I love The Simpsons, I make no shame in saying that I’ve stuck by the show for many years, partly because it’s one of the few shows that you watch as a kid, but it’s made for adults as well and it never gets dull. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen some of these episodes (I have seasons 4-12 on DVD, which obviously doesn’t help) but I still laugh and I still love it. Brilliantly designed characters, enjoyable plots and above all, very very funny. So, because I love lists. I am going to countdown my ten favourite episodes and explain why they are so great.
6. Trilogy Of Error
This is an intersting kick start, when you thought that after 12 years that the Simpsons had run out of ideas, you were wrong. This brilliantly constructed constantly dovetailing episode packs in the laughs and it’s hugely interesting to see how it fits together, even if at times it doesn’t make sense (which is made aware of by Mr Teeny at the end).
Chalkboard: Fire is not the cleanser
Frankie Muniz – Thelonius
Joe Mantegna – Fat Tony
Best lines –
Marge: My address? 123…Fake Street.
Chief Wiggum: 123 Fake Street, got it!
5. Who Shot Mr Burns (Parts 1 & 2)
This episode is one of the most ambitious, striking and best marketed episodes of any show ever. Mr Burns annoys a lot of people in Springfield, from taking their oil, closing Moes down and losing Willie a fine crystal slop bucket, so after he goes insane and blocks out the sun, he is shot by someone. What happens in part 2 is a guessing game for the viewer and the characters, which is brilliantly done with lovely little touches (notice all the clocks are at 3.30) A great mini-who dunnit.
Part 1: “This is not a clue… or is it?”
Part 2: “I will not complain about the solution when I hear it.”
Tito Puente – Himself
Jasper: Dang fools, drive thru’s not for-a-parkin’
4. Behind The Laughter
This episode is a parody of Behind The Music and is just genius in execution, from using the narrator of the show and absoultely absurd metaphors, it tells the fictional story of how The Simpsons, a nothern Kentucky family rose to fame after Homer wrote, directed and starred in pilot about his family, it follows the fall-out and the re-union of the dysfunctional family in a documentary form.
Homer: I thought the cop was a prostitute
Chalkboard: I will not obey the voices in my head
Willie Nelson – Himself
Jim Forbes – Narrator
Homer becomes worried he’s uncool and that his music sense is stuck in the past, so he buys some tickets for Lollabolooza (a parody of the Hullablooza music festival, or is it the other way round?) where he ends up becoming part of the freakshow. I’ll be honest, I’m biased towards this episode because it features bands that I really like, mainly Sonic Youth and Smashing Pumpkins (the former do the ending theme), but it’s also a very funny episode, filled with some fun references and a kick ass soundtrack.
Homer: Got any words for Jimi Hendrix?
Vet: Yes, pick up your dog.
Peter Frampton – Himself
The Smashing Pumpkins – Themselves
Sonic Youth – Themselves
Cyprus Hill – Themselves
2. Homer At The Bat
I know nothing about sport, I care little about sport, which is why it must be a really strong episode to be considered here. Well it is. Homer joins the plants softball team and gets them to the final against Shelbyville Power Plant, however, Mr Burns places a million dollar bet on the team winning, so he replaces them with Major league stars. The episode is hilarious all the way through, with some surprisingly great baseball guest appearences, not to mention the greatest ending song of all time.
Chalkboard: I will not aim for the head
Ken Griffey Jr
1. $pringfield (Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)
This is the funniest episode of anything ever. Springfield legalizes gambling and Mr Burns builds a giant casino on the boardwalk, Homer gets a job there and Marge becomes addicted to slot machines. During this time, Bart opens his own Casino and Mr Burns goes crazy and isolated. There’s so much happening and it’s all rushed about, but it works. It works magnificently.
Homer: That’s not your mother, it’s an evil monster that has taken over her, I call him Gamblor!
Chalkboard: I will not say Springfield, just cut to applause!
Gerry Cooney – Himself
Robert Goulet – Himself