The Simpsons episode guide

What follows are some brief episode write-ups, including my favourite moments and lines. This is a work in progress, as you will see. Things started going downhill with the eighth season, and I finally gave up around the thirteenth. Only select episodes are reviewed after that.

SEASON ONE

Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire Homer tries to make it a good Christmas despite the fact that the family’s out of money. A derivative episode from when this was still just an idea for a show. Alternately depressing and sweet, but never really funny. Still, not too crudely made by first-season standards. B-

Bart the Genius Bart switches his I. Q. test with someone else’s, and everyone thinks he’s a genius. Teacher at Bart’s new classroom for the gifted: “Discover your desks, people.” B-

Homer’s Odyssey Homer loses his job, then becomes a safety watchdog. Smithers is black. Okay. Typically unfocused early Simpsons. Krabappel, impatient with Bart, says he’ll have to sing in front of the class if he doesn’t behave. Bart: “Can I pick the song?” Krabappel: “No. The song will be ‘John Henry Was a Steel Driving Man’.” C+

There’s No Disgrace Like Home Homer is determined to make the Simpsons a model family. Homer: “Sometimes I think we’re the worse family in town.” Marge: “Maybe we should move to a larger community.” B-

Bart the General Bart, oppressed by the neighbourhood bully, organizes the kids into an army to defeat him. This one’s for the kids. Nelson: “You made me bleed my own blood.” B

Moaning Lisa Lisa is depressed but finds salvation in the blues. A more serious episode than usual. Marge’s advice to her daughter: “Take all your bad feelings, and push them down, all the way down, and then, you’ll fit in, and you’ll be invited to parties, and boys will like you.” B

Call of the Simpsons The Simpsons attempt to go camping. Bart, watching Homer make a rabbit trap: “What are we gonna do, hang ourselves?” B-

The Telltale Head To impress the bad kids, Bart saws off the head of Jebediah Springfield, then lives to regret it. Kearney, dismissing what they had said about how it would be cool if someone cut the head off when they were lying in the grass watching clouds: “That was just cloud talk, man.” B-

Life on the Fast Lane Marge is tempted to stray from her marriage by a seductive bowler. A guilt-ridden Marge drives past a symbolically happy couple, followed by a wedding, then an old couple, gravestones, and finally, a store with skeleton costumes in the window! B

Homer’s Night Out Homer gets in dutch with the wife when she finds out he danced with a stripper at a bachelor party. Restroom doors at a seafood restaurant are marked ‘buoys’ and ‘gulls’. B

The Crepes of Wrath The first season’s sharpest episode, wherein Bart goes to France as an exchange student. Bart, playing with his pet frog, unaware that his parents and principal are plotting to send him to France: “Ah, the life of a frog, that’s the life for me.” B+

Krusty Gets Busted What the title says. This is the first Sideshow Bob episode, and the funniest outing of season one. Krusty, exhorting his fans in his show intro: “What would you do if I went off the air?” The kids: “We’d kill ourselves!!!” A testy, recently-robbed Apu, when Bart and Lisa spend too much time looking at a magazine: “Hey, hey, this is not a lending library. If you are not going to buy that thing put it down or I’ll blow your heads off.” A-

Some Enchanted Evening Homer and Marge go out for a romantic evening, leaving the kids with a criminal babysitter. Ah, early Simpsons, when everyone’s hair was the wrong colour. The kids manage to tie her up and leave her in front of the tv, forced to watch The Happy Little Elves. Babysitter’s first words when Homer takes the gag off her mouth: “Please turn off the tv.” C+

SEASON TWO

Bart Gets an F Bart will have to repeat the 4th grade unless he passes a crucial test. This one is very funny, but also scarily, poignantly real. Otto, trying to comfort Bart, reveals he repeated the 4th grade twice: “Look at me now – I DRIVE the school bus!” Bart (who went as far as praying for a miracle), as Homer proudly sticks a copy of his barely-passed test on the fridge (the F is crossed out): “Part of this D-minus belongs to God.” A

Simpson and Delilah Homer grows hair thanks to a tonic and gets promoted. Harvey Fierstein is used hilariously in this episode as Homer’s devoted, motivational assistant Karl. The jokes here are more subtle than usual; the strength of this episode lies in its solid storyline. Smithers, after Mr. Burns asks him who a newly hirsuite Homer is: “It sort of looks like Homer Simpson, only more dynamic and resourceful.” A-

Treehouse of Horror In the first Halloween special, we get the Simpsons moving to a haunted house, Kang and Kodos kidnapping them, and a recreation of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”. In the first segment, the not-very-scary voice of the house tries to scare them: “Some horrible stuff – possibly your brain – will start coming out your nose…” A-

Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish Mr. Burns runs for governor. Laughs are strangely absent, aside from Bart saying this in lieu of Grace: “Dear God, we paid for all this stuff ourselves, so thanks for nothin’!” C

Dancin’ Homer The last pre-clever Simpsons episode to air. This chronicle of Homer’s rise and fall as a ballpark mascot isn’t really funny. Except for Tony Bennett, in his song about Capitol City: “It makes a king feel like some nutty-cuckoo-super-king.” C

Dead Putting Society A rivalry between Homer and Flanders culminates in a mini-putt championship between their sons. Homer’s boorishness is hard to take in this episode. Some mildly amusing moments include Bart demonstrating one hand clapping to Lisa. B-

Bart vs. Thanksgiving Sweet episode about Bart and Lisa having a big fight. Manages to be sentimental without being gooey. Radio announcer: “The western hemisphere: the dancin’-est hemisphere of all!” A-

Bart the Daredevil Bart wants to be a daredevil. This episode does a good job of demonstrating the unobvious bond between Bart and Homer. Daredevil Lance Murdoch: “I will leap over this tank of water filled with a man-eating great white shark, a deadly electric eel, a ravenous piranha, a bone-crushing alligator, and, perhaps most frightening of all… the king of the jungle… one ferocious lion!” B

Itchy & Scratchy & Marge Marge protests against cartoon violence, resulting in a new, defanged Itchy & Scratchy theme song: “They love! They share! They share and love and share! Love, love, love! Share, share, share! The Itchy and Scratchy Show!” Low on laughs but compelling. B

Bart Gets Hit By A Car By Mr. Burns, whom Homer then sues. First joke is when the title of the episode appears on screen, followed immediately by what it describes. Bart, whose spirit leaves his body: “Hey cool, I’m dead!” B+

One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish Homer thinks he has only 24 hours to live. He says goodbye to his sleeping children, telling them why he loves them. At a loss when he gets to his son: “Goodbye, Bart… I like your sheets.” After accepting an invitation to Flanders’ BBQ: “The joke’s on him – I’ll be dead by then!” A-

The Way We Was The tv breaks, so Homer and Marge attempt to entertain the kids with the story of how they met. A very sweet episode. Homer’s justification for skipping English class: “I’m never going to England.” Also hilarious is Bart fake-puking at the story’s romantic ending. A

Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment Lisa disapproves when Homer gets illegal cable. Homer watches a stand-up comic: “Don’t you hate it… when you go to the bathroom… and there’s no toilet paper!” A-

Principal Charming Selma wants to find a husband, but instead Patty ends up dating Principal Skinner. Barney shows up for a date with flies buzzing around him. B+

Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? Homer discovers he has a half-brother, and quickly manages to wreck his life. Schwarzenegger parody McBain, to woman character: “Right now I am thinking about holding another meeting – in bed.” B+

Bart’s Dog Gets an F Santa’s Little Helper goes to obedience school. Not especially hilarious, but cute nonetheless. Highlight is Homer imitating a dog on the phone. B+

Old Money Grampa Simpson’s girlfriend dies and leaves him a bunch of money. He decides to give it away to whoever convinces him they deserve it. Bart lists several things he wants to buy, then adds, “Oh, and a monkey!” (That one’s all in the delivery.) Also, the family takes a trip to Discount Lion Safari. Motto: “If you can find cheaper lions, you must be in Africa”. B+

Brush with Greatness Marge takes up her old passion for painting. Smithers, after Mr. Burns says that somebody up there likes him: “Somebody down here likes you too, sir.” A-

Lisa’s Substitute A substitute teacher takes over Lisa’s class, and Bart runs for class president. A moving episode that isn’t light on the laughs. An unbilled Dustin Hoffman is delightful as the best teacher EVER. Principal Skinner, drawing an upside down ‘e’ on the board: “No, children, you are not seeing things. This, my little friends, is a schwa.” A+

The War of the Simpsons After Homer embarrasses her by getting drunk at a party, he and Marge attend a marriage retreat. Homer remembers the party differently, with made-up guests praising his wit: “I pronounce it to be the most whimsical joke of the season!” Homer hopes Bart hasn’t lost any respect for him. Bart reassures him: “Dad, I have as much respect for you as I ever did or ever will.” Homer: “Aww.” A-

Three Men and a Comic Book Bart and his friends pool their resources to purchase a rare comic book. Particularly well-drawn and performed episode. After Bart mentions the resemblance between Richie Rich and Casper, he wonders how Richie died. Lisa: “Perhaps he realized how hollow the pursuit of money is, and took his own life.” Lisa says Radioactive Man is no wittier than other superheroes, and Bart counters by pointing out a scene in which he throws a villain at the sun and says, “Hot enough for ya?” Lisa laughs: “I stand corrected!” Perhaps the funniest sequence involves Bart trying to earn money by doing chores for elderly Mrs. Glick, a job so heinous he eventually refers to her as a “withered old clam”. A

Blood Feud Bart’s blood saves Mr. Burns’ life and Homer is furious when all they get in return is a card. Wacky shenanigans ensue. Homer, trying to intercept a nasty letter he wrote (ridiculously disguising his voice): “Hello. My name is Mr. Burns. I believe you have a letter for me.” Postal worker: “Okay, Mr. Burns. Uh, what’s your first name?” Homer (brief pause, then in the same funny voice): “I don’t know.” Cut to father and son sitting outside: “Great plan, Bart.” B+

