Holy mackerel. We're getting down there, aren't we? And I totally forgot it was my week to write this. It wouldn't be that big a deal, but I've spent so much time watching the Olympics, I haven't really thought about anything else... And yet, here we are!
This list is getting both easier and harder to write. It's easier because I love every episode and they're simple to talk about. But it's harder because I love every episode and how can I condense my love into a simple blurb and a few highlights? Can't I just find a link to the entire episode and just paste that? Mrf.
40) Sweet Seymour Skinner's Baadasssss Song (Season 5, Episode 19)
This is the first but not the last of Skinner focused episodes this. Apparently Shaun and I really like him. So it would seem. (Although, I can't say I remember the Principal and the Pauper on the list at all…)
This is one of those episodes where we get a bunch of good jokes, but by the end, we get to see an actual relationship between characters. And then those characters are Bart and Skinner, it's even better because it's two nemeses getting along, because their reason for butting heads has been removed. It's really cool to see Bart and Seymour as friends, even if it's just for 15 minutes of an episode.
Some of the best moments include:
- The Wonder Years reference at the beginning of the episode
- Marge: Why don't you bring this potato? It's pretty big!
Bart: Mom, you're always trying to give me potatoes. What is it with you?
Marge: I just think they're neat!
- The Aliens reference when Willy is in the air shaft (which I totally understand now that I've finally seen Aliens) followed by the kids throwing books at Willy in the air duct.
- Supernintendo Chalmers: Skinner… You're fired.
Skinner: I'm sorry, did you just call me a liar?
Chalmers: No, I said you were fired.
Skinner: Oh. Well that's much worse.
- Apu's rant about Skinner's Jurassic Park ripoff.
- Martin in the cage
39) Homer At The Bat (Season 3, Episode 17)
Oh. Man. This is SUCH a good episode. I love this one for so many reasons. I play soft ball, I love baseball, and I love baseball movies. This combines all of those things into one tremendous episode, laced with fabulous baseball stars. So that's cool. But what I really love about this episode is the way it tips a hat to baseball movies; particularly the Natural. I only recently (within the past couple years) have watched the Natural for the first time, so I didn't necessarily understand the references. But having seen that movie, this episode is even better than it already was.
Some of the best moments:
- Lenny: Homer, last year we were two-and-twenty eight
Homer: I know it wasn't our best season…
Lenny: Actually it was!
- The process of Homer making Wonderbat. Particularly this shot which doesn't make sense until later in the list…
- The ground rules for softball
- Burns' original lineup of ball players
- Homer: You're Darryl Strawberry.
Darryl Strawberry: Yes.
Homer: You play right field.
Homer: I play right field.
Homer: Are you better than me?
DS: Well I never met you, but… yes.
- All the different reasons why the MLB players are unable to make the final game.
- Mr Burns' baseball signals
38) 22 Short Films About Springfield (Season 7, Episode 21)
I have, on several occasions, maintained that seasons 4-9 of the Simpsons was the heyday for the series. This was when they had a tremendous writing staff, when they had really figured out what they were as a series, and when they realized they could take the plots from movies, hone them into something for themselves, and create a 22 minute episode all for themselves.
That's what they did here. Pulp Fiction came out in 1994, and this episode came out in early 1997. Just enough time had passed so the writers weren't riding the coat tails of the movie, but they wrote it close enough that it would still be relevant. And boy what a gem they created.
Because it's an episode with a lot of single vignettes, I was able to find links to the 6 best moments of the episode:
- Cletus The Slack Jawed Yokel
- The entire Pulp Fiction reference
- The gum in hair, when the whole neighbourhood shows up
- The tall man in the car
- Skinner and the Superintendent (my favourite segment)
- The Tomfoolery of Professor Frink
37) Lisa's First Word (Season 4, Episode 10)
Okay: if I've done my math properly, this is the final flashback episode on the list and for good reason. There are a lot of very good flashback episodes but this one is, without question, the best. There are so many gosh-darned funny moments, but at the end, it is so, so touching. Homer's last line "You know Maggie, the sooner kids talk, the sooner they talk back. I hope you never say a word" is just the most beautiful thing. But then when Maggie pulls out her pacifier and (voiced by Elizabeth Taylor) says "Daddy" and drifts off to sleep? Guh. All the feels.
This clip perfectly encapsulates the entire episode. It has all three of the kids' first words and shows why it's such a brilliant episode. But beyond that, here are the best moments:
- The clown bed. Oh god the clown bed. Also, remember when I took the shot of Homer creating Wonderbat? Yeah… There's a scene in The Front (number 55 on our list) where Roger Meyers Jr. talks about how they reuse animation to save money. Well… Yeah… Hilarious.
