, the town holds a meeting to decide what to do with the money. A stranger named Lyle Lanley convinces the town through a song to invest in a monorail. While the whole town is excited, Marge is leery so she travels to a previous town to learn that the whole thing is a scam. Homer, who became the conductor after an unintensive three weeks of training, was able to stop the runaway monorail by anchoring it to a giant donut. Marge ended the episode explaining that the monorail was the last folly Springfield ever had…except for the popsicle-stick skyscraper…and the giant magnifying glass…and the escalator to nowhere.
4) Cape Feare (Season 5, Episode 2)
After getting threatening letters from Sideshow Bob, Bart and the rest of the family are put into the Witness Relocation Program becoming “The Thompsons”. Bob follows them to their new houseboat and sneaks aboard to kill Bart. While the boat is floating away, Bart is able to convince Bob to sing the entire score of H.M.S. Pinafore which distracts him long enough to get back to Springfield and police attention.
Agent [to Homer]: Tell you what, sir. From now on, you’ll be, uh, Homer Thompson at Terror Lake. Let’s just practice a bit, hmm? When I say,”Hello, Mr. Thompson,” you’ll say, “Hi.”
Agent: Hello, Mr. Thompson.
Homer: (stares blankly)
Agent: Remember now, your name is Homer Thompson.
Homer: I gotcha.
Agent: Hello, Mr. Thompson.
Homer: (stares blankly)
(A long time later)
Agent: (sighs in frustration) Now, when I say, “Hello, Mr. Thompson,” and press down on your foot, you smile and nod.
Homer: No problem.
Agent: Hello, Mr. Thompson! (stomps on Homer’s foot a few times)
Homer: (stares blankly; to other agent) I think he’s talking to you.
3) Homer’s Enemy (Season 8, Episode 23)
Frank Grimes, a new employee at the Power Plant, hates Homer from the second he meets him. He thinks Homer is lazy, annoying and totally unqualified for his job, yet doing so well in life. While Homer keeps trying to win “Grimey” over, Frank’s hatred grows more and more. Frank decides to trick Homer into entering a children’s contest but when it backfires and Homer wins, Frank goes insane and accidentally electrocutes himself.
Lisa: Can I go downstairs and see what Dad’s doing?
Marge: I wouldn’t bother him, honey. He’s making some sort of model for a contest. He says it’s really high-tech stuff that we wouldn’t understand.
Homer: (opens basement door) Marge, do we have any elbow macaroni and glue-on sparkles?
2) Treehouse of Horror V (Season 6, Episode 6)
This is forever and always my absolute favorite Halloween episode The Simpsons ever came out with. It had Homer being Jack in The Shinning, a fight with a toaster turning into a time traveling fiasco in Time and Punishment and the teachers at Springfield Elementary getting revenge on their students in Nightmare Cafeteria.
1) Lisa on Ice (Season 6, Episode 8)
This episode has a little bit of everything which makes it one of the best the show has done. When Lisa discovers she’s failing gym, she joins a Pee Wee hockey team, which happens to be Bart’s rival team. When she discovers that she has some talent in the game, Homer starts paying attention to her more than Bart which starts a heated rivalry between the siblings. Not only is the story great, but the episode gave us some epic quotes.
“Me fail English? That’s unpossible!“-Ralph Wiggum
Marge: I don’t care who started it. I don’t ever want to see you two fighting like that ever again. We love you both: you’re not in competition with each other. Repeat: you are not in competition with each other.
Homer: Hey! Apu just called. This Friday, Lisa’s team is playing Bart’s team. You’re in direct competition. And don’t go easy on each other just because you’re brother and sister. I want to see you both fighting for your parents’ love! (Flicks light on and off.) Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!
So what do you think? Is your favorite episode listed? Are there any you think I missed?