Well my beloved fans on TSHQ.co, every once and a great while, us writers decide it’s time to treat you to something out of the ordinary. Whether it be LeBron James branded heroin, a recap of our favorite writer Bryan Doherty’s lack luster love life, or a preview of TV Guide during a piss poor Dolphins game which no one wants to watch. We’re here to really show you the better sides of life. Not just in the sports world, which we can all agree reign supreme over our dull, mundane, day-to-day lives. But in the world of television as a whole. Because when it’s all said and done, television is king. If we cannot agree to that, then you might as well stop reading here. What do I care? You’re already on the site! WE ALREADY HAVE YOUR HIT CALCULATED! THERE’S NOTHING YOU CAN DO READER! NOTHING! BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA! And soforth…
But seriously, K.M. Venne and I decided it was time to pay respect to the greatest television show in the history of television shows. That show of course being Lost “The Simpsons”. Cole Zwicker will probably sit there screaming at his computer in a drunken rage that “Game of Thrones” is the greatest show of all time and all that jazz. Look, numbers don’t lie. You think “Game of Thrones” is making it to Season 23? Not a chance in all of Mordor. I don’t care how many books that sham author puts out. It’s not happening. “The Simpsons” longevity stems from it’s golden years, which this series of articles will focus heavily on.
How will it work? Will we have a brain trust rank every episode based on strength of schedule or time slot competition or things of that nature? Of course not. This isn’t some garbage like the BCS. Computers don’t tell me what’s better than whom or whom’s better than what. No. Truth is K.M. and I are seasoned veterans when it comes to The Simpsons. We have both been watching since the beginning. And I wont hear any questions about my age. If I do accidentally hear one, you can bet your ass I wont answer it. What will happen is one of us will break down the canon of each episode we list. As in, what is it about that episode which makes it so Simpson-y. The other will take on the cultural significance. Ie. what about that episode transending the show and actually made its way into our every day way of life.
Out of the 500+ episodes the show has produced, K.M. and I decided that it was time to cut the nonsense and compile our list of the 100 best episodes the series has given us over the years. A show that started off as a 15-second segue to commercial breaks on “The Tracey Ullman Show” blossomed into one of the most ground-breaking, iconic, and culturally shaping programs of all time. Guys like Matt Parker, Trey Stone, and Seth MacFarlane have stacks of millions of dollars which they can all attribute to “The Simpsons”. LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Bono, Justin Beiber… You can all eat your hearts out. When it comes to being bigger than Jesus, no one comes close to the bigness which is “The Simpsons”. Without further Apu, enjoy part one of the 10-part extravaganza.
100. Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire
Coley – Starting off with the episode in which all else follow. Now some people may think this is too low of a ranking. Those people can die in a fire. I will be handling the canon for part one, so I’ll let K.M. delve deeper into why “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” came in at #100 for us. For this episode, we really get introduced to the storytelling capabilities which we will grow accustomed to over the years. Now, it’s far from the most complex story line of all time, but it is a classic one. Homer doesn’t get his Christmas bonus from Mr. Burns at the Power Plant so he is forced to take another job as a mall Santa without his family knowing. (We are introduced to a blue collar, middle American family in the lower-middle class because Homer is the only one with a job in the family.) Bart finds out by being the little ******* he is, pulling Homer’s beard off exposing him to legions of small children as a fraud. From there, Homer takes Bart and the paltry amount of money he earned as Santa and heads down to the dog track to hopefully win enough money to buy some decent gifts for his family. This is an important aspect because while Homer is seen as a brutish dolt who is best known for his blunders and bufoonery, he truly does care about his family. This is proven time after time throughout the series, and even in the movie in which he cares about his entire family. Even his sisters-in-law. Homer has a big heart and when the dog he and Bart bet on, for “TV Christmas specials reasons,” fails to win the race, it seems like we’ve been told a rather sad story. Which, we kind of are in a heart warming way. Because the dog which lost the race, Santa’s Little Helper, is disowned in the parking lot in front of Homer and Bart. Santa’s Little Helper makes a b-line for the pair after running away from his owner (who we don’t see again for about 14 seasons). Dispite initial hesitance from Homer, he sees this as a golden opportunity to save Christmas because, “He’s a loser like us. He’s a Simpson already.” While this is far from the best episode of “The Simpsons” it introduced us to the type of story telling we would see repeated and sharpened over the years. Sure, it helps that it was a Christmas episode, but for a cartoon to exhibit modern day human characteristics…. that had simply never been done before for a prime time audience. The title itself, “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire,” also showed us that the writers had zero problem taking former titles (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) and adapting them to the episodes.
