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The Guys From's Top 100 'Simpsons' Episodes: 80-71

{TV}

The Guys From's Top 100 'Simpsons' Episodes: 80-71

David R. Smith

Well here we are again, my friends. My turn to take this mammoth project on. We're getting down there on the list. That means the episodes are getting better and we're fan-boying more and more. 

In case you missed the first two lists; first thing, where have you been the last two weeks? But also, here they are:

100-91
90-81

We've done a pretty good job of formatting the process and figuring out what works, so we're just gonna keep on trucking with it. If'n you want to know how we came about our top-100, head on over to numbers 100-91, it's all laid out there. Once you're done there, come back here and dig into numbers 80-71. 

80) Brother From The Same Planet (Season 4, Episode 14)

What a way to kick of this week's list. This episode is so fun. The main story is so good. Bart is so mad at Homer for forgetting him at soccer practice, that he goes and enlists a Bigger Brother (Tom) to essentially be a positive role model. The B-plot, though, is also pretty terrific. It's such a minor part of the show, and really, the episode would be fine without it, but it's so good. What part is that, you ask? Why it's the Corey hotline. 

While I love the A-plot, there's something so good about the Corey hotline plot. Not so much because I love Lisa related plots, but because I think the actual concept of the Corey hotline is hilarious. I know a girl who once dated a guy named Corey. Every time I saw pictures of him, literally all I could think was, "Hi, I'm Corey. Here's a list of things that rhyme with Corey: Glory. Story. Allegory.... Montessori." and it made me giggle more than it probably should have. 

Side note: I can almost guarantee that any episode that features Phil Hartman is an instant classic.

Some of my highlights of the episode include:

79) Homer and Apu (Season 5, Episode 13)

I feel like this episode gets a bad rap because of the addition of the song, "Who Needs The Kwik-E-Mart." While not a horrible song, it's somewhat unnecessary. The rest of the episode flows so well and to me, the song breaks that flow up. (Although Homer messing up the rhyme part is pretty great.)

Despite the song, though, it's a pretty terrific episode. The opening sequence where we see Apu gouging the customers by spiking the prices, through to being investigated by Kent Brockman via an oversized novelty hat with a video camera in it, is very well crafted. Apu living with the Simpsons is fun (who doesn't love corn?)

Finally the trek to India to the original Kwik-E-Mart so that Apu can get his job back is also very good. Especially when Homer uses up all three questions by asking the same thing. 

Add in a wonderful cameo by James Woods and it's a very good episode.

Some of the better highlights:

  • Martin: How much is your penny candy?
    Apu: Surprisingly expensive.
  • Kent Brockman: Homer, that hat has been with the station for 20 years. It had one day left until retirement. 
  • Marge: Oh Lisa, is it too spicy?
    Lisa: I can see through time!*
  • All of James Woods, but especially when he's scraping cheese. (2:07 in the montage)

*I use this reference often

78) Mr. Plow (Season 4, Episode 9)

This is both a funny and also charming episode. There are many moments that come along that make me laugh, but we also get to see the friendship between Homer and Barney. Like most great friendships, there are highs and lows. Barney is there to support Homer when he's down and, in turn, Homer does the same to Barney. As a result, Barney becomes the Plow King and starts to ruin Homer's business (at the same time finally having a project he can work on with Linda Ronstadt.)

On a personal note: one of the last times I saw Pearl Jam was 3 years ago here in Calgary. The night they played was just a terrible blizzard. People could barely get to the show, and I was worried the band would cancel. Not only did they play, but they came to rock. It was a tremendous show. During the show, Eddie made a comment about how great it was that people came to the show, despite the weather. He then sang the Mr. Plow jingle. I didn't think it was possible to like Ed even more. And yet...

Some of the best parts of the show:

77) Bart's Comet (Season 6, Episode 14)

Oh man. This episode is so good. It is so funny all the way through. There are so, so, so many funny parts but the end is just so good and genuine. Sending Flanders to his death from his own bomb shelter, and the rest of the group eventually coming to join him, creates a really touching moment. Which is promptly made funny again by the minuscule fragment of the comet destroying the bomb shelter. It is, in my opinion, one of the best crafted Simpsons episodes in the extensive catalogue.

  • Skinner: I'm going to punish you for this, Bart. And it won't be a simple caning this time
  • Bart: There's a 4:30 in the morning, now?
  • The repeated "Nooooooooooo!"
  • Report Card: We must alert the proper authorities! 
    Email: To the observatory! (I'd like to point out that I love how we don't know what these kids' names actually are, and that they are literally only known in the Simpsons world as Email and Report Card.)
  • The rocket labelled "Aim Away From Face"
  • Moe: Let's go burn down the observatory so this will never happen again!

My final thoughts on this episode:
1) I feel like I don't do enough things from my roof. Watching stuff from roofs is a great way to enjoy things like fireworks, sunsets, and spying on neighbours (I mean… what?)
2) I love that the city layout changes depending on what the story needs. There's only one bridge out of Springfield which means that the town can't evacuate. Does this mean that Springfield is on an island? It seems to be the only possible logic. Which is amazing.

