Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Top 50 Episodes: 31-40

40. Who Shot Mr. Burns Part 1&2 (Season 6 Episode 23, Season 7 Episode 1)
This is a great pair of mystery episodes that really annoyed people at first but was brilliantly set up by very subtle writing. This mystery does prove the writing level of this show and how they can plant clues that they can prove they had.

The story begins with Willie striking oil while trying to bury a dead gerbil. After that, Mr. Burns berates Homer for his incompetence but still fails to remember his name. When Chalmers goes to Springfield Elementary to find out what happened, it turns out that there's an oil well under the school. This gets Mr. Burns' attention and he is mad at the concept of a public organization getting rich. Chalmers and Skinner then decide how to spend the money by listening to suggestions by the school. Mr. Burns tries to get Skinner to give him the oil, but Skinner says no. After Marge gives Homer an idea to get Mr. Burns to remember his name we see Mr. Burns start his plan to siphon the oil from the school. Mr. Burns claims that stealing from the school is "like taking candy from a baby" (~plot point~). Smithers though shows Burns the box of chocolates and Burns sees every Simpson member except Homer on the photo under the chocolate. As Lisa turns on the well, it turns out that Burns took the oil away from them and provided no pressure for them to drill for it. As the oil spurts out, it hits Bart's treehouse and destroys it while severely injuring Santa's Little Helper. Meanwhile, it turns out that the school lost the rights to the oil causing Skinner to fire Willie, Largo, and Tito Puente. After Homer lets out the biggest FFFF..... it turns out that the drill causes noxious gas to leak into Moe's Tavern causing the barflies and Moe to leave (Oh yeah Pardon my Zinger is playing on the TV ~plot point~). The drill also causes the Retirement Castle to collapse causing Grampa to live with Homer. Mr. Burns reveals to Smithers his grand scheme "Block out the Sun" (God it's 300 10 years too early). Homer then decides to paint "My Name is Homer Simpson" in Mr. Burns' office, to no avail Mr. Burns still doesn't know his name. Grampa shows Bart his WWII gun but Marge takes it and buries it in the backyard. In a town meeting, everyone expresses what Mr. Burns did to them and gives each member good motivation to kill him. Burns then comes in and threatens them to shoot him, but nobody has the guts and Mr. Burns puts up his sun shield. After the meeting everyone who has a motive is missing and Mr. Burns walks off to get shot off screen. He comes back to fall on the sun dial and it ends with us trying to figure out who shot him.
With Hitler and Stalin gone, it was only a matter of time for Burns
Part 2 begins with a dream sequence designed to convince us that the last episode was just a dream. After a recap of the last episode, we see the Simpson family discussing how anyone could have killed Mr. Burns. After we see that Smithers has a gun that has been fired recently, we see Moe and company go off to tear down the sun shield. Smither goes to a Catholic church to confess he killed Mr. Burns where Wiggum is to arrest him. After confessing at the police station Sideshow Mel points out that he couldn't have shot Burns and Smithers is let go. Lisa decides that she should be like Nancy Drew and help out in the investigation, Marge belittles her and tells her that it's big-boy turf (Way to be a great parent there). Lisa then goes to the police station with a list of suspects which the police go to one by one and systematically eliminate all of them (My favorite has to be the Moe interrogation). Marge then finds out that the gun was dug up and Grampa lies to here. With little success, Wiggum takes a nap and has a dream of the Twin Peaks where Special Agent Dale Cooper's interacts with the Man from Another Place. After waking up, he finds a hair on Burns' suit and determines it to be Simpson DNA. The police then arrest Homer after Mr. Burns shouts his name and find his prints on the gun that shot Mr. Burns. After Homer escapes, Lisa determines that the evidence isn't strong enough and she sets out to save him. Smithers then puts out a bounty against Homer which sends everyone in a frenzy. Lisa then goes to the sundial and determines it wasn't Homer but it was a Simpson. Lisa goes to the hospital to try to prevent Homer from killing Burns and the mob from killing Homer. Mr. Burns then gets his memory back and reveals that it was MAGGIE! (0.0). We then find out how it all happened and how Maggie shot him and everything is all right. Maggie gets off and everyone goes back to a normal life.
Check out my flaming card
Why it's here: This is a great story about a mystery that the writers put a lot of effort into and it shows. The writing is great, the plot is great and the jokes are exceptional.