- Who's cuter now?
- Considering we're right in the thick of the Olympics, I think it's great that I'm writing about an episode where they feature the 1984 Olympics with the Russian boycott, and the Krusty Burger deal.
- Got your wallet!
36) Skinner's Sense of Snow (Season 12, Episode 8)
Yes! Another Skinner based episode. Man he's funny. He's just so uptight and square. As a result, he is a perfect straight man, and foil to Bart. This episode is all gags and some suggestive innuendo. I think the innuendo is only achieved because it's Skinner and Willy saying them and neither of them realize what the sexual connotations mean. And that makes them hilarious.
Beyond that, though, it's funny to see Seymour in a situation where he loses control and it's his strictness that is his undoing. As a result, there's a mutiny in the school, and Bart ends up in charge.
This show is chalk full of great moments:
- The Cirque du Purée (They always pick the guy with the wires)
- The teachers' emergency caucus
- The movie about a grinchy little character who tries to steal Christmas
- Kent Brockman: Roads closed, pipes frozen, albinos virtually invisible. The weather service has upgraded Springfield's blizzard from "Winter Wonderland" to "Class-3 Kill Storm."
Marge: I don't like the sounds of that "Class-3"
- Homer's makeshift plow
- Skinner's Vietnam flashback when they reminisce about candy bars
- Skinner: Defying orders, eh? Well I see you Scotsmen are thrifty with courage too.
Willy: Okay Skinner; that's the last time you'll slap your Willy around...
- Milhouse drawing moustaches on presidents' photos until he gets to Taft
- "I Ain't Not A Dorkus"
- Homer's ranch dressing hose
- Skinner: You did it, Nibbles! Now: chew through my ball sack.
35) Much Apu About Nothing (Season 7, Episode 23)
Holy moley is this episode ever great. And with all the (pardon my forthcoming language) bullshit (told you) that Trump is spewing about deportation and immigration, etc. this seems more poignant than ever. It's remarkable how easily people can be swayed by the simple suggestion that something is due to somebody who is not like them. We're seeing it right now where people just blindly listen somebody's word because they're a political icon and what they say must be true. It's insane. The more I watch this episode, the funnier/scarier it becomes.
This episode has so many great moments, and so many tremendous one-liners so I feel like my highlights are going to be a lot of quotes...
- Right out of the gates: Ned's unnecessary bear freak-out
- Maude: (Sobbing) Oh Marge! It was horrible. We were trapped in the house all afternoon. And. Well. We had to drink toilet water!
- Mob: We're here! We're queer! We don't want anymore bears!
Lenny: Hey Homer, that's a pretty catchy chant, where'd you learn it?
Homer: Oh, I heard it at the moustache parade they have every year.
- The stealth plane as part of the Bear Patrol
- Grandpa's story about how the Simpson family came to America
- This. This says everything right here.
- Marge: What you're saying is so understandable. And really, your only crime was violating US law!
- When Apu becomes super-American (The ny Mets are my favourite squadron)
- Homer: Wow. You must love this country more than I love a cold beer on a hot Christmas morning.
- Grandpa: Hey! The government don't control the sky. You could live in a balloon!
- Homer: Sleep is for the weak, Apu! Now I'm going to go to bed while you look over my notes from 9th grade history.
- The sign reading "The United States: 131 Years Without A Civil War
34) Homer Goes To College (Season 5, Episode 3)
This is a fun episode. It's not quite as poignant as the last one, but it's still very enjoyable. It kind of plays on the trope that every 80s and 90s college movie played with, where you have your different levels of student and there are hijinks that ensue. Homer believes he needs to pull pranks in order to make himself a true college student. Now I'm not sure I ever pulled any major pranks. At least not campus wide ones. Maybe in the drama department with fellow students… Anyway. This episode makes me miss being in school. If I'm going to be massively broke, at least I could be learning something. Sigh.
- The bee guards
- Homer's application photo:
- Mr. Burns' chair at Springfield University (and his subsequent beating of the board of admissions member)
- I am so smart! (Who hasn't quoted this at one point in their life?)
- Homer laughing at the professor for dropping his notes
- The cancelled hospital due to the 6 missing cinder blocks
- Marge: If you're going for a ride, I'd like you to take Bart and Lisa.
Homer: But Maaarrrge, we're college guys and we're up to no good!
Nerd: Mr Simpson? Gary spilled his ear medicine.
- Dean: Helloooo… That sounds like a pig fainting!
- It kills me that we don't get to see the ending of Itchy and Scratchy when Scratchy finally gets Itchy.
- Nerd: What are you going to do, Mr. Simpson?
Homer: Actually, I've been working on a plan: During the exam I'm going to hide under some coats and hope that everything works out.