76) Wild Barts Can't Be Broken (Season 10, Episode 11)

This is one of those episodes I tend to forget exists. I so seldom see it, and when I do, I sometimes forget what happens. It's one of those classic episodes where the first 5 minutes hardly have anything to do with the rest of the episode. Homer goes from being a fair-weather Isotopes fan to a die-hard when they're mere minutes away from winning the championship (something we see in the sports world rather regularly.) When the 'Topes win the championship, the Bar Flies go on a bender, celebrating and destroying the city - not necessarily on purpose, it's just the way it goes. As a result of the grownups' tomfoolery, Chief Wiggum accuses the kids of Springfield of the destruction and imposes a curfew. 

The kids rebel, make their own radio show and hilarity ensues.

This is one of those episodes that, because it's seldom on TV, I forget just how great it actually is. The party sequence is hilarious, but there are so many great moments laced throughout the episode, that I'm glad it made it into the final cut. Some of those moments include:

  • Bart: You've gotta support the team, Dad! They're already threatening to move the team to Moose Jaw!
  • Commentator: First pitch of the game. (*crack* and subsequent scream by the pitcher) That's a rotator cuff, his career's over.
    Homer: I'm gonna warm up the car.
    Marge: But there's only been one pitch!
    Homer: And it sucked.
  • When the car skids through the backstop on the baseball diamond and the backstop catches fire. (I love how many non-flammable things end up exploding on the Simpsons. It really adds to the hilarity of the show.)
  • Homer's Night Out
  • How good does The Bloodening look?

75) The Springfield Files (Season 8, Episode 10)

Full disclosure: I've barely watched any X-Files. I think I saw one episode when I was a kid and the content of that particular episode was kind of creepy and kind of scared me a lot, so I elected to stop watching. I feel like as an adult, maybe I should give it a chance. That said: I adore this episode. I know enough about the show the X-Files that I can appreciate just how funny this episode is and I'm sure that David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson had a damn riot as guest stars on this particular episode.

As soon as we start this episode with Leonard Nimoy's opening speech, we know we're in for a good episode. Plus the fact that he doesn't finish the episode and leaves before he's supposed to makes it even funnier.

Other classic moments:

  • Homer: Don't worry; I have a plan. I saw this in a movie about a bus that had to *speed* around the city, keeping its *speed* over 50 and if its *speed* dropped, it would explode! I think it was called The Bus That Couldn't Slow Down
  • The various stages of drunkenness on the breathalizer: Tipsy, Soused, Stinkin, and Boris Yeltsin.
  • Homer's lie detector test (Seriously, this one gets me chuckling way more than it should. The only lie detector gag that might be better from The Simpsons is Moe's)
  • Homer: No, I can't. This is my cause! I'm like the man who single-handedly built the rocket and flew it to the moon. What was his name? Apollo Creed?
  • I always liked that Jimbo Jones:

74) Homer's Triple Bypass (Season 4, Episode 11)

Another episode on the list that is full of both hilarity and touching moments. (It's also the second straight episode on the list that has a weather vane falling off the roof. Weird.) As I watch it, I'm actually finding it's less *funny* than it is touching. But it's still a terrific episode. Sometimes I actually prefer these episodes. They show the humanity in the Simpson universe, as opposed to just the goofiness. Episodes like this are why the first 10(ish) seasons are so good. They didn't have to just rely on gags and dumb jokes; they could write a real episode full of feelings, and it would still be exceptionally well received.

While it's not the most laugh out loud sort of episode, there are some tremendous moments:

  • Marge: Homer's in the hospital! They think it's his heart! (Leaves)
    Selma: Oh my god.
    Patty: What?
    Selma: Five cents off wax paper.
  • Homer: Don't worry, Marge. America's health care system is second only to Japan. Canada. Sweden, Great Britain. Well all of Europe. But you should thank your lucky stars we don't live in Paraguay!
  • Dr. Nick: Call 1-600-DOCTORB! The "B" is for bargain!
  • Homer: Kids, kids! I'm not going to die! That only happens to bad people!
    Bart: What about Abraham Lincoln?
    Homer: Oh… Uh… He sold poisoned milk to school children.
  • The TV show People Who Look Like Things
  • I can't find a clip of it, but the scene where Homer gives advice to Bart and Lisa is one of the best moments in the entire series.

Afterthoughts: As somebody who has gone under anesthesia on a few different occasions for various operations, I love this episode. I know the fear of the unknown that goes along with being put under. I also know just how unbelievably touching it is to have somebody waiting for you when you come out of the operation. To anybody (my parents, my sister) who has been there when I've come to: thank you. 

