Monday, September 20, 2010

Top 50 Episodes: 41-50

50. The Monkey Suit (Season 17 Episode 21)
Ok this is probably a shocker to many but I really do like this episode.I had originally not intended to have this episode on the list but, I really couldn't take it off after seeing what was left. I've seen a lot of negative comments about this episode, but I think the hate against this episode is unjustified and misled.

So essentially this episode is about Ned going to a museum  and finding out that *gasp* the scientific community has a section devoted to evolution instead of creationism. Okay, I'll admit that it is a bit stupid but Ned is such a conservative Protestant, I can see him having this problem, in fact Texas is teaching creationism in public schools instead of evolution. Either way, this prompts him to blackmail Skinner into teaching creationism in school. Lisa opposes this and calls for a vote during the council meeting and loses. This forces Lisa to create and underground group who wants to learn the ways of evolution. This gets busted and Lisa gets arrested on teaching non-biblical science (Wow, Springfield MUST be in Texas). Lisa is put on trial a-la Scopes Monkey Trial. Lisa almost loses the case until Marge gets Homer to act like a monkey in the courtroom convincing Ned to drop the case against Lisa (Due to Homer being behind the evolution curve). The episode ends with the lesson of "I don't want religion taught in our schools anymore than you would want scientists teaching in the church".
The true Man-Ape

Why it's here: This episode has plenty of decent and good jokes in it, the moral is great and the writing is pretty good considering what else was put out during the time. I feel that it could have risen some controversy about the separation of church and state, but it didn't, it was safe and funny.

Why it's not higher: I couldn't justify putting any of the episodes behind this one. This one squeaked it's way in and deserved to be here.

49. Bart vs. Lisa vs. the Third Grade (Season 14 Episode 3)
Putting siblings in the same grade is always a recipe for disaster. Not writing wise of course, I mean sanity in the family. I can yet again relate to this scenario as I would go insane if I was ever in the same grade as my little sister.

The story begins with Homer getting a satellite dish after being fed up with public broadcasting. Bart and Homer spend days watching satellite TV while Lisa decides that studying for a standardized test is much more important. Come test day, Lisa is prepared and Bart isn't so Bart thinks of TV shows while taking the test (You see this is what happens when you watch too many episodes from TGWTG, it replaces what you know). During an assembly the next day Skinner announces that Lisa is going to be moved to the 3rd grade. Bart then embarrasses her on stage and Skinner announces that Bart will be pulled back to the 3rd grade (Seriously the only thing missing from this is the theme from The Odd Couple). In class, Bart does much better than Lisa prompting the teacher to lock their desks together so that Bart can "aid" Lisa. Bart continues to be better than Lisa in the 3rd grade as he finishes his homework ahead of her and offers her acronyms that he memorized. Bart then does better than Lisa on a test frustrating Lisa further. Bart and Lisa then get paired off for a field trip to Capital City enraging them both more (Starting to see a trend here?) At Capital City, the teacher tells the class to create a new idea for the state flag (I guess generic flags that don't identify where you are don't fly anymore). Lisa then creates a pretty good flag but Bart decides to sabotage it after hearing what Lisa said about him to Marge. Lisa then gets embarrassed and is infuriated at Bart while they are getting back on the bus. Lisa then gets in a fight with Bart causing them to miss the bus. As Bart and Lisa try to find their way back home, the school realizes that they were left behind. Homer and Marge are then informed of their disappearance by Skinner. Bart gives Lisa the flag to use a blanket after hearing her shivering while trying to sleep. We then get our touching scene as Bart and Lisa bond and apologize for being jerks to each other (No seriously this is a great scene of them bonding, I'm not being sarcastic). Bart and Lisa are then saved by some hillbillies who drives them back to Capital City. Skinner then lampshades the technique of status quo by putting Bart and Lisa back in their respective grades.

Why it's here: This is a great Bart and Lisa episode, it represents everything that brothers and sisters go through on a consistent basis. The writing is great and the jokes are pretty good.

Why it's not higher: This episode does have some bad writing at times and there are some jokes that fall flat like the Milhouse joke. The satellite TV plot didn't go far and was only used as an excuse to make Bart dumb for the test.