SEASON THREE

Stark Raving Dad Homer goes to a mental institution, where he meets someone who sounds exactly like Michael Jackson, while Bart forgets Lisa’s birthday. Cute episode. Finalists for a ‘funniest home video’ tv show: “Man Breaking Hip”; “Dog on Fire”; “Baby with a Nail Gun”. B+

Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington Lisa becomes disenchanted with the US government, leading her to change the essay she reads at a competition. Very funny episode with some emotional depth. Excerpt from one of the competing essays: “Whenever I see the stars and stripes, I will always be reminded of that wonderful word… ‘flag’.” A-

When Flanders Failed A rather mean-spirited episode, with Homer’s hatred of Flanders (who opens his ‘Leftorium’) becoming ugly to behold. Of course by episode’s end he sees the error in his ways. A bully, after attempting to play Lisa’s sax: “Hey, look at me! I’m Elvis, man!” B+

Bart the Murderer Bart joins the mob in this amusing episode. The FBI watches the Simpson house in a van ridiculously camouflaged as “Flowers By Irene”. B

Homer Defined Homer prevents a nuclear meltdown by luck, and everyone treats him like a hero. Few laughs, but a pleasant story.  Bart, after giving Milhouse a walkie-talkie for his birthday: “Now whenever you want to talk to me, call me on the phone, and tell me to turn on my walkie-talkie.” B-

Like Father, Like Clown  Bart and Lisa attempt to reunite Krusty with his estranged father. A rather dramatic entry that mostly works.  Reverend Lovejoy, asked to find a rabbi he knows: “Let me check my non-Christian rolodex.”  B+

Treehouse of Horror II Funny Halloween episode features a variation on “The Monkey’s Paw”; a segment in which Bart is omnipotent; and one in which Homer’s brain is put into a robot’s head. In the first segment, the Simpsons become rich and famous, and people get annoyed with their random endorsements, such as this one by Bart: “Get a mammogram, man!” A-

Lisa’s Pony Homer tries to make up for his neglect by buying Lisa a pony. Principal Skinner at a student variety show: “Let me caution the people in the first five rows – you will get wet.” B

Saturdays of Thunder Homer tries to be a better father by helping Bart build a soapbox racer. Homer: “I’m a bad father!” Selma: “You’re also fat.” B

Flaming Moe’s Homer gives Moe a recipe for an alcoholic beverage, and Moe passes it off as his own.  Homer, after Marge suggests he take comfort that his drink is making people happy: “Ooh, look at me!  I’m making people happy!  I’m the magical man from Happyland, in a gumdrop house on Lollipop Lane! [walks out, slams door] [sticks head back in] Oh, by the way: I was being sarcastic.” [slams door] Marge: “Well, duh.” B+

Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk Burns sells his power plant to some Germans. Homer daydreams about the Land of Chocolate. Even though he’s been enjoying free chocolate everywhere he turns, he gets overjoyed when he sees a store with chocolate on sale for half-price. A-

I Married Marge The story of Marge’s first pregnancy. A pamphlet Dr. Hibbert gives Marge is titled “So you’ve ruined your life”. Bart, when he finds out Maggie might soon not be the only baby in the house: “Cool! We can race em!” Grampa Simpson to his son, when he hears that Marge agreed to marry him: “You lucky bum! The fish jumped right in the boat – all you gotta do is whack her with the oar!” A-

Radio Bart Bart fools the town into believing there’s a boy trapped in a well. A restaurant specializing in kids’ birthday parties has the slogan, “We cram fun down your throat.”  A-

Lisa the Greek Homer becomes interested in watching football with Lisa when he discovers how good she is at predicting the outcome of games he bets on. “You’ll find it gets rid of the unpleasant aftertaste of church.” – Homer on watching Sunday football. B+

Homer Alone At her wit’s end, Marge takes a vacation from her family, who don’t fare well without her. Chief Wiggum, when a subordinate asks what should be their next move: “Did you flash your lights? Well I’m fresh out of ideas.”  B+

Bart the Lover Bart starts writing fake love letters to Mrs. Krabappel for fun. “Fiddle-de-dee, that will require a tetanus shot.” – Homer, after stepping on a nail (he’s giving up swearing).  Homer, when Marge gets him a present: “Beer! How did you know?!” A-

Homer at the Bat To win a million-dollar bet, Mr. Burns hires professional baseball players to play on his power plant’s softball team. Professional baseball player Daryl Strawberry, after Homer asks him if he’s a better baseball player than he is: “Well, I’ve never met you, but… yes.”  B+

Separate Vocations Bart becomes hall monitor, while Lisa’s attitude takes a bad turn. Consistently funny, eventually touching episode. Miss Hoover administers Career Aptitude Normalizing Tests – or “CANT” – which feature ridiculously obvious questions such as, “I prefer the smell of A. gasoline, B. french fries, or C. bank customers.” A

Dog of Death The Simpsons shun the family dog after an operation to save him impoverishes them. There’s a funny motif of Homer throwing books into a fireplace. Lisa saying, “D’oh!” is a particular delight. Chief Wiggum, reluctantly answering a 911 call: “You’ve got the wrong number – this is 9-1… uh, 2.”  A-

Colonel Homer Homer ends up neglecting his family when he starts managing a country singer who is trying to seduce him. Dramatic episode has fewer laughs than usual, but makes up for it with emotion. Two men in a country bar: “Hey you, let’s fight.” “Dem’s fightin’ words!” One of Lurleen’s songs is titled “I’m Bastin’ a Turkey With My Tears”.  A-

Black Widower Aunt Selma is dating Sideshow Bob, and only Bart suspects his intentions. “It’s like they saw our lives and put it right up on screen!” – Bart, about Dinosaurs, a tv show that suspiciously resembled The Simpsons. “Kissing you would be like kissing some divine ashtray.” – Sideshow Bob to Selma. “Don’t thank me – thank the moon’s gravitational pull!” – McGuyver A-

The Otto Show Bus driver Otto loses his job and the Simpsons take him in. Spinal Tap singer David St. Hubbins, after a 20-minute concert in Springfield: “Good night, Springton! There will be no encores!” A-

Bart’s Friend Falls in Love Bart becomes jealous when Milhouse gets a girlfriend. “Samantha! Ne pas de boys!” – French-Canadian nun at a “school for wicked girls”. “We start with pure milk chocolate, add a layer of farm-fresh honey, then we sprinkle on four kinds of sugar, and dip it in rich, creamery butter.” – ad Homer sees on tv. When Lisa suggests he could lose weight via subliminal learning, he replies, “Oh, Lisa. That’s a load of rich creamery butter.” A-

Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes? Homer’s half-brother is back in town, hoping Homer will invest in his new idea. Homer’s delight with a drinking bird (“It’s going back for more!”) is amusing. In exchange for $2000, Homer wants his brother to forgive him for ruining his life the last time. When Herb refuses, Homer says, “Ok then just give me the drinking bird.” A-

SEASON FOUR

Kamp Krusty Bart and Lisa go to the titular camp, which ends up being hellish. Krabappel, mean-spiritedly, when Bart tells her he won’t be allowed to go to camp with the D’s she’s given him: “Have a D-lightful summer!” One of the thuggish camp counsellors, after Bart asks why they can’t roast marshmallows: “Shut up and eat your pine cone!” A-

A Streetcar Named Marge Marge plays Blanche Dubois in a very funny musical version of A Streetcar Named Desire, and her role seeems to mirror her life. Alternates between touching and funny. Flanders, singing as Stanley: “Stella! Can’t you hear me yell-a? You’re puttin’ me through hell-a!” A-

Homer the Heretic Homer decides to stop going to church. Several good jokes. When the rest of the family is on their way to mass, Bart asks his mom where Homer is and she tells him he’s resting. Bart: “Resting hung over? Resting got fired? Help me out here.” Lovejoy delivers a sermon in an ice-cold church: “And he was cast into the fiery cauldron of Hell! The searing heat. The scalding rivers of molten sulphur!” Bart, eyes closed as he imagines this: “Ah, I’m THERE.” Apu, when Lovejoy dismisses his religion as “miscellaneous”: “Hindu! There are seven hundred million of us!” Lovejoy: “Oh, that’s super.” A-

Lisa the Beauty Queen Homer enters Lisa in a beauty pageant. Sweet episode; more smiles than laughs. Bart, after Homer’s advice (women like compliments) gets them a special dinner: “Woo-hoo! Dad, you know anything else about women?” Homer: “No, that’s it.” B+

Treehouse of Horror III Best segment of this Halloween anthology is the first, in which Homer buys Bart an evil Krusty doll for his birthday. When he comes home with the present, Grampa proclaims, “”That doll is evil, I tell ya. EEEEEVIL!” To which Marge replies, “Grampa, you said that about all the presents.” B+

Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie Homer and Marge attempt to raise Bart in a more disciplined manner. Marge, as she and Lisa come in the door: “We’re home!” Lisa, excitedly: “We got BEETS!” Bart, after Homer tries to teach him a lesson via an unrelated story from his childhood: “Dad, what’s the point of that story?” Homer: “I like stories.” A-

Marge Gets a Job To make ends meet, Marge obtains employment at the power plant, and Mr. Burns falls in love with her. Bart, avoiding a test: “OOH, my ovaries!”  B+

New Kid on the Block Bart falls in love with a teenaged girl that moves in next door. Homer steals some old medicine their ex-neighbours left behind. When Marge says it’s not for him, he complains, “Maybe I’m not getting enough [reads label]… estrogen.” B+

Mr. Plow Homer starts a snow plowing business, but soon encounters some unexpected competition. Countless great jokes. Homer, after viewing the commerical starring his family: “It may be on a lousy channel, but the Simpsons are on tv!” Homer, mournfully, after the mayor notices bite marks on the key to the city: “I thought there was chocolate inside.” A

