Friday, May 12, 2006

The Best of the Simpsons Part One

When I was an uber-nerd, one of my most favorite things in the entire world was when comic books used to crossover. I’d buy them all, whether it was the Avengers meet Alpha Flight, the X-Men battle the Fantastic Four or Power Pack teamed up with Daredevil. I didn’t care one way or the other.

If you’re reading this Blog entry right now and are nodding your head in agreement, my friend Jeff Kuhn have Teamed-Up as they call it and are going for the gimmick thing in dragging readers to our sites. This week we’re starting off with the top ten Simpsons episodes from seasons one through seven. Why? Because choosing ten episodes from seasons one through infinity would’ve taken forever, and if you’re a regular reader of this site, you know that I just don’t have that kind of time.

So, read my list, check out Jeff’s take and then read what his list is all about here

10. Bart the General (Season 1)
This was the first episode that I can really, really made me laugh. Yes, it is symbolic of the old-school, Bart-centered episodes, but it was really well done. And I remember thinking that it broke a lot of old sitcom rules. For example, when Bart went to an adult he wasn’t talked out of kicking Nelson’s ass, he was encouraged with great enthusiasm and psychoticness from Grandpa and Herman.

Also, when Nelson was tied up he said something to the effect of, “As soon as you untie me, man, I’m just going to beat you up.” On other shows, whenever the bully was about to be bested, he would immediately change his tune. Everyone knows that in the real world of kidom, that sort of stuff never happens.

Lines that made me laugh:
Herman: “The key to Springfield has always been Elm Street. The Greeks knew it, the Carthaginians knew it. Know you do.” (How many shows reference the Carthaginians?)

Bart: “Contrary to what you’ve just seen war is neither glamorous or fun. There are no winners, only losers. There are no good wars, with the following exceptions: the American Revolution, World War II and the Star Wars trilogy.”

Jeff’s take:
This is a pretty good episode, but only because Herman is involved. If my kid was hanging out with Herman, I think I’d check his ass for fingerprints. The one thing I didn’t really like about it was Grandpa being involved. He’s so much better as the crazy guy that says that “family jewels” is said on TV too much, and that there are three too many states.

9. Bart the Lover (Season 3)
The best Bart episodes are always the ones where he’s a bastard. There’s a lot of dirty tricks that he’s pulled over the years, but this one was the dirtiest and the best. As Eddie Haskell once opined, “Nothing’s mean if it’s funny enough.” This episode saw Bart being punished for a yo-yo trick by his teacher, Ms. Krabapple. In order to get her back he cuts out a picture of Gordie Howe and writes a love letter to her.

The letter is a riot, and of course Krabapple falls for it. Bart begins to feel bad for her after seeing her waiting for her date that will never come. He confesses his trick to his parents and instead of making him confess, they all come up with a plan so Krabapple isn’t completely mortified. Again, this sets a sitcom truism (all children must be punished and the “right” thing must be done) on it’s ear. Also, just the randomness of including Gordie Howe. That was awesome.

Lines that made me laugh:
Homer: “Dear Baby, Welcome to Dumpsville. Population: You.”

Woodrow: “Truly, Yours is a butt that won’t quit.”

Jeff’s take:
I like cruelness as much as anyone, but I actually never liked this episode. In my mind, the first two seasons are like the Supreme Court before John Marshall. They were too afraid to really find their voice, and because of that, they didn’t have much real power. They were noticeable, but unimportant.

Find somewhere else someone can compare the Simpsons to the doctrine substantive judicial review.

8. Homie the Clown (Season 6)
The episodes where Homer quits his job and takes on a new job aren’t usually my favorite ones. However, this one absolutely kills me. From Homer trying his best not to think of clown college, to Krusty betting against the Globetrotters, to Fat Tony and his gang. Just a tour de force of comedy.

Then of course is the amount of money that Krusty owes the mob. Also, Millhouse’s birthday with immortal line, “My dad is a big wheel down at the cracker factory.” This episode really drives home the point that repetition is the key, because when I first saw it I remember not liking it that much. But over the course of a couple of years in syndication, it’s been on at least 35,000 times and the more I watched it, the more I grew to love it.

Lines that made me laugh:
Homer: “That’s it. You people have stood in my way long enough. I’m going to clown college!”

Legs: “I’m seeing double here, four Krustys!”