48. Brother's Little Helper (Season 11 Episode 2)
 It's Bart on Ritalin, what's not to like about that concept? I think this makes 0/3 for many of you reading, but I really enjoyed watching this episode.

The story begins with Bart misbehaving (again) and Skinner suggesting to Marge and Homer that either they give him "Focusyn" or he'll expel Bart (A bit extreme wouldn't you say?) After Marge and Homer are shown what the drug can do Marge is hesitant on giving Bart drugs while Homer wants to shove them down his throat (Literally). Marge guilts Bart into taking them and Bart is able to focus in school. After some more scenes of Bart behaving and being focused, we see Marge and Homer come back from the movies to see that Bart's gone crazy. Bart is convinced that MLB is spying on him and his family so Marge and Homer go back to the Pharm Team to find out why he's crazy. They try to get Bart to take another drug but he refuses and escapes causing the doctors to inject Marge and Homer with Valium (But Homer's syringe has air in it killing Homer, just kidding but it should have). Bart then breaks into a fort and steals a tank leading to probably one of the most awesome scenes ever in The Simpsons, ready? Bart takes the tank and drives through downtown Springfield while singing "Don't Stop thinking about Tomorrow". It is one of the funniest moments in my opinion of the show. Bart then stops the tank in front of the school and he aims the barrel towards the sky and shoots down a satellite owned by MLB. Mark McGwire shows up to steal the information from the satellite as everything is back to normal (After Bart takes Ritalin of course).
This is what happens when you let TV raise your kids

Why it's here: The concept is executed near perfection with no true character derailment or bad writing. The jokes are great and the plot is actually not that bad considering what it is.

Why it's not higher: MLB spying on the U.S. through electronics really? It's not the worst conspiracy theory but it's up there. Plus Bart would probably not take drugs in Simpsons continuity, but I can see how guilt would cause him to break down.

47. Children of a Lesser Clod (Season 12 Episode 20)
This is an interesting episode exploring Homer as a good role-model towards other people's kids, but being a neglectful father to his own, just like Homer as a father. But seriously this is a good episode with some concepts that weren't put up about Homer's character before.

The story begins with Homer tearing his ACL while playing a game of basketball. After getting surgery to fix his knee he has to rehab at home and can't leave his home for 2 weeks (BTW, a torn ACL takes more than 2 weeks to heal). While being bound at home, he babysits the Flanders' and decides that he likes watching over other people's kids. After that Homer is inspired to start a daycare and it distracts him from the pain of his knee. After his knee heals, he decides to keep up the daycare and this makes Bart and Lisa jealous because Homer's paying more attention to them than he is his own children. Homer gets some attention from an organization that recognized the deeds of good guys and they start filming Homer at his daycare which causes Bart and Lisa to have to vacate their rooms for the production crew. Bart and Lisa decide that enough is enough and decide to expose Homer as the fraud he is in front of everyone. At the "Good Guy Award" Bart and Lisa splice in some "Home Movies" that show Homer as a selfish inconsiderate jerk. This is capped off with Homer chasing Bart down the street waving a mace over his head and shouting "I'll mace you good!". That scene always cracks me up because it's so funny and out of nowhere. Homer tries to take the daycare kids away but gets caught by the police. After a couple of mistrials, Homer realizes how he should have paid more attention to his own kids and apologizes to them.
Evil is the only way to go! *Evil laughter*

Why it's here: This is a great example of Homer being a good man while at the same time being a bad man. He learns the errors of his ways and decides that his kids are the most important thing in his life. The plot is great and the jokes are great as well, it's rare to see this kind of writing this late in the series.

Why it's not higher: It has it's fair share of stupid moments and Bart and Lisa can come off as selfish themselves from a perspective.

46. Days of Wine and Dohses (Season 11 Episode 18)
This is a pretty good episode about how Barney decides to quit drinking and actually means it. The writers could have easily messed this episode up but they did a good job and it's one of they few bright spots in season 11.

