After three decades on the air and more than 650 episodes, Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie have officially moved into the Mouse House. Things only get sillier from there. But it wouldn’t be on this list if that were simply the case. After moving to another town for a new job, Homer must decide whether or not to stay when the family have a hard time with the transfer. Of the show’s many achievements, one has to be its creation of a highly relatable and specific portrait of intelligence. Krusty’s debt, by the way, is $48. Origin stories are not new. The Simpsons is an animated family sitcom, and the animated family is the Simpsons. “$pringfield (Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)”, 55. Barney wins, but Homer is right, in a way: Hans Moleman’s short film is remade with George C. Scott and wins an Oscar. Also, by setting it in the future, it allows for a lot of incredibly absurdist bits, like Bart’s treehouse tree grumpily coming to life and revealing his resentment. It’s also a terrific sendup of nearly every film festival in existence, as all the entries unwittingly reveal their creators’ mentalities, often in unflattering ways. From stomping on the tiny camera inside Kent Brockman’s oversize novelty hat to essentially wasting a trip to the top of a mountain in India, this episode is a highlight for both characters. “It all happened in 1990,” Homer says. “Homer’s Phobia” and “Much Apu Nothing” are maybe the most classic examples. As close to a perfect half-hour as TV has produced, “Cape Feare” springs the giant-footed maniac Sideshow Bob (Kelsey Grammer) from prison and returns him to Springfield on a mission of revenge, with musical interludes. After discovering her passion for filming documentaries, Lisa is encouraged by a suddenly industry-savvy Principal Skinner to create a feature on her family (her main source of drama, he notes). She snaps at Lisa, and Homer sadly suggests, “You kids should thank your mother. Both episodes deal with the alternative culture of the day, as a way of showing Homer facing the fact that he has aged out of relevance. Another example of The Simpsons’ narrative mastery, this is the series 17 writers room showing that they can construct a Swiss timepiece of a story every bit as well as previous generations. So, even though “Homer’s Barbershop Quartet,” which substitutes John, Paul, George, and Ringo for the Be Sharps (consisting of Homer, Skinner, Wiggum, I mean, Barney, and Apu de Beaumarchais), leans heavily on the Beatles’ origin story and subsequent rise and fall, there’s one major difference: It went bigger. As a 1960s scientist turned cooking-show host. You'll likely remember plenty from the nineties golden era, but here's our pick of the best Simpsons episodes you may have missed since the turn of the century, now streaming on Disney Plus. Periodically, especially in later seasons, The Simpsons takes on an issue of the day and nails it. It’s proof that the extended Simpsons family can be as complex as the core group. It’s this sort of balance of dark and light that makes for such a compelling episode. An extended parody of James Bond in general and You Only Live Twice in particular, this is an almost entirely absurd episode that gins up world-changing events so that they can be forgotten the following week. Then 9/11 happened, and it was taken out of syndication. "Rosebud", of course, is a parody of Orson Welles' Citizen Kane with Mister Burns as the central figure who is trying to regain some of his lost childhood via his teddy bear. You’ve never been?” There are a lot of words one could use to describe Homer: fat, drunk, bald, fat (again). Best The Simpsons episodes made after 2000, because we know you've already seen all of the classics from the 1990s. It’s like the cabin scene from A Night at the Opera, but with everyone involved trying to prove they’re worth saving because the door won’t close and someone needs to be booted. Coming towards the end of season three (though it was written much earlier than that — it just took an especially long time to produce), it is arguably the most absurdist episode of the show’s first era (seasons 1–4, when all the original writers were still onboard). Using his Army training, Skinner tries to keep law and order, but Bart and Nelson, among others, revolt and stuff their principal into a burlap sack. (A key episode, it seems, as it would also kick off the Sideshow Bob story line that would result in our No. No show has ever done big and small storytelling concurrently as well as The Simpsons and this is a masterful example. The final moment returns to that sign, now surrounded by pictures of Maggie. Now that she’s a better person, we can see how awful we really are.” It’s one of the more cutting lines from the show’s first decade. In order to keep his “Cal Ripken-like streak of school openage” intact, Skinner ignores the punishing weather and makes his students come in on the last day before