Thursday, April 24, 2014

Top 10 Episodes Of 'The Simpsons'

What's that? Opinionated Movie-Goer talking about television? Yeah, this may be a bit..perplexing but bare with me. With an unimaginative film industry, my attention was been drawn to how good television is nowadays. After the loss of the game changing Breaking Bad, we still have Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead but let's look at comedy. Comedy is on track for greatness with many, many comedy shows being on the air, both animated (Rick and Morty is currently the best) and live action (take your pick). Let's take a look at one of the longest running shows of all time that needs no introduction: The Simpsons.

10. Duffless
Starting off the list is a case of me cheating a bit as this one makes the list for the reason that it's the very first episode I saw of The Simpsons. It's still a great episode though and not just nostalgia blindness. This episode is built on the idea of Homer giving up one of his true passions...BEER! This no doubt leads to some hilarious moments in addition to the B Plot about Bart's intelligence being compared to a hamster. Most episodes on this list have some kind of strong element behind them but this is just the writers screwing about and having fun and it definitely shines through.

9. Homer at the Bat
Now here's an example of an episode with a topic I don't care for but, as a result, I would want to. I know that the guest stars used don't actually have these personalities in real life but the way they are 'Simpson-ised' leads to some truly hilarious moments (and one of my favourite moments ever..."LORD PALMERSTON!"). The hilarious circumstances that befell the star players are actually kind of inventive and you look forward to see what happens to each one (the image above might give some indication). It's a great episode even if you're not a fan of baseball.

8. Homer's Enemy
Yes, this may seem like a very sadistic and mean spirited episode but that's part of why it's so enjoyable. This is the episode in which we are introduced to the infamous Frank Grimes who becomes the eponymous enemy of Homer after being disgusted at his antics at work. We therefore see a good confronation with Homer and addressing his biggest flaws with not just him but society as well. The real reason that this episode works is because of the premise. We are effectively seeing what happens when a normal person is thrown into the world of 'The Simpsons'. This is a  So what does happen? SPOILER ALERT He dies.

7. Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk
This is the episode that brought us the Land of Chocolate. What else do I need to say? Well, I can say that this is just a very likable and feel good episode. It's jolly, it's silly and filled with laughs (in fact, all of the episodes on this list are). The episode sees Mr. Burns selling out to German businessmen who wish to buy the power plant. You may gather from this list that I love episodes focusing on the power plant and this is an episode that shows it at its best...at least until Number 1.

6. Homer The Great
What would you rather have in an episode of The Simpsons? A strong message or just hilarity throughout. Well, with 'Homer The Great', it's just laughs all the way through. From the 'We Do' song to the hilarious twists later, this is an episode where every scene is packed with a joke that lands. Trust me, you'll be relishing this when you look at more recent episodes (yeah, should've mentioned how bad the show is now). Patrick Stewart steps in to guest star as a role that fits him perfectly as he plays off many of Springfield's regulars who are part of a secret organisation.

5. Round Springfield
There had to be at least one emotional episode on this list and I had a hard time juggling which one to pick. From episodes such as 'Mother Simpson' and 'And Maggie Makes Three', I went with 'Round Simpson' because it's good to see The Simpsons tie together multiple episodes as this is a sequel to the Season 1 episode 'Moaning Lisa'. Seeing Bleeding Gums Murphy return is a welcome return and showing off the relationship between Bart and Lisa in a positive light is always a good thing to cherish. We also get some great music too and a well done way of bringing the two stories together at the end...something that is rarely done too well.

4. You Only Move Twice
This is one of the strongest examples of The Simpsons working out of their comfort zone with a small percentage of the episode taking place in Springfield. What makes this episode work is the introduction of Hank Scorpio and the idea of Homer working for what is essentially a Bond villain. Also seeing the Simpson family thrown into the deep end with Homer being the only one enjoying himself. Hank Scorpio is too great of a character to use once and Albert Brooks clearly had fun providing his voice. Just the very idea of Homer being oblivious to his new boss's hobbies (just look at that image) highlights Homer's simple nature and is a great Homer focused episode.

3. A Star is Burns
The Simpsons is a great show, no doubt about that, but another show that I love almost as much as it (if not more) is The CriticThe Critic is made some of the writers of The Simpsons in it's prime and with Season 2 on the way, they decided to do a crossover between The Simpsons and The Critic. Crossovers are normally cheap tie-ins (even this episode highlights that) but the crossover is done so flawlessly that, if you had never heard of The Critic, you'd barely know its a crossover. This gave us some unforgettable Simpsons moments such as 'Man Getting Hit By Football', the interactions between Homer and Jay Sherman and giving accidental depth to Barney. Plus an episode about movie making is always welcome!

2. Cape Feare
Now, this one was dangerously close to reaching number one because this is just a fantastic episode. This is the episode that highlights Sideshow Bob's character and hits all the jokes out of the park. Whether it's Homer's obliviousness to "Mr Thompson" or Sideshow Bob singing the entire "HMS Pinafore", you'll be laughing all the way. It's a good example of The Simpsons constructing a strong episode that isn't ALL based on jokes as the the jokes are coupled with some surprisingly tense scenes that actual heighten the stakes. It actually feels like Bart is in serious danger as opposed to how silly modern Sideshow Bob episodes have become. Cape Feare is an example of the show running with one idea perfectly.

1. Last Exit To Springfield
No doubt this is a very predictable answer seeing as this is often the episode that tops most best Simpsons episode list and for good reason. While it takes on an idea for the narrative that sounds very boring (labour disputes and the such), every single scene is brilliant (which is VERY hard to pull off) in addition to developing Mr Burns by displaying both his miser-esque greed and his comedic charm. Every joke in the episode lands. From the monkeys on type writers to punching Lenny in the back of the head, the "me" guy and, of course, the infamous "DENTAL PLAN!"/"LISA NEEDS BRACES!" scene. There are too many brilliant jokes to quote for this one but take my word on it, this is The Simpsons hitting perfection.


Honourable Mentions:
Homer the Smithers
Deep Space Homer
Radioactive Man
Burns, Baby Burns
Brother From Another Series

Thank you for reading this as I was debating whether or not to start doing Top 10 Episodes of shows...I may need to with movie droughts that occur throughout the year or when I just can't think of any films to review (City Slickers and O' Brother, Where Art Thou are on the horizon).

3 comments:

  1. My favourite Simpsons originals are of Stark Raving Dad which Michael Jackson is the guest star of this episode. Two more personal are 22 Short Films Around Springfield and Lisa's Wedding.

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  2. I was close to putting 22 Short Films Around Springfield on here, especially after watching Pulp Fiction. I guess you could consider it an honourable mention...of an honourable mention.

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