The story begins with Homer being reckless and then heading off to Moe's. While at Moe's, Barney is a bit depressed that nobody remembered his birthday. Turns out that Barney was too drunk to remember his own birthday party. After seeing a convenient tape of the party everyone gives Barney his presents. After Moe mocks Barney for never being able to pilot a helicopter, Barney decides that he'll give up drinking and prove everyone wrong. The next day, Barney comes crawling back to Moe's but Homer convinces Barney to continue to try become sober. Homer takes Barney to an AA meeting where Homer stays to try to support Barney (But ends up getting thrown out after mocking AA). Bart and Lisa then see a commercial for a contest to create a new cover for the Springfield Phonebook. They then decide to go into the closet of memories where they find a camera that Edison probably created. Barney then goes to flight school where he redeems his coupon for flying lessons. Barney struggles at first but gets better as time goes by. At Moe's Homer is chosen to take the place of Barney and Homer doesn't like it. After Homer and Barney get in a fight during a helicopter ride, Bart and Lisa fail to get a picture of "Dogs Playing Poker". Bart and Lisa decide that to get the winning picture, they need to get a picture of Springfield, so they go up to MT. Springfield and get a picture of the town. Bart accidentally causes a fire when he releases a hot bulb into the woods. Homer convinces Barney to help him save Bart and Lisa using the helicopter which Barney agrees to after getting some courage. Homer then saves Bart and Lisa from death and Bart gets a picture of the woods on fire. It turns out that Bart and Lisa won but with a photo of baby Bart and Lisa naked on a toilet (I'll let the age continuity slide because it is pretty funny). They get the bike and Barney remains sober.
Say dad, are we ever gonna need to bring this up during therapy sessions?

Why it's here: The A-plot and B-plot are both great with great jokes and interesting concepts littered throughout the episode. The idea of Barney getting sober was interesting and Bart and Lisa's struggles to get a good photo was pretty funny.

Why it's not higher: It does contain some stupid moments and probably most fans could care less if Barney was sober, him being drunk was the reason he was funny most of the time.

45. Little Girl in The Big Ten (Season 13 Episode 20)
Probably another one you didn't see coming, and neither did I until I went back over all the episodes and re-watched this one. It's actually a really good story of Lisa not fitting in anywhere and NOT getting emo over it but rather overcome being an outcast(You hear that writers?! This what you fail at!).

The story begins with Lisa about to fail gym unless she seeks an outside activity (Yeah, yeah this has already been done. But that was a great episode, if you gotta rip off a storyline, make sure it's a good one). Lisa decides to take up gymnastics and meets up with two college girls who have the physique of a 10 year old (Wow, I guess all that anti-aging stuff really does take 10 years off your skin). Lisa befriends them and starts taking classes at Springfield University while Bart has to try to adjust to living in a plastic ball after being infected with an Asian disease (Would explain if I had more space). Lisa is exposed by Milhouse, Martin and Database as being an eight-year-old 2nd grader and Lisa leaves. She is then deemed an outcast by her schoolmates because she's too mature for them. Instead of letting this turn her emo (I'll take my shots) she is a little saddened by this but goes back home where she uses her gymnastics (See that plot actually had meaning in the episode) to get Bart down from a tree. Bart tells Lisa that he'll help her become liked again by embarrassing Skinner. Lisa agrees and the next day she is pushed off the roof in Bart's ball that crashes in a chocolate cake next to Skinner during a ceremony for him. Lisa is liked again and all is back to normal.
I am a GOD!

Why it's here: This is a very good Lisa episode, it explores the aspect of Lisa getting into college and trying to live a double life. It explores how Lisa deals with adversity and the B-plot was written well enough to have been an A-plot in a separate episode.

Why it's not higher: There were some problems with it, the plot didn't really explore Lisa in college as much as it could have. While the B-plot was developed nicely, the episode probably could have done without it.

44. One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Bluefish (Season 2 Episode 11)
In retrospect, the show would never kill Homer, but this was very early in their run and they needed the ratings so it could have happened. But still, this is one of the best ways to deal with the death of a main character and story wise it's a very good episode.

