The Simpsons List Discussion and Suggestions

An ongoing survey of the Criterion Forum membership to create lists of the best films of each decade and genre.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: The Simpsons List Discussion and Suggestions

#76 Post by domino harvey » Mon Mar 21, 2016 2:30 pm

But, to be pedantic, Burns is Coppola's Dracula, not Murnau (or Herzog)'s Nosferatu

User avatar
thirtyframesasecond
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2007 1:48 pm

Re: The Simpsons List Discussion and Suggestions

#77 Post by thirtyframesasecond » Mon Mar 21, 2016 2:31 pm

While I'm thinking of it too, Homer The Great features probably the best Simpson's song. Who else was referencing Steve Guttenberg at this point?

User avatar
thirtyframesasecond
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2007 1:48 pm

Re: The Simpsons List Discussion and Suggestions

#78 Post by thirtyframesasecond » Mon Mar 21, 2016 2:50 pm

domino harvey wrote:But, to be pedantic, Burns is Coppola's Dracula, not Murnau (or Herzog)'s Nosferatu
Ah yes, indeed. Also liking Bart's deadpan "nothing eventful happened in my absence" quip too.

User avatar
swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: The Simpsons List Discussion and Suggestions

#79 Post by swo17 » Mon Mar 21, 2016 3:11 pm

Sorry, I latched on to Lisa's explanation of Mr. Burns as "the walking undead, Nosferatu, Das Wampyr." That slide moment is so great--"I know I shouldn't, but when am I gonna be here again?"

User avatar
mfunk9786
Under Chris' Protection
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: The Simpsons List Discussion and Suggestions

#80 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Mar 22, 2016 11:15 am

Some recent viewings:

Krusty Gets Kancelled (S4, E22)
"No, I'm quite low brow!" I have a soft spot for Krusty episodes. I was considering doing a guide to them here, but with this project I have to keep in mind that there are several more than just "golden era" episodes to consider, and therefore I wouldn't be the best person to do that. All of that being said, this is one of the best ones - like anything the show did at its best, it digs into inane pop culture and television production cliches, along with intensely obscure references like "Worker and Parasite," and having taken my fair share of film courses, Schwartzwelder and Silverman get the bizarre character of Soviet Union political cartoons pitch perfect, and it's the absolute best use of the joke to have Krusty scraping so far to the bottom of the barrel for an Itchy and Scratchy replacement that this is what he's left with. The show's writers have often understood that Krusty is funniest when he's either indulging in his wealth and comfort (condor egg omelettes, betting on the Washington Generals) or stripped of it (having his show run by the IRS, "I tried to drink a Coke on the bus, and they took away my pass!"), and this episode is no exception - seeing him scramble to entertain his audience with limited resources, including one of the show's laugh-out-loud funniest bits of animation with a ventriloquist dummy, is a relentless assault of prime Krusty material. It can be forgiven, then, for the rushed assembling of celebrity cameos that don't all work (Hugh Hefner puts in below zero effort here) and a throwaway joke about Krusty drinking a bunch of milkshakes that goes by extremely fast and doesn't really hit the mark - because what leads up to it is some of the strongest stuff in the series' history.

$pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling) (S5, E10)
I'm not as sold on the untouchable greatness of this episode as everyone else, mainly because I find the Marge subplot a little too depressing when juxtaposed with the series set to maximum wackiness from Homer and Mr. Burns - I don't even know that it'll make my top 50 - but it's undeniable that this is the show at its most comfortable. It revisits some tropes that'd already been done better in other episodes - newsreel footage, a town hall meeting to fix Springfield's economy, amusing and relevant celebs ("Vera said that?") - but the Marge plot and Homer's gloating over the beginning of the credits don't entirely feel like a tonal fit to me. I was as surprised at my mixed reaction to this as anyone.

The Boy Who Knew Too Much (S5, E20)
A near-miracle that all of these very strange elements came together and worked as well as they did. An excellent Ferris Bueller by-way-of The Hitcher school skipping plot, pitch-perfect Kennedy parody, heightened slapstick, and a Homer plot with a free hotel that is so amusingly staged every step of the way - the frustration of the rest of the jury, Homer's relishing of his room service, the Critic-level Free Willy parody - just a wall-to-wall great episode that gets this era a little outside of the show's comfort zone while still meeting every conceivable quality standard.