Lisa’s First Word The story of… well, what the title says. A particularly sweet episode, with Bart adorable at age two. Baby Bart, as he bangs two pans together: “I AM SO GREAT! EVERYBODY LOVES ME!” A

Homer’s Triple Bypass The title is pretty literal; obviously, someone’s having heart trouble. Many good jokes, including this exchange: Dr. Hibbert: “Homer, I’m afraid you’ll have to undergo a coronary bypass operation.” Homer: “Say it in english, doc.” Dr: “You’re going to need open heart surgery.” Homer: “Spare me your medical mumbo-jumbo.” Dr: “We’re going to tinker with your ticker.” Homer: “Could you dumb it down a shade?” A-

Marge vs. the Monorail Springfield decides to build a monorail, with disastrous results. You’ll laugh til you die, and you’ll wish that Conan O’Brian was still working for the show today (he wrote this one). Homer, to the tune of ‘The Flintstones’: “He’s about to hit a chestnut tree.” Homer, chuckling as he reads the funnies: “Oh, Andy Capp! You wife-beating drunk!” Part of Monorail song: Chief Wiggum: “The ring came off my pudding can.” Lanley: “Take my pen knife, my good man!” A

Selma’s Choice Selma wants a child, but is cured of her desire when she takes the kids to Duff Gardens. Homer, changing his tune after Marge objects to his choice of song on their way to a funeral: “Ding! Dong! The witch is dead!” Foreign voice on Selma’s ham radio (subtitled): “I have a ham radio.” B+

Brother from the Same Planet Upset with his dad, Bart decides to replace him with a “bigger brother”. To get revenge, Homer gets a “little brother” named Pepi. After misteaching him the constellations, they have this exchange: “Oh Papa Homer, you are so learned.” Homer, laughing: “Learned, son. It’s pronounced ‘learned’.” (He pronounces it to rhyme with “burned”.) “I love you Papa Homer.” “I love you too, Pepsi.” “Pepi.”  A

I Love Lisa Lisa gives Ralph Wiggum a Valentine’s Day card out of pity, and he falls for her. Cute, funny episode marred only by Ralph’s out-of-character performance in a play. Homer, telling Lisa what to say to get Ralph off her back: “I’m not gay, but I’ll learn.”  A-

Duffless Homer gives up beer for a month, while Bart and Lisa compete to win a science fair. Barney: “Hey, that looks like Princess Di! Oh wait, it’s just a pile of rags.”  A-

Last Exit to Springfield Homer becomes boss of his union. Movie character McBain, emerging from an ice statue: “Ice to see you.” Mr. Burns, reviewing the work of a monkey he’s hoping will write a great novel: “It was the best of times, it was the… blurst of times?! You stupid monkey!”  A

So It’s Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show What the title says. After laughing along with his family about the fact that he was in a coma for seven weeks and lost 5% of his brain, Homer pauses: “Why I laugh?” B+

The Front  Bart and Lisa write some Itchy and Scratchy episodes. Bart to Lisa, after witnessing Homer make an idiot of himself yet again: “What are you gonna change your name to when you grow up?”  B+

Whacking Day Springfield prepares to celebrate the holiday on which they use sticks to kill snakes, much to Lisa’s chagrin. Slogan for a Christian school: “We put the FUN in FUNdamentalist dogma”. Bart, trying to prove he can make a living as a bootblack: “Shine yer boots, guvnah?”  B+

Marge in Chains Marge goes to jail. Lionel Hutz, attempting to get a mistrial: “I move for a bad court thingy.” Lisa, complaining she has no clean clothes: “It seems I’ve been wearing the same red dress forever.”  B+

Krusty Gets Kancelled After his show gets cancelled, Bart and Lisa stage a comeback special for him. Rainier Wolfcastle, describing his new movie: “My son returns from a fancy east-coast college, and I’m horrified to find he’s a nerd.”  B+

SEASON FIVE

Homer’s Barbershop Quartet Pleasant episode is a bit light on laughs, because it’s going for charm more than humour. Marge at a swap meet: “Your teenage son or daughter will think this wishbone necklace is ‘really cool’.” Prospective customer: “I doubt my son or daughter is that stupid.” B+

Cape Feare Sideshow Bob comes after Bart again in this parody of Cape Fear, and brilliant joke follows brilliant joke. The humour in this episode is on the absurd side, with hilarious results, not least of which is Sideshow Bob stepping on a succession of rakes, and FBI agents failing to make Homer comprehend that he must now respond to the name “Thompson”. A

Homer Goes to College Laugh-filled episode with self-explanatory title. Bart and Lisa clasping hands as they are about to witness a historical Itchy and Scratchy moment is a nice touch. It’s hard to pick a favourite line. A commercial: “Finally, the great taste of Worsteshire sauce – in a soft drink!” The Dean: “Hello? – that sounds like a pig fainting!” Marge: “I want those geeks out of my house!” A

Rosebud Mr. Burns feels as though something’s missing in his life, and only his long-lost teddy bear could fill that hole. Mr. Burns, after The Ramones perform a rude version of ‘Happy Birthday’: “Have the Rolling Stones killed.” A-

Treehouse of Horror IV Typically zippy Halloween episode with lots of laughs. The way the Devil greets Bart (“Hey Bart.”) as if they’re well acquainted is right on, as is the Dracula parody. Marge, as the family goes to kill vampire Burns: “This is very dangerous. I wish we could’ve found a sitter for Maggie.” A-

Marge on the Lam Another episode from a time when this show was still bursting with energy and imagination, and crammed with more laughs than a whole season of any other sitcom. This one’s a takeoff on Thelma & Louise. Homer, feeling betrayed by his children: “Man’s best friend, indeed.” A waitress: “I hate it when the waffles stick together.” A

Bart’s Inner Child Three acts: the trampoline, the self-help guru, and the Do What You Feel festival. Homer: “Here we are at the Brad Goodman lecture.” Bart: “What an odd thing to say.” The old folks, while everyone else is chanting ‘be like the boy’: “We like Roy!” A-

Boy-Scoutz N the Hood Bart joins the Junior Campers by mistake and ends up going on a rafting trip with Homer. Hazardous amount of laughs here, plus guest voice Ernest Borgnine. Milhouse: “Let’s go crazy, Broadway style!” Flanders to a Junior Camper: “You’ve attained the rank of Pussy Willow.” Homer teases Bart that the Campers teach him to make furniture from logs when the armchair he’s sitting in collapses: “Stupid poetic justice.” Bart and raftmates are lost at sea; some dolphins come along, which Flanders sees as a good omen. The dolphins, laughing (subtitled): “You’re all going to die.” A

The Last Temptation of Homer Homer is tempted by a new female co-worker. And it’s another classic. Mindy, after finding out she’s going to the big city: “Wow. Capitol City – the Windy Apple!” Name Homer makes up to pretend a story isn’t about him: “Joey Joe Joe Jr. Shabadoo”. Moe: “That’s the worst name I’ve ever heard in my life,” after which the guy sitting at the end of the bar runs out crying. Barney, calling out after him: “Joey Joe Joe!” A

$pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling) Springfield tries to shore up its flailing economy by building a casino. Kent Brockman: “Things aren’t as happy as they used to be down here at the unemployment office.” A-

Homer the Vigilante Homer gets a mob together to (ineffectually) protect Springfield against a cat burglar. Homer: “It seems that the cat has been caught by the very person that was trying to catch him!” Skinner: “How ironic.” B

Bart Gets Famous [Insert title] because of a catchphrase, but he soon sours on the experience. Early on, Bart strays while on a school trip to a box factory. Homer finds Bart’s hat on top of a box and assumes his son has been turned into a box. A-

Homer and Apu Apu gets fired from the Kwik-e-Mart. He accompanies Marge when she goes to Costco parody “Monstromart: where shopping is a baffling ordeal”. B+

Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy Lisa, dismayed about the sexist messages the new Malibu Stacy doll speaks, decides to do something about it. Malibu Stacy: “Don’t ask me – I’m just a girl!”, “Thinking too much gives you wrinkles!” A-

Deep Space Homer Homer gets to go into space. At first, he loses a competition with Barney. The scientist evaluating them: “In a way, you’re both winners. In another, more accurate way, Barney is the winner.” A-

Homer Loves Flanders After Flanders gets him tickets to a football game, Homer wants to spend all his time with him. When Homer replaces Flanders in the affections of the churchgoers, they whisper when the Flanders family arrives, including someone exclaiming melodramatically, “The fallen one!” At the football game, the crowd chants, “Stan! Stan! He’s our boy! If he can’t do it, no one… will.” A-

Bart Gets an Elephant Self-explanatory title. Homer hits a statue of a deer while driving: “D’oh!” Lisa: “A deer!” Marge: “A female deer!” B+

Burns’ Heir Mr. Burns picks Bart as his heir. Mr. Burns’s reaction when someone throws a rock through his window: “Oh look: a bird has become petrified and lost its sense of direction.” B+

Sweet Seymour Skinner’s Baadassss Song Skinner gets fired. Miss Hoover, doubting Ralph’s claim that there’s a dog in the vents: “Remember when you said Snagglepuss was outside?” Ralph: “He was going to the bathroom.” B+

The Boy Who Knew Too Much Bart skips school and witnesses a crime not being committed. If you don’t get it, watch the episode. Or don’t; it’s merely okay. Homer, after ‘Free Willy’ ends with Willy not making it, and crushing the kid in the bargain: “Oo. I don’t like this new director’s cut.” B

Lady Bouvier’s Lover Marge’s Mom dates Grampa, then Mr. Burns. Funniest moment is Bart’s pronounciation of ‘Visa’ so that it rhymes with ‘Liza’. B+

Secrets of a Successful Marriage Homer offends Marge by telling his students (don’t ask) too much about their private lives. One of those episodes that lets its over-serious subject matter drag the whole works down. Also, it’s one of those episodes where they apparently couldn’t come up with an ending. At one point, everything reminds Marge of Homer (whom she kicked out), such as a store named “Painful Memories Party Supplies”. C+

SEASON SIX

Bart of Darkness Bart breaks his leg in this hilarious, well-drawn Rear Window takeoff. Becomes more plot-driven and slightly less funny towards the end. The funniest part is Bart’s descent into weird, crazy behaviour. He even writes a play, which he reads from to coerce Lisa to help him with his plan: “Kippers for breakfast, Aunt Helga? Is it St. Swithen’s Day already? Tis, replied Aunt Helga.” A

Lisa’s Rival Lisa is jealous of another smart kid. Strong story, with some classic laughs. Homer, being stung by bees: “Aah! They’re defending themselves somehow!” School kids, overreacting to Bart’s lame distraction techniques: “Hey, it’s Bart! Hey, he’s doin’ stuff!” A

Another Simpsons Clip Show Love-themed clip show is lazier than most; almost the whole plot of the “Life on the Fast Lane” episode is featured. There is a funny moment when, as Lisa introduces her clip, she explains the apparent gaffe that all the schoolchildren were dressed for summer on February 14.