K.M.: Listen haters, and you probably arn’t actually haters if you are reading a Simpsons article, but screw it, I will call you haters should I happen to feel like it, you may be asking “What about the first episode of The Simpsons ended up being culturally significant?” And in a way, you would be kind of right. The Simpsons didn’t waste a lot of time introducing us to the characters, we were left to figure them out on our own. We didn’t get spoon fed facts about all the main players, and really the intro was of Santa’s Little Helper, who does not really have any cultural significane, and honestly as far as Simpson canon goes, I’d rank as less important then the Snowballs. But the way in which you are right is sadly wrong, because you can’t see the forest through the trees. This was a CARTOON on network televison. And it worked. Was it a great episode? No. The entire first season was miss or hit, as we look back on it with the hindsight of what the series would become, we don’t find much here worth quoting, worth debating, worth rewatching honestly. But imagine an 8 year old K.M. Venne, who didn’t even really like cartoons. He was a smart kid, probably smarter than you are now, and he moved around a lot, so he liked things that had some depth to them. He loved baseball and it’s stats, he loved computers, hell the nerd loved school, his parents had to fight to keep him in the same grade. This cartoon shows up on prime time, and unlike the senseless violence and cornball comedy so many cartoons stand for, this one was edgy, thoughtful, and intellegently written. It was long format, and instead of using that long format to fit in more of the same, told a story. It was really unlike anything else on television. It was, because of that, a HUGE gamble. But it worked. It worked on so many levels. It had something for his brother, something for him, something for his parents, and while a prime time cartoon was thought to be a show that would never work, instead it was something that, when done the way the Simpsons did it, would never NOT work. It took a season or two for the Simpsons to reach the level of iconic entertainment it would reach, but man, they earned the patience they got by just being the show they were. The Simpsons to many people filled a void they may or may not have known they had. This episode does not stand alone well in 2012 at all. It wouldn’t get the time of day today. It’s not one of the 100 best, honestly. But in a way, it’s actually the best, because it proved that this show was going to work. It deserves to start this list. Because to SO many people, it started a piece of themselves. And to many of us, that piece has enriched our lives in ways words struggle to describe. This is not an episode you should watch again. This is an episode that is a placeholder to you. This may not be the first episode you ever saw, but in a way, it is. This show is, either accuratly or metaphoratically, the first time you saw the show. It was great, but most importantly, it only got better and better. This started the love affair.