Team Homer (S7, E12)
I remember sort of being lukewarm on this, but it's one of the most consistently hilarious episodes of this show, from the warts-and-all send-up of MAD Magazine to essentially everything Mr. Burns gets to do. It's one of the better uses of that character, even though it's the quieter one-liners (store bought dirt, "That long haired freak's bowled with us for years!") that really stuck with me. There are no signs of what the Mike Scully era of this show would ultimately look like, as was also the case with Lisa on Ice - I might've made the mistake of promoting the guy, too.

The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson (S9, E1)
The single most overrated episode of this show. To open things up to New York City and come away with half of the episode spent waiting for a parking officer between the WTC towers, and the other half dedicated to an easy subway gag, an easy Chinatown gag, and an inexplicable musical about a rehab center on the opposite end of the country is almost criminal. Homer's heightened recollection of his past experience in New York and that famous Crab Juice sequence are the only good things here, unfortunately. Definitely feels like the first episode of the final season of a show: A huge swing for the fences, but a miss.

Lisa Gets an "A" (S10, E7)
Further evidence that Ian Maxtone-Graham was efforting to shift the tone to something simultaneously more mundane and unbelievable. The supermarket sequence is dull, the video game stuff makes one long for the astoundingly great send-ups from Marge Be Not Proud, and the entire school grant scenario with Otto in a latex mask is insulting to the viewer's intelligence like very few things in this show to this point. It's not even worth mentioning the execrable and out-of-character Mr. Pinchy B-plot. This is one of my least favorite episodes of this show, period.

User avatar
Drucker
Your Future our Drucker
Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 9:37 am

Re: The Simpsons List Discussion and Suggestions

#81 Post by Drucker » Tue Mar 22, 2016 11:24 am

I bought seasons 1-9 a few years ago, and I remember City of New York was where I gave up and couldn't watch it anymore. I'd have to re-watch it to jog my memory, but between that and season 8's Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious, I remember being done with the show. I hope to revisit some of these season 7-12 episodes while contributing to the list, but I'm not optimistic I'll find something new to love.

User avatar
colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: The Simpsons List Discussion and Suggestions

#82 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Mar 22, 2016 11:28 am

They did get really obsessed with "State Comptroller Atkins" who first showed up in the Lisa Gets An A episode around this time too! The series enjoys finding the utterly mundane absurdly amusing, which is something I quite like, though the most obvious example is the strange obsession for a few years with Gill, aka the Jack Lemmon character from Glengarry Glen Ross thrown into every possible situation (the best-worst of that run is the one where he comes to stay with the Simpsons for a night and ends up staying for months, infuriating the family!)

I did like the City of New York episode (I'll make sure to visit the tourist trap location of the Port Authority Bus Terminal if I ever visit the city!), and it is quite refreshing to see a show where someone absolutely hates the place that they are visiting, which I thought was a nice step. Plus that great great gag where Bart mistakes some Hasidic Jews on a street corner for ZZ Top, shouting praise at them from the passing bus:

"Hey, you guys rock!"
"Eh, maybe a little"

User avatar
swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: The Simpsons List Discussion and Suggestions

#83 Post by swo17 » Tue Mar 22, 2016 11:55 am

Drucker wrote:I hope to revisit some of these season 7-12 episodes while contributing to the list, but I'm not optimistic I'll find something new to love.
I think Season 7 is where the quality control starts to slip slightly (and once those floodgates had opened, it didn't take long for them to debilitate the show), but there are still some episodes from as late as Season 11 that are on par with the golden era for me. I gave up on the show sometime during Season 13 and so am unqualified to speak on over half(!) of its run, but I would be delighted to discover that there's another gem or two buried in there.