Christmas break. Instead of Homer putting down his dessert so he could be appropriately starstruck by George Harrison, he eats an endless stream of brownies. These 100 episodes best paint a picture of all the things the series does best. Ramin Bahrani, one of our great directors, adapts Aravind Adiga’s international best seller. Few Simpsons episode do a better job at capturing Lisa’s fundamental desire for connection. It’s all fairly ridiculous, ending in a Good, Bad and the Ugly Mexican standoff, but it’s extremely lively and includes a genuine spit-out- your-water moment involving an aggressive goat and a bracelet. “When Flanders Failed” reverses the dynamics between Homer and Flanders, though, and for the first time, we see Flanders spiraling downwards instead of his erratic neighborino. There’s also a legitimately terrifying nightmare sequence with Bart as the only child in Springfield who doesn’t have a soul. Her new persona is an anti-intellectual “cool” girl. Barney, as is often the case, reveals unexpected refinement, directing a black-and-white psychodrama about his alcoholism, but Homer, who’s on the judging panel, prefers the one with the football in the groin. The final story is an exercise in pure silliness that plays like an animated “Shouts and Murmurs” column, but it has a sting: Even after Homer crashes a spaceship into the Capitol and tells the world that “Bob Dole” and “Bill Clinton” are actually tentacled space aliens, the public is told that it has to choose one of them anyway because it’s a two-party system. There, he’s … 3-D! He pays with a $50; the Don makes change. In a scene in which Flanders is trying to mediate the conflict between Homer and Armisen’s character, Homer goes, “Can we at least agree to both hate Flanders?” To which Armisen replies, “I like him. Except it’s gone, having been stolen by a gang of no-good kids from Shelbyville. It’s a twist that works so well because of how “Strummer” treats the actual rock gods. (“I liked this movie more than the one by that little girl because I saw it today.”). It’s ostensibly a parody of the thriller Cape Fear (more the 1991 Martin Scorsese remake than the 1962 J. Lee Thompson original), has a similar-sounding score, and it hews closely to that template, which gives the episode a propulsive quality that’s unusual for this digressive show. Censors were taken aback by the frankness of the sex in the episode, but the producers thankfully fought back. Went into outer space? That’s what “Homerpalooza” is. This is a sentimental episode, but also a serious one, treating the conflict between generational sensibilities at least as seriously as the two versions of The Jazz Singer that it spoofs. A parody of The Da Vinci Code and National Treasure, “Gone Maggie Gone” uses the puzzle-solving, conspiracy-mystery format to create a wholly unique and wonderful episode. Any appearance from the psychotic Irish leprechaun is always welcome and, sure enough, his cameo here – a fistic encounter with his equally violent Ulster counterpart that sparks a St Patrick’s Day riot – initiates a classic episode wherein Homer and Ned Flanders team up as bounty hunters while Marge works as an erotic baker. “Eternal Moonshine of the Simpsons Mind” won the 2008 Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming Less Than One Hour), but it’s Outstanding Comedy Series-worthy. That’s great. It goes from being about Homer’s slowness to a tour of the town’s adult-education classes (including Moe teaching “Funk Dancing for Self-Defense”), to Homer becoming a teacher, to Marge kicking Homer out, leaving him insane, homeless, and “as dirty as a Frenchman.” Any of these stories would’ve been enough for a normal show, but The Simpsons weaves it all together seamlessly. The Simpsons’ mythology has been rejiggered so many times that it’s hard to tell what really happened in the years leading up to Bart’s birth. While Marge is busy taking over as “The Listen Lady” at church, overshadowing a depressed Reverend Lovejoy, Homer, Bart, and Lisa go on a mission to find out why Homer’s head is on a Japanese box. He then spends the rest of the episode trying to prevent Bart from becoming gay in the most hilariously inept ways. Mr. Burns isn’t a complete monster. "You could choose every other episode from the first 200 episodes for your top 100 and you wouldn’t be too far off," one Simpsons writer told me. It’s not often Bart cares about something, but when he does, he’s all in. It was always a well-liked episode. But it leaves you feeling like you’ve been gassed (in a good way). Of course, though, the reason everyone remembers this episode is because of the song. A few personal favorites: Tree house of … This episode is a Trojan horse — hiding an emotional story inside a visually sumptuous package. It’s a brief friendship, but any time we get to see Nelson’s sensitive side is a winning one. and it’s revisited beautifully here when Moe – on the point of committing suicide – saves Maggie’s