Jeff’s take:
This was my last cut at #10. In fact, if on the other place, my name wasn’t Tibor, it would have been 10. Can you extend patronage to yourself?

The dude wearing the cowboy hat saying “Brook Lyn” after finding out there can only be one regional Krusty is completely hilarious. Also, Homer beating the little Hamburgerler guy makes me laugh thinking about it. Remember…midget violence=larfs!

7. Bart of Darkness (Season 6)
If you’ve ever owned a pool, this episode rings true. The new friends that you will “coincidentally” make during July and August once you open up your pool is astounding. As usual the Simpsons do a terrific job of encapsulating that in one line, uttered by Jimbo (with hundreds of kids behind him), “Uhm … Mrs. Bart, is your pool open yet?” Of course, there’s the scene with the Amish, Nelson causing Bart to fall out of the tree (“Hey Bart, your epidermis is showing!”) followed by an explanation of why it was so funny and Bart’s screen play.

That’s not even the main plot which centers on Ned being considered a mur-diddly-urdler, or the subplots of Lisa becoming popular, Homer trying to figure out how to run a pool, or Bart playing solo Stratego. If the Jimmy Stewart-type guy didn’t clue you in, this was an homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window”.

Lines that made me laugh:
Milhouse: “Nelson, I think he’s really hurt.”
Nelson: “I said ‘Ha, ha’.”

Amish dude: “Tis’ a mighty fine barn English, but tis no pool.”

Kid: “Hello Mrs. Cumberdale.”

Jeff’s take:
This one is clever in it’s parodying “Rear Window,” I would say definitely a top 20 episode of this era.

I had a pool for a few years growing up, transitioning between city life and the suburbs, and this one really hits the nail on the head, including my friend Nick getting a bigger pool and everyone going over to his house. My Mom was fanatical about the pool though, forcing other kids to bring their parents to baby sit. My dad was less strict, with his thinking if you’re dumb enough to drown in a pool four feet deep, you deserve your outcome.

Bonus points to chlorine-induced ocular damage to the kiddies by Homer.

6. I Love Lisa (Season 4)
When I was coming up with this list, I initially thought that this would be favorite episode of all time. I can’t believe that it didn’t even make the top five. This is the first Ralph-centric episode and quite possibly the best. I have no idea how the writers were able to catch lightning in a bottle, but they way that Ralph Wiggum is written is awesome. They really should’ve gotten an Emmy for it.

Ralph is obviously pretty dumb, but in this episode they give him a certain pathos and heart that makes every guy feel his pain. Be honest with yourself, you’ve set your goals high in the woman department and you’ve been shot down … just like our boy Ralph. And from his first days of having a crush on Lisa to getting crushed by Lisa (on national TV, no less) you just feel his hurt.

The scene that always makes me laugh is when he jumps into the wheelchair dressed as FDR and exclaims, “I’ve come here to play George Washington!” Bonus points to the appearance of the KBBL morning DJs (Bill and Marty) playing “Monster Mash” on Valentine’s Day, Rex the childhood drama king, Bart as John Wilkes Booth going on an insane president killing spree, Ralph’s acting and subsequent exclamation from the gang of bullies (“He makes me want to learn about our founding fathers!” “To the library!”), this was a well-written, well-acted episode. And major bonus points for being the first sitcom based around President’s Day.

Lines that made me laugh:
So many good lines ...

Homer: “Six simple words: I’m not gay, but I’m learn.”

Miss Hoover: “Bart, do you want to play John Wilkes Booth or do you want to act like a maniac?”

Rex: “I will not sit down! Someone’s gotten to you, you deceitful cow!”

Ralph: “My cat’s breath smells like cat food.”

Ralph: “So ... do you like ... stuff?”

Song: “We are the mediocre presidents. You won’t find our faces on dollars or on cents.
There’s Taylor, there’s Tyler, there’s Fillmore and there’s Hayes.
There’s William Henry Harrison, “I died in thirty days!”
We are the adequate, forgettable, occasionally regrettable caretaker Presidents of the USA!”

Jeff’s take:
There is a bar around here that has the Monster Mash on the juke box, and I love playing it when it’s a crowded Saturday night. If WTF!?!? had a face, it would be at Charlie O’s when the Monster Mash is played.

Hey Byron, I choo-choo-choose you!

And there’s a picture of a train!

Remember, read Jeff’s stuff too at: