Last week we started a rather epic project here at theguysfrom.com by making our definitive list of the Top 100 Episodes of The Simpsons of all-time. I have been looking forward to doing this for quite a while, as it's an excellent excuse to watch a whole bunch of classic episodes that I love for the purposes of "research".
If you missed last week, here is 100-91 on our list
We (read: Dave) also covered the process of how we made a definitive 'The Guys' list of episodes, so if you are interested in that, it's also there...but let's be honest, you're here to see the 90-81st best episodes of The Simpsons of all time:
90) Three Gays of the Condo (Season 14, Episode 17)
First up for me this week at number 90 on our list is "Three Gays of the Condo" (a fun play on Three Days of the Condor). An episode where Homer figures out that Marge may have only stayed with him because she was pregnant with Bart, so instead of talking it out, he moves into a river-view place with Grady and Julio (these guys are those guys that like guys). Aside from my obvious fondness of having Scott Thompson play Grady (a reason why in subsequent episodes where Grady is scene, he doesn't speak), and the random Weird Al song, this is one of those episodes that may not be flat out hilarious, but is consistently funny the whole way through, and packed with little quotable moments.
This episode also happened to win an Emmy in 2003 for Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming Less Than One Hour), which is just a testament to how well constructed "Three Gays of the Condo" is.
My highlights are:
- - Homer's decent into jigsaw puzzle related insanity, and the price Lenny pays..
- -Kirk's very, very, very sad apartment complex
- -Homer's shopping & haircut montage
- -Julio: Homer, weren't you supposed to meet your wife half an hour ago?
- Homer: D'oh! You guys don't have a gay time machine do you?
- Julio: Jes. It's called Grady's shoe closet.
- Grady: Hey, Julio? Ouch.
- -That final kiss to "manly thoughts" to the truth about the hospital being revealed.
89) Homer the Vigilante (Season 5, Episode 11)
"Homer the Vigilante", where Springfield is in the grip of terror caused by a notorious cat burglar taking things of tremendous sentimental (and occasionally monetary) value, and the police are powerless to stop him...which when you consider the police on The Simpsons...that's not really a stretch. A neighborhood watch is established, which Homer somehow gets in charge of (you know, because he is "someone else"), and he sets out with his trusty assistants (like Apu, Skinner and Barney) to try and stop the cat burglar, and reduce the amount of graffiti, with only a 900% increase in heavy sack beatings.
Sam Neill is awesome as the cat burglar, and the ending where he tricks the entire town into searching for all the loot he has stashed away is hilarious, and gave birth to the endlessly quoted Chief Wiggum line "No No, dig UP stupid".
Some of my other highlights:
88) Eight Misbehavin' (Season 11, Episode 8)
This is one of those episodes that I think was on TV too many times, so a lot of Simpsons fans got kind of tired of it, but this really is a great episode. The focus on Apu and Manjula, and their attempts to...and I suppose epic success with...having children (for they have noticed that America is 'dangerously underpopulated') was a great change of pace, and the whole transition into them being the parents of octuplets is hilarious. It's also always nice when The Simpsons makes a definite, and permanent change (rather than the normal "everything returns to normal at the end" episodes), and this is one that dramatically shifted Apu's story-line, and elevated him into more of a prominent, secondary character.
I think once I got away from this episode a bit, and then came back to it, I was really able to appreciate all the little jokes throughout, including Mr. Kidkill and his offer of a traditional zooish upbringing, to the final show involving some real cobras, and others that are just robots filled with venom. I'm also delighted that it ended up as #88 on our list...
My other highlights:
- Homer helping Apu and Manjula conceive...don't think about it...
- Marge offers to help with baked goods
- The escape from the zoo
- The skipping of 9 months for the babies to be born:
Homer: Man, the last nine months sure were crazy.
Bart: I'll say. I learned the true meaning of Columbus Day.
Marge: I enjoyed a brief but memorable stint as Sideshow Marge
Lisa: I became the most popular girl in school, but blew it by being conceited.
Bart: And then I learned the true meaning of winter.
87) Maximum Homerdrive (Season 10, Episode 17)
One of Homer's seemingly endless list of jobs, "Maximum Homerdrive" was taking that trucker mentality (like from the old C. W. McCall song "Convoy") and putting it into an 'A' story where Homer, after a spectacular eating contest kills a guy he just met, takes Bart across the country to deliver the contents of his opponents truck on time. This episode also features a strange 'B' Story involving Senor Ding-Dong, with Marge and Lisa buying a novelty doorbell...that malfunctions...which is a fine story, and has its' moments, but I'm really into "Maximum Homerdrive" for the road-trip.
This episode is one I particularly enjoy due to the amount of bonding you get to see between Homer and Bart on the road, and their adventure (and discovery of a Hal-9000 inspired conspiracy) is particularly fun. Seeing the two of them, not just arguing and choking, but getting some fishing in, watching a great drive-in movie, and the whole rig-jockeying section is just great.
My Other Highlights:
- The Steak Eating Contest
- The introduction of the restaurant (and Mr. Burns picking his meal)
- Marge trying to get the new doorbell rung.
- Homer likes squirrels
86) Homer the Great (Season 6, Episode 12)
I am absolutely amazed (and mildly disappointed) that this episode is not higher on our list...but here we are.
This is the Stonecutters episode, where Homer joins a secret society, only to have himself stripped of membership, and then anointed as 'the chosen one' to lead them all to glory. This episode is chock-full of amazing moments. Everything from Homer trying to figure out why Lenny and Carl are suddenly acting weird, and getting fancier chairs (how many times have Dave and I said "...shuuut up..." like Carl), the Egg Council..Patrick Stewart's cameo as the head of the local chapter is AMAZING, the punishment, The Last Emperor reference (which I totally did not get until much later in life)...the ancient and mystical society of "no-homers" (which is a call back)...
