05 April 2010


My 1 Favorite Episode From Each Of The Simpsons' First 20 Seasons

I consider The Simpsons the greatest television show of all time, and while it isn't as consistently brilliant as it was in earlier seasons ( 8 is my favorite), it is still reliably entertaining, and still capable of a good surprise from time to time, and at least 1 or 3 episodes every season that are destined to be classics. If you say The Simpsons sucks nowadays, I'd say you're just an ingrate.

These are not my 20 favorite episodes of The Simpsons of all time. If it were that list, half of them would probably be from Season 8. No, this is a list of my favorite episode from each of the first 20 seasons of the show. It's not ranked, but simply listed in reverse chronology, so this probably shouldn't be called a HANK RANKS, but whatever.

For the record, Homer Vs. The Eighteenth Amendment is my absolute. Favorite. Episode. Ever.


20: No Loan Again, Naturally [#LABF03 - 08Mar09] Wherein Homer takes out another home equity loan to pay for his annual Mardi Gras party, after which the Simpsons lose their house. Ned Flanders buys and then rents it back to the Simpsons, who proceed to take advantage of Ned by making him constantly make repairs at all hours of the day and night, which finally leads Ned to evict the Simpsons once again. Lenny: "Homer, I always wonder - how can you afford this party year after year?" Homer: "Because, I have this magical thing called a 'home equity loan'. I borrow all the money I want, and the house gets stuck with the bill... Hehehehe...Sucker." Lenny: "Hm? I'm not sure that's how it works." Homer: "Fine, mister sceptical, give me back your beads."

19: The Debarted [#KABF06 - 02Mar08] Wherein Principal Skinner slips a mole (voiced by Topher Grace) into Springfield Elementary to befriend and spy on the "Bart Simpson Operation" to get five steps ahead of their pranks. Bart initially suspects Milhouse is the mole, before catching on to the real culprit. Meanwhile, Homer gets a sweet ass loaner car that he doesn't want to return. Bart: "Look new kid, I'm the head hamster in this habitrail, capiche?" New Kid: "Well, maybe there's a new guinea pig in your cage. Capiche that?" Bart: "Oh, I capiche, I capiche just fine." New Kid: "Well, you just keep on capiche-ing." Classmates (in unison): "Oooooooooh!"

18: 24 Minutes [#JABF14 - 20May07] Wherein Jimbo, Dolph and Kearney plan to detonate a stinkbomb at a Springfield Elementary bake sale, and it's up to the school's Counter-Truancy Unit (CTU) to stop their dastardly plan. Starring Bart as Jack Bauer, and Lisa as Chloe O'Brien in this homage to 24. Featuring the voices of Kiefer Sutherland and Mary Lynn Rajskub. Marge: "If someone did eat Bart's shorts, they'd have a tummy full of pocket garbage!"

17: My Fair Laddy [#HABF05 - 26Feb06] Wherein Lisa is Henry Higgins to Groundskeeper Willie's Eliza Doolittle in The Simpsons' own warped version of My Fair Lady. Meanwhile, the company that makes Homer's blue pants no longer makes Homer's blue pants. Coach Krupt: "Today we're going to play a game that's as old as pain itself...BOMBARDMENT!" Millhouse: "I'm intrigued. What are the rules?" Coach Krupt: "Duck or die! BOMBARDMENT!!"

16: Sleeping With The Enemy [#FABF19 - 21Nov04] Wherein a disastrous party thrown for Bart leads Marge to believe she's been overmothering her children, so she turns her attentions to somebody else who might need some mothering - Nelson Muntz, who actually moves into the Simpsons' home, creating all sorts of weird dynamics and strange situations as a result. Meanwhile, Lisa has a big butt. Ralph: "Duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck..." Bart: "Say 'goose' you stupid freak!" Ralph (running from room): "Waaaaaaaaaaahhhh!"

15: Diatribe Of A Mad Housewife [#FABF05 - 25Jan04] Wherein Marge writes a romance novel with thinly veiled characters who's actions suggest that she is in love with Ned Flanders, an idea that gets the whole town gossiping. Will Homer read the book and get jealous, or will his new job as an ambulance driver take up all his time? I won't say, but I will say this episode guest stars Thomas Pynchon. Homer: "Marge! I figured it out! Lee Harvey Oswald wanted to steal the Jack Ruby." Marge: "Jack Ruby was a man, not a jewel." Homer: "Ooh, I was so close."

14: How I Spent My Strummer Vacation [#DABF22 - 10Nov02] Wherein Homer (and plenty of secondary characters, as usual) goes to Mick Jagger's Rock'n'Roll Fantasy Camp, and we are served every lame Rock cliche, pun and bad joke imaginable, but there are a ton of special guests willing to make fun of themselves, so in the end it's fairly fucking epic. Homer: "Uh, Mr. Seltzer?" Brian Setzer: "It's 'Setzer'." Homer: "No, I think it's Seltzer."

13: Weekend At Burnsie's [#DABF11 - 07Apr02] Wherein Homer gets into a beef with some crows, ends up on medicial marijuana, and the remainder of the episode is, well, Homer on dope. And the stoners rejoiced! Not even an appearance by Phish could ruin gold like this. Homer: "For me, the '60's ended that day in 1978."

12: Worst Episode Ever [#CABF08 - 04Feb01] Wherein Comic Book Guy has a heart attack, which leads to Bart and Milhouse "babysitting" the Android's Dungeon until Comic Book Guy can return. While he recovers, Comic Book Guy dates Agnes Skinner, and Bart and Milhouse find his secret stash of bootleg videos, many featuring popular townsfolks in embarrassing situations. Comic Book Guy: "Is there a word in Klingon for loneliness? [looks it up in a little book] Ah, yes - Gar-dacchk!"

