As a kid I watched a lot of ‘The Simpsons’. I remember rushing home so I could catch the first episode of the day, and I probably watched three more after that. I had the schedule etched into my mind. If I missed it on Sunday, when the new episode aired, I was seriously bummed.
When the show premiered, it was kind of controversial. People thought Bart’s antics would have an inappropriate impact on their kids. Not only that, but Homer often strangled Bart.
Looking back, The Simpsons is completely harmless. The show’s writers helped us learn, feel, and of course laugh. The show had a golden era where the writers absolutely nailed it. I call it the classic period, because as the years went on the show became less good.
Now the show is nearly unrecognizable. Except for the characters staying the same (some of which have been written out to stay up to date), the show doesn’t use the same winning formula.
But when it did, boy was it good. Some episodes even made social commentary on issues in America. In it’s classic period, the show was crafted beautifully and there are definitely certain episodes that have made their way into my heart forever.
I’m motivated by nostalgia, but the way I feel about The Simpsons cannot be compared. It’s almost synonymous with my childhood.
That is why today, I’m going to go through my personal list (in no particular order) of favourite classic Simpsons episodes.
First on the docket.
Who shot Mr. Burns
To my knowledge this is the only two part episode in all of The Simpsons. It aired as the season finale of one season, and the second part was the premier of the next.
The plot begins with the discovery of oil under Springfield Elementary. Mr. Burns steals it and causes the citizens of Springfield to suffer in the process. The first part of the two part episode ends when Mr. Burns gets shot my an unknown assailant.
In the second episode, there are two suspects that police chief Wiggum is looking into. That’s Wayland Smithers and Homer Simpson.
Eventually it is determined that Maggie Simpson shot Mr. Burns and both men are let off the hook.
Homer crashes the family car and must replace it. He goes to a car show and is coerced into buying a snowplow by a salesman. He is told that he can plow driveways to make the payments on the vehicle and before not too long he will be making loads of money.
Things work out very well for Homer at the start of this endeavour, he puts an ad on late night television and the business comes pouring in. He even receives the key to the city from Mayor Quimby for helping out Springfield in it’s time of need.
When Barney becomes depressed about his job as a baby supply store mascot, he goes to Homer, who say’s something to the effect of be the best Barney you can be.
The result is that Barney goes out and buys his own even bigger plow. He takes all of Homer’s business and homer becomes consumed with rage.
Homer ends up phoning in a false request to have a fake driveway plowed on top of Widow’s peak. Barney gets trapped in an avalanche and Homer has to go and save him.
A heat wave puts an end to winter in Springfield, and Homer can’t make the payments on the plow and it is repossessed.
Everything goes back to normal, but Homer keeps his Mr. Plow jacket and wears it to bed with Marge.
Homer at Bat
Homer constructs a magical baseball bat that will make the nuclear power plant’s softball team unstoppable. They go on undefeated and Homer is the hero of the team. That is until Mr. Burns makes a million dollar bet with the owner of the Shelbyville nuclear power plant’s owner.
To win Mr. Burns has Smithers go out and hire professional baseball players and give them token power plant jobs to make it legit. The guys added to the team are.
- Roger Clemens
- Wade Boggs
- Ken Griffey Jr.
- Steve Sax
- Ozzie Smith
- Jose Canseco
- Don Mattingly
- Darryl Strawberry
- Mike Scioscia
Homer is no longer the best player on the team and he is crushed. But one after another, the professional baseball players all succumb to misfortunes etc. and can’t play. Putting Homer back in the hot seat.
The Springfield nuclear power plant ends up winning when Homer, distracted by Mr. Burns, is knocked unconscious by a pitch and it forces in the winning run.
Bart sells his soul
Bart is punished for switching the church hymn to ‘In the Garden of Eden’ by I.Ron Butterfly. Milhouse is also punished for snitching on Bart, and the two are set to clean the church’s organ. It is then that they are talking about souls, and Bart asserts that they are not real. Milhouse ends up buying Bart’s soul for 5 dollars.
Bart begins to regret his decision when spooky happenings start surrounding him. He tries to get his soul back from Milhouse but he say’s he won’t part with it for less than 50 dollars.
Eventually, Milhouse trades it to Comic Book Guy who claims he sold it earlier that morning and will not reveal the person’s identity to Bart.