User avatar
Drucker
Your Future our Drucker
Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 9:37 am

Re: The Simpsons List Discussion and Suggestions

#84 Post by Drucker » Tue Mar 22, 2016 12:07 pm

colinr0380 wrote:I'll make sure to visit the tourist trap location of the Port Authority Bus Terminal if I ever visit the city!)
SpoilerShow
Do not do this.

User avatar
Lemmy Caution
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 3:26 am
Location: East of Shanghai

NY, Just Like I Pictured it

#85 Post by Lemmy Caution » Tue Mar 22, 2016 12:50 pm

I really like the NY episode.
"your car will be thrown into the East River at your expense"
Homer using a jackhammer to remove the boot (and losing control of the jackhammer, so it goes all over his hood too).
The flashback of Homer's first visit to NY.
All the stuff with the food cart vendor.
The WTC Towers with wash hanging between them like old tenement buildings.

User avatar
flyonthewall2983
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Re: The Simpsons List Discussion and Suggestions

#86 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Tue Mar 22, 2016 1:26 pm

"Dead Putting Society": Season 2, Episode 6. Airdate November 15th, 1990

This is the first episode to feature the Flanders clan, and it begins to flesh out who they are in contrast to the Simpsons. The earlier episode "The Call of The Simpsons" indicates they were a little more affluent. It's more pronounced in this episode due to Ned's man cave and imported beer, but it also plays up his Christianity too, in trying to forgive Homer but failing to do so, leading to a face-off using their sons ability at mini-golf.

The Zen proverbs Lisa gives Bart definitely went way over my head, but it's kind of remarkable how this show managed to put in that kind of wisdom in without losing the funny at all. That whole training sequence and montage is my favorite scene, apart from this hilarious moment.

User avatar
Manny Karp
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2016 5:22 am

Re: The Simpsons List Discussion and Suggestions

#87 Post by Manny Karp » Tue Mar 22, 2016 11:21 pm

Any episodes featuring Mr. Burns: A
Any episodes featuring Krusty: F

I like the episode where Homer goes through the black hole into the real world. My friends and I were high as hell watching that broadcast the first time, it was very... disconcerting.

User avatar
mfunk9786
Under Chris' Protection
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: The Simpsons List Discussion and Suggestions

#88 Post by mfunk9786 » Wed Mar 23, 2016 12:21 am

Afraid of clowns?

User avatar
thirtyframesasecond
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2007 1:48 pm

Re: The Simpsons List Discussion and Suggestions

#89 Post by thirtyframesasecond » Wed Mar 23, 2016 5:51 am

Not a fan of Homie The Clown? That's a good episode.

User avatar
Lemmy Caution
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 3:26 am
Location: East of Shanghai

Re: The Simpsons List Discussion and Suggestions

#90 Post by Lemmy Caution » Wed Mar 23, 2016 12:46 pm

Krusty and Otto are two of my favorite secondary characters.
Both have great voices.
Krusty ultra-cynical (I like all the harmful junk he endorses); while Otto adds a different dimension not really found elsewhere in the Simpsonverse (stoner/slacker/party-dude). I like Otto's relationship with Bart.
_________________________________________________________________________________

Season 13 is where the Simpsons finally doesn't care much at all about endings.
"Tales from the Public Domain" -- a quite good 3 story deal with the Simpsons enacting famous stories ends with Homer making a lame Ghostbusters joke and the family dancing to the Ghostbusters song.
In another episode The Simpsons go to Brazil and the ending has Bart swallowed by a huge snake, but he's unworried and sambas from within.

S13 is also where the show starts beating a joke to death, as though overextending a joke will somehow make it funnier. The Sweetest Apu, where Apu cheats on his wife, is the primary example.
Iirc, Season 14 is really guilty of running gags into the ground.


Hmm, just discovered that my cheap Chinese disc left off 3 episodes. It only has 19 of the 22 from S13.
Didn't notice that before. Hadn't checked.
So far my Season 13 recs would be:

"The Lastest Gun in the West" (S13E12) -- with Dennis Weaver voicing an aging alcoholic cowboy who becomes Bart's new hero.

"Tales from the Public Domain" (S13E14) -- The Simpsons in The Odyssey, Joan of Arc, and Hamlet
Good stuff.