11: Behind The Laughter [#BABF19 - 21May00] Wherein a VH1-styled expose show called Behind The Laughter takes a raw and candid look behind the scenes of America's favorite family, The Simpsons. 10000% meta. Marge: "Nobody told us how tough it is to raise kids. They almost drove me to fortified wine." Homer: "Then we figured out we could park them in front of the TV. That's how I was raised, and I turned out TV."

10: Lard Of The Dance [#5F20 - 23Aug98] Wherein Homer (and Bart) get into the grease recycling business. Meanwhile, Lisa is chosen to introduce a new student at Springfield Elementary, and this new girl, Alex (Lisa Kudrow), quickly becomes the most popular girl in school, much to Lisa's chagrin. In the end, a massive grease explosion during a school dance makes everything right again in Lisa's world. Ralph [catching a flake of grease on his tongue]: "This snowflake tastes like fish sticks!"

09: The Cartridge Family [#5F01 - 02Nov97] Wherein Homer gets a gun, and kablammo! Ya get one of the darker episodes in Simpsons history. Lenny: "Assault weapons have gotten a lot of bad press lately, but they're manufactured for a reason: to take out today's modern super animals, such as the flying squirrel, and the electric eel."

08: Homer Vs. The Eighteenth Amendment [#4F15 - 16Mar97] Wherein the frontpage of the Springfield Shopper screams ALCOHOL PROHIBITED IN SPRINGFIELD and Homer becomes "The Beer Baron". Homer: "To alcohol - the cause of, and the solution to, all of life's problems."

07: 22 Short Films About Springfield [#3F18 - 14Apr96] Wherein a bored Bart and Millhouse wonder if anything exciting actually ever happens in Springfield, and a subsequent series of vignettes involving a number of secondary characters answers that question in the affirmative. Mr. Burns: "Oh, Tuttle's Sunday trousers! Fear not, I'll get you to a hospital - the only way I know how. Smithers, you infernal ninny, stick your left hoof on that flange, now! Now, if you can get it through your bug-addled brain, jam that second mephitic clodhopper of yours on the right doodad! Now pump those scrawny chicken legs, you stuporous funker!"

06: Lemon Of Troy [#2F22 - 14May95] Wherein some ne'er-do-wells from Shelbyville steal Springfield's lemon tree, and Bart leads a group of friends on a recon mission into the rival town to bring it back home. Radical. Bart: "That lemon tree's a part of our town, and as kids, the backbone of our economy. We'll get it back, or choke their rivers with our dead!"

05: Homer & Apu [#1F10 - 10Feb94] Wherein Homer gets food poisoning from some expired ham (and later a 10 pound bucket of shrimp) at the Kwik-E-Mart, goes undercover for Kent Brockman's Bite Back show, which gets Apu fired, who is then replaced by actor James Woods, who is preparing for a role as a convenience store clerk. Meanwhile, Apu lives with the Simpsons, a song is sung, and Homer finally gets Apu his job back. Apu: "I have come to make amends, sir. At first, I blamed you for squealing, but then I realized, it was I who wronged you. So I have come to work off my debt. I am at your service." Homer: "You're...selling what now?" Apu: "I am selling only the concept of karmic realignment." Homer: "You can't sell that! Karma can only be portioned out by the cosmos." [slams the door] Apu: "He's got me there."

04: A Streetcar Named Marge [#8F18 - 01Oct92] Wherein Marge plays Blanche DuBois in a local production of A Streetcar Named Desire, Homer feels neglected and gets annoyed, and Maggie goes to Ayn Rand School For Tots in the meantime. Lionel Hutz: "Lionel Hutz, Attorney at Law. I'm filing a class-action suit against the director on behalf of everyone who was cut from the play. I also play Mitch!"

03: When Flanders Failed [#7F23 - 3Oct91] Wherein southpaw Ned Flanders quits his job and opens The Leftorium at the Springfield Mall, which fails spectacularly before Mr. Burns saves the day. As a lefty myself, I wholeheartedly echo Mr. Burn's "huzzah!" for good ol' Ned. Mr. Burns [to a tin can]: "Ah, the worm has turned, has it not my tin-plated friend? Look at you, you were once so proud. Feel the wrath of the left hand of Burns!"

02: Treehouse Of Horror (The Simpsons Halloween Special) [#7F04 - 25Oct90] The very first Treehouse Of Horror, wherein Bart and Lisa actually do tell each other scary stories in Bart's treehouse, stories about the Simpsons' night in a haunted house, the Simpsons' abduction by Kang and Kodos, and the truly classic telling of Poe's "The Raven" starring Homer. Lisa [reading crumpled message thrown through vortex from another dimension]: "Quit throwing garbage in our dimension!"

01: Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire (The Simpsons Christmas Special) [#7G08 - 17Dec89] The very first full episode of The Simpsons, wherein Bart gets a tattoo, Homer doesn't get his Christmas bonus, and a 99-to-1 longshot named Santa's Little Helper joins the family and really is the miracle that saves the Simpsons' christmas in the end. Bart: "Aw come on, Dad. This could be the miracle that saves the Simpsons' Christmas. If TV has taught me anything, it's that miracles always happen to poor kids at Christmas. It happened to Tiny Tim, it happened to Charlie Brown, it happened to the Smurfs, and it's going to happen to us!" Homer: "Well, okay, let's go. Who's Tiny Tim?"

Hotcha! Hank

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