99. Bye Bye Nerdie
K.M. – For any Lisa episode to make a top 100 list takes excellent stuff going around it, some memorable moments, or just Coley and I feeling a bizarre sense of obligation for a character that adds so little to the show compared to the bigger players, even when viewed as a straight woman/comedic foil. The combination of those three elements are up for debate, but it’s our list and we put it here, so a discussion of this show is in order. Being one of the latest episodes we will list, the canon of this episode will have to focus more on the previous arc of show compared to how the show would move forward. Instantly, I will mention the existance of the cereal Stabby O’s, which is not only a great thing to throw out as a quote, but keeps with the shows time honored tradition of making solid food/product/consumption jokes, an oft unappreicated Simpsons’ quality. Part of the redeeming quality of this episode is the fact that Homer strangly has always fancied himself a jock, so when the subject gets to nerds, he always takes an anti-nerd stance, despite the fact that Lisa is, well, Lisa, and he is, well, Homer. Speaking of, the normal plot-subplot formula for Simpson’s episodes here gets a bit turned on it’s head, as Homer yet again finds himself in a random side venture, this time dealing with baby safety. And it has some golden moments, such as Maggie chasing Homer with a nail gun laughing. Good Maggie is fleeting, but always memorable, and her evil side is another bit of canon that we never really got enough of (probably for the best, it was always better due to the scarsity of it). Things like Poison Delivery Service and Frink out there being Frink (“Yes, you’ll love their slacks, ehhhhay!”) give this episode some good quotability, but most of all, it was an episode that was a solid blend of quotable and memorable (if perhaps only memorable because it was good for a Lisa episode), and it deserves it’s place, because we gave it it’s place, and we don’t do anything Simpsons wrong.
Coley – Yup. A Lisa episode. Pretty much the only reason it’s on the list at all is because it deals with nerds which means Professor Frink makes an appearance. Frink is one of the best characters on the show and his presence alone makes this episode great. Because Lisa episodes are the worst. Some of you fools may think of these as “Meg” episodes because you are uncultured and probably only watch “Family Guy” with the rest of your Lax Bro friends, but I digress. But this episode comes from the 12th season, which is probably the latest you’ll see us rank episodes from. While I’m under the impression that Season 14 is where you really start to see “The Simpsons” fall off, many would argue it happens sooner. This episode though follows suit under Simpsons’ canon by taking a real world issue (bullying, which is still a hot button issue) and making complete fun of it. I mean there is absolutely nothing one could take seriously from this episode other than the fact that bullying is more or less a way of life. How do the writers point this out? By having Lisa try to figure out bullying via science. Obviously, there is no poindextrose. Although, “poindextrose” is an infinitely more creative name than “unobtainium”. Yeah I’m calling out “Avatar” two years later in a Simpsons blog, what of it? Anywho, the episode follows Simpsons’ canon by having Lisa’s bullying by Francine be the main storyline while Homer’s child protection service is the subplot. Once the Simpsons got really going, they were telling multiple stories at once. In the earlier years, there was a ton of Bart or Homer-centric episodes which rarely strayed from those characters. Once they hit their groove, however, there were subplots on top of subplots and you could truly appreciate how well these ******* told stories – regardless of writers. This episode also features school bully Nelson take multiple slugs at Drederick Tatum after Lisa sprays nerd juice all over him, which is the equivalent to someone spraying water on Mike Tyson and having a fourth grader take swings at him. Comedy defined.
98. Tennis the Menace
Coley – Another ‘sode from Season 12, but more or less what we came to expect during these teenage years of the show. Celebrity appearances (if you consider tennis stars to be celebrities), a full family story line, and plenty of cameos from the locals of Springfield. For the storyline, it’s rather set ‘em up, knock ‘em down. Homer has a tennis court installed in their backyard, even though he thought tennis was foxy boxing. This is actually one of Homer’s crazy ideas which Marge loves because the Simpsons had become the toast of the town. Everyone from Mr. Burns to Kent Brockman used the courts to face, and humiliate, Homer and Marge. Marge eventually gets fed up with Homer’s horrid play and picks up Bart as a teammate right before the “Krusty Kharity Klassic”. Homer decides to replace Marge with Lisa and also enter the tournament. Upon arrival to the tournament, Homer immediately replaces Lisa with Venus Williams, because Lisa is naturally horrible at tennis. Eventually, all four family members are replaced by the likes of Serena Williams, Andre Agassi, and Pete Sampras. AKA, the only four tennis players anyone really knows. Homer steals Sampras’ money and takes the family out to dinner where they all decide that watching other people do things is ultimately more enjoyable than actually doing them yourself. A true American work ethic if I’ve ever heard one. A rather cut and dry episode with a couple good laughs. Hey, there’s a reason it’s #98.