life and is transformed from social pariah to hero. Instead of Ringo, something something Burt Ward? After Homer stops Bart from trying to jump over Springfield Gorge on his skateboard, he accidentally finds himself zooming down the ramp instead. Even though Bart doesn’t want to be BFFs, he plays along for protection and other benefits, only to have it all washed away after Nelson realizes how one-sided the affair actually is. Anne Washburn’s 2013 experimental stage drama Mr. Burns envisioned a postapocalyptic world in which the plot of “Cape Feare” is handed down with reverence, as if it were Oedipus Rex or the story of Cain and Abel. The jokes fly fast and freely, and it’s always a treat when Bart and Lisa work together, as they do here, exposing Bob, who wins the election, as a colossal fraud. One of The Simpsons’ more assured dips into pure misery, “Kamp Krusty” finds Bart and Lisa in despair at conditions in the titular summer camp. Homer loses the plant’s Employee of the Month contest to an inanimate carbon rod that ends up stealing his space-hero glory, too, earning a ticker-tape parade and a magazine cover that announces “In Rod We Trust.”. We’re in the middle of fall premiere season, when networks roll out a dozen or so new shows. We’re going to describe it here for those who have seen it to remember — if you haven’t, skip ahead and come back later. Happy streaming! I keep expecting to get the bum’s rush.” Scorpio: “We don’t have bums in our town, Marge, and if we did, they wouldn’t rush. At story’s end, Kent Brockman intones portentously, “Even as I speak, the scourge of advertising could be headed towards your town!” Cut to commercial. ... Best Simpsons episodes post-2000 (that you probably haven't seen yet) Some fans criticize “That ’90s Episode” for ignoring the show’s past, but I’d argue there are few episodes of the show more deferential to it. “If there had to be a bastardized version of Krusty, I’m glad it’s you,” Lisa tells her dad. The A.V. Krusty’s never funnier than when he’s wallowing in melodramatic self-pity, and “Krusty Gets Kancelled” helpfully provides him with an Olympic-size pool in which to marinate. To quote something showrunner Mike Scully once said in an interview, “Guns in the hands of people like Homer Simpson are bad.” But an episode about it? Homer and Lisa stories routinely end up being the most touching — just look at this list, which is packed with them — and in this case, “Brick Like Me” does a wonderful job of grounding this highest of concepts. He falls well short of his goal, but Marge and Lisa chip in, and all of a sudden, the Simpsons are ON A BOAT. Amanda Gorman Geeking Out Over James Corden Won Late Night This Week. Homer tumbles down the Gorge the same way, with the same painful sounds. Bart, Milhouse, Nelson, Martin, Todd, and Database sneak into their neighboring city on a rescue mission, only to find their beloved tree in an impound lot. Eventually, they badger their parents into taking them to the most violent place on Earth, Itchy & Scratchy Land. They succeed with The Troll Twins of Underbridge Academy, but the publisher won’t agree to put it out until they find an “author” with an inspirational story. “Homer to the Max” is undoubtedly assisted by its meta humor (Homer has gone through various levels of intelligence since season one), but it also works as yet another funny episode about how ridiculous TV can be. When Martin dies in class after getting frightened in a dream, the sheet is accidentally pulled off of his gurney to reveal his death rictus. When Homer learns that his car has been illegally parked in New York City, the Simpsons decide to take a trip there as a family. In the episode, Homer is introduced to Mindy, a new female co-worker who happens to be his perfect match. That and the fact that no one wants to imagine Bart as a male stripper. The out-of-nowhere final gag, which sees the family turned inside-out by a creepy blue fog (based on an old-time radio episode), is the grossest touch of all; supposedly producer David Mirkin made a point of upping the violence in this one after network notes warned him that the last few Treehouses had been too bloody. Ned’s been repressed since childhood, and all the built-up anger came out at once. On a devastating last day of school — one of too many to count on this time and geography-blurring series — Lisa is bereft when nobody will sign her yearbook. The show’s a treasure trove of in-jokes, some of them impossible to appreciate without inside knowledge (all the posters advertising the “fictional” Simpsons show are actually posters advertising the real thing), others broad as can be (when Bart gets kicked off the show for attacking flight attendants, he’s replaced by Richie Rich). Check out /r/SimpsonsShitposting if that's your thing. Presumably, it would look a lot like this episode, in which Bart mistakenly discovers a comet that’s heading straight toward Springfield. Even Homer needs the imagination of Lisa, who’s sent to the power planet for Go to Work With Your Parents Day, to reveal the magic in the mundane — it’s amazing how easily radiation suits can make you feel like you’re an astronaut. What happens when the kids of Springfield Elementary are trapped in the school with Principal Skinner and Groundskeeper Willie because of a devastating blizzard? He retreats to his room and Lisa gives him her telescope with which to pass the time. The episode is absolutely packed with film references — Jurassic Park, Westworld, The Birds, Walt Disney — but it also has one of the series best ever punch lines: “No, my son is also named Bort!”