I could go on...or I could just link you to this spectacular video which compiles all the best parts of Homer's initial time as a lower-level Stonecutter including the song.
- How Homer gets in:
Abe: Ok, I'm an Elk, a Mason, a Communist, the president of The Gay and Lesbian Committee for some reason. Oh, here it is... The Stone Cutters.
Homer: Yes, thank you dad. Lets go!... I'll take this Communist one too!
The Civil War re-enactment
The double initiations
85) The Mansion Family (Season 11, Episode 12)
Smithers pretty much establishes the silliness of this premise early on in the episode; after the Springfield Pride awards where Mr. Burns gets the award for being the oldest Springfielder, and decides to get a medical checkup, he picks the Simpsons to house sit for them...for what can be no good reason, but justifies it in saying that Homer "is due for a good performance"...which hey, whatever, it means that we got "The Mansion Family". This episode is one of those ones that completely abandoned realistic premises (oh hey, Chinese pirates...alrighty), but is still funny enough to carry itself onto a healthy position in our Top 100.
- The silliness of the award ceremony ("I don't know, there's a lot of buzz around Lenny")
- Homer living the high-life in the craziness of Mr. Burns' house
- The party boat in international waters
- Homer punches so many parrots...
- Mr. Burns is very sick
84) Lisa the Simpson (Season 9, Episode 17)
Generally I'm not a big fan of Lisa-centered episodes, but there is something charming about "Lisa the Simpson" as it covers a lot of the family history (the so-called 'Simpson-gene'), you get to see a whole pile of Simpsons that you never see in the series otherwise, and there's something quite touching about the sequence where Lisa gives her brain one last meal.
This is one of the most grounded episodes of The Simpsons as well, as there's really nothing to silly in the premise, and most of the abstract humor is driven through traditional means, like a strange Troy McClure film), and that's quite nice...especially when you compare it to the drek we are getting from The Simpsons now...
- The entire B-Story of Jasper freezing himself at the Kwik-E-Mart, and Apu starting a sideshow
- Lisa's nightmarish daydream
- The strange pot-head jousting
83) Treehouse of Horror III (Season 4, Episode 5)
I unabashedly love the "Treehouse of Horror" series; I still make an effort to watch them to this day...even though I am often disappointed with the recent episodes. "Treehouse of Horror III" however is amazing. While (spoilers) it is not the best Treehouse episode, this is one of those ones that does not have a weak segment in it (again, this one feels like it's a bit too low, but such is the nature of these lists).
"III" contains 'Clown Without Pity', the evil talking Krusty doll (which is a Twilight Zone parody), 'King Homer', one of the greatest versions of King Kong ever made (let's be serious, this version is better than Peter Jackson's), and 'Dial Z For Zombies'...one of the best segments in any "Treehouse of Horror"...as selected by many outlets, including iHorror.com.
- The Alfred Hitchcock Presents opening
- The 'House of Evil' and it's delicious Frogurt.
- Homer in the bathtub singing about baloney...
- The discussion about apes, and the bait-thing beauty
- King Homer eats *too* many people
- Dial Z for Zombies Part 1 and Part 2 (seriously, the whole thing. I couldn't separate moments out if I tried...oh, and there's a gap in the video where the zombies check Homer for brains, and then angrily shove him away (finding none))
82) The Way We Was (Season 2, Episode 12)
"The Way We Was" was the first flashback episode of The Simpsons, and the first look back into Homer and Marge's past. This one is actually quite sweet as we got to see Homer and Marge (with way better hair) in High School, and falling in love--through some anger, and Artie Ziff being a complete tool. This also establishes the series' fondness for the song "They Long To Be Close To You" (which happened to be the novelty doorbell from "Maximum Homerdive" among other uses), and an intense series of references to the 1970s...some of which I had to look up to get.
Nothing like a good National Maximum Speed Law provision of the 1974 Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act joke to liven up an episode...
...but at the end of the day, this is one of those Simpsons episodes that is great for reasons other than the humor; giving these wacky cartoon characters depth made every future episode that bit more endearing.
My Highlights (which were a little tricky, for the reasons I stated above):
- The soundtrack
- How Homer and Marge met
- Grandpa's "pep-talk" (which is often cut out of broadcasts)
- Artie Ziff. Seriously Jon Lovitz is awesome in The Simpsons, and his crown jewel is Artie Ziff.
- Homer's limo trip.
81) Saturdays of Thunder (Season 3, Episode 9)
Playing off of Days of Thunder (an odd, Tom Cruise NASCAR movie), this is another great bonding episode that explores Bart's relationship with Homer (and how Homer is as a dad), framed around soap-box derby racing. The Simpsons used to really find ways to put pure, simple premises through their paces, with flecks of movie references (in this case, things like Ben Hur, The Natural, Sudden Impact, and Lethal Weapon) and absurdity (you know, look up...). I miss these days...
Which oddly enough the nostalgic tone of "Saturdays of Thunder" really plays into...
- The Opening Infomercial
- The video store
- The National Fatherhood Institute (and how they get Homer)
- All The Wonderful things Homer has built around the house and the racer montage
- Both soapbox derby races (the time trial, and the race)
Well there you have it, another ten down, another 80 episodes to go...and they only get better.
Join us (well, next week is Dave, so join him) again next Wednesday for the next installment in The Guys From's Top 100 'Simpsons' Episodes!