Itchy & Scratchy Land The Simpsons go to the titular amusement park. Energetic episode jam-packed with hilarious jokes. The family pets exchange dubious glances when pet-sitter Grampa asks which of them is the mailman. At the park store, Bart can’t find souvenir license plates with his name, despite the presence of ones for kids named “Bort”. A

Sideshow Bob Roberts Sideshow Bob runs for mayor. Bart, in court: “We want the truth!” Sideshow Bob: “You can’t handle the truth! No truth-handler, you! Bah! I deride your truth-handling abilities!” B+

Treehouse of Horror V

Bart’s Girlfriend

Lisa on Ice

Homer: Bad Man

Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy

Fear of Flying

Homer the Great

And Maggie Makes Three

Bart’s Comet Bart discovers a comet which soon threatens to destroy Springfield. Lots o’ laughs. The first thing Bart hears on the radio when he is forced to get up at four a.m.: “Everyone’s still asleep in their comfy, comfy beds. Goodnight, everybody.” A-

Homie the Clown

Bart vs. Australia

Homer vs. Patty and Selma

A Star Is Burns

Lisa’s Wedding

Two Dozen and One Greyhounds

The PTA Disbands

‘Round Springfield

The Springfield Connection

Lemon of Troy

Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part One)

SEASON SEVEN

Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part Two)

Radioactive Man

Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily

Bart Sells His Soul

Lisa the Vegetarian Lisa decides to become a vegetarian. One of the last truly great episodes. One of the funniest moments is when Marge lists the meat-based meals she could make since Lisa doesn’t want lamb. Lisa pictures a body part coming off each animal and onto her plate. When Marge gets to ‘hot dogs’, Lisa pictures a piece from a rat, a racoon, a pigeon, and a boot coming together! Other highlights: Homer, making frustrated efforts to feed a goat: “C’mon! Eat the can!… C’mon!” Marge, revealing her cooking secrets: “You might say the extra ingredient is salt!” Ralph: “When I grow up, I’m going to bovine university!” Lisa: “Wow! Paul McCartney! I read about you in history class!” A+

Treehouse of Horror VI

King Size Homer

Mother Simpson

Sideshow Bob’s Last Gleaming

The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular

Marge Be Not Proud

Team Homer

Two Bad Neighbors Ex-president George Bush moves in across from the Simpsons. Homer, after Santa’s Little Helper runs off after a jogging George Bush: “I guess you might say he’s barking up the wrong Bush!” Homer’s brain: “There it is, Homer: the cleverest thing you’ll ever say and nobody heard it.” Out loud: “D’oh!”  B

Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield

Bart the Fink

Lisa the Iconoclast

Homer the Smithers

The Day the Violence Died

A Fish Called Selma

Bart on the Road Bart gets a fake driver’s license and goes on a road trip with his pals. This one’s a lot of fun, with lots of visual humour. Al Gore doll: “You are hearing me talk.” A-

22 Short Films About Springfield

Raging Abe Simpson and his Grumbling Grandson in “The Curse of the Flying Hellfish”

Much Apu About Nothing

Homerpalooza

Summer of 4 Ft. 2

SEASON EIGHT

Treehouse of Horror VII Something’s in the attic, Lisa creates life, and aliens impersonate the presidential candidates. One of the best “Treehouse” episodes, especially the third segment. Kang, to please both sides of an issue: “Abortions for some, miniature American flags for others.” After someone questions the fake candidates about walking hand-in-hand: “We are merely exchanging long protein strings. If you can think of a simpler way, I’d like to hear it.” A-

You Only Move Twice Homer gets an awesome new job in a beautiful town, but nothing is as rosy as it appears. Fun episode with a good story. Marge, on why the family should stay in Springfield: “Bart’s lawyer is here.” B+

The Homer They Fall Moe trains Homer as a boxer after finding out he can take a lot of punishment. Not a lot of laughs are mined from that story. A montage illustrates Homer’s rise by showing him getting progressively fancier car washes. B-

Burns, Baby Burns Mr. Burns’ son shows up. Mildly amusing. Burns junior is played by Rodney Dangerfield, who gets to deliver a play on his trademark line: “I get no regard. No regard at all.” B

Bart After Dark Bart starts working in a burlesque house, as you keep waiting for the laughs. Homer, eating Bart’s dinner: “Where is Bart, anyway? His dinner’s getting all cold and eaten.” B-

A Milhouse Divided Milhouse’s parents get divorced. Funny episode with a good emotional component. High point is the decidedly un-soothing ocean sounds Homer makes to help Marge rest (they include a foghorn and cawing birds). Also good: Ned’s wife immediately guesses ‘corn starch’ when he draws a bunch of dots at Pictionary. “It’s good for keeping down the urges!” he adds. A-

Lisa’s Date with Density Lisa gets a crush on Nelson. Touching episode, with a fun subplot in which Homer runs a telemarketing scheme. Nelson’s buddies: “You kissed a girl! That is so gay!” B+

Hurricane Neddy A kind of origin story for Ned Flanders. Fitfully amusing, perhaps a bit too serious. Homer, asleep in a hammock, trying to kiss a straw, then making sad sounds, is weirdly cute and funny. B

The Mysterious Voyage of Homer Homer eats some chili peppers that send him on a druggy journey of the mind. Unusual, ambitious episode with trippy visuals, a good story, and some good laughs. The best is a scene that starts with Bart improbably saying to Lisa, “I says to Mabel, I says”, being interrupted, then saying the same thing again, this time interrupted by an edit. A-

The Springfield Files Homer sees an alien, and Agents Mulder and Scully from The X-Files come to check it out. Leonard Nimoy, introducing the episode: “The following tale of alien encounters is true. And by true, I mean false. It’s all lies. But they’re entertaining lies. And in the end, isn’t that the real truth? The answer is… No.” B+

The Twisted World of Marge Simpson Marge gets in the pretzel business. Ends without resolution. Fat Tony: “You were done a favour by our, uh… how shall I say… mafia crime syndicate.” B

Mountain of Madness Mr. Burns has his employees climb a mountain. Enjoyable episode. Homer, after Bart spouts a bunch of nutty opinions: “Your ideas are intriguing to me, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.” B+

Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(ANNOYED GRUNT)cious The Simpsons hire a nanny in this energetic, well-mounted Mary Poppins takeoff. The songs (such as the one which refers to cutting corners as ‘the American way’) and the family’s reaction to Sharry Bobbins are a perfect example of the type of satire which makes this show great. Barney, bidding Sharry goodbye: “So long, Superman!” Lisa, as Sharry flies away: “Do you think we’ll ever see her again?” Homer: “I’m sure we will, honey.” (Sharry gets sucked into an airplane engine in the background) “I’m sure we will.” A

The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show To goose the ratings of “The Itchy & Scratchy Show”, a new character is added, voiced by Homer. This is the first meta-textual episode of The Simpsons, making several references to its fans, and how fickle they can be. Sometimes it’s a little too on-the-nose, like when Lisa says that “We should thank our lucky stars that they’re still putting out a program of this caliber after so many years.” But there are so many classic moments here. An exec, regarding Poochie: “I feel we should rastafy him by… ten percent or so.” The Poochie episode of “Itchy & Scratchy” is itself a cringe festival. Sample lyric from his rap: “I’m the kung-fu hippie from gangsta city.” Comic Book Guy, after seeing it: “Rest assured that I was on the internet within minutes registering my disgust throughout the world.” They get rid of Poochie by having an animation cel of him moving up the screen to illustrate him going off into space, followed by a hand-written intertitle: “Note: Poochie died on the way back to his home planet”. A-

Homer’s Phobia A new acquaintance brings out Homer’s homophobia. Does a good job of making fun of a homophobic attitude, without being hilarious. A shirtless, muscle-bound iron worker lisps, “Hot stuff, coming through!” And Bart’s gay-ish behaviours are fun. B+

Brother from Another Series Sideshow Bob’s brother Cecil shows up. He is played by David Hyde Pierce, who played Kelsey Grammer’s brother on Frasier, and it’s fun to see them in these roles. And it’s funny how easily the town’s opinion of Bob is changed. Bob’s idea of what a construction worker would say to an attractive woman: “Capital knockers!” B+

My Sister, My Sitter Lisa babysits Bart. The viewer shares her misery. They forgot to put anything funny in this one. The best they could come up with is a knife store called ‘It’s a Wonderful Knife’. Was the entire staff asleep at the switch? D+

Homer vs. the Eighteenth Amendment Prohibition comes to Springfield. Amusing. Features Homer’s classic line, “Here’s to alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.” B

