This was the first major tragedy to strike the Flanders clan since Ned's brush with financial ruin in Season 1. The Simpsons has always referenced an ongoing rivalry between Springfield and the neighboring city of Shelbyville. It says a lot about Homer that he gave in and did the morally correct thing, not because he feared for his own soul, but because he didn't want Lisa to be unhappy. Updated by Colin McCormick on April 2, 2020: We could all use a good laugh in these strange times as well as a great show to binge-watch. In the Simpsons version, Homer and his family are terrorized by Homer’s nemesis Sideshow Bob, voiced by actor Kelsey Grammer; they end up entering the witness protection program and relocating to a new town and a houseboat to try to escape. ", "Your father can be surprisingly sensitive. “But the episode isn’t in thrall to whoever it is. I never heard that word before I moved to Springfield. “I’d put The Simpsons right up there — I think it’s as or more powerful than Saturday Night Live,” he told TIME. In its first season, it was a traditional family sitcom. In the Simpsons version, Homer and his family are terrorized by Homer’s nemesis Sideshow Bob, voiced by actor Kelsey Grammer; they end up entering the witness protection program and relocating to a new town and a houseboat to try to escape. Menu. If you only ever watch 29 episodes of The Simpsons … In the 30 years since the show first aired, hundred of episodes … Stacker presents the best “Simpsons” episodes of all time. And sure enough, when Lisa peeks in on the teachers, she discovers Willie the groundskeeper making fun of the students — a cutting commentary on the cruelty of adults, as explored by a child. "Yes, that's me, and the guy standing next to me is President Gerald Ford… And this is when I was on tour with the Smashing Pumpkins… Oh, and here's a picture of me in outer space. The Simpsons wasted no time slashing into politics and corporate greed: Blinky, the mutant three-eyed fish of this episode, became an enduring image of environmental negligence. The episode saw a Hollywood studio choose Springfield as the location to shoot their big-budget Radioactive Man movie (starring Ranier Wolfcastle, of course). “It’s as perfect an episode of television as I’ve ever seen,” Ortved says. * The request timed out and you did not successfully sign up. You know, we saved your a$$ in World War II. Strap in, because it doesn't end until Labor Day is over. The Simpsons: 10 Best Episodes From Season 30 Onwards. You can unsubscribe at any time. "Homer at the Bat" Season 3, Episode 17. Meanwhile, production ground to halt as Mayor Quimby and the rest of Springfield bled the studio dry with bogus taxes and fees. It is an ensemble episode … "Lemon of Troy" offered a fun glimpse into Shelbyville, which turned out to be an almost Mirror Universe version of Springfield in some ways. Tweet. What are the best episodes of The Simpsons? Share. Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. “It’s still got some of my favorite single lines in the show,” Turner says, and Richmond concurs that he’s still got a soft spot for the episode. Fox via Getty Images Some of us have spent nearly as much time in … This week, The Simpsons celebrates its 30th anniversary of being on air. (“It’s one of the few old-school cartoon things they did in the show,” Turner recalls.) The Simpsons episode voted the best ever by IMDb's users is also, without question, the absolute darkest installment of the whole series: season 8's "Homer's Enemy," in … To top it off, there’s voice acting from the Ramones (yes, the rock star Ramones), adding an official layer of punk rock cool to the show. Grimes was intelligent and ambitious, yet he could never seem to catch a break in life. Like any show that's gone on for decades, though, it's understandable if someone fell off the show after a point. Here we saw Bart lead a crew of misfits (Milhouse, Nelson, Martin, etc.) This in turn forced their parents to pile into Flanders' RV to rescue them. Top 50 Simpsons Episodes of All-Time. And as for the jokes? Would you like to see my Grammy award?". “It’s quite dark,” admits Ortved, “but you and I laugh so hard, because you realize everyone in the Simpsons world has become so inured to Homer’s stupidity, gluttony and downright parasitic laziness. The Simpsons: The Best Episode Of Each Season (From Season 1 To 10) Most of The Simpsons' greatest episodes land in its first ten seasons. CES 2021 Highlights: The Biggest Announcements From The Show, Netflix's 2021 Movie Release Lineup: New Films From Chris Hemsworth, Dwayne Johnson, and Zack Snyder Revealed, PS5 Scalpers Used a Loophole to Buy Stock Before It Was Live in the UK, Every Monster in the Godzilla MonsterVerse, Disney Parks to Change Jungle Cruise Ride Over Longstanding Racism Complaints, GameStop Traders Share Why They Went Big on the GME Stock Squeeze, Here's Why Kong is So Big in Godzilla vs. Kong, No, Konami Hasn't Shut Down Its Gaming Division, Platforming Modern Classic Celeste Gets a Surprise Semi-Sequel, Things Ghost of Tsushima Doesn't Tell You. “The fact is, you can’t be that funny for that long, and comedy moves on. This episode explores what happens when reality — or something like it — bumps up agains the Simpsons fantasy. It’s really held up.” Thanks to the nine players who contributed, it’s an iconic episode that showcases the power of the Simpsons‘s allure to draw in unusual cameos. Journalist John Ortved, who wrote The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History, considers it one of our most powerful cultural forces in television. Here are the best Flanders episodes of The Simpsons. While Bart was stuck indoors with a broken leg and little but bad TV to keep him entertained ("Ugh... Klassic Krusty..."), Lisa was able to bask in her newfound popularity as the girl with a swimming pool. With that in mind, we've decided to showcase the best of The Simpsons' modern era. Turner agrees, calling the 3D animation a “huge deal at the time.” Besides its play on The Shining, there’s also an homage to the musical Sweeney Todd involving the students in the school cafeteria that delights in the macabre. 10 Worst Simpsons Episodes From The Best Seasons. Burns?" WandaVision Deserves the Hype. For the list, Stacker surveyed all the episodes’ IMDb user ratings and ranked them accordingly. Most critics accept that the second half of the show’s run hasn’t hit its early subversive highs. This episode also benefited from an amusing subplot involving Homer struggling to build a doghouse and accidentally teaching Todd Flanders how to swear. This episode sees the Simpsons travel to the new Itchy & Scratchy theme park for their summer trip. Based around a dysfunctional family and their wacky adventures, The Simpsons has been a place to find smart irreverent humor every week. And the episode featured a guest appearance by Aerosmith, which was pretty cool. It upset his comfortable, squeaky-clean world and allowed for an extended character arc to play out over the course of many seasons as Ned adjusted to the single parent lifestyle and started dating again. Could Amsterdam's New Economic Theory Replace Capitalism? The 50 Best "Simpsons" Episodes Of All Time. But it’s been going for almost thirty years now, so it’s only natural that the high benchmark of quality the show set for itself has started to dip. The townspeople are quick to fall for his song-and-dance routine, and naturally Homer ends up as the conductor of the faulty — and highly unnecessary — new form of transportation. The Simpsons didn’t get into any wacky or absurdist territory until the Springfield Gorge jump in season 2’s “Bart the Daredevil” marked an integral stylistic turning point. By signing up you are agreeing to our. Which is the best episode … Here are the best Simpsons episodes of all time. It was one of several cases where a key twist has given an old character new life on this show. But it wasn't until "Lemon of Troy" that said rivalry truly took center stage. Goo-goo! Some of the best Simpsons episodes deal with quite serious topics and few come more serious than Homer having a massive heart attack. If that sounds like too much of a time commitment, or you're struggling with which ones to watch, start here. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our. The unusual visuals in the animations make it particularly memorable in the show’s run. Bart's dreams of playing Fallout Boy were dashed when the role went to Milhouse. Write to Raisa Bruner at raisa.bruner@time.com. “Cape Feare” from season five is a fan favorite. You've never been? If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission. This Citizen Kane homage gets into the backstory of Mr. Burns, recalling his beloved childhood teddy bear, Bobo, that he discarded in exchange for ascension to a life of wealth — and his lifelong quest to recover the treasured object. For Ray Richmond, critic and co-author of The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family, it’s one of the classics. The Simpsons has had a run that no other show of its kind can match, what with its 25 seasons and 550 episodes (and counting). I admit it, I am the Lindbergh baby! The Simpsons … Please try again later. ", "A little from Column A, a little from Column B. Waah! But leave it to Moe to hog all the credit and leave his friend and most loyal customer out in the cold. ", "Yeah? But it still claims respect. Other times, it has been a wry reflection of present and past. And then all the sudden you have this whole thing that explores the imaginative possibilities of animation and the elasticity of the characters. on a quest to retrieve Springfield's beloved Lemon Tree from Shelbyville's miscreants. Springfield installs surveillance cameras (like London) after a bomb scare, and Flanders ends up in charge of it. Season 7 continued the drama as Chief Wiggum investigated the crime and Lisa raced to clear her father's name before he actually killed his boss. The show was not afraid to take a mirror to itself, with this episode as proof. And all of his pent-up aggression burst forth when he encountered Homer, a happy family man with a house and a decent job and everything Grimes didn't have. But despite the dire context, they’re still able to mine plenty of comedy out of the circumstances. To Surveil, with Love . Over 12 days, the cable network will air all 552 episodes of the long-running series with no breaks. The result was an endearing little drama as Homer struggled to live up to the man Lisa wanted him to be. "Homer's Enemy" introduced us to Frank Grimes, the man who was everything Homer isn't. “On some level The Simpsons is a kind of punk rock TV show, or certainly was,” Ortved says. In the end, nobody won, especially not Wolfcastle as he was swept away by a river of toxic waste. This episode combined both conflicts as it explored Edna's sad, lonely existence and the emergence of a bond between teacher and student. Homer's bizarre creation, The Flaming Homer, brought a new level of success and prestige to Moe's Tavern. Bart pranked Mrs. K with a series of love letters inspired by his parents' own letters, only to feel a pang of regret when he realized the emotional damage he had caused. Ultimately, Homer’s quest leads him to question his relationship with Marge — but by the end of the episode, he has seen the light and re-confirmed Marge as his soulmate, a touching moment of romance in a show not always best known for its sensitivity to love. Fox 8. And naturally, it's only a matter of time before Homer and Bart's promise not to embarrass Marge completely falls apart. The episode: A parody of VH1’s Behind the Music, the episode re-imagines the Simpsons as a real-life TV show, complete with behind-the-scenes interviews with Homer (the creator of the show) and his supporting cast. Remember when I giggled at his Sherlock Holmes hat? Number one: 'Cover for me.' Both episodes were funny, certainly, but we also appreciate their darker edge and the whodunit mystery that kept Simpsons fanatics speculating and debating all through the summer of 1995. To celebrate and consider the show’s hefty legacy, TIME spoke to three Simpsons scholars and experts who have written extensively about the show over the years, particularly about its lauded first decade. “E-I-E-I Annoyed Grunt” Season 11. “At its core it’s just a feel-good show about this wonderful family. The episode: A parody of VH1’s Behind the Music, the episode re-imagines the Simpsons as a real-life TV show, complete with behind-the-scenes interviews with Homer (the creator of … The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History, We Asked Experts for 10 of Their Most Memorable. ", "Are you trying to stall us, or are you just senile? And it was a gleeful parody of the infamous "Who Shot J.R.?" This episode is one of the best showcases of The Simpsons’ incredible cast of side characters. It had to happen sometime. He also encounters a coyote spirit guide, voiced by country icon Johnny Cash. An English boy, huh? But It Penalizes Casual Marvel Viewers With Confusion, Why 'The Great Gatsby' Now 'Belongs to the People', Sign up to receive the top stories you need to know now on politics, health and more, © 2021 TIME USA, LLC. But the episode also hit all the right notes in terms of celebrating the peculiar sense of community among Springfielders and their mythologized town history. ", "I don't know why. Sometimes, the show has seemed to tell the future. Why can't she be more like...well, not like Bart...". In their fifth installment of the annual — and much-loved — Halloween-themed “Treehouse of Horror” episode, the Simpsons creators parodied a number of famous scary stories to sharp comic effect. ", "Sure. Written by: John Swartzwelder "Homer at the Bat," as much as a half-hour cartoon could be, was an event. “It becomes kind of repetitive and tedious, but by the seventh or eighth time it’s funny. "Truly, yours is a butt that won't quit.". D'oh! Edna Krabappel's romantic misadventures have often been a focus on the series, as have her clashes with Bart, every teacher's worst nightmare. In it, Mr. Burns hires a hard-working man named Frank Grimes to join the power plant. How can you not love an episode that simultaneously parodies Westworld, Jurassic Park and the Walt Disney empire? All Rights Reserved. TCFFC. Homer quickly deteriorates under the circumstances, to murderous effect. So death is a topic that only comes up rarely. Notably, the Simpsons team managed to get the actual celebrities themselves to voice act their characters, from Roger Clemens to Ken Griffey Jr. “It’s amazing in retrospect that they managed to get these celebrity athletes,” explains Turner. These are the episodes that didn't merely settle for … Please attempt to sign up again. And some of the most memorable conflicts on this show have come when the far more mature and morally pristine Lisa struggles to reconcile her beliefs with her father's actions. “The voice of reason is completely thrown out the window for something quite funny and fun and imaginative,” explains Ortved, identifying the reason this episode stands out: “The Simpsons have always kept this kind of Aristotelian unity; they only did stuff that could happen in the real world, despite the fact they were a cartoon. He sulked for a week