Bart walks home in the rain, and goes up into his room and starts praying for his soul back from God. When all of a sudden the paper he traded to Milhouse saying “Bart Simpson’s soul” floats down and lands in front of him.
Looking out for Bart, Lisa was the one who obtained the soul from Comic Book Guy in order to return it. Bart then eats the paper and Lisa is unsure if he really learned his lesson.
Marge vs. The Monorail
Sometimes the Simpsons have great musical numbers intertwined into their episodes. And maybe the best Simpsons song of all time is in this episode.
To make a long story short, a monorail salesman comes to town and sells Springfield on a monorail system. He does it through song and dance and everyone is enthralled.
Marge is the only one who is skeptical. She does some investigating and finds out the monorail is not safe. Homer, who is the monorail driver, is in danger, and she must save him.
Anyway, this episode is on the list because of the amazing song. Check it out on youtube right here.
Deep space Homer
One day Homer is really looking forward to work. Today is going to be his day. Due to union rules every employee must be employee of the month at least once, and since Homer is the only one left he believes it will be him.
Unfortunately for Homer, an inanimate carbon rod takes the honour. Homer, feeling dejected thinks no one respects him.
Later, Homer and Barney duel for the chance to be taken up into space by NASA. Barney cannot handle the no alcohol obligation and is put out of the running.
Homer goes into space, and brings some ruffled chips that clog the instruments. Additionally, he accidentally breaks open the ant farm on board and the ants wreak havoc on the ship.
When a news team, led by Kent Brockman, gets a live feed from the space craft an ant gets a huge close up from the camera lens and scares the viewers. Kent concludes that enormous space dwelling super ants have taken over the craft and he “for one welcomes our new overlords.”
Upon re-entry the ship encounters problems when the door will not close. Things get tense but then Homer saves the day by using an inanimate rod to lock the door closed.
When they return, even though Homer saves the day, the rod gets a parade and everyone ignores Homer.
His family on the other hand know he is a hero.
You only move twice
A lot happens in this episode so I’ll summarize it down to a short and sweet synopsis.
Homer gets a new job in a town that at first glance is way better than Springfield. Unbeknownst to Homer he is actually working for a super villain (Scorpio). The Simpsons are all happy with this new arrangement at first, but one by one, with the exception of Homer who loves his new job, they become unhappy.
Eventually Homer takes his family’s happiness into account and decides to go back to Springfield. But it’s a tough decision for him.
The reason why this episode is so great is that the Scorpio character is hilarious. He’s got many great lines, some of which include…
You don’t like these shoes; then neither do I! [throws them away] Get the Hell out of here!
Don’t call me that word. I don’t like things that elevate me above the other people. I’m just like you. Oh sure, I come later in the day, I get paid a lot more, and I take longer vacations, but I don’t like the word “boss.”
Marge: Mr. Scorpio, this house is almost too good for us. I keep expecting to get the bum’s rush.
Scorpio: We don’t have bums in our town, Marge, and if we did they wouldn’t rush. They’d be allowed to go at their own pace.
Scorpio [to Homer]: Hey, before we continue our tour, would you mind hanging my coat up on the wall, please?
Homer: (looks around the room) Mmmhmm. Umuhh now, let’s see now. Uuummm.
Scorpio: Ahaha. Relax, Homer, at Globex we don’t believe in walls. In fact, I didn’t even give you my coat! (wears the coat backwards)
Really just watch this episode, it’s really funny
Really this list could be about a hundred long, so for now I’ll stop at these seven.
Did you disagree with my list? What episodes are on your list (given you are a Simpsons fan)? Let me know in the comments below.
As it happened, when I got older I stopped watching The Simpsons. Not because of any change to me personally, but because what I loved about the show changed. They have new writers and use a different formula for creating episodes. In short, The Simpsons of my youth is gone.
And that’s fine because the classic Simpsons jokes are ingrained into my personality and that is extremely hard to shake.
When the show was great it was really great. It taught me about having a pleasant disposition and to not take myself too seriously.
Whenever I’m getting to know someone and I find out they did not watch The Simpsons as a child I regard it as serious points against. Not that I’m basing all my character judgements on that, but if you watched The Simpsons religiously as a child I bet we have some other things in common too.