Grade School Confidential Mrs. Krabappel and Principal Skinner hook up, in an episode which becomes more serious and less funny as it progresses. Ralph: “Mrs. Krabappel and Principal Skinner were in the closet making babies and I saw one of the babies and then the baby looked at me.” B-

The Canine Mutiny Bart trades Santa’s Little Helper for a fancy dog. Touching and funny episode. Marge: “Homer, are you wearing a tie to impress Laddie?” Bart, when Reverend Lovejoy tells him SLH is no longer with them: “You didn’t crucify him?!” B+

The Old Man and the Lisa Mr. Burns enlists Lisa to help him get back on his feet after he loses everything in this solid episode. Moe, about how cute Lisa is: “She makes Lil Debbie look like a pile of puke!” B+

In Marge We Trust Marge starts giving advice to Reverend Lovejoy’s parishioners. It’s hard to care about Lovejoy’s crisis of faith, since he’s always been a caricature. Much funnier is the B-plot featuring Homer’s resemblance to a Japanese dishwasher soap logo. The reverend’s sermon is titled, “The miracle of shame”. From the Mr. Sparkle commercial: “I am disrespectful to dirt!” B+

Homer’s Enemy A new employee at the plant is infuriated by how Homer coasts through life as an idiot. An interesting premise resulting in some good dark comedy. There’s also a fun B-plot of Bart purchasing an abandoned factory for a dollar. The auctioneer’s nonsense babble for bids is funny, as is the dog wearing the VICE PRESIDENT sash. But the best joke is simply the execution of the premise: Homer driving Frank Grimes crazy. A-

The Simpsons Spin-off Showcase The show presents three possible spin-offs from The Simpsons. They are bad on purpose, but the writers forgot to make them funny-bad. A woman walks into Moe’s bar saying she’s just been in an accident. When he suggests she try his Love Tester machine, she replies, “I suppose I could use a laugh after that accident.” B-

The Secret War of Lisa Simpson Bart and Lisa go to military school. Touching and funny, a rich premise well exploited. An outdated documentary shown in Lisa’s class is titled, “The Moon of Earth”. Military student, to Bart who is shining a horse statue: “I wanna see my face in that horse’s ass.” Military kid to his friends: “It was worth sneaking into town; that was some goood corn.” A-

SEASON NINE

The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson The Simpsons go to New York City! And miss countless opportunities for satire! Sign as they enter the city: “Home of the world-weary poseur”. C+

The Principal and The Pauper Principal Skinner is revealed to be an imposter. Lisa: “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Bart: “Not if you call ’em stenchblossoms.” Homer: “Or crapweed.” B-

Lisa’s Sax Homer and Marge tell the story of how Lisa got her saxophone. Cute episode, if not particularly funny. Homer to Lisa, after her sax is destroyed because of Bart: “If it makes you feel better, I’ll destroy something Bart loves.” B+

Treehouse of Horror VIII A solidly funny, typically irreverent trio of stories. When Homer thinks his family has been killed by a missile, he pictures them one after the other. First he sees Bart swinging a baseball bat, something he’s probably never done. Then the joke is doubled as we see Lisa and Marge also swinging bats. Homer finishes with, “And the rest!” which is visualized as Maggie, Santa’s Little Helper, Snowball II, and the family tv. A-

The Cartridge Family After a soccer riot, Homer decides to get a gun. Good parody of American gun nuts. Homer, once he finds out there’s a waiting period: “Five days?! But I’m mad now!” B+

Bart Star The Springfield kids form a football team. Agreeable. I enjoyed the heart-warming moment when Homer promised never to encourage Bart again. B

The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons The day has come for Apu’s arranged marriage. Fun episode. At a bachelor auction, the men no one bids on go to a corner marked REJECTS. B

Lisa the Skeptic Some bones are found, and Lisa finds it ridiculous that everyone thinks they belong to an angel. Not especially funny, but does a good job of showing the various facets of the science vs religion debate, from hatred of knowledge to the value of faith. Homer, when someone says they’ll give him a dollar to see the angel: “That gives me an idea…” He then charges people fifty cents to see it. B

Realty Bites Marge tries her hand at real estate. Who okays these boring episodes? Funniest bit is Homer singing ‘Luka’ as he drives his new hotrod. C-

Miracle on Evergreen Terrace Bart burns down the family X-mas tree and presents, then some other stuff happens. Amiable feel-bad X-mas episode. Bart’s blasé comment on the ‘beautiful’ tree: “It’s crap-tacular.” B+

All Singing, All Dancing As usual, The Simpsons treats the concept of a clip show with more imagination than anyone else (the theme of this one should be apparent from the title). And this is probably the most clippable show in tv history. High point is the Clint Eastwood / Lee Marvin musical ‘Paint Your Wagon’ (‘We’re gonna paint that wagon, we’re gonna paint it good! We ain’t braggin’, we’re gonna brush that wood!’). B+

Bart Carny Bart and Homer join the carnival, then take in a couple of carnies. Homer, running outside after the kids keep going ‘ding ding ding’: “Ice cream man!!!” B+

The Joy of Sect Most of Springfield gets brainwashed by a cult. More smiles than laughs, but the plot is strong (it plays like a light thriller). Bart: “Church, cult, cult, church. So we get bored someplace else every Sunday.” B+

Das Bus The Simpsons version of Lord of the Flies. And Homer attempts to start his own internet business. Some good laughs, including Bill Gates’ maniacal giggle when his thugs toss Homer’s “office”. B+

The Last Temptation of Krusty Krusty contemporizes his act. A few laughs. One of Krusty’s new routines is to burn money. Homer, hoping Krusty will ask everybody to burn their pants: “Don’t you hate pants?!” C+

Dumbbell Indemnity Moe gets a girlfriend. No episode should ever center around Moe. Bart, when Homer says Marge told the kids to take a bath: “Hmm, yeah. Mom says a lot of things.” C

Lisa, the Simpson Lisa is scared that she will grow up to be stupid, like her father and brother. As is often the case for Lisa episodes, this is touching. Homer, when he sees a novelty pen that shows a woman’s clothes coming off: “Hey, you know who would love this? Men.” B+

This Little Wiggy Marge forces Bart to befriend Ralph, which yields some good jokes. Chief Wiggum, to his son: “What is your fascination with my forbidden closet of mystery?” B+

Simpson Tide Homer joins the navy. Good jokes here and there. The opening is the best one yet: Bart’s blackboard message is “My butt does not deserve a web site.”, and the couch gag is impressively stylized. Milhouse, when Bart asks him if he thinks Marge is cool: “No, I think she’s HOT!” B-

The Trouble With Trillions Homer works undercover for the IRS. After Mr. Burns says “I hope you don’t mind a little walking,” Homer considers taking his suicide pill. C

Girly Edition Bart and Lisa become rival news anchors. Very funny episode with solid monkey-related subplot. Grampa Simpson: “I can’t wait to eat that monkey.” And, for personal reasons, Bart: “Some say the ducks went to Canada. Others say Toronto.” A-

Trash of the Titans Homer becomes sanitation commissioner. U2 are amusingly featured, but Steve Martin is wasted. Homer, to a bald woman: “Take a hike, Kojak!” B

King of the Hill Homer starts working out and ends up climbing the tallest mountain in Springfield. Not many laughs. Marge, after Homer claims they had a church picnic the previous week: “No they didn’t. You just brought a bucket of chicken to church.” C

Lost Our Lisa Lisa gets lost (duh) on the way to the museum and Homer goes after her. If you’re not yawning yet, get ready to start. Amusing Bart subplot only reprieve. Homer needs to gain some altitude, so he buys a bunch of balloons (“I hope this works.”). He then turns to a city worker and says: “These are for you if you let me use your cherry picker.” C

Natural Born Kissers Homer and Marge find a way to spice up their sex life. A really fun episode, and it’s always nice to see these two in love. Homer, right after the dog interrupts their awkward attempts to have sex: “Hey Marge, wasn’t that great when the dog came in here?” (There are several animal-based jokes, for some reason.) After Homer takes his shirt off to get her motor running, Marge says (pointing): “Heeeyyy… Look at that!” like she found a dollar on the floor. A-

SEASON TEN

Lard of the Dance Lisa has to deal with a hip, new kid, while Homer tries to start a grease business. The new girl wears a perfume named “Pretension by Calvin Kline”. B+

The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace Homer worries he’s been wasting his life, so he tries to become an inventor. A pleasant episode. Funniest bit is Homer’s makeup rifle invention. B

Bart, the Mother Bart ends up caring for a pair of unhatched eggs. Touching episode with a good dramatic story. Title of one of Troy McClure’s documentaries: “Man vs. Nature: The Road to Victory”. B+

Treehouse of Horror IX The most boring Simpsons Halloween special to date. The tail-end of one of Kent Brockman’s news reports: “…and the fluffy kitten played with that ball of string all through the night.” C

When You Dish Upon A Star Homer meets Alec Baldwin, Kim Basinger and Ron Howard. That’s the whole plot. Homer, as Yogi Bear in the opening dream sequence, to a defiant ‘Bart Bear’, while mauling ‘Ranger Flanders’: “You want some of this?” And that’s the last time you’ll laugh. C

D’oh-in’ in the Wind Homer decides to become a hippie. Low on laughs, but fairly compelling. Homer’s idea of a protest song is Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl”. B

Lisa Gets an “A” Lisa must face the consequences when she [spoiler alert] cheats on a test. While sick in bed, she watches a documentary about the Seaweed Shark, which ferociously attacks… seaweed. B+

Homer Simpson in: “Kidney Trouble” Grampa Simpson needs a kidney. Funniest moment is when Homer stalls in front of the retirement home and the old folks approach the car horror movie-like as he tries to start it. B

Mayored to the Mob Homer becomes the mayor’s bodyguard. Kent Brockman: “And so, as the rat’s milk is returned to the sewer, the circle of life is complete.” B+

