Tito’s Simpsons Countdown 15-13Posted: July 24, 2007
As wary as I am of the upcoming Simpsons Movie, seeing commercials for it has made me reminscient of the glory days of the series. So, with that in mind, and realizing that it’s been months since I’ve written anything for the site, I’m going to spread out my favorite 15 episodes (it was too hard to keep it down to 10) over five nostalgic posts. Let’s begin:
15. Behind the Laughter (Season 11)
My list begins with the best “new” episode, which appropriately, more addresses the Simpsons’ state of super-popularity than it does any attempt at a real plotline. The premise of the faux documentary seems a little self-righteous, but the end result contains enough brilliant lines to get away with it. While the “plot” elements aren’t particularly good, the episode manages to perfectly nail every cheesy TV documentary on a celebrity ever made. For example:
Narrator: “The Simpsons’ TV show started out on a wing and a prayer, but now the wing was on fire, and the prayer had been answered … by Satan.”
Homer: “Why did I take much punishment? Let’s just say that fame was like a drug, but what was even more like a drug was the drugs. “
Yet I think the greatest line of all in the episode doesn’t come until the very end, and it is thrown out the most casually:
Narrator: “Next week, on Behind the Laughter…”
Huckleberry Hound: “I was so gay… but I couldn’t tell anyone!”
The one thing that’s hard to believe, and a little depressing, about this episode is Homer’s whispered line “This’ll be the last season” to the guy in the editing booth. This episode aired seven years ago, and even back then the writers were making cracks at how tired the show had become.
Oh well, let’s jump a little further back for the next one.
14. Raging Abe Simpson and his Grumbling Grandson in “The Curse of the Flying Hellfish” (Season 7)
Grampa Simpson kills me. No other character is guaranteed to make me laugh as much as him. While this episodes doesn’t contain any of his best going-nowhere stories (such as “…I wore an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time…” or “I was dreaming I was a queen of the old west…” ), it is the only time when anything he babbles about ends up being true. Before we get to that point though, we get to hear some fantastic nonsense while Abe is visiting Bart’s classroom.
Bart: Grampa! I don’t mind if you spit at home, but I have to work with these people.
Grampa: Oh jibber jack! Schoolhouse don’t put up spittoons, I can’t be held responsible.
Grampa: Now, my story begins in 19-dickety-two. We had to say “dickety” ’cause that Kaiser had stolen our word “twenty”. I chased that rascal to get it back, but gave up after dickety-six miles…
Martin: “Dickety”? Highly dubious!
Grampa: What’re you cackling at, fatty? Too much pie, that’s your problem!
The episode’s best sight gags come when Burns hires an assassin to get rid of Abe, particularly when the killer gives up all his subtle ways, kicks down the door of the retirement home, and starts unloading his machine gun. (There’s also the great joke beforehand of the killer assuming M.B. stands for Marion Berry.)
I doubt you’ll find this episode among anyone else’s favorites, (as proof, I couldn’t find any you tube clips for it) but I’m always up for a Grampa-centric episode.
13. 22 Short Films about Springfield (Season 7)
By one perspective, this episode is little more than random insanity. By another, it’s mainly a glorified Tarantino parody. By my perspective though, it’s an episode that relies entirely on the power of the massive supporting cast while never stretching any one premise thin. It’s a series of jokes that wouldn’t fit into a normal episode, but work perfectly in 60 second doses.
The best segment however, is easily the scene between Principal Skinner and Superintendent Chalmers:
Plenty of other memorable scenes/quotes from here, like Nelson and the tall guy (“Hey look! It’s that kid that laughs at everybody! Let’s laugh at him!”) or the Springfield cops doing their take on the “Royale with Cheese” conversation from “Pulp Fiction (“Pssh! Shakes… you don’t know what you’re getting.”) but none of these measure up to the hilarity of “Aurora Borealis” and “steamed hams.”
Coming up next 12-10