Well. Here we are. The top 20. This also means that this is my last one to write, as Shaun is (un)lucky enough to get the top-10 next week.
Let me tell you, this has been a great ride. It's been really fun watching the episodes as I write, tracking down the perfect photo to use for each episode. I really don't know what I'm going to do with all this free time…
As per usual, I will link the other 8 weeks of list for you to peruse if this is your first time coming here. (Note that if it IS your first time reading one of these, our process is laid out in the first week of episodes.) Thanks for reading these, you guys. I genuinely hope it's been as fun to read as it has been to write.
20) Last Exit to Springfield (Season 4, Episode 17)
Kicking off the top-20 is a great episode that has just so many tremendous moments. Based on the title, you might not remember which episode it is. Apparently there's a movie called Last Exit to Brooklyn (based on the novel of the same name) and it's all about union corruption and (apparently) a prostitute who falls in love with one of her clients. Well the Simpsons writers couldn't really write an episode about prostitution, but they sure could write an episode about a union scandal! And boy did they ever!
This is the episode where Homer becomes the leader of the power plant union because Lisa needs braces (dental plan!) Lisa needs braces (dental plan!) Lisa needs braces (dental plan!) and Burns decides to cut the dental plan. And wonderfulness ensues. Such wonderfulness includes:
- Burns' memory of the Atom Smashing Plant
- The Big Book of British Smiles
- The timeline of Lisa's tooth growth
- Gummy Joe and "Chomper"
- Homer's Godfather daydream
- Lisa's cheap braces ("These predate stainless steel, so you can't get them wet!")
- Homer misconstruing Mr. Burns' negotiation phrasing.
- Lisa's Yellow Submarine hallucination, followed by the amazing Batman reference (see above photo)
- Burns' tour of his house (including the typing monkeys)
- Who keeps saying that?
- The strike breakers (One of my all-time favourite Grampa moments)
- The montage of Smithers and Burns running the plant alone
- The intricate way to get to the power shut down button
- Mr. Burns as the Grinch
- Homer spinning on the floor (I love that this exists)
19) Homer's Phobia (Season 8, Episode 15)
Okay. This is an episode that I always forget how much I like it and just how G-D funny it is. Shaun perpetually reminds me about how good it is. And it is. Really good. Not just in the sense that it's funny and charming. But good in the sense that it has won awards.
Like an Emmy.
And an Annie.
And a GLAAD because according to them, this episode was "a shining example of how to bring intelligent, fair and funny representations of our community onto television."
Yeah. To say it is a great episode is an understatement.
In this day and age, with all the bullshit that has been happening to gay people and trans people, this episode is more important than ever. It takes an archaic viewpoint on homosexuality and turns it into a wonderful lesson. I'm so glad that this episode exists.
- Pogo stilts!
- Grandma's secret (the civil war bottle)
- John: It's camp! … The tragically ludicrous? The ludicrously tragic?
Homer: Oh yeah! Like when a clown dies!
- Homer's obtuseness when it comes to John's sexual orientation
- Homer: You know me, Marge. I like my beer cold, my TV loud and my homosexuals flaaaaming
- John and Smithers' awkward encounter at brunch
- Zap! (Only put here because somebody looped it for 10 minutes)
- Bart's shirt (and Homer's theory on Hawaiian shirts)
- Homer: They ruined all our best names like Bruce and Lance and Julian. Those were the toughest names we had. Now they're just… ooo.
Homer: Yeah, and that's another thing. I resent you people using that word. That's OUR word for making fun of you. We need it!!
- The steel mill. Holy crap, the steel mill.
- Moe: Where you been Homer? The entire steel industry is gay. Yeah, aerospace too. And the railroads. And you know what else? Broadway.
- Lisa: But Dad, it's barbaric. How does killing a deer make you more of a man?
Homer: It just does. Name me one gay indian!
- The hunting trip
- The robot santa
- Barney: Aww, Moe, we were saved by a sissy.
Moe: Yep. Yep. We'll never live it down. Hooo boy. It looks like it's suicide again for me.
Homer: Hey! We owe this guy. And I don't want you calling him a sissy. This guy's a fruit! And a… no wait, wait, wait. Queer! Queer! Queer! That's what you like to be called, right?