Viva Ned Flanders Flanders feels he’s too boring, and goes to Homer for advice. Fun episode with some good laughs. The church crowd gasps when Homer says, “I’m not a fancy big city lawyer…” Marge, arriving to clean a mess Homer left behind: “Now it’s MARGE’s time to shine!” B+

Wild Barts Can’t Be Broken Pleasantly meandering plot eventually leads to a kids vs adults stand-off. Homer, listing bad things named after kids: “Acting childish, kidnapping, child abuse…” B+

Sunday, Cruddy Sunday Most of Springfield’s main characters go to the Superbowl. Best bit is the random Vincent Price-related subplot. B

Homer to the Max Homer changes his name. When Homer and Marge arrive at a fancy party, she marvels that the house number is spelled out with letters. Homer replies, “Get used to it, honey. From now on, we’ll be spelling everything with letters.” B+

I’m With Cupid Apu is making extravagantly romantic gestures to his wife, and the other Springfield men feel this makes them look bad. Kind of short of laughs. I guess putting Elton John in an animal carrier is amusing. B-

Marge Simpson in: “Screaming Yellow Honkers” Marge develops a case of road rage. Watching a school staff variety show, Bart opines, “I didn’t think it was physically possible, but this both sucks and blows.” B

Make Room for Lisa A winding plot leads Homer and Lisa to spend some time in sensory deprivation tanks. Improves as it progresses. The alternative medicine lady on what’s keeping Joan Rivers alive: “Beetle grindings.” B

Maximum Homerdrive Homer becomes a truck driver. Likeable episode, but light on laughs. The best one is a gas station called “The Gassy Knoll”. B-

Simpsons Bible Stories Fun episode takes on some Bible stories in typically irreverent fashion. Some of Homer’s cries of terror as he arrives in Hell include, “The coleslaw has pineapple in it!” B+

Mom and Pop Art Homer accidentally becomes an artist. It’s fun to hear Isabella Rossellini on The Simpsons. When Bart asks if he can burn evidence in the bbq pit his father plans to get, Homer ruffles his hair and replies, “We can all burn evidence in it.” B+

The Old Man and The “C” Student Following a convoluted chain of events, Bart has to do some community service at the Retirement Castle. Episode suffers from an excess of wackiness. Chief Wiggum, rescuing the old folks from a shipwreck: “Aw, what a shame – not a looker in the bunch!” B-

Monty Can’t Buy Me Love Mr. Burns decides he wants to be loved. Not hilarious, but a somewhat compelling story. After Mr. Burns has been waiting until nightfall to hear from someone, crickets on the soundtrack underscore the silence of his telephone. He presses a button marked “cricket poison” and their chirping turns into choking sounds. B

They Saved Lisa’s Brain Lisa joins the Springfield branch of Mensa. Stephen Hawking drops by: “I wanted to see your utopia. But now I see it is more of a fruitopia.” B

Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo The Simpsons go to Japan! Several good jokes. When Homer is less than thrilled about their destination, Marge says that he liked Rashomon and Homer replies, “That’s not how I remember it.” B+

SEASON ELEVEN

Beyond Blunderdome The Simpsons meet Mel Gibson and Homer convinces him to change the ending of his new movie. Not much to laugh about here, except Ellen Degeneres and Anne Heche waving from their porch swing, announcing loudly to anyone who’ll listen, “We’re LESBIANS!” C

Brother’s Little Helper Bart goes on a Ritalin-like drug, and promptly goes nuts. I liked when the man dressed as Smokey the Bear shook his body like a bear when he got soaked. B+

Guess Who’s Coming to Criticize Dinner? Homer becomes a food critic, with Lisa writing the reviews. When he criticizes Marge’s cooking, she replies, “You like Shake ‘n Bake – you used to put it in your coffee.” B+

Treehouse of Horror X Each segment of this Halloween edition is better than the one before it, ending with a hilariously dead-on, essence-of-Groening send-up of Americans’ irrational fear of a Y2K disaster (best bit is the laser-shooting stoplights). Whoever wrote the last scene must have been on drugs. Let’s just say it involves exploding heads. Lisa, as Lucy Lawless flies into the sky with her and Bart: “Wait a minute, Xena can’t fly.” Lawless, as if this explains everything: “I told you, I’m not Xena. I’m Lucy Lawless.” A-

E-I-E-I-(ANNOYED GRUNT) On the run from a duellist, the Simpsons try farming and come up with a strange hybrid. Marge, at the dinner table: “More tumbleweed, Lisa?” B

Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder Homer bowls a perfect game/neglects Maggie? Strange, unfocused episode strays too far from reality several times (Homer eating radioactive waste, Maggie saving him from drowning, etc.). There are a few good jokes. When the Simpson kids hear that Lennie (who they’ve never been shown to care about) is in the hospital, they cry in unison: “NOT LENNY?!” C+

Eight Misbehavin’ Apu and wife have octoplets. Mortifyingly dull. Best moment is shot of a bunch of bloody-mouthed koalas dining on a deer carcass. D+

Take My Wife, Sleaze Homer starts a motorcycle club. The story is better than the jokes. The one strong laugh is Moe’s idea for a name: “The Christ Punchers.” B

Grift of the Magi When the school is forced to close, some suspicious folks arrive to re-open it. Consistently funny. After Bart makes Lisa look like Milhouse, the latter makes fun of her, Milhouse style: “Who wets the bed now, Milhouse?” B+

Little Big Mom Lisa takes over while Marge is in the hospital. Fun episode. The Simpson boys laugh uproariously when Ricky hits Lucy on I Love Lucy. We hear them laugh again later. Homer: “He hit her again!” B

Faith Off Bart becomes a faith healer in this weak episode. Sign at entrance of college Homer attended briefly: “If you can read this you’re accepted.” C+

The Mansion Family The Simpsons housesit for Mr. Burns. A man wins an award for being Springfield’s oldest man. One of his accomplishments was helping “people jump out of windows” during the stock market crash of 1929. B

Saddlesore Galactica The Simpsons adopt a horse. The “out of ideas” stench is strong in this one, which the writers even acknowledge with a meta running joke. Homer fantasizing about eating cereal made of pearls is kind of amusing. C

Alone Again, Natura-Diddly Maude Flanders dies. At first it seems random, but it results in a moving episode, with some quality dark humour. Moe tells Ned he’s sorry Maude died because she was hot, which gets Ned to start punching him. Moe encourages him: “Let it out! Send me to Maude!” B+

Missionary: Impossible Homer ends up doing missionary work. I laughed when the cute snail crawled two spots over from Homer’s winning roulette number. C+

Pygmoelian Moe gets a facelift. The plastic surgery place’s motto is “We’ll cut you good.” B-

Bart to the Future A Native American man shows Bart a vision of his future. Diverting. Said vision includes an ad for the man’s casino. B-

Days of Wine and D’oh’ses Barney gives up alcohol. Bart and Lisa’s exaggerated response upon hearing the phone book needs a new cover: “IT DOES??!” C+

Kill the Alligator and Run The Simpsons take a stereotype-laden trip to Florida. The owner of a diner has a nice running joke of saying “I like that.” to everything, eventually working up to saying it after “You’re insincere.” and “You’re stealing my trailer!” B-

Last Tap Dance in Springfield Lisa takes dancing lessons. Lots of good jokes, not the least of which is Lisa’s dance teacher, a former child star who expects perfection from her young charges. When Lisa asks what she’s doing wrong: “Well, you’re falling a lot. Maybe you should work on that!” B+

It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Marge A woman stays with the Simpsons for a while, and starts to take over Marge’s role. Homer, encouraging her as she runs from her trial: “Run, Marge! Run! Pump those crazy legs!” Comic Book Guy, when Marge steals his clothes: “Those are prescription pants!” B+

Behind the Laughter An episode-length parody of Behind the Music, a documentary program about bands. This posits that the Simpsons are actors, and the episode, much like the show it’s based on, imposes a rise-and-fall structure on their saga. The imitation accurately pokes fun at the sensationalist nature of Behind the Music, but laughs are few and far between. It does contain some wonderfully atrocious metaphors: “Would Willie’s fence-mending eggs bear fruit? Or would his olive branch be torn apart by woodpeckers of mistrust?” B-

SEASON TWELVE

Treehouse of Horror XI Typically, enjoyably twisted Halloween episode. Homer, at the gates of heaven: “I thought you guys could see everything.” St. Peter: “No, you’re thinking of Santa Claus.” B+

A Tale of Two Springfields Springfield get a second area code, which upsets some locals. Not embarrassing, I guess. Kent Brockman, after his half of the town discovers gold thanks to Homer: “Because of you we’re all taking golden showers.” C+

Insane Clown Poppy One of Krusty’s illegitimate children finds him. Fat Tony, to some colleagues: “Then it’s decided: our website’s name will be crime.org.” B-

Lisa the Tree Hugger Lisa does her best to protect an endangered tree. Consistently funny episode. Subplot featuring Bart’s new job delivering Thai menus is inspired. Commercial: “The new Gamestation 256. It’s slightly faster… to the MAX.” B+

Homer vs. Dignity Homer gives up his you-know-what for Mr. Burns’ money. After an okay start, this quickly becomes mirthless. Carl, consulting his word-a-day calendar: “Mr. Burns just… entered the room.” C-

The Computer Wore Menace Shoes Homer + a computer = a few chuckles. Comic Book Guy, indignant: “There’s no emoticon for what I’m feeling!” B

The Great Money Caper Homer and Bart become con artists, which is fun. Bart, after a drunk Marge got some laughs: “I wish she drank every day.” B

Skinner’s Sense of Snow Skinner is snowed in with the kids at school. When Marge wonders how the kids will get home, Homer replies, “I dunno. Internet?” B

