There are some shows I can watch over and over in reruns without tiring of them. One of those shows is, of course, The Simpsons
. Yesterday, CBC aired one of my all-time favourites (Hurricane Neddy), and in honour of that occasion, here is my own very definitive list of The Simpsons'
Best Episodes Ever:1. Marge vs. the Monorail (season 4)
Inspired by the classic musical The Music Man, this send-up finds Springfield with $3 million in environmental fines from the nuclear plant. A wily stranger named Lyle Lanley turns up and convinces the town to build a monorail (monorail... monorail... monorail). Lanley makes Homer the monorail conductor and gets ready to skip town with the cash. On the monorail's maiden voyage (with grand marshall Leonard Nimoy aboard), the train races out of control. Of course, the day is eventually saved by Marge, Homer and a well-placed giant donut.
Homer: Donuts. Is there anything they can't do?2. Cape Feare (season 5)
Sideshow Bob at his greatest. The murderous sidekick is released from prison, sending the Simpsons into the Witness Protection Program. They become the Thompsons of Terror Lake (complete with a new theme song). Of course, Bob follows the family and plots to kill his nemesis, Bart. Bart outwits Bob by asking him to sing the complete score of the HMS Pinafore. Also, Sideshow Bob is hit in the face by a whole bunch of rakes.
Lawyer: But what about that tattoo on your chest? Doesn't it say, "Die Bart, Die?"
Bob: No, that's German for "The Bart, The."
Spectator: No one who speaks German could be an evil man.3. Hurricane Neddy (season 8)
A hurricane destroys the casa de Flanders. At his lowest moment and in a crisis of faith, Ned arrives home to see the house the town has rebuilt for him. The house they rebuilt very, very badly. Flanders loses it and winds up at the Calmwood Mental Institution. There, he is reunited Dr. Foster, who knew Ned when he was an angry, angry child. We learn the source of Ned's diddily-iddily-speak and about the revolutionary spankologoical protocol. Finally, Ned learns to express his inner rage thanks to Homer ("I engaged in intercourse with your spouse or significant other. Now that's psychiatry!) and the U.S. postal office.
Homer: We may not have had all the right tools, but we did have a wheelbarrow full of love. Apu: And a cement mixer full of hope and some cement.4. Homer's Enemy (season 8)
Frank "Grimey" Grimes arrives in Springfield and finds he really, really hates Homer. Having slaved for everything he's got (which includes an apartment above a bowling alley and below another bowling alley), he resents all that Homer has and raises a really good question: How does Homer keep his job, anyway? Also, Bart buys a factory and hires Milhouse as night watchman.5. Life on the Fastlane (season 1)
Homer gives Marge a bowling ball for her birthday, even though she doesn't bowl. An annoyed Marge decides that rather than let Homer use the new ball (which he has already had engraved with his own name), she will learn how to bowl. Marge very nearly ends up in the amorous clutches of her very suave instructor Jacques. I mostly like that Jacques thinks Marge has named the bowling ball Homer.6. Kamp Krusty (Season 4)
School's out and Bart and Lisa are off to Kamp Krusty, which is a lot less fun than they imagined. They are faced with slave labour, Krusty-brand imitation gruel and, instead of Krusty, the sinister camp director, Mr. Black. This show makes my list for the camp song alone (Hail to thee, Kamp Krusty, Below Mount Avalanche. We will always love Kamp Krusty, A registered trademark of the Krusty Corporation, All rights reserved!). Plus, the images of the nearby "Image Enhancement Camp" (where Martin "daddy's chubby little secret" Prince is sent) are disturbingly funny. Ends with a redemptive trip to Tijuana, Mexico: the happiest place on earth.7. Krusty Gets Kancelled (season 4)
Driven to cancellation by a new afternoon-show sensation (Gabbo!), a down-and-out Krusty launches his comeback with the help of the Bart, Lisa, Sideshow Luke Perry, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Johnny Carson and Bette Milder. Notable for the extreme abuse of Luke Perry, who is launched from a cannon through the museum of sandpaper, through a display of acid at the Kwik-E-Mart, finally landing in a pillow factory just before it is demolished.8. You Only Move Twice (Season 8)
A spot-on Bond spoof with my all-time favourite throw-away line. Homer accepts a job at the nuclear plant in Cypress Creek, working for super-villain Hank Scorpio. Homer finally excels at his job, but the rest of the family struggles to find happiness. Particularly Bart, who is placed in the elementary school's remedial Leg-Up program with arsonists and kids who wear mittens pinned to their coats all year round.
Bart: So, what are you in for?
Gordie: I moved here from Canada, and they think I'm slow, eh?9. Lisa on Ice
Turns out Lisa is a phenom on hockey skates. Bart and Lisa compete for their parents' love the old fashioned way - through Canada's beloved national pastime. Plus, it features the single Simpson's line I quote more than any other -
Uter: Don't make me run, I'm full of chocolate!10. Homer and Apu
Homer gets a nasty case of food poisoning from eating expired ham at the Kwik-E-Mart. After a complex sting operation involving a very large hat, Homer gets Apu fired from his job. A guilty Homer then agrees to help Apu get his job back by visiting the CEO at the head office (and the world's convenience store) on a mountaintop in India. In the meantime, James Woods takes over management of the Kwik-E-Mart.Note:
When Entertainment Weekly
made their list of top Simpson's
episodes a few years ago, "Last Exit to Springfield" was their favourite. That's the one where Homer becomes the plant's union negotiator.