18) Homie The Clown (Season 6, Episode 15)
This is a very Homer-centred episode, which isn't a terrible thing. For some reason I always think that this episode took place in season 3. I don't know why. And clearly I'm wrong anyway. This was after the point where the Simpsons writers realized what they had in Homer and started straying from Bart-centred episodes, because there was something so fun and… American about Homer.
Here are some of the best parts:
- All the things that Krusty spends money on, as well as the various ways he lights his cigarettes
- New billboard day!
- Homer's Inception-like dream that gets overrun by a clown college dream
- The Close Encounters of the Third Kind reference with the circus tent
- Funny places
- All of Homer's attempts at the mini bike and loop-de-loop
- The burger dedication
- Wiggum reminiscing with "Krusty"
- Luigi: You come-a with me. Come-a with Luigi. You don't want to sit with the rest of this scum
Luigi: I only consider you scum compared to Krusty!
*diners respond positively*
Luigi: Yeah you see how you scum!
- The Harlem Globetrotters game
- Krusty's breasts
- Flanders getting shot (twice)
- The double bike trick
17) Bart of Darkness (Season 6, Episode 1)
Way back in the was-before, when I was writing about Lisa's Sax, I just about made an egregious error and just about claimed that the mobile pool was in that episode. Boy would my face have been red. Granted, now I'm owning up to my mistake so it's probably just as embarrassing… Anyway. This episode is a classic. Not only do we get an excellent homage to Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, but we also get some wonderful quotes, a bunch of great throwback Krusty moments, and a terrific end scene with Martin singing Sinatra's Summer Wind (Here's the Sinatra version, in case you wanted the original.) Just a terrific episode.
- The guy punching the busker for singing Sunshine on my Shoulders
- The chili truck
- The pool-mobile
- The raising of the pool (I've used the line "Is it a pool yet?" so many times)
- Nelsons biology burn (despite it being technically wrong)
- Bart: Ohhh, I'm gonna miss the whole summer.
Homer: Don't worry boy: when you get a job like me, you'll miss every summer. (Dave weeps openly at the truth of this statement)
- The Itchy and Scratchy episode which combines 3 pop-culture references into one 1-minute segment (Planet of the Apes, The Cask of Amontialldo and Star Trek)
- Springfield's seamy underbelly
- Bart's play
- The human head/head of lettuce mixup
- Maude: I was at bible camp. I was learning how to be more judgemental.
- This gif:
16) A Fish Called Selma (Season 7, Episode 19)
There aren't a lot of Patty or Selma related episodes on here. Clearly they're not our favourites. But every now and then we get one that is just… Yeah. This is one of those examples. It probably helps that a lot of it has to do with Troy McClure, who - if Phil Hartman hadn't also done Lionel Hutz - would be my favourite Hartman character (and possibly secondary character in all of the Simpsons.) But that's not to take anything away from Selma. This episode is very well crafted. It's funny, it's touching, you get to see the humanity in Selma, instead of just her often gruff exterior. It's really well done.
Another great part of the episode is how many ridiculous titles of films the Simpsons writers could come up with for Troy McClure. Every now and then when we'd see him in a smaller part of an episode, he'd have one or two titles to drop. There are so many in this episode. It might be the best part.
But the real best part? As we've pointed out on many occasions in the past, the Simpsons writers loved to go to the well that is Planet of the Apes. Even in the episode previous to this one, I mentioned there was a reference. Well this one just has an entire musical. It would go in my highlights segment. But it deserves an entire paragraph devoted to it. Because it is, without question, the best part of the show.
But speaking of highlights:
- The Muppets go Medieval
- Troy McClure: Hi I'm Troy McClure. You might remember me from such films as The Greatest Story Ever Hulaed and They Came To Burgle Carnegie Hall.
- Troy McClure's headshot placement in The Pimento Grove
- Jeff Goldblum as MacArthur Parker the agent.
- Troy: A hahahah! That's too funny! I can't remember when I've heard a funnier anecdote. A hahaha! Okay, now you tell one!
- Troy's proposal
- News Anchor: Tonight, 70s leading man Troy McClure has finally met the woman of his dreams. We may remem- woman?? Huh. Okay… We may remember Troy from such films as The Verdict Was Mail Fraud and Leper in the Backfield.
- MacArthur Parker: Troy! Mac Parker. Have you ever heard of Planet of The Apes?
Troy: Uhhh the movie or the planet?
Parker: The brand new multi-million dollar musical. And you. Are starring… as the human
Troy: It's the part I was born to play baby!
- Troy: My good looks paid for that pool. And my talent filled it with water. Hi, I'm Troy McClure, your future uncle!
Lisa: Hi! I remember you from such filmstrips as Locker Room Towel Fights: The Blinding of Larry Drisco
Troy: You know, I was one of the first to speak out against horseplay.
Lisa: Uh huh…..
- The sign on the hotel:
Mr. & Mrs. Troy McClure
Cher & Contest Winner
- Selma: You're asking me to live a lie. I don't know if I can do that.
Troy: It's remarkably easy!
15) Bart vs. Australia (Season 6, Episode 16)
How many times can I rave about an episode? I guess four more times. Because none of these are sucky episodes. I mean, they couldn't be, otherwise they wouldn't be in the top 15. This one in particular is so, so good. Everything about it is good.
What I love the most about this episode is that they just rip on the Aussies. Now; I say this because as a Canadian the Simpsons writers have spent many moons making fun of the great white north. Like here. Or here. And here. I feel like if the Aussies take this episode as well as I take any time they rip on Canada, they would have had a great time with it.
The beauty about this episode is that there are so many great moments, they seem to all be on YouTube. So here are the best parts.
- Nine Hundred Dollarydoos?
- Mr. Prime Minister!
- Australia, America! Australia, America!
- Coffee vs, Beer
- Knifey Spooney
- The Booting
- Don't Tread On Me
14) Kamp Krusty (Season 4, Episode 1)
Oh how I loathe technology. I wrote all about this one, saved it, and somehow it decided not to save it all. And yet, number 13 on the list seems to be in tact. I don't get it. But boy am I thrilled about it.
Well all know this episode, but I think we all forget just how good it is. But considering it kicks off what is widely accepted to be the best season of The Simpsons world, it has to be a great episode. And here are the best parts:
- Bart's Dream
- Bart and Lisa's respective report card issues (and Bart's horrible attempt to forge his grades)
- Miss Hoover: Here are your final report cards. I have nothing left to say to any of you, so if nobody minds, let's just quietly run out the clock.
- Bart: Oh Dad. You're the best father a boy could ever have!
Homer: Thanks son! Now you've got little hands; could you reach under that mower and pull out that skate:
Homer: Pff. Never mind.
- Our first glimpse of Kamp Krusty
- The Kamp Krusty Song
- Imitation Gruel
- Lisa's letter home
- The Coup
- Bart: Krusty; this camp was a nightmare. They fed us gruel, they forced us to make wallets for export and one of the campers was eaten by a bear.
Krusty: Oh my god!
Bart: Well actually, the bear just ate his hat.
Krusty: Was it a nice hat?
Bart: Oh yeah.
Krusty: Oh my god!!!
13) Homerpalooza (Season 7, Episode 24)
This is one of those episodes I could basically do the highlights of without even watching this episode. I adore this episode. As the large fan of music that I am, I appreciate the festival atmosphere that Homer gets to tour on. I also harbour fantasies of becoming a touring musician and I fear that being in a Lollapalooza freak show is the closest I'll ever be able to get. And that makes me sad.
But you know what doesn't make me sad? This episode. Beginning to end, I think it's one of the most solid episodes ever written. Why? because of the following:
- Otto's dream and the subsequent trip to the auto wrecking yard
- Homer: Sooooo. How about those rainbow suspenders?
Homer: Pretty cool way to keep your pants up, eh?
- Homer's lessons on how to "sass it" when you're calling somebody a jive turkey
- Homer's music history lesson
- Homer's flashback
- Homer: I used to rock and roll all night and party every day. Then it was every other day. Now I'm lucky if I can find half an hour a week in which to get funky. I've gotta get out of this rut and back into the groove!
- The Smashing Pumpkins and Lisa's take on the 90s youth
- The pig cannon
- Marge: So you want to go on tour with a travelling freak show
Homer: I don't think I have a choice, Marge.
Marge: Of course you have a choice
Homer: How do you figure:
Marge: You don't have to join a freak show just because the opportunity came along.
Homer: ... You know Marge, in some ways, you and I are very different people!
- Billy: Hey Cannonball, I like your statement. When life takes a cheap shot at you, you stand your ground! Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins.
Homer: Homer Simpson, smiling politely.
- Cleveland or Cincinnati
- Homer: Thank you! And remember: don't trust anyone over 30! And now: Peter Frampton!