HOMR A crayon that’s been in Homer’s head since childhood is removed, and he’s suddenly smart. Not hilarious, but a good story. Name of clinical testing facility: “Screaming Monkey Medical Research Center”. B

Pokey Mom Marge tries to help a convict who’s an artist. This story doesn’t go anywhere very interesting. Marge, about someone who went to prison for erecting a nativity scene on city property: “There’s so much evil in the world.” B-

Worst Episode Ever Comic Book Guy and Skinner’s Mom start dating. CBG, after being told he’s had a cardiac episode: “Worst. Episode. Ever.” B

Tennis the Menace The Simpsons get into tennis. Best moment is the meta-joke about how a Simpsons episode’s first plot thread is never what the episode ends up being about. To wit, Grampa, after scenes concerning his future resting place: “I can’t believe we went through all that just to wind up with a tennis court.” B-

Day of the Jackanapes Sideshow Bob plots to have Bart assassinate Krusty. Some laughs, mostly courtesy of Kelsey Grammer. Bob: “Kettle chips – the perfect side dish… FOR REVENGE!” B

New Kids on the Blecch Bart and his friends form a boy band. Mr. Burns’ nonsensical criticism while whipping a complaining Smithers: “Silence! You call yourself a Chinaman?!” B-

Hungry Hungry Homer Homer goes on a (yawn) hunger strike. I dare you to laugh. The funniest (a relative term) bit is a salon named ‘Hairy Shearers’, after Simpsons voice actor Harry Shearer. C-

Bye Bye Nerdie Lisa tries to localize the reason bullies do what they do. Stupid story with a stupid ending. When are they going to cancel this show? Homer draws cute little bunnies on electrical outlets to scare off Maggie. Marge: “She’s not afraid of bunnies.” Homer: “Oh, she will be.” C

Simpson Safari The Simpsons go to Africa. Homer, ‘reassuring’ his family when they are threatened by a crocodile: “Don’t worry. Being eaten by a crocodile is just like going to sleep. In a giant blender.” C+

Trilogy of Error Unusual episode is the same story told from three different points of view, which keeps things interesting. Cletus, reacting to Homer’s disappearing thumb trick: “Dayum. You could be one of dem tv magic queers!” B+

I’m Goin’ to Praiseland Not bad episode about Flanders opening a Christian theme park. Some treats for sale bear the name “Cruci-fixins”. B

Children of a Lesser Clod Don’t laugh, but Homer becomes a babysitter. Actually, keeping a poker face during this episode is all too easy. Lisa, pausing in the middle of laughing maniacally with Bart, about their plan to return things to normal: “Back… to NORMAL!C

Simpsons Tall Tales A hobo tells the Simpsons some folk tales. Homer, who’s been eating buffalo like it’s going out of style, when Lisa offers him apples as an alternative: “Oh boy! Buffalo testicles!” A-

SEASON THIRTEEN

Tree House of Horror XII Hum-drum Halloween special. Some smiles, but not a lot of laughs. Pierce Brosnan amusingly spoofs his debonaire Brit persona. Bart, after causing Lisa’s apparent doom, gasps: “This is partly my fault!” B-

The Parent Rap As punishment for his latest escapade, Bart is tethered to Homer. Pretty funny. Inventorying the contents of Wiggum’s police car with Milhouse, Bart points out the police hat. Milhouse: “With rain baggie!” Bart: “Aw, man, that would really keep your head dry!” They share a wholesome high-five.  B

Homer the Moe Moe turns his bar into a fancy place, other stuff. Weird, spastic episode is mostly stultifying, though it is fun to see R.E.M. spoof their granola image. Russian model: “All this yelling is taking away my horny.” C-

A Hunka Hunka Burns in Love Mr. Burns falls in love. Fairly funny, but the limp closing conversation seems to have been written by an alien with no idea what humour is. Lisa to Chinese restaurant waiter: “How is the Feast of Twelve Delights with Triple Happiness Sauce?” Waiter: “Very disappointing.” B-

The Blunder Years The Simpsons investigate the source of some childhood trauma Homer suffered. Mostly un-humorous episode is nevertheless oddly watchable. Homer, looking around the kitchen trying to find a character to fantasize about, considers a bottle of Paul Newman’s salad dressing. Newman: “Homer, I’ll tell you what I told Redford: it ain’t gonna happen.” Mr. Burns, upon seeing the Simpsons and Chief Wiggum emerge into his office: “What are you doing in my Corpse Hatch?” Wiggum: “Montgomery Burns, you’re under arrest for murder.” Burns: “Did I say ‘Corpse Hatch’? I meant ‘Innocence Tube’.” C+

She of Little Faith Lisa converts to Buddhism in this amusing episode. Marge, to Homer: “This is the worst thing you’ve ever done!” Homer: “You say that so much it’s lost all meaning.”  B

Brawl in the Family A social worker tries to make the Simpsons into a decent family. Okay episode meanders. Marge, puzzled over Monopoly: “How can an iron be a landlord?” B-

Sweets and Sour Marge Marge wages a war on sugar. Some good jokes in the first half. A suicidal man jumping off a building: “Goodbye, cruel world.” As he lands in a giant rolling ball of people (don’t ask): “Hello, ironic twist!” Bart, after someone mentions Erin Brockovich: “The prostitute with the heart of gold!” Homer, glaring along with the kids at Marge after she got sugar banned with her class action suit: “Thank YOU, Erin Choco-snitch! That was a group effort.” B-

Jaws Wired Shut Homer gets his [insert episode title] and becomes a more sensitive person. Cletus catches an errant helmet, thinking it contains a human head, only to be disappointed: “Aw damn, it been scooped out. B

Half-Decent Proposal Marge’s date for the high school prom tries to win her back. Pleasant episode goes to hell in the last third. Bart’s opening credits blackboard message: “I will not bite the hand that feeds me Butterfingers.” (The show made fun of the candy bar – which had featured Bart in its commercials a long time ago – in the previous episode.) The best joke works because of some intuitive attention to detail: Offended by Artie, Marge and Homer leave his boat in a helicopter. The Simpson kids come out onto the deck with lollipops. Lisa: “Hey, where’s our parents?” B-

The Bart Wants What it Wants Rainier Wolfcastle’s daughter falls in love with Bart, who doesn’t notice. Okay episode with a few strong jokes. Bart reflects on when the two of them were playing Scrabble. She is making words of love, while he comes up with “oblivious”. In Canada, a guide at the CN Tower tells Bart, “Oh, you’ll win her back, eh?”, using what the viewer assumes is the stereotypical Canadian expression. But he follows it up with, “And B, we’re closing in five minutes.” B

The Lastest Gun in the West Bart meets an old-time western movie star. After Bart truthfully tells Marge a dog ate his clothes, she replies: “Nice try, but we’re still going to Riverdance.” Ralph, after the other kids say which western type they’re play-acting: “I’m a gulch.” B+

The Old Man and the Key Grampa has some driving-related adventures. Grampa, to some less-elderly toughs: “You don’t scare me, with your dignity and your subtle cologne.” B

Tales from the Public Domain Homer shares some classic tales with the kids. Odyseus, as he navigates the river Styx, listening to music by band of same name: “Aargh!! This is truly hell!” B-

Blame it on Lisa The Simpsons head for Brazil in search of a missing child Lisa was sponsering. Several okay jokes. Homer is immediately spotted as an American because of his t-shirt, which bears the caption, “try and stop us” above a picture of Uncle Sam taking a big bite out of the world. B-

Weekend at Burnsie’s

Gump Roast

I Am Furious (Yellow)

The Sweetest Apu

Little Girl in the Big Ten Lisa finds bliss passing as a college student, while Bart becomes a bubble boy for a week after becoming infectious. In this age of Simpsons mediocrity, a rare hilarious episode. Lisa, expressing disinterest in a gymnastics class: “Who wants to put on leotards and get screamed at?” to which Homer replies, “Well, hookers… and Spiderman.” The best joke of the episode – in fact, the best joke on this show in years – loses too much in the description; you’ll have to see it for yourself. It occurs right after Lisa and her friends speed away from Ralph in a car… A-

The Frying Game B

Papa’s Got a Brand New Badge

SEASON FOURTEEN

Treehouse of Horror XIII Pleasant Halloween episode has a few laughs (high praise for latter-day Simpsons). Best one comes when a clone of Homer (drawn the way the character was in the initial shorts) speaks one of his most bland and dated lines: “Let’s all go out for some frosty chocolate milkshakes!” B

How I Spent My Strummer Vacation Homer’s family sends him to Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp, where several rock stars play themselves. Homer performs his usual, tiresome duty as introducer of the guest stars (“It’s Mick Jagger and Keith Richards!”). I almost laughed when Homer didn’t want to leave and Jagger said, “It’s only rock and roll camp.” Homer’s response: “But I like it.” C

Barting Over Sick of Homer’s parenting skills, Bart empancipates himself. Mediocre, but includes a nice jab at the corporate aspect of pseudo-punk bands, courtesy of Blink-182. Band member #1: “Hey man, let’s trash this place.” #2: “After we get paid.” C

Moe Baby Blues Moe becomes attached to Maggie after inadvertently saving her life. A few good jokes in this cute episode. Homer, when Bart suggests he could be his father figure: “I’m not getting my fingerprints on that train wreck!” Fat Tony’s line, “I haven’t cried like this since I paid to see Godfather III” is funny because he’s played by Joe Mantegna, who acted in said film. B

SEASON FIFTEEN

Treehouse of Horror XIV Three fun, solid segments will keep you smiling, and sometimes laughing. Grampa, miserably, after being set on fire: “I’m still cold.” B+

The Regina Monologues The Simpsons take a trip to the UK. Several good jokes, as well as James Bond and Trainspotting takeoffs that fall flat. Mr. Burns, upon seeing a peanut vendor: “Look Smithers, crackleberries!” B