- Nerd: Oh man, I can't believe you failed.
Homer: Oh I'm going to lose my job just because I'm dangerously unqualified!
33) Simpson Tide (Season 9, Episode 19)
I always forget how this episode starts. But then all I have to do is recall the end when he says "It's my first day" (bookending the beginning) over and over, and it makes me smile. This episode is a classic. The B-plot where Bart gets an earring is so overshadowed by the A-plot where Homer joins the naval reserves. But they both merge at the end. It's very well written, plus it's a nice homage to many of the submarine movies we've seen in the past.
While I could just say "the entire episode" for this one, I'll pick the highlights out for you:
- The couch gag is a spoof of Rocky and Bullwinkle which makes me so, so happy
- Homer's planet of the doughnuts dream
- TV announcer: Next on exploitation theatre: Blackula, followed by Blackenstein, and the Blunchblack of Blotre Blame
- Homer making out the blacked out question on the application
- The Deer Hunter reference
- The naval ship falling off the waterfall
- All the Starbucks in the mall
- Marge: What on earth possessed you to get an earring?
Bart: Milhouse has one
Marge: If Milhouse jumped off a cliff…
Bart: Milhouse jumped off a cliff?? I'm there!
- Captain Tennille: I'm a man of few words… Any questions?
Homer: Um… is the poop deck really what I think it is?
Captain: Hehehehe. I like the cut of your jib!
Homer: What's a jib?
Captain: HA! Hahaha! Promote that man
- The Village People drowning as the submarine submerges
- Grandpa: My Homer is not a communist. He may be a liar, a pig, an idiot, a communist… but he is NOT a porn star!
- The re-emergence of the Soviet Union
- The SS Antarctica
32) Homer's Barbershop Quartet (Season 5, Episode 1)
Well. Clearly I'm a damned liar. 5 episodes ago, I said that Lisa's First Word was the last of the flashback episodes and yet, in the same list, we have one more. Way to go, Dave. But this is different. This one isn't one of those "touching family episodes, where we're all left with a little piece of our soul missing" episodes, this is more of a "let's find a way to pretend Homer was in a group with a meteoric rise not unlike the Beatles and see where that takes us" episodes. So technically, yes it is a flashback episode, but not of the same nature as Lisa's first word. So everything else I wrote up there still stands true. And if you don't like it, shut it. I'm the one writing the list.
- The bible trading cards (Including a Methuselah rookie card)
- Bart: Barbershop! That ain't been popular since ought-six, dagnabit!
Homer: Bart, what did I tell you?
Bart: No talking like a grizzled 1890s prospector. Consarnit.
- Homer ditching Chief Wiggum
- Jasper singing "The Theme From a Summer Place"
- Why is the swap meet so far away???
- The Simpson writers take on Grammys
- Every single Beatles reference. (Which is half the show.)
31) Homer's Enemy (Season 8, Episode 23)
I had to use that photo because this episodes comes off the heels of the episode where Homer wins his Grammy. It seemed almost serendipitous.
There are episodes on this list where Shaun and I like them equally (those are the ones higher on the list that we have yet to uncover,) there are episode where Shaun likes them more than I do, and then there are episodes where I like them better than Shaun. This episode is the latter. I know Shaun likes this episode, but I adore this episode. It is one of my absolute favourites and it makes me so happy that I get to write about it.
Everything about it is so good. I've seen this episode so many times, I could probably quote it verbatim with little prompting. I feel like I've picked up on every nuance it has to offer. It's just so well written and so damned funny.
Plus: Bart owns a factory!! What an awesome B-plot!!
So if I can; here are my favourite parts:
- Kent Brockman: (Right out of fade in.) Hehe. Which if true, means death for us all.
- Homer: Wow. You got pencils with your name on them. Just like a pencil company executive. I'd give anything for one of these.
Grimey: Any office supply company can have 'em made up for you.
Homer: Can I have this one?
Homer: Can… Lenny have it?
- Grimes: God, he eats like a pig
Lenny: I dunno. Pigs tend to chew. I'd say he eats like a duck.
- Homer: Hi Grimey old buddy!
Grimey: I'm not your buddy, Simpson. I don't like you. In fact I hate you. Stay the hell away from me! Because from now on, we're enemies.
Homer: (Meekly) Okay.
…do I have to do anything?
- Moe's enemies list
- Grimes: Look at the size of this place! I live in a single room a above a bowling alley and below another bowling alley.
- Adding machines + industrial waste
- Homer's take on professionalism
- Milhouse's night shift at the factory
- Grimey's freakout
Well that's it for this week. Obviously a week today, Shaun will publish numbers 30-21. So come back then to read that one.