Why it's not higher: Maggie as the one who shoots Mr. Burns, really? I know they set it up well but this seems pretty stupid nonetheless.

39. The Dad That Knew Too Little (Season 14 Episode 8)
Homer-Lisa episodes just work, I don't know what it is, but they rarely suck and are mostly great, this is one of them. Homer tries to be a good father to Lisa and even though he probably took the wrong path to do so, he did vindicate himself in the end.

The story begins with Lisa watching a commercial for a "Turbo Diary" and deciding that should could use one (Because Bart is reading her diary next to her). After Lisa becomes a shill for the Turbo Diary, Homer and Bart go out to buy it just to find out they're all sold out (The last one going to Burns). While walking around the mall, he runs into Flanders who suggests the idea of a personal movie for Lisa. At Lisa's birthday, Bart gives Lisa a laser pointer (~plot point~) and Lisa is disappointed that Homer didn't get her the diary, she becomes infuriated at him because all the information on the video is wrong and he doesn't know anything about his own daughter. The next day Homer tries to win her back but Lisa is adamant to letting him know anything about her. After telling his problems to Moe, Moe suggests a private detective and Homer decides to see him. He meets up with Dexter Colt and agrees to pay him to get information on Lisa. We then see Dexter go get some photos of her locker and information from Skinner, Nelson and Ralph (Actually he gets nothing from Ralph). Homer then goes to his car after work and gets all the information that Dexter got. Homer then plays "Birth of the Cool" to get Lisa downstairs (Because it's her favorite album, I'll buy it, they didn't say favorite song). Homer then proposes they go to an animal rights protest and they go to protest outside a lab that's doing animal testing. Later, Homer tucks Lisa into bed and then goes to talk to Dexter about how she loves him now. Dexter then gives Homer a $1,000 bill and Homer refuses to pay the bill because the expenses are ludicrous. The next day, the lab is broken into and there's planted evidence of Lisa breaking into the lab. Lisa professes her innocence and Homer backs her but doesn't want to admit how he knows she was framed. With Wiggum in the front yard, Lisa and Homer drive away to escape them. After crossing a bridge, they decide to blacken their hair and get into a cheap motel for the night. Homer then confesses to Lisa that he had a private eye spy on her and this makes Lisa mad that he learned about her through another person. After the police locate their motel, Homer and Lisa escape and find a circus that has all the lab animals. Dexter then threatens Homer and chases him into a hall of mirrors. Homer eludes him at first but is shot in the arm and then confronted closer by Dexter. Lisa overhears them and Homer explains a memory of Lisa finding him crying in a closet when she was young. Because he remembered something about her she loves him again and then points the laser into Dexter's eye blinding him. Homer's happy that Lisa loves him again and the animals are sent off to Cletus.
Ooohh, bright and shiny
Why it's here: This is a great episode of Homer attempting to be a great father one way but realizing that he's a great father another way. The plot is good, the writing is excellent and the jokes are pretty good and the Homer-Lisa relationship is one of the better ones on the show.

Why it's not higher: It has it's fair share of unfunny moments and there are some decisions that seem out of place for the characters.

38. Homer's Enemy (Season 8 Episode 23)
Everyone loves Homer Simpson right? Well apparently not Frank Grimes, and apparently there are some people who sympathize with him about Homer. It's very understandable, Homer does represent all that is wrong with America.