‘Tis The Fifteenth Season Homer learns to be less selfish for the holidays. Krusty: “For every dollar of Krusty merchandise you buy, I will be nice to a sick kid. For legal purposes, sick kids may include hookers with a cold.” B+

Diatribe of a Mad Housewife Marge writes a novel whose characters bear a suspicious resemblance to herself and Homer. Lisa, upon entering a chain bookstore: “I’m gonna go up to the fourth floor, where the books are!” B+

SEASON SIXTEEN

Treehouse of Horror XV Ned acquires second sight, a Jack the Ripper-style killer is on the loose, and the Simpson family must go inside Mr. Burns to save Maggie. The laughs aren’t huge, but it’s lots of fun. Scotland Yard’s motto: “What’s all this, then?” B+

Fat Man and Little Boy Fun episode in which Bart makes a bundle designing funny t-shirts. Title of Lisa’s unfinished novel: They Promised Me Ponies. Bart, after putting the tooth he just lost under his pillow: “God, please give your daughter the Tooth Fairy the strength to carry my cash.” B

On a Clear Day I Can’t See My Sister Lisa puts a restraining order on Bart. Amusing. Title of instructional video: “Get Out of My Dreams, and Also Out of My Car: A Guide to Your Restraining Order” Banner at Sprawlmart store: “Don’t watch 60 Minutes tonight”. B

SEASON SEVENTEEN

The Italian Bob While in Italy, the Simpsons come across Sideshow Bob, who’s become the mayor of a small town. A few good laughs scattered through an otherwise unremarkable episode. An Italian officer looks through a book featuring pictures illustrating various crimes. He comes upon an image of the father from lame Simpsons rip-off Family Guy, with the legend “plagiarismo”. Next is a picture of the father from FG carbon copy American Dad, with the legend “plagiarismo di plagiarismo”! C+

Kiss Kiss Bang Bangalore Patty and Selma kidnap Richard Dean Anderson, and Homer has to go work in India. Likable but not very funny episode. Airport announcement: “India Air flight 57. Now boarding first class, small children, and fat guys.” C

The Monkey Suit Lisa fights the teaching of creationism at her school. Amusing, pleasant episode. Flanders kid, after being exposed to theory of evolution: “Daddy, was Mommy a monkey? I can’t remember.” B

SEASON EIGHTEEN

The Mook, the Chef, the Wife, and Her Homer The Simpsons get involved with the mob. Fairly dull episode. Homer, eating a delicious soufflé: “This is what angels must taste like!” C

24 Minutes Amusing episode mimicking the style of the tv show 24. Jimbo, preparing to deploy a stinkbomb: “They’re gonna wish the bake sale was a nose plug sale!” His cohort: “And it totally isn’t!” B

SEASON NINETEEN

The Debarted A new kid at school turns out to be someone planted by principal Skinner to get some inside dirt on Bart. Pretty good episode, though not especially funny. Includes a nice tender scene of Bart and Homer having a good time together. Ralph at the end, poking fun at The Departed: “The rat symbolizes obviousness.” B

Papa Don’t Leech Country singer Lurleen resurfaces. Things the Simpsons sing to rhyme with Lurleen’s line “Daddy’s back and I’m feelin’ like a daughter” include “Keep it down, I’m reading Harry Potter” (Lisa) and “My body wash is Estée Lauder” (Marge). B+

Any Given Sundance Lisa’s documentary about her family gets into the Sundance Festival. Fairly amusing. Tourist who saw the film, to Homer: “Let me get a picture of you strangling my kid.” B

SEASON TWENTY

Treehouse of Horror XIX Transformers invade Springfield, Homer gets a new gig killing celebrities, and Milhouse’s faith brings “the Grand Pumpkin” to life in this mildly amusing Halloween episode. Newspaper headline: “Christmas Occurs.” B-

Homer and Lisa Exchange Cross Words Lisa develops a passion for crossword puzzles. Not the funniest episode, but with a strong emotional aspect. Lisa’s repeated, dead-eyed assertion, “No, I’m not mad.” is funny mostly thanks to the way it’s delivered. B+

Gone Maggie Gone Lisa tries to retrieve Maggie from a convent in one of the show’s strongest episodes in years. Homer, driving off a bridge because he’s trying to juggle Maggie, Santa’s Little Helper, and a jar of poison: “Why did I bring the baby and the dog to the poison store?!” Comic Book Guy, while digging his own grave at gunpoint: “Superman, I’ve believed in you for years. If you can hear me now, please come help me dig this giant grave.” A-

SEASON TWENTY-ONE

Treehouse of Horror XX A sharp, fun, and clever collection of vignettes. The first one amusingly draws visual and musical inspiration from several Hitchcock films. At one point, Mrs. Krabappel hilariously contrives to place herself under the blade of a paper cutter. Ralph, when an Asian child is selected for a task: “Hooray for differentface!” Bart, ad nauseam: “CRISS CROSS!” A-

Rednecks and Broomsticks Lisa discovers Wicca as Homer discovers moonshine. Moe getting teary-eyed because the hillbillies don’t intend to have their way with him is pretty funny. B

Boy Meets Curl Marge and Homer take up curling. It’s nice to have an episode where their relationship is in exceptionally good shape. Lenny: “Date night: It’s the embalming fluid that keeps the mummy of a marriage fresh after the heart and brain have been pulled out through the nose.” B+

To Surveil with Love Surveillance cameras are installed all over Springfield. Good episode with unsatisfying Lisa subplot. At one point Bart is trying to figure out the limits of a blind spot by pulling down his pants. Homer: “Hey boy, watcha doin’?” Bart: “Experimenting with my butt.” Homer (tousling Bart’s hair and chuckling): “My lil Einstein!” B+

SEASON TWENTY-TWO

MoneyBART Lisa uses sabermetrics when she becomes the new coach of Bart’s baseball team. Features one of the best couch gags ever. Marge, when Lisa thinks she won’t get into an ivy league school: “Sweetie, you can still go to McGill – the Harvard of Canada!” Lisa: “Anything that’s the something of a something isn’t really the anything of anything.” B+

SEASON TWENTY-THREE

Holidays of Future Passed We flash forward 30 years to see what happened to the Simpsons. Things get resolved a little too easily, but it’s a funny, inventive episode. Grampa, with dismay as he misinterprets his whipped cream-covered face: “Aw, I’m Santa? Now I’ll never die.” A-

At Long Last Leave For their 500th episode, the Simpsons are exiled from Springfield. Somewhat compelling, not especially funny. The best gag is a package in their bomb shelter labelled CORPSE BAGS – CHILD SIZE. B-

SEASON TWENTY-FOUR

Moonshine River Bart gets his family to take him to New York in pursuit of an old girlfriend. Homer, armed with a microwave and packages of microwave popcorn, explains why he’s going to take a popcorn bath: “It’s something I read about in a men’s magazine. In a dream.” B

The Day the Earth Stood Cool Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein play hipsters like those that populate their show Portlandia, and Homer becomes enamoured of their coolness. Unfortunately, the episode repeats the same joke over and over. I did like when Homer removes his goatee hairs and says about his newfound friends, “They can goatee hell!” and his family politely clap at his pun. C+

SEASON TWENTY-FIVE

Brick Like Me Homer imagines he’s living in a world made of Legos. An especially sweet episode gets some laughs out of its format. Maggie is made from Duplo blocks (which are larger because they’re for infants), so she’s bigger than the adults. B+

SEASON TWENTY-SIX

Simpsorama The Futurama gang pay a visit to Springfield. It’s fun to see the two shows interact, though the episode is a bit short on laughs. Best joke is the title of a book Homer is reading in bed: “How to Read a Book in Bed”. The rabbits from Groening’s Life Is Hell comic are in the background of one shot, writing CROSSOVERS ARE HELL on a wall. B

The Princess Guide Moe befriends a princess. Not much in the way of laughs here. Highlight is a guy pulling kittens out of a pipe at the nuclear plant. B-

SEASON TWENTY-SEVEN

Halloween Of Horror Lisa gets traumatically scared, threatening to ruin Halloween. It’s another touching Homer-Lisa story, and a very effective, particularly well-plotted one. At one point, the villains chant, “Creepy nursery rhyme… like in every movie.” B+

Much Apu About Something Apu’s nephew takes over the Kwik-E-Mart. Pretty fun episode. Best laugh is early on, when a statue takes a coupon out of its ass. Also funny: the contents of the Quick & Fresh instantly perish, which somehow causes butterflies to emerge from the dried up bananas. B

SEASON TWENTY-EIGHT

There Will Be Buds Kurt van Houten coaches a kids lacrosse team. Only mildly amusing, but with a good story. Kurt makes rice sandwiches, which give the kids energy, causing Milhouse to exclaim dorkily: “Rice power!” B

SEASON TWENTY-NINE

Gone Boy Bart gets lost, and Sideshow Bob is there to take advantage of the situation. Fairly compelling, though the plot lacks structure. The episode uses the Cape Fear music, because a classic Sideshow Bob episode once parodied that movie, but it has no place here. Similarly, a couple of sequences are in the style of the credits for Anatomy of a Murder for no apparent reason. Wiggum, trying to comfort Marge: “Ma’am? Can you describe your son’s skeleton?” Kent Brockman, after stating that his channel is projecting that Bart is dead: “Now let’s look at the districts where he’s deadest.” B

SEASON THIRTY

Woo-Hoo Dunnit?

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2 Responses to The Simpsons episode guide

  1. djmatticus says:

    Wow, quite an undertaking to review the entirety of the series. That being said, since it is one of the best shows ever, it shouldn’t be too hard of a task.

    • clauditorium says:

      Hey, thanks for commenting! I started this several years ago, and as you say, it’s no chore. To be honest, though, after season 7, I don’t plan on reviewing everything.
      By the way, I’m still working on the page to make it more readable; bear with me!

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