K.M. – This episode has a fair amount going for it as far as it’s signifinace outside the Simpsons goes. First off, it’s a sports episode, so it features a ton of big names doing their own voice and bringing people to the Simpsons who are only part-timers or otherwise didn’t care about the show (a.k.a. idiots). Agassi and Sampras together was a treat for a sports fan, knowing the rilvary. But most of all, this episode used a trick Simpsons writers loved, and the reason it makes the list is because this show was so secure in it’s place in the Fox lineup they knew they could pull this kind of stunt without fear of backlash. The set up to the tennis comes out of nowhere, the first moments of the show involve Grandpa in a talent show (sadly, not great Grandpa compared to his usual level of excellence), the Simpsons visiting a funeral parlor, and then all of a sudden, TENNIS STORY OUT OF NOWHERE! This kind of red herring opening isn’t unique to the show, but the fact Homer actually said “I bet you didn’t see that coming!”, alluding to the viewer more then any character, was the Simpsons doing what they did best. They knew they were a ground breaking show with the freedom to start their show with 5-7 minutes that would end up completely unrelated to the last of the show, and even let you know that they knew what they were doing. That is the essence of The Simpsons being The Simpsons, reminding you as always that it’s one big joke, both inside the show itself and in it’s overall arc. Perhaps the show didn’t have the most lines that you will use from time to time, but it did a great job of using the bit players, and most of all, it was an episode that was true to the heart of The Simpsons, something you sadly cannot say too much about episodes this far into the show’s run.
97. Worst Episode Ever
K.M. – Comic Book Guy getting a featured role in an episode was an idea thought long overdue by most every hardcore Simpsons’ fan by this point in the series. It’s actually a shame this episode falls so far down on the list, proving the fact that some things are best in small doses. Speaking of, Homer’s “anticid flashback” to start the episode is a classic Simpsons play on history and culture and just their style of comedy, if not particually memorable in any one instance, it was just a quite Simpson-y thing to do. Comic Book guy starts off in normal form, being a dick, and bragging about his stuff, and eventually his scarcasm leading to his downfall, a heart attack. As Bart and Milhouse take over the comic book store and we get treated to some classic Ralph, we get the traditional Simpsons story arc of “plan goes well for a bit…”. Milhouse ruining the business by ordering a ton of the comic Biclops is probably the most Milhouse move in the history of the show. And while CBG and Agnes Skinner’s relationship really misses the heights you would hope for from the two most scarcastic, cold-hearted characters in the show, the secret collection of VHS tapes leads to some classic moments, and the radioactive ape is for sure one of the best one-off characters in the show’s history, just for beign a radioactive ape if nothing else. Couple in some classic Chief Wiggum and some excellent Ralph in here, and this episode hits a lot of solid marks, and if anything, is only 97th because of the greatness of CBG in smaller roles causing this one to be a dissapointment only because of the lofty expectations one would have for a show so featured on such a fantastic character.
Coley – If it were actually the worst episode ever, it would be like #524. But if you’ve ever watched “The Simpsons” you would know that Comic Book Guy’s catch phrase is “Worst ____ ever.” Comic Book Guy is actually one of the more unique characters “The Simpsons” offer us as he is your run of the mill technology geek. The guy in your town who builds his own computer from scratch, goes to Comicon, thinks he’s better at the internet than you, and probably never gets laid. While comic book stores are just about extinct in today’s world, the character still very much exists in today’s society. He is probably an internet troll spamming message boards world wide right now having some argument about why Kirk was better than Piccard or something along those lines. Well in this 12th season episode, he finally has a heart attack because of how fat he truly is and he tries to turn his life around under the guide of Homer. Because if you want anyone giving you life lessons, you want it to be Homer J. Simpson. Naturally, Comic Book Guy, the surley bastard that he is, finds love in Agnes Skinner. The subplot actually runs a parallel to the main plot which is Bart and Milhouse run the comic book store while Comic Book Guy takes a leave of absence. During a Bart and Milhouse fight, they stumble upon Comic Book Guy’s “secret stash” of films. They get raided during a late-night showing to the children of Springfield and pass the blame on to Comic Book Guy, who gets his spot blown up mid-coitus with Agnes. Again, not the deepest of plots, but a solid episode around one of the show’s ancillary characters which was good for several laughs.
96. Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo
Coley – The Simpsons. Japan. Japanamation. Godzilla/Mothra/Rodan reference. Japanese game show. Literally all good. Hell, Homer and Bart even learn how to speak Japanese in prison after Homer takes out the emperor, which they seemed to enjoy more than regular Japan – even Americatown! I’m not going to spend a ton of time on this episode, because canon-wise it’s just another episode. The Simpsons have traveled all over the world so a Japan trip was inevitable. This season 10 episode was chalk full of quotes, however, so I’m sure K.M. is going to have a ball. This episode did follow the patented Simpsons’ formula, however, which is starting an episode off one way and then completely changing gears and settling into the crux of the plot. In this case, the Simpsons are looking for ways to stretch and save their money after being robbed via-internet by Snake before ending up on a trip to Japan for pennies. This slow-rolling process was common practice for the writers and became their go to formula for the majority of their episodes.
K.M. – This really was an episode for it’s culture and not it’s canon. The loosest of plots produced some of the best one liners the show has produced. From Taxachusetts (and Homer’s nice gag on limericks) to “Knife goes in, guts come out”, this episode is both quotable and easy to reference. The internet jokes have aged well, from Homer accidently investing in FOX to his desire to see monkey’s doing it, internet jokes never really age, much like good Simpsons’ episodes. The show touched on Pokemon, which Coley and I both enjoyed I know, and hey, I’m not afraid to admit I’m all for a good seizure joke. The quotes in this one could be expounded upon, but being the first “Hey, foreign place!” episode on our list, it’s probably good for me to take the time to note that the way The Simpsons would portray another country would strangly have wide impact both here and in that country. I remember Brazil getting all mad at how The Simpsons treated their country, maybe cause that episode wasn’t the best, but also I think because they made Brazil all poor and stuff. It’s saying a lot when a TV show can piss off an entire country. You think Family Guy ever pissed a country off? That’s not cultural significance. That’s multi-cultural significane. BOOM.
95. New Kids on the Blecch
K.M. – The more I think about this episode, I’m not sure why the hell we don’t have it higher. This episode was gold. From Bart winning a marathon by cheating, which needless to say is as canon for Bart as it comes, right to Bart joining a boy band that is also cheating with technology (man, the Simpsons wrote an Auto-Tune episode before it was even mainstream. Impressive). Synergy and funny. Bart teams up with Milhouse, Nelson, and Ralph, which is just epic. Lisa does her nosy thing and gets to the bottom of what is up with the Party Posse, which is typical Lisa ruining all the fun, and finds out that it’s a secret recruiting tool for the Navy. Classic scenes ensue such as “superliminal” recruiting for the Navy and Lisa confroting L.T. Smash, the music exec, as a member of the Navy (Yea, that’s right, Lieutenant L.T. Smash is one of my favorite lines of all time). The plot moving to an attempt to destroy Mad Magazine because they are going to parody the Party Posse and ruin their cred is both great and a great callback to the time when Mad actually mattered (as a kid who read his father’s Mad Magazines from the mid to late 70′s as a kid, this was extra awesome to me). Ralph does some classic Ralph, NSync is somehow cool, and order is restored. All in all, this episode is just strong,
Coley - NSync made a quality cameo in this episode, that tells you all you need to know. Because at no point were NSync funny on their own. Sure, they were a joke, but their cameo was actually comical. And from there, that’s where the canon kicks in full tilt boogy. The very band which appeared as guests for the episode were not only amusing, but the punchline all at once. Boy bands come and go as the generations change. NKOTBSB never had a chance in hell. 30-year olds don’t want to be serenaded by 50-year olds with garbage, comercial pop. That’s for teeny-boppers. And that’s what the Party Posse were. That’s what One Direction is currently. It’s what the Jonas Brothers were five years ago. It’s what NSync was a decade ago. That’s what whatever the next industry created boy band will be in 10 years. While I don’t believe