and then closed his detective agency. '", "Alright! Clever, precocious Lisa becomes student body president of Fairfield Elementary School in this episode that parodies the opera Evita, with Lisa even singing a spin on “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina” as she goes on to rule the school. "There's something wrong with that kid. This long running spin-off of a short cartoon from The Tracy Ullman Show has grown into a cultural phenomenon, and FOX network's flagship television program. Making Bart and Skinner friends seems like a pretty hacky concept for an episode, but it works because Skinner is just so kind and sincere (if still hilariously lame). Number two: 'Oh, good idea, boss.' The 10 best episodes of The Simpsons, ranked. "Treehouse of Horror XV" is the best Simpsons Halloween episode in the last 15 years. With The Simpsons kicking off its 30th (!!!) But in some ways this is one of the darker Simpsons episodes. But despite the dire context, they’re still able to mine plenty of comedy out of the circumstan… The Simpsons gets a bad rep, but 20th Century Studios have stuck with Homer and co. for a reason. I'm the one who provoked the lethal barrage of T-shirts. For more. ", "I want to share something with you - the three little sentences that will get you through life. Memorably, astronaut Buzz Aldrin and rock star James Taylor make voice cameos. But the most recent seasons have still featured some fantastic episodes that are just as good as anything from the show's classic era. ... so the best years will be defined as the episodes between Season 2 to Season 8. Well, we saved your a$$ in World War III. Waah! Despite the longevity of the series, none of the citizens of the Simpsons world have aged a day. In this self-skewering episode, a popular kids’ show in the Simpsons’s universe — The Itchy & Scratchy Show — decides to make an attempt to inject fresh energy into its world with the addition of a new character, Poochie, to keep the attention of the audience. We encourage you to read our updated PRIVACY POLICY and COOKIE POLICY. “The Shining,” which is the segment that’s most well-remembered, sees the family get hired by Mr. Burns to take care of his mansion. Ever. By Jason Serafino. One of the most memorable parts of the episode is a comic bit that’s become Simpsons legend: Sideshow Bob keeps stepping onto rakes that continually whack him in the face. This episode teaches us the overlooked lesson of carelessly challenging strangers to a duel. This is what Richmond calls the “ultimate Sideshow Bob episode.” It’s primarily a play on the Oscar-nominated 1991 movie Cape Fear, a psychological thriller from Martin Scorsese. As much as Homer is portrayed as an ordinary slob of a lower-middle class guy, he's had some pretty grand adventures and lucky breaks over the years. The Simpsons has been on the air for over thirty years, churning out some of the most iconic pieces of American television comedy ever. "Embiggens? The heart, the satire, the absurdity, the one-liners: It all feels special in the way that the best episodes of The Simpsons feel like something beyond just a great episode of television. remains the only two-part storyline the show has ever tackled. In this foray into a newly surrealist realm — or a “spirit quest acid trip,” as Turner describes it — Homer wins a hot-pepper-eating contest only to start hallucinating due to the strength of the peppers. In the case of a tie, the episode with more user votes was ranked higher. Classic Episode. “It’s a really careful and smart satire and tribute to a musical, a great exploration of Lisa,” Ortved explains, “and it gets into a character’s weakness and darker sides — and her hunger for power.” Beyond that, the episode is full of small jokes and gags that keep it memorable, including a cameo from filmmaker Michael Moore as himself. “Even at its lowest, it’s been greater than almost every comedy,” Richmond says. 15. of 15. Luckily, The Simpsons offers both and 30 seasons of the … Some great The Simpsons episodes are about Homer's job at the nuclear power plant while other good episodes focus on Bart and Lisa at school. The episode ended on a cliffhanger, with Burns shot and dozens of Springfielders as potential culprits. Homie The Clown (Season 6, episode 15, 1996) Perhaps more than any other Simpsons episode, it’s difficult to talk about 'Homie the Clown' without just ending up quoting lines from it. Principal Skinner is the best secondary Simpsons character, and this is the best Skinner episode. "Moe, I haven't seen the place this crowded since the government cracked down on you for accepting food stamps.". Anyone who has experienced the overwhelming assault of capitalism and corporate mascots that is Disney World can appreciate this episode. Am ET | Originally published: December 10, 2019 5:26 PM EST never seem catch. Of Troy '' that said rivalry truly took center stage sounds like too much of a bond between teacher student... Particularly memorable in the last 15 years make a purchase using the links included, we earn... 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