The story begins with Burns telling Smithers to hire Frank Grimes as his executive VP after seeing his story on the news. The next day Burns decides to hire a dog like Lassie instead as the EVP and puts Grimes in sector 7-G. We then see Homer, Lenny and Carl introduce themselves to Frank who doesn't seem too fond of Homer based on their first impression. Meanwhile, Bart stumbles upon a tax seizure auction and he buys an abandoned factory for $1 (The land alone must be worth thousands, good deal). We then get a scene of Homer eating Franks' lunch which annoys Frank even more. Afterwards, we see Bart go into his new factory and gets Milhouse to come in to play with him. Meanwhile, we see Homer still be annoying to Grimes until he tells Homer that there's trouble at his workspot. Homer solves it by dousing the control panel with water which establishes Grimes' utter disbelief that Homer could possibly work there. We then cut to Grimes talking to Lenny and Carl about how incompetent Homer is and how he can't believe Homer is the safety inspector. Frank then prevents Homer from drinking acid and Burns gives Grimes a pay cut because the acid destroyed a wall. Grimes then approaches Homer and declares himself as his enemy (No offense but I am actually rooting for Grimes here, Homer is coming off as more incompetent than he normally is). Homer then goes to Moe's and mopes about having someone who doesn't like him, Moe suggests that he invite Frank to dinner and Homer  like the plan. Later, Grimes goes to the Simpsons' house and is baffled about how Homer can have two cars, a nice house and have had all the experiences that he has had. He's mad about this because he's worked hard his whole life and has nothing while Homer's lazy and has everything. Grimes then tells Homer that if he were in any other country in the world, he'd have starved to death long ago (This is sadly true about America). After a montage of Milhouse and Bart in the factory, Homer doesn't want to go to work to confront Grimes. Marge suggests that Homer becomes more professional, this of course fails with Homer being rock-stupid and Grimes decides to try to embarrass Homer by putting him in a kids contest. After Bart's factory falls down overnight, we then see Homer win the contest and this sends Frank Grimes into a rage of insanity. Frank then "Acts like Homer" and then grabs high voltage wires and dies. At the funeral Homer starts sleep talking and everyone laughs at him.
I am Electric Ma- *BZZZZZ*
Why it's here: This is an excellent example of pointing out your main character's drawbacks and how everyone overlooks them consistently. The writing is great, the plot is spectacular and Grimes was a very likable character despite the fact that he hated the main character.

Why it's not higher: Like others, I just couldn't justify putting this one over the ones ahead of it.

37. Bart the Lover (Season 3 Episode 16)
This is a very interesting story about Mrs. Krabappel, a character that we didn't know too much about before this episode and this episode really fleshes her out and makes her far more interesting.

The story begins with the 4th grade getting out of class and Mrs. Krabappel being sad that she's got to go back home to nobody. We see our standard set of scenes of Edna being single and sad on the way home. When she gets home she sees an ad for single people and decides to take out a personal ad in the classified. The next day, we see Springfield Elementary have an assembly with "professional Yo-Yoers" (I know this one, next Gretchen decides to become a Yo-Yoer and.. oh wait wrong show). The next day everyone becomes enamored with yo-yos and it drives Mrs. K crazy. After Bart fails a trick and kills the fish, Mrs. K forces Bart into detention and takes away his yo-yo. Later, Edna goes on a blind date with an old man and she seems depressed by the lack of success. In detention, Bart gets his yo-yo back and finds Edna's personal ad. Bart creates an alter ego named Woodrow to play a prank on Edna to get back at her, Edna falls immediately in love with Woodrow after receiving the letter. In the subplot (One of the more famous ones) Marge bugs Homer to buy Santa's Little Helper a dog house because it's cold out. Homer claims he'll just build one. While trying to build it, he swear like a drunken sailor and Todd overhears him, Ned gets concerned when Todd repeats what Homer said and he tries to figure out where he learned it. Meanwhile, Bart gets a reply from Edna (With a sexy picture) and he goes to ask Lisa how to respond to it like it were homework (Which results in her patronizing him). Bart then goes to Marge and she gives Bart an old postcard from Homer when they were dating. Bart learns more about what Edna wants and he combines the postcard with what she said to sound like the perfect man. Ned then finds out it's Homer who's been swearing and he makes an agreement with Homer to get him to stop swearing (Ned shaves his stache). After Bart puts a picture of Gordie Howard with the next letter, Marge suggests to Homer he use a swear jar to get him to stop swearing. Edna sends 1 final letter inviting Woodrow to dinner, so Woodrow tells her to meet him at the Gilded Truffle where Bart plans on just letting her sit there alone. After a movie, Bart feels bad that he made Edna sad. The next scene we see Homer swearing left and right causing there to be a lot of money in the swear jar. Bart then tries to console Edna that she should date a man at school but she points out all their flaws and this makes Bart even sadder. Next, we see after Homer injuries himself some more building the dog house, Marge and Lisa come by with a bought dog house using the money from the swear jar. With the leftover money, they bought Homer some beer. Bart then confronts Marge (And Lisa) to ask her how to let Edna go without hurting her feelings. The entire family then works together (Mostly Marge and Lisa though) to create a farewell letter to Edna. Bart drops off the letter to Edna and she immediately feels better the next day.
What have I become?
Why it's here: This is a great episode outlining Edna's personality and the subplot was perhaps one of the most memorable of all time. The writing is great, I enjoy watching this episode every time I want to watch it, the jokes are good enough to keep me laughing, especially the swear jar plot.