the navy has any say in popular music, I do believe in the Illuminati. Because if I don’t believe in the Illuminati, I would probably be found dead tomorrow. In fact, I’m rather surprised these words aren’t melting off of the screen as I type them. I’ve said too much. Anyways, this episode was not only topical, but it foreshadowed about nine years prior to the autotune takeover which we all suffered through. As long as some industry is pushing a group, they will flourish to the masses. Because the masses are easy to control. Too easy to control. I mean the Party Posse was singing about dropping the bomb on Sadam as 10-year old fourth graders driving around the Middle East on dune buggies. If you think that is farfetched, watch some music videos directed toward the prepubecent youth of today (or of 2001). It’s truly par for the course. And if “The Simpsons” do one thing well on a regular basis, it’s poke fun at the status quo and social standards. As over the top as this episode was, it hit the nail on the head.
94. Day of the Jackanapes
Coley – I’ll tell you right now, between season’s one and 12, every Sideshow Bob episode will be on this list. You know why? Because Sideshow Bob is one of the greatest villans of all time. His follies alone are worth the price of admission. “The Simpsons” could have easily used Bob as a bigger crutch, but the fact that he made appearances so sparringly made his episodes that much better. Sideshow Bob has one purpose in life: kill Bart. Now, murdering a 10-year old seems rather simple, but not for Sideshow Bob. In “Day of the Jackanapes”, Bob schemes up a plan to take out both of his mortal enemies – Bart and Krusty – in one fell swoop. Now, what gets lost in this episode is the erroneous use of Dave Chappelle’s name. As if him appearing on Krusty’s show would be a bad idea. Psshaw. The canon to this episode is rather simple: Bob is a reoccuring character. This is just “The Simpsons” multiplied by”The Manchurian Candidate” with Sideshow Bob as the main character. A simple storyline which brings up plenty of running themes throughout the show. The relationship between Bob and Bart has been going on for years now as this episode takes place in season 12, which allows the writers the ability to incorporate storylines such as this without having to give much of a backstory. We know who Bob is by now so there doesn’t need to be much buildup in terms of motive. There is no long escape from prison and no lengthy persuit of Bart. The second he is out he has a job at Springfield Elementary and has Bart under his power moments later. In, out, and on to the plot. Well done, Simpsons. And Mr. Teeny.
K.M. – This is why Coley and I make a great team. Because there is NO question that every single Sideshow Bob episode from the first 12 seasons is CLEARLY top 100 material. Sideshow Bob episodes are beyond epic, and if you ask me, Sideshow Bob’s first apperance is what started the entire series on the meteroric path they took. Sideshow Bob is sadly not as culturally significant as he should be, which leaves this section of the write up at an odd point. I will mention this is the first episode that The Simpsons made a George W. Bush joke, which is significant in that The Simpsons leave no sacred cows, and every President getting his from The Simpsons is a rite of passage in it’s own way. But I will take the rest of this section to talk about a different kind of culture, Simpsons culture. You want to judge a Simpsons fan? Talk about Sideshow Bob. He’s truly a character that generates his humor within the context of the Simpsons’ world, and what humor he is. If ever their was an ultimate “inside joke” character, it’s Bob. You can’t get Bob fully without knowing the series inside and out, and if you understand the context of Bob, his apperances are nothing short of pure gold. Bob is our reward every season for keeping up with the show, and Bob is never anything short of a reward. Does this episode also bring other things to the table? Sure. But it’s important that I spell out my opinons of Sideshow Bob and sound smart here, more important then tackling other aspects of this single episode. Bob deserves a paragraph on who he is and what he represents, he’s not for all of you, he’s for people like Coley and me. You can enjoy The Simpsons and not get why Sideshow is held in high regard by diehard fans. But you can’t enjoy The Simpsons as much as we do and not get it. Bob is the measuring stick, and the measuring stick is hilarious.