. For basically every Simpsons episode, Lisa is the only genuinely smart person in Springfield. An homage to Rear Window — there are two moments when Bart literally sees a similarly injured Jimmy Stewart staring back at him through his telescope — “Bart of Darkness”’s two plots work hand in hand. (Images, videos, quotes, news, articles, thoughts, trivia, etc.) Like a lot of Lisa-centric episodes, this one cuts to the heart of a young girl’s struggle to invent an identity for herself without being dishonest about her nature. The show had dealt with infidelity in the past — namely, “Life on the Fast Lane” and “Colonel Homer” — but “The Last Temptation of Homer” surpasses them both. It makes perfect sense in the actual episode, which includes a visually rich parody of those “Take a Photo of Yourself Once a Day for Five Years” videos. In its second season, now on Netflix, the glassblowing-competition series offers the warmth you crave on a cold January day. He’s smart, handsome, and understands the magic of Jim Carrey, so when he asks Lisa to marry him, she immediately replies yes. It’s one of the (many — we’re talking about 25 seasons here, people) most moving scenes of the entire series (partly thanks to Bart’s court-mandated sincerity chip). The episode stars Lisa as its Robert Langdon, as she searches for an ancient gem as a way of finding Maggie. In this case, he becomes a mall Santa. Suddenly, all the nonsensical ramblings begin to make sense. Tonally, “The Last Temptation of Homer” is one the show’s greatest achievements. It’s one of the best jokes The Simpsons has done in its last decade. It’s Bart at his most puckish: He’s pulling a prank, but only because he doesn’t want to go back to the reality of everyday life. Lisa’s need for braces coincides with Mr. Burns’s attempts to take the nuclear-plant union’s dental plan away. If it were, I’d kill everyone who looked at me cockeyed!”, Homer’s physical resemblance to Krusty (bald head, dumpling body) gets turned to the Simpsons’ advantage when he attends Krusty’s clown college and gets work as a Krusty impersonator (or “Krustacean”). The two bond when Lisa arranges Moe’s grimy, suicidal ramblings, or his “brain goo,” as he calls it, into a poem. Bart’s entry is just cruel hidden-camera footage of his dad trying to squeeze into too-small pants; Ned Flanders makes an amateurish film about Moses that sends one of his children careening down a river; Hans Moleman’s “Man Getting Hit in the Groin by Football” is self-explanatory. (“Worst episode ever,” the Comic Book Guy repeats, undeterred.) Very few jokes hit in its unengaging tone. This was demonstrated efficiently in “And Maggie Makes Three,” in a brief montage in which Homer rips out some of his hair upon finding out Marge was pregnant with Bart, and then more of it with Lisa, and then the last of it with Maggie. When Apu realizes Lisa’s potential to be a star goalie, she joins his hockey team and begins to outshine Bart. With Ned mournfully singing “Que Será, Será (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)” in the background, things devolve into chaos, and Homer follows his neighbor out of the shelter. That’s unpossible!”). 10 Best The Simpsons Characters (Who Only Appear In One Episode) From fan favorite Hank Scorpio to Beatrice Simmons and Frank Grimes, some of these one-off The Simpsons characters are fan favorites! There’s not a wasted line in “Homer Badman.” It’s one classic scene after another. Though this episode aired first, it wasn’t the first Simpsons episode, as it aired before the first season as a Christmas special, and it wasn’t the first episode produced. Bart auditions for the role of the hero’s sidekick, Fallout Boy, but loses it to Milhouse, who’s an inch taller. Spoofing the VH1 series Behind the Music (with voice-over by that show’s regular narrator, Jim Forbes), it’s a rise-and-fall story that seems to occur not within the Simpsons universe, but adjacent to it. Apparently, the family got into showbiz by producing a pilot for the show we’re now watching, then became hugely successful, squabbled over money, split up, and did whatever they had to do to pay the bills before finally reuniting at the Iowa State Fair. Moe’s Tavern is a regular spot on the show, and Homer is often drunk. Formatted like a classic sitcom flashback episode, “That ’90s