Why it's not higher: It's a very depressing story and depressing stories aren't something you want to watch a lot of times.

36. Lisa the Greek (Season 3 Episode 14)
This is a great Homer-Lisa episode. Homer-Lisa episodes always highlights Homer as a good father, this is no exception. This is also a good example of Lisa changing herself in order to be closer with her father.

The story begins with Homer watching football and gambling on the game he's watching. Lisa comes in with her hand-made Malibu Stacy apartment, Homer not being interested at all. She then goes to Marge to complain about Homer not caring about her. Marge suggests that she should try to find a common interest with Homer (They also lampshade the Tracy Ullman days). Lisa decides to watch the game with Homer as she is pushed off to the side at first and alienated from Homer. In the subplot, Marge decides to buy Bart some new clothes even though Bart doesn't want to. Back to Lisa and Homer, after Homer loses his bet, he asks Lisa to pick a winner and she picks the Dolphins to win. Marge gives Bart some embarrassing clothes for him to try on and he hates it. As the Dolphins are winning, Homer reveals to Lisa that he's been gambling on games to make the experience better but not to tell Marge, she agrees (By the way, Homer is now sitting next to Lisa). After Bart gets embarrassed by Marge we see Lisa sitting on Homer's lap (See it all worked out) enjoying the Dolphin's victory and the fact that Homer won 50 bucks from Moe. Later, Homer tucks Lisa into bed and Marge is happy that they bonded over football. Next Sunday Lisa gives Homer more picks all of which win causing Homer to love Lisa even more. After Lisa goes to find out more about football at the library, we get more dialogue over them bonding (I know it sounds repetitive, but it's sweet so I'll let it slide). After Homer gets his money from Moe, he takes the family out to dinner where we learn Lisa's favorite song "The Broken Neck Blues". After Lisa gives more winners to Homer to bet on, we see Homer decide to go bowling with Barney the Sunday after the Superbowl. Homer then decides to reward his family by buying them all presents that they enjoy. Marge gets suspicious and asks Homer where he got the money so he reveals he's been gambling with Lisa which makes her mad. The next day, Lisa proposes the idea that she and Homer go hiking the Sunday after the Superbowl, to which Homer says no. This causes Lisa to get sad over the fact that he was using her and didn't cherish the time they spent together. Lisa then has a nightmare that her gambling now will lead her to a compulsive gambler by age 25, she wakes up and gives away all the accessories that Homer gave to her using the gambling money. Homer tries to seek forgiveness and she does at first but makes an eerie prediction that the Superbowl outcome will depend on how she feels about Homer. Saddened by the potential of losing his daughter's love, Homer leaves for Moes to just watch the game. The Bills take an early lead but in the end the Redskins win and Homer's happy that Lisa loves him again. The next Sunday, Homer and Lisa go hiking and they sit down to watch the sunset.
Why must you alienate me dad?
Why it's here: This is a great example of Homer being a good father to his kids when he wants to be and this is an excellent bonding story about a father and his daughter. The plot is great, the writing is terrific, and the jokes are plentiful for those who seek them.