73) A Milhouse Divided (Season 8, Episode 6)

This episode is so awkward. We've all been around those couples who are having troubles and can't seem to keep it private. So when they start arguing, it makes it uncomfortable for the rest of the group. The first segment of this episode is that awkward and it's in a damned cartoon. I think that's a testament to the writing staff and their ability to write real situations. Man; when Luanne actually tells Kirk she wants a divorce… the crushed look on his face. It's just so tough. Kirk was so full of bravado, but it was all a charade. When he realizes his marriage is actually over. Yikes. 

Then watching Homer trying to salvage his marriage is both funny and awkward. He loves Marge so much, that he'll do whatever he can to hold on to her. It's such a testament to their love and (again, despite being a cartoon) it's proof that real relationships take work. 

What a great, great episode. Other great moments include:

  • Marge: Homer; is this the way you pictured married life?
    Homer: Yeah, pretty much. Except we drove around in a van, solving mysteries.
  • Homer: Oh, we can't afford that! Who do you think I am; Liz Taylor?
    Marge: Well… maybe we could use it once, and then return it.
    Homer: Marge, we're not talking about a toothbrush here.
  • Luanne: I'm sorry I'm not as smart as you, Kirk. We didn't all go to Gudger College.
  • The bath scene. Oh god, I can't stop giggling.

72) Tree House of Horror IV (Season 5, Episode 5)

Okay. This episode starts off with Bart walking through a museum of sorts with some of the best pieces of art in history being "Simpsonized." My particular favourite is Lisa as Edvard' Munch's Scream:

Not because I'm a Lisa fan. More because I'm a massive fan of the original painting (and I also love that it's not the only time they used that painting in the show.)

Anyway. The actual show...

The first segment is The Devil and Homer Simpson where Homer sells his soul to the Devil for a doughnut. (The Devil being played by Flanders makes it particularly wonderful.) In a clear spoof of The Devil and Daniel Webster, this is a great segment, though it's probably my least favourite of the three (which says something about how solid this episode is.)

The best parts:

  • Devil Flanders: Oh your wide behind won't save you this time! (the kids appear) Oh, hey Bart!
    Bart: (Indifferent) Hey.
  • Lionel Hutz appearing combing his hair with a fork.
  • The jury of the damned is amazing.

Segment two is Terror at 5 1/2 Feet. One of the best ever THoH sketches. I included it at number 10 in my list of all-time THoH segments, so that should say something. As I've already written about it in the past, I'll just go with some highlights:

  • Skinner: Hello Simpson. I'm riding the bus today because Mother hid my car keys to punish me for talking to a woman on the phone. She was right to do it.
  • The gremlin on the side of the bus
  • Martin's shirt:

The final segment is Bart Simpson's Dracula which is also great but mostly because I love vampire related things. Not as much as Frankenstein related things, but you know… One of the things I love about this segment is that despite the fact that they're spoofing Bram Stoker's Dracula, they also have a nice little Lost Boys reference in there. And anybody who knows me knows just how much I (embarrassingly enough) love the Lost Boys

Anyway:

  • Homer: Hehehe. Lisa; vampires are make-believe, just like elves, gremlins and eskimos!
  • Of course the country house is in Pennsylvania. I mean, if a vampire was going to live somewhere in America, wouldn't it make sense that he would live in a "sylvan?" (Yes, that is a reference to The Office)
  • The "secret" stairway:
  • The Super Happy Fun Slide
  • Homer: Oh Lisa, you and your stories: Bart is a vampire, beer kills brain cells. Now lets go back to that… building… thingy… where our beds and TV… is.

71) Burns' Heir (Season 5, Episode 18)

Another episode I don't see that often, but love when it comes on. (This seems to be a fairly reoccurring theme with this list.)

What I love most about this one is that we get to see the journey Bart goes on. At first he doesn't even want to audition to be Burns' heir (which by the way; auditioning for your heirs is a spectacular idea.) When he gets picked, he's reticent to go to Mr. Burns' house, as let's be honest, Burns is creepy. Finally, when he spends more time at Burns' house, he realizes just how good he has it with the Simpson family and really starts to miss him, we get to see a softer side to Bart.

That moment between Bart and Homer in Burns' office is just wonderful. Watching Homer accept that he's lost his son is heartbreaking. 

Gah! I'm getting all the feels. So let's lighten it up, shall we?

  • Burns' plan for Smithers after Burns dies:
  • I really want a house with its own theatre. Particularly one where it has old-timey cranks attached to boots so I can kick people. 
  • Mr. Burns: Now that you've all agreed to reap the windfall of my death, I must return to my large, empty mansion to rattle around, await the inevitable… alone
    Marge: (To Homer) Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
    Homer: Yeah… let's push him down the steps.
  • Have I mentioned how much I love Lionel Hutz?
  • B'oh!

Well that's another week down, my friends. Stay tuned, because Shaun is coming up with numbers 70-61 next week on the exact same day and the exact same time. 

It's kind of a slog to get through this list, but in the best possible way. I get to watch old episodes I haven't seen in many moons, and I get to remember what it is I love so much about this TV show. 

Go forth and enjoy your Wednesday. (Or whatever day you find yourself reading this.)

D (@davidronn)