- Rover Hendrix
- Cyprus Hill and the LSO
- The end scene
12) Radioactive Man (Season 7, Episode 2)
This episode came on the heels of Who Shot Mr. Burns, Part 2. It was a refreshing change. Don't get me wrong, I like both the Mr. Burns episodes, but this episode gives us more of who we all really want. Milhouse. We know that Milhouse is kind of a wiener, but who doesn't love some 'house?
This episode is great because it has some wonderful quotes, has a lot of funny moments, has a terrific guest star in Mickey Rooney, and also really pokes fun at Hollywood and just how much people can take advantage of the film industry (for better or for worse.) Some of my favourite all-time moments come from this episode. I'll be sure to flag them in the highlights:
- The malfunctioning air conditioning(s)
- The original Radioactive Man
- Flim Springfield
- Everyone is talking about Radioactive man, y'all
- Moe on the original Little Rascals
- Bart's audition
- Lionel Hutz: Milhouse, baby! You new agent, bodyguard, unauthorized autobiographer and drug dealer... errrrr... keeper awayer.....
- The jacuzzi suit
- The fastest Homer has ever moved
- Up and at them!
- Painting horses
- Homer vs. The Teamsters
- Again and again. And again and again and again!
- Director: That Milhouse is going to be big! Gabby Hayes big! (I never got the reference until just now, where I looked it up on Wikipedia)
- My eyes! The goggles do nothing! (Seriously; even people who have never seen The Simpsons quote this.)
- The Spirograph factory (My friend Jake and I used this line repeatedly. This is the moment I was referring to when I said it was one of my all-time favourite moments. I'm so happy somebody put it on YouTube)
- The shoddy editor
- Chief Wiggum: Okay, we can all stop worrying now. These dogs never fail.
Kirk: But will they just find Milhouse? Or will they find him and kill him?
Wiggum: Well... they'll... When they find him, they'll um... flum humm shushhm yhmm
Kirk: Um excuse me, you didn't answer me, you just trailed off.
Wiggum: Yeah. Yeah I did kinda trail off there, didn't I?
- Mickey Rooney as Fallout Boy
11) A Star Is Burns (Season 6, Episode 18)
Every now and then, a crossover episode comes along where you take a character from one popular show, and insert him into another one. The Simpsons have had crossovers before, like with Family Guy, and technically with King of the Hill (which was amazing). But the best one was when they crossed over the short lived animated comedy The Critic with The Simpsons. Now, I'm sure the transition was easy, as Jon Lovitz had already done many guest spots on the Simpsons before so he would have been familiar with the staff and the style. But the way they introduced Jay Sherman was so seamless and worked so well! They also had a nice tongue-in-cheek moment about it right in the episode. They knew what they were doing.
As Shaun and I both love film so much (75% of our podcasts are about that medium) it makes sense why this episode is so high on both of our lists, which is why this episode just barely got edged out of the top-10. Although, let's be honest; 11th out of 596 episodes is pretty remarkable. Anyway, here are the best parts:
- The Eye On Springfield intro
- Are you Drew Barrymore?
- Bart's escape plan devised by Milhouse
- Chief Wiggum: Could we make our own movies and enter them?
Wiggum: At last: an excuse to wear makeup!
- Death Wish 9
- McBain: Let's Get Silly
- Lisa: I like him! He's smart, he's sensitive, he's clearly not obsessed with his physical appearance.
Homer: My ears are burning!
Lisa: Uh... I wasn't talking about you, Dad.
Homer: No my ears are really burning; I wanted to see inside so I lit a Q-tip!
- Smithers: I'm afraid we have a bad image, sir. Market research shows people see you as something of an ogre.
Burns: I ought to club them and eat their bones!
- The belching competition
- The Oscar Mayer song
- Auditions for Mr. Burns
- Dr. Hibbert's wardrobe mixup
- This. Always this.
- Barney's movie. (Also, in searching for it, I also stumbled upon a Spanish live-action spoof which is amazing. Watch it here.)
- Burns' movie. And Boooourns. (Seriously. Who doesn't know Boourns?)
- Let's just say it moved me...
- Jay Sherman getting a football in the groin
- George C Scott getting hit in the groin with a football
That's my time, kids. I'm done with this list. But I can promise you this: There will be more major things of this nature coming down the pipes eventually. Mostly because it's nice that we have a regular thing to post about on Wednesdays.
Anyway. I don't know when that's happening. That's all in Shaun's head and who wants to venture in there, am I right?