Well here I go. After ranking American Dad and Family Guy’s best episodes, why not focus on the longest running animated TV show ever: The Simpsons? Despite its best years being very much behind it, the Simpsons is barrelling towards its 34th series. So, before I get into the list properly, here is some history about this record breaking show.
The Simpsons first aired in 1999 on Fox and as mentioned above is currently in its 33rd series with a 34th surely on the horizon. If you’ve somehow never seen the Simpsons, it follows the titular family: Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie and their adventures around their hometown Springfield. As you can guess, 33 seasons have seen the Simpsons engage in a lot of adventures both in Springfield and in actual US states/cities. As an example, they have a running gag about how Homer has had so many jobs. So, without further ado, here are the best Simpsons episodes (excluding Treehouse of Horror specials) .
10: Rosebud (S5, E4)
Similarly to Family Guy and American Dad, the Simpsons have had plenty of film parodies over the years and this episode is no different. If you weren’t aware, this episode parodies Orson Welles’s classic: Citizen Kane. However, it focuses on Mr Burn’s attempt to be reunited with his childhood toy bear, Bobo, who is currently in the possession of Maggie. What follows is Burns trying to get Bobo back leading to a funny sequence of Mr Burns invading TV shows live on air. But at least Burns does a decent thing and gives Maggie the bear back after he realises she needs it more. Aww…
9: El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (S8, E9)
This episode is mostly here for the excellently animated hallucination sequence that Homer experiences when he eats some very hot chilli peppers. Also, props to the Simpsons for managing to get Johnny Cash to voice a fox during the hallucination. Anyway, what makes this episode great is how it examines whether Marge and Homer are truly soulmates. All of this culminates in a touching scene inside a lighthouse. But if you only watch this episode for one thing, then it should be the hallucination.
8: One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish (S2, E11)
Not all animated TV sitcoms need to be joyous affairs as seen in One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish. So, what happens in this episode? Well, Homer eats some poisonous blowfish at a sushi restaurant and is told he has 24 hours to live. What follows is a genuinely touching episode where Homer attempts to complete his bucket list. Also, that scene of him thinking he is saying goodbye to his family forever is utterly heartbreaking. Damn, the Simpsons can break your heart then just put it back together.
7: Homer the Great (S6, E12)
Aah yes, the Stonecutter one. After finding out about the secret Stonecutter society in Springfield, Homer ends up joining… albeit with a very swollen backside (if you’ve seen the episode you’ll get that reference) Anyway, Homer seems to get kicked out before he is revealed to be the Chosen One to lead the Stonecutters. Particular highlights of this episode include Patrick Stewart guest voicing and the excellent We Do song. Anyway, just an example of the brilliance of Season 6 of the Simpsons.
6: Mr Plow (S4, E9)
Next up, we have another cult favourite for Simpsons fans: Mr Plow. Chances are that even if you haven’t seen the episode you probably know the jingle. Anyway, after Homer starts a lucrative snow plow business called Mr Plow Barney ends up taking his place as the top dog in Springfield…. at snow plowing. What follows is Homer realising that his friendship with Barney matters more than his snow plow. Other highlights include the Mr Plow jingle and Homer thinking the key to the city is actually chocolate. Iconic stuff.
5: Homer’s Enemy (S8, E23)
At the halfway point of the best Simpsons episodes, we have Homer’s Enemy. So, who is the titular enemy? Frank Grimes. By all accounts, Grimes was a hardworking man who scrapped for everything that he had. This makes the decision to pair him with Homer brilliant as despite being a very lazy man Homer has everything that Grimes dreams of. Eventually, this leads to Grimes going insane in an attempt to imitate Homer. Long story short, it doesn’t end up well for Grimes…
4: Itchy and Scratchy Land (S6, E4)
Now if you’re annoyed about this episode placing fourth, from this point on you could make a case for any of these episodes being the best. Now, this episode might come back to haunt Disney as it essentially spends a good portion ripping on Disney land. What starts off as a satire of Disneyland turns into a weird robot thriller episode with the Simpsons having to fight off Itchy and Scratchy bots. Also, the announcement to Marge that park security have taken Bart and Homer whilst she’s getting ‘best vacation ever T-shirts’ made is very funny. God, Season 6 was so good
3: Cape Feare (S5, E2)
Sneaking ahead of Itchy and Scratchy Land into third is Cape Feare. Again, another example of the Simpsons parodying cinema, this time it’s Cape Fear. Instead of Robert De Niro, it’s Kelsey Grammer’s Sideshow Bob. Where to begin with the highlights of this episode? Well, the plot sees the Simpsons relocate after Sideshow Bob threatens to kill Bart. However, the best gag isn’t Bob singing an entire musical score but Bob stepping on rakes. Whether it’s Kelsey Grammer’s growl, the prolonged nature of the joke or the zoom out that reveals he is surrounded by rakes, this gag is phenomenal. Man, Kelsey Grammer knocked it out of the park here…
2: Homer Badman (S6, E9)
Narrowly coming in at second place in the best Simpsons episodes is Homer Badman. Yet another example of how the Simpsons used to churn out classic episodes at a ludicrous pace. Case in point, Homer the Badman where Homer gets accused of sexually assaulting his babysitter. What follows is a trial by public opinion but nothing in this episode quite tops the hilarious Rock Bottom interview. Instead of clearing his name, Rock Bottom edits the footage to make Homer look like a bad person… with all the finesse of a student film. Damn, Season 6 is phenomenal.
1: Last Exit To Springfield (S4, E17)
And the best Simpsons episode is… Last Exit to Springfield. Where to begin with the highlights of this episode? Well, for a start Homer becomes the head of the Power Plant union after realising he needs the dental plan to get Lisa braces. And the hits don’t stop coming as this episode features another great song and a great negotiation scene between Mr Burns and Homer. This ends up with Homer running in circles on the floor whilst making chicken noises to Mr Burns and Smithers’s shock. Genuinely too many highlights to list here but go and seek this episode out.
What are your favourite Simpsons episodes? Let me know in the comments!