93. Tale of Two Springfields
K.M. – Just a classic Simpsons episode during a time they became far too fleeting. One of the best uses of canon here was the angry town meeting, a move that never dissapoints and allows the writers to bring in many of the smaller characters and let them shine. A simple problem of Springfield getting two area codes becomes a huge deal, because this is Springfield, and when the town splits in two, typical hilarity ensues. From Kent Brockman mocking the poor part of Springfield to the water being stopped to Olde Springfield, only to reveal gold and make the richer part of town even richer, this episode strikes super high notes. The part with The Who is memorable because it’s The Who for the love of Christ, but really outside the call for a “Who huddle!”, it wasn’t the finest guest spot ever. Which was actually kind of a good thing, because this episode DESERVES to be remembered as just the Simpsons doing what they do best, not a gimmick episode with guest stars. This is The Simpsons defined, and while it doesn’t have home run after home run in regards to jokes, it’s an episode worthy of batting in the middle in any lineup of Simpsons episodes as far as quality goes. The canon here is the show holding true to form in this episode, and the form of great idea, great execution, and everyone acting true to form is why we love the show.
Coley – The 250th episode of “The Simpsons” takes pride in something they perfected over the years – making fun of themselves when the critics ***** and moan about the show. The episode starts off with a badger problem in Santa’s Little Helper’s doghouse. After Homer tries to call animal control, he becomes aware of the new area codes. After a town meeting conducted by Phony McRing-Ring (not really, I just wanted to type that), Homer decides to start a revolt against “Olde” Springfield. When he returns home as the newly appointed Mayor of New Springfield, the badger reappears when Homer says, “Go away! We got bigger problems now,” and the badger walks away defeated. Something so simple you probably didn’t notice it. Something so small and minute you probably just chuckled because the menacing badger from five minutes ago actually listened to the human command. Realistically it was “The Simpsons” taking yet another jab at their critics. As I mentioned above, the Simpsons settled into their formula and critics thought the show had become stagnant and complacent. This settle ******* You” was directed sqaurely at those morose ************* in their first non-Treehouse of Horror episode of the 12th season. Then, they bring “The Who” out of nowhere and continue on with the exact same formula. Well done. “The Simpsons” do not play by your rules, America. They wrote the rules and they’ll pay no mind to your criticism. Well, I guess they’ll air it out on national television, but after that they move on.
92. They Saved Lisa’s Brain
Coley – Another Lisa episode. Yup. It’s 4:17 in the morning, and I’m writing about a Lisa episode? Well, again, it has Frink. And Comic Book Guy. And Dr. Hibbert. And a pie. Pies make various appearances throughout the years. As I am more pro-pie than you could even imagine, this pleases me. Pie is a dessert of the gods. If you do not agree, I probably don’t want anything to do with you. Over the years, “The Simpsons” have literally had hundreds of writers. Probably thousands, but who has the time to look these things up. They are unimportant. Fact of the matter is, these writers are some of the smartest people to have ever been involved with script writing, ever. I’d put them over SNL writers, even though in some instances they are one in the same. I’d put them over Shakespear because Shakespear is a clown and it’s time we stop worshipping him. Do you people forget we won the Revolutionary War? For Christ sake. IT’S 2012. TIME TO STOP LIVING IN THE PAST AND START LIVING IN THE SEMI-RECENT PAST OF THE ’90s! Either way, television was beginning its process of being dumbed down in May of 1999 (when this episode aired) and this satirical jab poked fun at the stupidity we were allowing ourselves to endure. It also points out that the extremely intelligent aren’t taken too kindly to either and that there must be some happy medium. Also known as, “The Simpsons”. Slow enough for your everday Cletus, yet high brow enough for Stephen Hawking.
