Top 10 Best and 5 Worst Simpsons Episodes

By Mike on 4:59 pm

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Celebrating some great TV during the pre-E3 doldrums, I'm going to count down the best and worst episodes. Today, it's the Simpsons. The show will be entering it's 20th season so it's really hard to pick just 10 favourites when there are so many gems. Of course this list is subjective so rather than criticize my picks, why not list your own.

Ten Best Simpsons Episodes
10. The Way We Was (Season 2): Way back in the 1970s, Homer meets Marge in high school. He instantly falls in love with her. However, it's unrequited. Homer tries to get the girl but Marge refuses his advances. She goes to the prom with somebody else. But, her nerdy date Artie Ziff is less than a gentleman. In the end, Marge and Homer realize they were meant to be together.

A heart warming episode with great character development. The early episodes portrayed Homer and Marge as real people. It's a sharp contrast to the implausible caricatures of modern society they are today. The songs in this episode were brilliant. It introduces Homer & Marger's "song" as being Close to You, sung by the Carpenters. I'm man enough to admit it's one of the few songs that makes me tear up.

9. Treehouse of Horror V (Season 6): "No reading my mind between 4 and 5, that's Willy's TIME!" The Halloween specials have been an annual hallmark for the Simpsons. The specials aren't canon and place our favourite family in some pretty bizzare situations. The earlier specials were mostly sendups of old horror movies and TV shows like Night Gallery and the Twilight Zone.

Treehouse of Horror V sees plays on the Shining, Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Time Machine, and Soylent Green. In Homer's time travel caper, he unfortunately misses out on a paradise world where he's rich, drives a Lexus, has well behaved kids, Patty and Selma are dead, and it rains doughnuts. In the Shinning, we find out what it really takes to drive Homer to kill. "No TV and no beer make Homer something something..." Willy gets an ax in the back not once, not twice, but thrice. James Earl Jones was this episode's special guest. "This is indeed a disturbing universe." Also, who couldn't find Ned Fanders as the unquestioned, Big Brother ruler of the world hilarious?

8. Homer's Phobia (Season 8): Homer's new friend (voiced by John Waters) loves 1950s camp but there's just something odd about him. He's a ho ... mo ... SEXUAL! Homer has a case of homophobia and fear's John's gayness is rubbing off on Bart. Zaaap.

Homer tires to man up his son my taking him to a cigarette billboard featuring two scantily clad women (ironically for women's cigarettes), a (gay) steel mill, and deer hunting. Homer and Bart almost get gored at Santa's Village by angry reindeer, but are saved by John and his robotic Japanese Santa at the last minute. John thinks they'd naturally be afraid of their cruel master. Homer is thankful for being saved and develops a new appreciation for gays. He's determined to love Bart no matter what he turns out to be. This episode also has a hilarious scene where Smithers encounters John. The two are apparently close. And you thought he was just a Burnssexual.

7. You Only Move Twice (Season 8): Homer gets an executive job at Globex Corporation in Cyprus Creek, which is upstate somewhere. The whole family gets moved to the new town which makes Springfield truly look like America's crud bucket. The president of Globex, Mr Scorpio seems like the perfect boss, but he's hiding a terrible secret. Bart meanwhile gets put in remedial classes (I moved here from Can...ah...duh and they think I'm a little slow ..... eh), Lisa finds she's allergic to everything in town, and a bored Marge turns to drinking. (A glass of wine a day, she can't drink as much as the doctor recommended glass and a half) Scorpio turns out to be a Bond-esque super villain who threatens the UN and has aspirations of world domination. Globex is just a front to develop doomsday weapons. Homer ends up accidentally getting "loafer" James Bont killed and leaves just before Scorpio unleashes his weapon. His boss takes over the entire east coast and gives Homer the Denver Broncos as a parting gift. Homer had originally wanted to own the Dallas Cowboys and is disappointed with the fumbling Broncos. Ironically the team won the Super Bowl the following year. (Presumably Homer still owns the Broncos, which would explain why he's spent so little time working at the power plant in recent seasons without financial penalty.) A great performance by Albert Brooks as Scorpio.

6. The City of New York vs Homer Simpson (Season 9): This episode has not been shown much since 9/11 due to it prominently featuring the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. After a drinking binge, Barney borrows Homer's car and ends up getting it lost in New York City. The family is excited to go to the Big Apple to retrieve it but Homer isn't. During the 1970s while visiting the city, Homer had garbage dumped on him by Woody Allen, was robbed by a cop, and attacked by pimps and CHUDs. (Canaballistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers, from the 1984 horror B-movie of the same name.) The family goes off to have a wonderful day while Homer finds the car at the WTC, with a boot on it. Angered by having to wait, Homer tries to drive the car with the boot on and eventually goes on an angry rampage through the city. The "Checkin In" Broadway show scene was brilliant.