Why it's not higher: I just couldn't justify putting it above other episodes.

35. Homer and Apu (Season 5 Episode 13)
This is a great episode about a minor character that allows us to further understand Apu and what he means to Springfield. This is one of the episodes that defined the Golden Era in my opinion.

The story begins with Apu gouging the customers of the Kwik-E-Mart and them leaving in frustration. Apu then finds expired ham and decides to change the exp date to sell it. Homer then buys the ham and starts to get sick at home while eating it. Homer finds out that the ham was the cause of the poisoning and Apu offers Homer 10 lbs of bad shrimp (Cue ambulance). Lisa suggests to Homer that he blows the whistle against the Kwik-E-Mart and Homer agrees to do so (After a barking dog commercial). Homer then wears a "Hidden Camera" and goes into the store, but it backfires as Homer smashes the hat because Apu thinks there might be bees in the hat. After Kent gives the cliched "One day til retirement" speech about the hat, it captures Apu putting a dirty hot dog back for sale and Homer decides to go buy said hot dog (His incompetence is funny). After the expose is released, Apu gets fired like he were a police officer. Apu is so saddened he decides to try to eat a hot dog to kill himself. After it seems like the world is laughing at him, Apu goes to Homer's house to apologize eerily. Apu tries to pay off his debt to Homer by offering services to realign his karma. The next day, they see Apu raking leaves in the front lawn and Marge suggests that they let him repay Homer. After dinner, we see the Kwik-E-Mart looking for a new clerk when James Woods is given the job because he likes to be a method actor for his parts. Back home, Marge and Apu go to the MonsterMart to go shopping and Apu gives Marge helpful tips on how to shop. James Woods then has a heated discussion with Jimbo about the way he acted as a clerk. After that we see the family go into a musical number about not needing the Kwik-E-Mart (Okay, musical numbers are probably the #1 way to turn me off a Simpson episode, but this is very well written and doesn't suck). Afterwards, the family sees Apu still miss the Kwik-E-Mart and Homer "Hates people who lie through song". Apu tells Homer and Lisa that the only way to get his job back is to go to India and appeal his case to be reinstated. Homer says he'll come along even after Lisa tells him how far away India is. James Woods then gets angry because his role was changed to an Eskimo firefighter and he can't leave the Kwik-E-Mart. When Homer and Apu get to the "First Convenience Store" where Homer points out how inconvenient it is. Apu tries to ask his question but Homer uses up all the questions and this causes Apu to near strangle Homer. Back in Springfield, Apu decides to go to the Kwik-E-Mart to face his demons. At the Kwik-E-Mart James Woods gushes over how much of a legend Apu is to the Kwik-E-Mart. A robber then comes in and Apu jumps in the way of the shot and he is sent to the hospital. James Woods thanks Apu and gets him his job back as he walks away from the room. The episode ends with the family hugging Apu (Twice).
Why it's here: This is great character development for someone who on other shows would just be a stereotype with no defining character. The plot of forgiveness is great, the writing is on par with season 5 and the jokes remind me of a better time.

Why it's not higher: Yet again, couldn't justify putting this ahead of others

34. Lisa's Rival (Season 6 Episode 2)
This is a great story about how Lisa finds someone who's better than her at basically everything and she does what any kid would do, try to find a way to be better.