K.M. - This episode has a lot of cultural significance to explore. The obvious is the existance of Stephen Hawking making a classic guest apperance, as even he is said to love the show, and the writers deliver for him a role befitting of the idiot who put out a theory about black holes that was so flawed Coley could have done better (for those less genius than I, that’s pretty much a fact). I really enjoyed including and ripping MENSA in this episode, because I’ve actually been in MENSA since I was 6, although I don’t go to the meetings, I just rub it in people’s faces. Comic Book’s guy’s DOS shirt and Frink’s perfect delivery of the line “We call that the Dennis Miller Ratio” are iconic moments in the show’s history and Frink’s quote is as useful as it gets as far as quotes to add to your random show reference list. The show goes back to one of it’s classic wells here, making fun of East St. Louis, which is something people my age and Coley’s age do to this day, thanks to The Simpsons bringing that terrible town to our attention. Comic Book Guy’s vulcan-ish plan for breeding every 7 years is the kind of nerd jokes that The Simpsons loves to throw to dweebs like me, and indicitaive of the way the show is able to cast such a wide net when it’s hitting on all cylinders. This is one of those episodes that is both memorable years after it’s first airing and easily remembered, combining the best of two words, The Simpons in popular culture and popular culture being so Simpsons
91. The Mansion Family
K.M. – You know, as far as the canon goes here, not a lot to speak of. Britney Spears makes a simple guest spot to give Mr. Burns an award, and for the record Brittany, you can call me any time. Bring those outfits from that Toxic video. I’ll give you 5 mintues to remember. Homer and the family put in charge of Burns mansion is a simple way to let mayham ensue, but after this, this episode really goes to whatever area it feels like. It hits some serious high notes, like Tyson vs. Secretariat, and earns it’s keep, but this is a very non-canon episode. Homer is getting to live like Burns, which is just odd, and the final part of the story is notable for how much it’s unlike other episodes then how much it is like other episdoes. This to me seems like one of the odd times the writers start with some good ideas and form a story around them, instead of starting with a good story and letting the characters bring that to the heights the show reaches at it’s finest. However Burns is classic in this episode, and canon Burns is always awesome. The fact he has a monkey named Furious George is awesome enough, but his “speech”, “Damn Rooselvet!”, and his medical checkup and just fantastic. Burns keeps this episode slightly grounded while it flies off the handle at every other oppertunity.
Coley – This episode was headed for ridiculousness the second it starts. After receiving the dubious honor of “Springfield’s Oldest Living Resident” from Brittany Spears, Mr. Burns decides to visit the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota while leaving his estate to the Simpson family because Homer was “due for a good performance.” Obviously, Homer was not due for a good performance. Why would anyone watch a show in which Homer does a good job for 23 minutes, completely antic-free. That would never happen. Ever. The episode really has no rhyme or reason, which is yet another layer to the depth which is the canon of “The Simpsons”. You see, not all of their episodes need to have this underlying message. Not each episode needed to draw back the curtains of society to expose some social injustice in America. Sometimes, it was just a cartoon. A show to make you laugh combining human elements with those of the cartoon world. “The Simpsons” have a heavy influence from “Looney Tunes” in the sense that they enjoy the fact that they are not constrained by the laws of physics. They can achieve the outrageous because their world is not set in reality. While this episode doesn’t do much in terms of over-the-top cartoonish theatrics, it does incorporate things such as monkey knife fights which would not have been acceptable had they used real monkeys. Plus, it’s incredibly hard to train monkeys to fight with knives. I mean, monkeys are already stronger than people. You train them how to use knives and this planet will no longer be ours. That’s a fact, ladies and gentlemen. A stone cold fact.