"I Am Furious (Yellow)" -- Bart creates an Angry Dad comic that briefly becomes an internet sensation. The Stan Lee guest spot is quite good. The jokes are a little uneven, but it's a fun episode with a good story.

"The Blunder Years" -- more or less a Stand By Me parody after Homer is hypnotized has a good main storyline, but also some weak moments.

Otherwise, it's a frustrating season, with some good openings (the screamapillar in The Frying Game), and occasional great gags --two terrific scenes in Jaws Wired Shut (Homer's movie theater riot; and the Popeye routine with the donkey at the end). But they have trouble sustaining entire episodes. And sometimes half or more is just bad (as with the Bart in the bubble half of Little Girl in the Big Ten).

User avatar
Foam
Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2009 12:47 am

Re: The Simpsons List Discussion and Suggestions

#91 Post by Foam » Wed Mar 23, 2016 11:58 pm

I may not be able to participate in this, but for those of you simply browsing through highlights, do not neglect "Simpson and Delilah" (s2e2).

the executive washroom sequence and Harvey Fierstein's vox performance sealed the deal on my continuing through the series (I was not allowed to watch it as a kid and so came around to it in my 20s)
Last edited by Foam on Thu Mar 24, 2016 5:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Lemmy Caution
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 3:26 am
Location: East of Shanghai

Re: The Simpsons List Discussion and Suggestions

#92 Post by Lemmy Caution » Thu Mar 24, 2016 1:04 am

That is a terrific episode. Karl the Assistant is a great character.

When someone mentions an episode, its helpful if they mention the season its from.

I downloaded and watched the 3 missing S13 episodes. I'd never seen them -- didn't know they weren't on my dvd. Maybe the good pirates of China were trying to do me a favor. All three were terrible.

One has Mr. Burns falling in love with a much younger woman, with Homer as a date advisor.
Another and it's Abe Simpson's turn, and he drag races as well -- a weak story and poor episode.
While Homer on medical marijuana is the best of the (missing) trio and its all over the place and unfunny.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: The Simpsons List Discussion and Suggestions

#93 Post by domino harvey » Thu Mar 24, 2016 1:26 am

I do think of the "Fo-uh-net-uh-klee" joke every time I see the word

User avatar
colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: The Simpsons List Discussion and Suggestions

#94 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Mar 24, 2016 6:10 am

Funnily the Homer on medical marijuana episode had to be screened late night in an adult audience slot in the UK, as if it were a South Park episode or something like that! Yet all of the other life endangering things that Homer does are fine for 6 p.m. teatime!

User avatar
matrixschmatrix
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm

Re: The Simpsons List Discussion and Suggestions

#95 Post by matrixschmatrix » Thu Mar 24, 2016 10:38 am

Since mfunk mentioned The Critic- would anyone be interested in going over some of the stuff the Simpsons writers went off to do as well? I mean, Futurama is probably too big to take on here, but there's The Critic, Mission Hill, even Teen Angel, if you want to dig, all one or two season wonders.

User avatar
mfunk9786
Under Chris' Protection
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: The Simpsons List Discussion and Suggestions

#96 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Mar 24, 2016 11:07 am

I am always up for talking about Mission Hill.

User avatar
Lemmy Caution
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 3:26 am
Location: East of Shanghai

Re: The Simpsons List Discussion and Suggestions

#97 Post by Lemmy Caution » Thu Mar 24, 2016 11:44 am

colinr0380 wrote:Funnily the Homer on medical marijuana episode had to be screened late night in an adult audience slot in the UK, as if it were a South Park episode or something like that! Yet all of the other life endangering things that Homer does are fine for 6 p.m. teatime!
It's rather a conservative-minded episode and rather anti-drug.
Marge constantly refers to marijuana as "drugs" negatively as though it's the equivalent of heroin.
Homer is only willing to smoke it because it is legal, and the implication is once medical maryjane is illegal again Homer will steer clear. Marijuana is referred to as a "gateway drug" two or three times.
This seems like a Nancy Reagan approved episode.
Maybe that's what it took to get a marijuana episode to air back in 2002.
It certainly seems dated and more right-wing than most any other Simpsons episode I can recall.

