Tito’s Simpsons Countdown 9-7Posted: August 23, 2007
9. The Front (Season 4)
Bart and Lisa write a script for an episode of Itchy and Scratchy, while putting Grampa’s name on it. Meanwhile, Homer and Marge attend their high school reunion, just for Homer to embarassed that he never completed Remedial Science. Two completely unrelated plots, but both are very strong. This episode makes the list for being, in my opinion, the best episode centered around Itchy and Stratchy. The jokes take shots at pompous Harvard writers, cartoons made entirely to sell toys (the “How-to-buy Action Man episode”), some of the absurdity of animation (the recycled backgrounds), and ending with the most likely accurate conclusion that the fans of a show are often more qualified to write it than the writers. We also get a fair amount of Grampa’s nonsense (“I was dreaming I was a queen of the oooold west…”) including his ability to remove his underwear without removing his pants. The “B” plot, meanwhile, has one of the best conversations I can remember from the show.
Homer’s Brain: “This is it, Homer. Time to tell her the horrible secret from your past.”
Homer: “Marge, I ate all those fancy dish soaps you brought for the bathroom.”
Marge: “Oh my God!”
Homer’s Brain: “No, the other secret…”
Homer: “Oh… Marge. I never graduated from high school.”
Marge: “That’s terrible. But it still doesn’t explain why you ate all those soaps…. Oh wait… maybe it does…”
On top of these two storylines, the show ends with a thirty second short about Ned Flanders. The show never did this again, and I think the fact that there was only one of these floating around makes it that much funnier.
8. Homer the Heretic (Season 4)
One of the simplest premises for any episode on the series: Homer skips church, has the best morning of his life, and starts his own religion. Homer is incredibly relatable in this episode- summed up by his great quote when he meets God in his dream, “I’m not a bad guy! I work hard, and I love my kids. So why do I have to spend half my Sunday hearing about how I’m going to hell?” What makes Homer in this episode even more down to earth is that the episode never once deviates into crazy adventure mode. A more contemporary episode would no doubt see Homer preaching his new found religion, getting devoted followers, and then by the end of the episode, the family would end up in… uh… let’s say Morocco. The point is that there would be no point, it would be more Family Guy-esque. Instead we’re treated to the simple pleasures of a man getting the house to himself. These pleasures include: dancing in underwear and bearclaw slippers, Homer’s patented Moon Waffles (caramel, waffle batter, and liquid smoke, wrapped around a stick of butter and placed on a toothpick), and whizzing with the door open.
Here’s a 60 second rendition of the episode
However, what I really wish I could have shown, (if there was a clip on youtube) was my favorite bit of dialogue from the episode (which the above clip shows, but only part of):
Homer: Come on, TV…Give me some of that sweet, sweet pep.
Talking Head: Let’s define our terms, gentlemen. Are we talking about redistricting, or are we talking about reapportionment?
Homer: Oh, well…can’t win ‘em all.
TV Voiceover: We interrupt this public affairs program in order to bring you…a football game.
Of course, no mention of this episode would be complete without pointing out that God is the only five-fingered character on the show, or that Heaven features Ben Franklin playing air hockey against Jimi Hendrix.
7. Rosebud (Season 5)
Evoking the plotline of Citizen Kane, Mr. Burns mourns the loss of his symbol of his childhood, a stuffed bear named Bobo. We get to see the softer side (or at least the more vulnerable side) of Mr. Burns and how he becomes increasingly desperate as his threatening tactics don’t get him what he wants. Not to look too deeply into the message of a Simpsons’ episode, but this episode does have one of the most satisfying endings of the series. As soon as Burns gives up trying to steal the bear away from Maggie, Maggie is willing to give it up. Maybe I’m seeing more than is there, or maybe that was a good message for eight-year old me to learn back in 1993.
Depth and truth aside, the episode is pretty hilarious. And nothing can top the “sixty-four slices of American cheese” scene.
Though this is pretty fantastic too.
There’s plenty more there to push this to the number 7 spot. Burns shaking in fear after the Ramones play, Smithers dressed up as a teddy bear (“Hug me! Cuddle me! Tug on my fur!”), and Homer’s attempt at conducting a roast (“I’m Mr. Burns. Blah blah blah. Do this, do that. Blah blah blah”).