5. Cape Feare (Season 5) : Somebody has been sending Bart threatening letters written in blood. The FBI places the Simpsons in the witness protection program until the perpetrator can be caught. Of course it turns out to be Sideshow Bob, who follows the family to their new house boat at Terror Lake. "Surprise boy in bed, slit his throat, and then disembowel him. No, no, I don't like that bowel in there. GUT him!" With the family tied up and nowhere to run, Bart distracts Bob by making him sing the entire score of the HMS Pinafore, which Bob just happens to know off by heart. The house boat eventually drifts down river back to Springfield where a bathrobe clad Chief Wiggum, who had been visiting a near by brothel (for law enforcement purposes surely), promptly arrests Bob. "Bake em away toys". This episode contains a lot of classic gags from Bob stepping on the rakes, Homer scaring Bart in bed, and the family driving through a cactus patch with a very exposed Bob strapped to the underside of the car. It's arguably Bob's (and Kelsey Grammer's) best appearance on the show. In recent years, Bob has devloved to being another baffoon rather than the cultured, evil genius he originally was.

4. Homer's Barbershop Quartet (Season 5): In the Summer of 1985, Homer, Skinner, Apu, Barney and (formally) Wiggum form a Barbershop Quartet. The group rises to fame, even winning a Grammy (beating out one trick pony Dexy's Midnight Runners), before crashing down hard and returning to their old lives. This episode perfectly lampoons the rise and fall of the Beatles. From Barney replacing Wiggum (Ringo replacing Pete Best), Moe's Cavern (the Cavern Club in Liverpool), Apu changing his name (Richard Starky became Ringo Starr), Bigger than Jesus, Barney's new girlfriend the Japanese conceptual artists (Lennon and Ono), and the rooftop farewell concert ("It's been done"). The episode features the voice talent of David Crosby ("you're a musician?!" Barny quips, linking himself to Crosby's similar alcohol abuse) , George Harrison (who directs Homer to some brownies), and the Dapper Dans. Every Beatle except for John Lennon has appeared on the Simpsons. John of course was murdered in the early 80s, long before the show premiered.

3. El viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (Season 8): On their way to the Springfield chili cook off, Homer promises Marge he won't get drunk this time. At the cook off, Wiggum feeds Homer a chili made from super hot peppers grown at a Guatemalan insane asylum. Homer then goes on a capsicum induced "bad trip" into a mysterious desert world inspired by Native American mysticism and the works of author Carlos Castaneda. There he meets his spirit guide, a fox voiced by Johnny Cash, who tells him to find his soul mate. Homer tells the fox it's Marge. "Is it?" the fox replies and disappears. Homer then wakes up on a golf course and tries to reason what he's just been through. Marge, believing that Homer got drunk was the reason he didn't come home that night, refuses to speak to him. Thinking that what the fox said might be true, Homer goes on a spiritual journey around Springfield to find his real soul mate. By the end, it turns out it he and Marge do share a profound mystical bond after all. This episode is a good follow up to the previously mentioned "The Way We Was", showing how dedicated the two are to each other. It's another heart warming episode that also makes you think, even if it contains less overt gags than other episodes. Homer answering the GBM (read "gay black male") personal ad scene though was hilarious.

2. Round Springfield (Season 6): Bart accidentally eats a jagged metal "O" that was put as the "prize" in his Krusty-Os cereal. Bart begins having severe stomach aches, however, nobody but Lisa believes him. He spends the day in agony before Krabapple decides (after letting him suffer a little longer) to send him to the nurse. Bart's appendix is about to burst and he needs emergency surgery. While visiting Bart in the hospital, Lisa meets Bleeding Gums Murphy there, a sax player and her personal idol. Murphy tells her his life story. On her next visit, Lisa finds that Murphy had been very ill and had died the night before. Distraught, Lisa goes out to share the obscure jazz man's greatness with the world. In the mean time, Bart sues Krusty for $100,000 and wins. After being bamboozled by his lawyers, Bart gets to keep just $500, leaving him delighted. Lisa goes to Comic Book Guy to buy Murphy's only album "Sax on the Beach". On finding out that Murphy was dead, CBG doubles the price from $250 to $500, which Lisa can't afford. Bart, eager to spend his $500 is show by CBG the "ultimate pog", featuring the likeness of former Tonight Show host Steve Allen. (Allen was the first host of NBC's The Tonight Show way back in the 1950s before before being succeeded by Jack Par and later the famous Johnny Carson. Allen died in 2000.) Seeing Lisa sad, Bart decides to buy Murphy's album for his sister, noting that when he said he was sick, Lisa was the only one who believed him. Lisa takes the album to a local jazz station but finds its range is only limited to just outside the building. The soul of Bleeding Gums appears and boosts the power of the station so the whole town can hear the album. The two then share one final jam session. Another soul searching episode with a warm ending.

1. Bart Sells His Soul (Season 7): Bart is convinced a soul is just something made up by adults to scare kids so he sells it (in the form of "Bart's Soul" written on a piece of paper) to Milhouse for $5. Bart soon discovers that something may actually be missing. His dog turns on him, the doors at the Quick-E-Mart won't open for him, and he doesn't find things funny anymore. Bart goes out onto the nighttime streets of Springfield to attempt to get his soul back from Milhouse. Milhouse has apparently sold it to Comic Book Guy for Alf pogs. (Pogs was a game played with paper milk bottle caps that was popular in the mid 1990s. I still have mine. Alf was a family sitcom in the late 80s staring a lovable alien who liked to eat cats.) When Bart goes to the comic store, CBG says he sold the soul to someone who was very interested in that kind of thing. Bart is lost and prays to god for his soul back. He is surprised when it magically flutters from above into his hands. Lisa had bought and returned his soul. Bart learns that a soul is something to be earned through hardship and struggle.