The story begins with Lisa trying to practice but everyone else wants her to stop practicing. At school, Lisa meets Alice after she answers an answer in class and impresses Ms. Hoover. On the playground, we find out that Allison is actually 7 and she also plays the saxophone which makes Lisa a bit nervous about her. Meanwhile, Homer and Bart discover an overturned sugar truck (Which oddly enough looks more like a tanker than something that transports sugar). After sending the driver away, Homer starts to collect the sugar and place it all in the car. Lisa the asks Marge why she's still in the 2nd grade and implies that Marge should have been "Nicer" to Skinner (There's something so wrong about that but so funny at the same time). Homer then reveals at dinner that he plans on selling the sugar for $1 per pound (Which is more expensive than grocery store sugar). At auditions, Lisa tries to out jazz Allison but passes out and finds out that she lost 1st chair to Allison (Twice, the first time was a dream). Back home, Lisa tells Marge that she feels so average compared to Allison, Marge tells her there'll always be some better than her at something and to let it go. After Homer tries to sell sugar, we see Allison playing the role of Lisa while Lisa looks on. Bart suggests that he can dig dirt up on her, but Lisa is adamant to the idea. After Homer brags about finding $1 on the sidewalk (And losing $40 for missing work) Bart goes to Lisa with the "dirt" and Lisa is very happy to see it until she realizes that Allison is completely clean. Lisa decides that she should be her friend instead of her rival because they are so similar. At Allison's we see that her father is a genius as well and Allison has many awards for academic reasons. Lisa then sees Allison's completed diorama of "The Telltale Heart" and is baffled that she finished so quickly. The next morning Homer tries to defend to Marge that he needs to keep the sugar but then the sugar mound attracts a swarm of bees. Lisa then finishes her own diorama of "Oliver Twist" and tries to show the effect of a snow storm but it causes the diorama to go flying out the window. Bart then offers a way for Lisa to beat Allison and she agrees essentially selling her soul. Bart suggests that they sabotage her project and Lisa's on board with it. We then see two beekeepers offer Homer $2000 for the mound of sugar their bees are on but take it back after it rains and melts the sugar. At Diorama-rama day we see Bart cause a diversion that allows Lisa to switch out Allison's project with a cow heart. After Skinner and Hoover berate Allison for the heart, the guilt gets to Lisa and she "finds" the real diorama. Skinner though is not impressed and moves on to be not impressed with Lisa's. Skinner then chooses Ralph as the winner for him bringing in Star Wars toys in their packaging. After school, Lisa and Allison then walk home together with Lisa apologizing for being petty and that they should be friends. After Ralph destroys his own toys, they invite Ralph over to Allison's to play anagrams.
Why can't we be friends, why can't we...
Why it's here: I love this episode, the plot is great, the writing is exactly what you'd expect from someone who's jealous of another person but at the same time is a big person. This episode just highlights the creativity of the writers at the time.

Why it's not higher: Basically I can't justify putting above the others and that's the excuse for most of these upcoming episodes.

33. Itchy and Scratchy Land (Season 6 Episode 4)
In my opinion, Itchy and Scratchy is the best show-within a show ever. I really felt that this episode also embodied the main theme for season 6. Watching season 6 I always felt that the writers decided to take the Chuck-E-Cheese approach when it came to Bart and Lisa: "Where a kid can be a kid"