User avatar
Drucker
Your Future our Drucker
Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 9:37 am

Re: The Simpsons List Discussion and Suggestions

#98 Post by Drucker » Fri Mar 25, 2016 10:38 pm

Bart The Daredevil (Season 2, Episode 8)

“It’s always good to see young people taking an interest in danger. Now a lot of people are going to be telling you you’re crazy and maybe they’re right. But the fact of the matter is that is: bones heal, chicks dig scars, and the United States of America has the best doctor to daredevil ratio in the world.”

Before I review Bart the Daredevil I wanted to make a few points that I will not repeat as I review other episodes. I spent weeks and weeks on tour a few years ago with my roommate/bandmate, and we frequently talked about the Simpsons and other cartoons and what made them good. One thing we agreed on is that the following characteristics of early episodes are more enjoyable than the show’s evolution would eventually take:

Lisa evolves from being a smart-aleck kid to a know-it-all and genius. This can become very grating later on.
Homer’s dumbness evolves in a poor way, from him being a mildly competent doofus to a truly inept idiot whose entire life makes no sense (Frank Grimes episode, natch).
There’s something about Bart’s mischief that is more charming in the early episodes. His pranks are more real and child-like. There’s a world of difference between skateboard-related antics and illegally renting a car and driving across the country.

One more point, and this isn’t mandatory for all good cartoons or comedies, but maximizing time spent making jokes is often a good thing. The early seasons of the Simpsons are heavy on joke-making and manage to swiftly move the plot around within. (Lots of cartoons start to get unfunny when they focus too much on plot, and not jokes, like recent seasons of Archer and Venture Brothers.)

Anywho, I believe Bart the Daredevil is an early classic, though surely illustrates a show still hitting its stride. It starts incredibly strongly featuring some of the characteristics I’ve just spelled out. Homer’s an idiot at a bar, but he’s not dangerous or incompetent. Him and his son prank their friends in the same way. It’s heartwarming without being overdone.

The opening sequence featuring the wrestling match is pretty masterful and nearly every line is great. My favorite is the promo that goes on one line longer than it needs to: if you can’t make it to Truckasaurous, “you better be dead…or in jail.” Then it continues…”And if you’re in jail, break out.” There’s this sense that they are just squeezing in as many jokes as possible and they work really well.

The dinner table sequence is great too. Again, Homer’s not dangerously idiotic, just kind of a doofus as he cries over the prospect of missing Truckasaurous. After Lisa’s concert, Lisa’s comment “I reached him,” as Homer bangs his car horn to the tune of Shubert is another nice, emotional touch, done just right.

The trip to the hospital, which introduces the character of Dr. Hibbert, has a good line by Bart about “probably getting a scar” and showing off stitches. It’s another example of Bart just being a mischievous kid. There’s also a line by Hibbert where he says children being injured copying what they see on TV is a small price to pay for hours and hours of entertainment.
There’s another few good moments, but I will admit the episode wasn’t as side-splitting as I remember, though it remains one of my favorites. The central plot where they are going to jump Springfield Gorge doesn’t come up until 14 minutes in. Homer being helpless as Bart defies his wishes to not do the daredevil jump is one of the best parts of the episode, and we all know how the episode ends, with Homer doing the stunt and taking the fall for Bart.

User avatar
swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: The Simpsons List Discussion and Suggestions

#99 Post by swo17 » Fri Mar 25, 2016 10:50 pm


User avatar
flyonthewall2983
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Re: The Simpsons List Discussion and Suggestions

#100 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Sat Mar 26, 2016 3:51 am

Just watched this and Drucker touches on a lot of good points about it. The absurdity of the Lance Murdock stunt still makes me laugh, especially the visual of the lion going in for the kill at the end. The lion itself is also in it's own way going one line longer than it needs to. You see that a lot in the classic era (Sideshow Bob's ordeal with the rakes being a good example), hammering something into the ground but somehow remaining hilarious.

Post Reply