Five Worst Episodes
5. How I spent my Strummer Vacation (Season 14): Homer and his buddies go to a rock and roll fantasy camp hosted by the Rolling Stones. I love classic rock but you'd think a show with Mick and the boys would be a lot more fun. High on celebrity value but a dumb episode overall. Not a heck of a lot of difference between this episode and the earlier Homerpalooze, which also wasn't that good in my opinion. The Simpsons has come to rely too heavily on celebrity guest voices.

4. Today I am a Clown (Season 15): Krusty finds out he never had a bar mitzvah and therefore isn't a man. Given his strenuous relationship with his father, as seen in Season 3's "Like Father, Like Clown", this doesn't seem like that much of a stretch. However, he did attend Yashiva school and his father was a Rabbi. He hadn't spoken with his father in 25 years, but since he is shown to be middle aged or older in the series, its unlikely he didn't have a bar mitzvah. Not much to say other than the Krusty as a Jew thing has already been done to death. The Mr T scene with the menorah wheel makes me cringe it's so dumb.

3. Bart-Mangled Banner (Season 15): Bart accidentally moons the American flag and is imprisoned in Alcatraz by patriotic Springfielders along with the rest of the family for anti-Americanism. Other internees at the prison are the Dixie Chicks, Michael Moore, Elmo, and Bill Clinton. A poke at conservatism and patriotism around the time the Iraq war started. However, this episode was poorly executed and unfunny in a media environment that excessively takes shots at the right wing. Season 6's "Sideshow Bob Roberts" did something similar but was way wittier and funnier than this episode. This feels more like a recent episode of Family Guy. Just mentally replace Bart and the Family with Stewie and Brian next time you watch it and you'll see what I mean. This episode isn't shown often in syndication, not here at least.

2. That 90s Show (Season 19): Homer and Marge split in the 90s while dating. A broken down Homer becomes a grunge rocker. Throws out about 10 years worth of the series and all established character history. The Simpsons is known for bending the timeline but this episode doesn't make sense.

1. All About Lisa (Season 19): Lisa gets a job working as Krusty's assistant, only to later appear in his show. She later learns that being famous is not all it's cracked up to be. The episode was a carbon copy of Season 5's "Bart Gets Famous" but it was not funny with Lisa as the star. This garners the worst simply because it is a direct copy, showing the current writing staff has either no imagination or is not familiar with the show's history. Granted it does get harder to write totally original plots after 400 episodes but this was just pathetic. As a mid-season filler episode they might have gotten away with it, but not as the fanale.

3 comments for this post

All these are the Best episodes. I really Enjoyed all the episodes.To Download Simpsons top episodes i got a Good Stuff here.Thanks!!

Posted on 21 August 2009 at 02:51  

The Simpson family first appeared on television as the subjects of interstitial. I watch The Simpson Online here,This is my favourite progamme of all time in the history of tv. The episodes are funny, the characters are funny, all of it is funny! My opinion on the characters is Homer. He is my favourite character! This is like a progamme that people all know and love and the simpsons will still be good into the future. This is a tv classic. I can't believe this movie has been going on for over 20 years! Oh my gosh! Great progamme, great characters.

Posted on 17 November 2010 at 04:26  

This is one of the best "Best Episode Lists" for The Simpsons I've ever seen. Every one of the episodes on the list is a classic and it mentions underrated Episodes like "Round Springfield" and "The Way We Was".
I think this would Be my List:

10: The City of New York Vs Homer Simpson
9: Lisa's Substitute
8: Cape Feare
7: Bart Sells His Soul
6: You Only Move Twice
5: Homer Bad Man
4: Whacking Day
3: Homer's Barbershop Quartet
2: I Married Marge
1: Tie Between "Lisa on Ice" and Home sweet "Homediddly-dum-Doodily"

Every other Mentioned Episode deserves an Honourable Mention, as does "Marge Vs the Monorail" "A Fish Called Selma" "Flaming Moes" and, Perhaps the only post-S9 episode to stand up to these, "I am Furious Yellow"
The picks for Worst Episode were Pretty Good. All about Lisa, Bart-Mangled Banner and Today I am A Clown are some of the worst episodes ever. That 90s show was pretty funny, but would agree that changing the backstory makes it worthy of a spot. I Would Disagree with the placing of "Strummer" as I, like many others, would say it's one of the stronger Post-S9 episodes.

Here are My Picks For the 10 Worst:
10: That 90's Show
9: Lisa the Beauty Queen
8: Today I am a Clown
7: He Loves to Fly and He D'ohs
6: I'm Going to Praiseland
5: The Boys of Bummer
4: Bart to the Future
3: Kill the Aligator and Run
2: Bart Mangled Banner
1: All About Lisa

Posted on 14 July 2011 at 03:37