The story begins with Bart and Lisa watching an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon where they find out that Itchy and Scratchy Land is cutting ticket prices for the weekend. Them being impressionable kids, they immediately run for Homer, then Marge to beg them to go to the theme park. Marge says no and the kids are in shock (With perhaps the creepiest expression I've ever seen in the series, seriously check it out and tell me it's not creepy in some way). So Bart and Lisa concoct the plan of Lisa running into Marge and Homer's bedroom claiming that Bart's dead only for him to say "Dead serious about going to Itchy and Scratchy Land" (You see the theme here yet? Don't worry it becomes even more prevalent as the episode goes on). Marge is hesitant because every vacation they get embarrassed and she wants them to promise that it wont be a "Simpsons" vacation. She wants the vacation as "Doing things as a family, a lot of exercise outdoor with a lot of memories". After they pack up and leave we get the standard "family getting stuck on the highway" bit followed by traveling and viewing landmarks on the side. After we see a similar looking car crash into a telephone pole (They decided to stay in a Motel for the trip. How far IS I&SL anyways?) we see Homer take a "Shortcut" that actually gets them there to Jurassic Park, er I mean I&SL. After flexible reality says Homer keeps $1100 in his pocket, we see Bart and Lisa having a good time for just the experience. After lunch, we see Maggie getting dropped off in the child care center where we see Maggie sink to the bottom of the ball room. After we see the I&S parade (And the fact that the robots are really terminators) we see death mountain as Bart and Lisa are just giddy over a ride that could at any moment kill them. Marge and Homer decide to go off to Parent's Island as Bart and Lisa go back on the log ride. At the gift shop, we see some I&S products and Bart stomping on the foot of a Itchy (And the running joke of Bort, I love that joke). Later, we see a documentary basically having Roger Myers Sr as a Walt Disney clone (So that's what happened to his frozen head). After a robot Scratchy breaks through the screen Bart and Lisa are unfazed and walks off for a snowcone. Bart then gets apprehended by  security after shooting a stink bomb into an Itchy costume. Marge is then informed of the arrests of Homer and Bart over the intercom. Pr. Frink then comes to the scientists and informs them that the robots will become self aware and then they start attacking the scientists. The robots then approach the family as Homer is oblivious of their actions at first. Later, they find out that flashes disable the robots and they defeat them all. Afterwards, Bart and Lisa proclaim it to be the best vacation ever because they fulfilled what Marge defined as a good vacation. After Roger Myers Jr. gives the Simpsons 2 free tickets, we see that the Euro I&SL has no business whatsoever.
Welcome to DeathLand, your severed head will be right at the gate
Why it's here: This is a great episode from season 6 and to me it defines Bart and Lisa as kids as much as possible. I enjoy watching them as kids rather than pre-teens stuck in kids bodies, it just seems better to me. The plot is good, the writing is great and the jokes are spectacular.

Why it's not higher: Just can't move it above the others, it's in that state of purgatory where it just can't move up or down to me.

32. Summer of 4 ft. 2 (Season 7 Episode 25)
This is a great story about Lisa trying to fit in when other people have shunned her. I could really relate to Lisa here and was rooting for her the entire time. And unlike other episodes with this concept, Lisa is not out of character here.

The story begins with Lisa opening up the yearbooks to distribute when Nelson takes over and hands them out himself. When Lisa tries to get her own yearbook signed, nobody signs hers but people stand in line to have Bart sign theirs (This is really sad for Lisa). Later, Ned offers Homer his summer home for a week but Homer decides that Ned needs to fix his septic system first for him to agree. Marge tells Bart and Lisa to pack up and bring a friend as we see her get left in the middle of a big empty room (The symbolism here is gorgeous). As Lisa packs, she realizes that shes lonely and if she wants to make friends, she can't be herself because it hasn't worked over the past 8 years (Okay, you all may be calling BS on this. But I will defend this saying I changed my personality completely from Middle school to High school because I was sick of not having many friends). Lisa decides to unpack completely so that when she gets to the beach, there will be a new Lisa Simpson. When they get to the beach house, they get notes from Ned about the house. Lisa then reveals to Marge that she "Forgot to pack" and they need to go out to buy new clothes. Lisa then buys a new set of clothes and decides to go look for other kids to hang out with (Now as a Lisa fan, I gotta admit, I like the new wardrobe. It's not great but it is interesting and it doesn't make me want to gouge my eyes out). Lisa goes around but can't find anyone until she hears some kids under the pier. She approaches them (Twice, first time was thwarted by a seagull, damn bastards) and instantly befriends them after giving them a location to skate where the cops wont find them (In the middle of a public library! Wow, this town must really hate reading). After Bart gets laughed off by Lisa's friends, we see Lisa and her friends by a tidepool as she grabs a hermit crab shell. Homer then imitates American Graffiti in order to buy some fireworks. Lisa then suggests to her friends that they have a beach party for Independence Day. Homer then fails to light the firework properly and accidentally blows up the dishwasher. Bart then gets jealous of Lisa and her friends so he plans on sabotaging their friendship. Lisa and Erin exchange gifts for each other symbolizing their friendship. Bart decides to act on his plan by showing her friends Lisa's yearbook while their tossing her up in the air. This causes Lisa to run off crying because Bart ruined her chance at friends (Poor Lisa). The next morning Lisa threaten Bart when Marge leaves the room after Bart says it was good for her to be exposed as a liar. At the carnival, Bart and Lisa fight with each other until it leads to Bart pushing Lisa off the bumper car ride causing her to go home early. After she admits a sad truth about herself (Write some poetry) Lisa sees her friends putting shells on the cars with some spelling "Lisa Rules" as an act of friendship. They claim they're still friends because they don't care who she was, she couldn't fake the kind of good person she was to them (And this is contradicted in "The Principal and the Pauper" another reason I hate that episode). On the car ride home, Bart reveals he gave her yearbook to her friends for them to sign and Lisa is grateful for that.
Wow, I'm popular and likable. Who knew?
Why it's here: This is a great episode, the writing for this episode is spectacular, the plot is great and the idea of this episode is nice and refreshing.