The story begins with Lisa suggesting that the family try something new for dinner and decides on a new sushi restaurant. While at the restaurant, the Bart gets shark and eel (Because all kids want to eat the stuff that sounds the most outlandish) while Lisa and Marge get a sampler. Homer though basically gets one of everything which he loves. After Bart and Lisa sing "Shaft" in the karaoke bar (Because they can) Homer orders blowfish which is cut improperly by a young chef. After the master chef comes back he informs Homer of potential poisoning and Homer's sent to Dr. Hibbert. After Dr. Hibbert informs Homer of his imminent death he goes through the 5 stages of death a la Robot Chicken (Ok this came first but just wanted to reference that skit). Later that night, Homer decides to make a list of what he wants to do before he dies (The writers really are taking this serious, that's determination there). After waking up late, Homer bonds with Bart and tries to groom him to be the man of the house. Next he goes to listen to Lisa play her sax and makes a video for Maggie to watch when she's older. Okay I'm gonna be here all night if I describe what's on the list so I'm going to paraphrase as much as possible now. Homer goes to spend time with his father but it takes longer than he plans to, in an attempt to make up lost time Homer speeds on the road and is pulled over and arrested by Eddie and Lou (Who knew asking for a ticket was an arrestable offense?) Homer decides to call Barney because he doesn't want to upset Marge and Barney comes over to bail him out. Barney then guilts Homer into having one last drink and they go to Moe's. After Moe's Homer goes running back home a la The Graduate and spends an intimate moment with Marge. Afterwards Homer takes the Bible on tape listens to it in a comfy chair and dies (0.0). Marge comes down the next morning and finds out he's alive so Homer goes back to living the life he always knew.
Sorry my sad jazz isn't cheering you up dad.

Why it's here: This is a great episode despite the idea of killing a main character early. The plot is great, the execution is magnificent and the jokes are what you'd expect from an episode about death in the family.

Why it's not higher: It's about the death of a main character, that never bodes well for fans of the show. We know he doesn't die but it didn't seem that way when it first ran.

43. Day of the Jackanapes (Season 12 Episode 13)
The first of many Sideshow Bob episodes to be featured here. Sideshow Bob is probably the best non-main character in this show and some can argue he's a top 5 character despite making only 11 appearances.

The story begins with Krusty being told by executives that he needs to change his show in order to get more viewers. Krusty gets disgruntled with their demands and announces his imminent retirement on a live show. Sideshow Bob watches an interview of Krusty and Kent Brockman where Krusty reveals he taped over all the Sideshow Bob episodes which infuriates Bob to want to kill Krusty (Again). After Bob gets paroled for having a cruel prison punishment, he sets up his plan in a storage locker. Bob enacts his plan by getting a job at Springfield Elementary as the morning announcer. Bob uses his job to lure Bart to a woodshed and he hypnotizes him into doing whatever he wants. Bob tests his mind control of Bart by having him destroy a plastic Krusty outside of Krusty Burger. The next night, Bart, his family and Sideshow Bob all go to Krusty'd final episode as Bob plants plastic explosives on Bart and gives him commands on when to go up and explode in front of Krusty. As Bart goes up to kill Krusty, Bob has a change of heart after hearing Krusty apologize for all the abuse he did to Bob. Mr. Teeny then saves Krusty by throwing the plastic explosives into a room of executives who morph into a T-1000. It all ends with Bob seemingly getting the death penalty via guillotine.
Yes, my evil plan to make Krusty a eunuch is near complete

Why it's here: Sideshow Bob is one of the greatest characters on the show and this is one of his better episodes. The jokes are funny, the plot is good and Sideshow Bob is up to par with his performance.

Why it's not higher: This isn't one of Bob's best schemes and there are certain jokes that causes a face-palm but it's still pretty good.

42. This Little Wiggy (Season 9 Episode 18)
This is a very good example of the family interacting with a minor character and yet the minor character is fleshed out completely. The writing for this is amazing and the jokes are great.