Episode” succeeds as a perfect send-up of the ’90s and deepens our understanding of Marge and Homer’s relationship, telling the story of how Marge went to college and fell for one of her professors. (The first few minutes show Krusty lighting a cigarette with a copy of Action Comics #1.). It’s a disaster. Kirk loses his job and tries rather pathetically to reinvent himself as a single guy, even dating a radio-station employee named Starla and recording a demo; Luann has better luck, hooking up with an American Gladiator who goes by the name of Pyro. Homer’s unable to sit still while working in his living room, and during the conclusion, his daring climb up the power-plant tower to prevent a “potential Chernobyl” is paired with Mr. Burns’s surprisingly lively “push out the jive, bring in the love” exercise class. Side note: The episode features a hilarious B story, in which Bart and Lisa discover an alternate ending to Casablanca. But that’s the thing: Most small towns are exactly the same; it’s your personal connection to them that makes the difference. The Simpsons’ writers came across an issue of Time that theorized what would happen if a comet were to hit Earth. The final shot — a roll call of future public-works scandals, confirming that Springfield learned nothing from this disaster — is oddly poignant. Case in point: “Lisa on Ice,” an episode that starts with hyperbolic explosions on Kent Brockman’s “Action News” and ends with one of the show’s sweetest moments between Bart and Lisa. Right. It’s a sweet ending to a sincere episode, one that’s based on something real: We can’t imagine what it’s like to go into space, but we know what it’s like to worry for our loved ones. At the time, The Simpsons was an anecdote for both. “Scenes From the Class Struggle in Springfield”, 40. The road-trip episode is a time-honored sitcom tradition, right up there with having two dates at the same time with two different women. Pinafore,” the episode has entered the realm of the sublime. An atmospheric storm brings giant fast-food and other capitalist mascots to life, and they go on a destructive tear through town. Primarily, it’s a story of Marge cheating to win a baking contest because she wants to be known as more than “the wife of a husband who doesn’t go to work.” The second plotline is a ridiculous arc in which, after Marge cuts all the naked pictures out of Homer’s Playdudes (The Simpsons’ Playboys), Bart finds them and starts enacting a Hugh Hefner–like lifestyle, just without the sex. This Halloween trilogy features a monster in an attic, a political satire, and a riff on The Incredible Shrinking Man, Fantastic Voyage, and other adventures in miniaturization. I … It becomes increasingly apparent to Homer how frustrating and isolating the world is for intelligent people. He talks in rhyme and owns a whimsical store in a failing mall: He’s like the dad in a Wes Anderson movie.” Over 25 years, The Simpsons takes the job of culture critic very seriously. And you can sense it. After finding a Chanel suit that’s marked down from $2,800 to $90, Marge begins to wear it constantly, including a trip to the Kwik-E-Mart, where she runs into a friend from high school, Evelyn, who’s as rich as she is snotty. When Homer wins a wishbone and hopes for Flanders’s new Leftorium to go bankrupt (at least it’s better than death), we see the same troubles that normally befall Homer happen to Flanders. It’s known primarily for its closing line, which is truly one for the ages (“To alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.”), but “Homer vs. the 18th Amendment” is full of bons mots. Krusty’s quest begins when he learns he’s ineligible for the Walk of Fame because he never had a bar mitzvah. Not only is that scene one of The Simpsons’ most notable moments, but the rest of “I Love Lisa”’s charming story line has also found its way into the hearts of fans. Seems like a hard ask during quarantine, but we’ll keep our eyes peeled. (Note: It doesn’t include the Michael Jackson episode, “Stark Raving Dad,” which was pulled from circulation earlier this year.) But the most recent seasons have still featured some fantastic episodes that are just as good as anything … Hipster jokes didn’t have the best track record before this episode aired, but The Simpsons was able to breathe life into them. 8. Luckily, our friends from Springfield have been through this all before (see The Simpsons Movie) and are on the new streaming service to guide us through these tough times. “It’s not up to us to choose which laws we want to obey. The training sequence requires Homer’s crew mate Barney to go without booze, unleashing his inner gymnast and opera singer (he performs two lines of the Major General’s song from The Pirates of Penzance; shades of “Cape Feare”), and Homer’s fears of space travel are realized when he opens a bag of smuggled potato chips in zero gravity and causes an Apollo 13–style crisis. 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