Why it's not higher: There were just better episodes than this one, what more can I say?

31. Secret War of Lisa Simpson (Season 8 Episode 25)
This is very similar to Summer of 4 ft. 2 but at the same time, it's own story. It's the same "Outsider trying to fit in" while it includes trying to overcome great odds against her.

The story begins with Bart going on a field trip to the police station where he sets up multiple megaphones in order to make a very loud noise. Meanwhile, Lisa's class is watching pointless videos because Ms. Hoover doesn't really want to teach. Lisa goes to complain to Skinner about not being challenged but he doesn't really want to change because then the stupid kids will come in complaining. Wiggum brings Bart back home and suggests to Marge and Homer that they either give him drugs (Future plot) or send him to military school. They decide to send him to military school and trick Bart into going with them (This causes Skinner and Edna to celebrate Bart leaving). The Simpsons are showed by Commandant the aspects of the school and Lisa becomes very impressed by it. On the way out Bart tries to leave with Marge and Homer while Lisa decides she wants to go to military school. Commandant is hesitant to allow Lisa in at first but decides that times are changing and that girls can serve in the military. Marge gives Lisa the option to quit and come home (which Bart tries to use). Commandant goes to the barracks and tells the cadets to move out for Lisa (Which gets her alienated immediately, smooth). The cadets decide that they need to haze Bart and Lisa to try to break their spirits, they both pass but the cadets take more of a liking to Bart. We then see Bart take a rocket launcher and hit 4/5 of the intended targets (The fifth hit was Skinner's car). Lisa though has problems as her M4 Carbine (It's probably something else, but it looks like a M4 Carbine to me) as it's stuck on auto-fire (Somehow). Lisa then decides to call home because she's homesick but she gets nobody as she hangs up in sadness (In the full version she calls Grampa to listen to his stories). She then notices a package with a cassette tape in it (Judging by the size, it looks more like an 8-track). Lisa listens to the message from Marge and gets more homesick as Bart can only watch. The next day, Bart tries to give Lisa encouragement as he decides to help her in private. Later Commandant informs them of their final test which discourages Lisa. Bart decides to help her practices later but she fails at her attempt. The next day, the cadets and Bart all pass the "Intimidator" as Lisa is the last to go and Bart's the only one who encourages her as the other cadets jeer her. Bart and Lisa graduate as Homer and Marge pick them up to take them to the dentist.
Bees, my God
Why it's here: This is a great story about Lisa overcoming the odds to graduate military school and it's a pretty good episode showcasing the relationship between Bart and Lisa. The writing is fantastic, the jokes are great and the plot is pretty decent.

Why it's not higher: I think you can guess by now, next segment wont have this part

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