The story begins with Bart being told in class to go to the "Knowledgeum" over the weekend. Bart though disrupts the controls of the robot and it goes on to try to kill Skinner. At the knowledgeum the family partakes in a multitude of scientific activities which leads to Bart running into Ralph and getting Ralph beaten up by the bullies. Afterwards, Marge suggests that Ralph has a play date with Bart and Bart tries to get out of it as soon as he finds out. Ralph begins to annoy Bart while in his room so he tries to get him to hide, but Marge convinces Bart to play outside with Ralph. After walking over to Wiggum's house Ralph tells Bart about the "Leprechaun" he found on a rock that "Tells him to burn things"... This line alone makes this episode very memorable. This is probably the funniest line ever for Ralph's character, it's just too much. Bart convinces Ralph to let him see Clancy's police gear which he's ecstatic to see. Clancy is a bit upset at first when he sees Ralph and Bart in his room but then has a change of heart when he finds out that Ralph has a friend. Bart then sees Clancy's master key and tries to get the key so he can use it however he wants. After Bart and Ralph gets a hold of the key, they go out for a night on the town, kid style. They then run into the bullies who come up with stupid ideas how to use the key but Bart comes up with the idea to break into an old prison. Bart takes away the key from Ralph which causes him to cry. The bullies then betray Bart and throw the key into the prison for Bart and Ralph to get. While finding it, they turn on the electric chair but forget to turn it off. The next day, Bart turns on a news report where Quimby decides to "re-create" the electric chair thinking it's off. Bart doesn't know how to tell them it's on but Ralph suggests they ask Lisa who attaches a message to Bart's rocket and launches it to Mr Burns. Burns then shuts off the power to the prison and everyone congratulates Ralph for saving the day (And the leprechaun tells him to burn the house down, I will never get tired of that).

Why it's here: This is a great story about a Simpsons and a minor character, the jokes are great, the plot is well executed and the character development of Ralph makes him a much more interesting character for the rest of the series.

Why it's not higher: There are better episodes than this one, there are very few problems with this episode.

41. Bart's Comet (Season 6 Episode 14)
This is a pretty good episode that has a great plot and is littered with great jokes. The writing is spectacular and all together this is a very good episode.

The story begins with Bart playing a prank on Skinner by turning a weather balloon into Skinner with a big but. Skinner punishes Bart by making him his assistant on stargazing at 4:30 in the morning. As Bart helps Skinner, Skinner finds the weather balloon and chases after it, this causes Bart to play with the telescope and discover a comet in the sky. Bart gets the comet named after him and this causes the nerds of school to want to be friends with him (Fortunately this goes nowhere). Bart points out the comet in the sky causing the nerds to panic and go to the observatory to warn the astronomers. This causes Quimby to come back to Springfield and come up with a solution thanks to Professor Frink to destroy the comet with a rocket. This calms the town (Save Lisa) and they all watch the rocket miss the comet and take their only way out of town that night (I guess TV Tropes was right). The next day, it turns out that the government denies a bill that would save them (After being attached to an unpopular bill) and the town is left to die. Homer's not worried because the comet "Will burn up in the atmosphere and what will remain will be no bigger than a chiwawa's head" and if not they will be hit from above by a massive object (ironic). Homer then decides to comfort his family by taking them to Flanders' bomb shelter to seek shelter. After that, the whole town demands into the bomb shelter but are sent away. Flanders then decides to shelter them anyways and the shelter is filled to the top with people. After many counts of who should be kicked out, Homer decides it should be Flanders and kicks him out. A few minutes later, Homer feels guilty and goes out to die with Flanders. Everyone else follows as they sing "Que Sera" until the comet comes through the atmosphere and breaks up into a small chunk of rock destroying the weather balloon and the bomb shelter. The town forms an angry mob to destroy the observatory as Bart, Lisa and Homer are all scared because Homer was right.
This is why I'm not into the weather

Why it's here: This is a great plot with great jokes and great writing. The townspeople are all asses until they realize the errors of their ways and decide that what they did was wrong. The weather balloon joke was good for a cheap laugh each time it was on screen and the plot was very developed.

Why it's not higher: There is something to be said for what the townspeople did to the person who was willing to save them, say does this mean Flanders=Jesus?

1 comment:

  1. Wow, this is a very good list. You back up your decisions extremely well and I cannot wait to see what you picked as the number one episode!