Tag Archives: 90s cartoons

21 Great Episodes About Springfield

8 Oct

After much watching, pondering, hemming and (haw-)hawing, we’ve come up a list of what are our personal top favorite episodes of The Simpsons.

We love nearly every episode of The Simpsons for some reason or other, so this was a difficult list to compile. There were obviously many great episodes we had to leave out. We had to dig through over six hundred episodes of material from the span of over thirty years, and make many considerations– including issues of rewatchability, good intros, endings, and overall hilarity.

There are episodes included in this list spanning from the first seasons up to the very most recent seasons. We feel that in many ways, the show has matured, both in its animation and in writing. Some of these picks may be surprising to you, or even infuriating.

We understand.

That’s why we’re all entitled to our own opinions!

As always, you are welcome (and encouraged!) to leave us comments on this, or any post, to register your dissent or agreement. And we’re sure you will.

As a side note, we chose only two Treehouse of Horror segments — one each.

Without further ado, here is the list of 21 of our top favorite episodes of The Simpsons, with a little blurb written about each, to perhaps explain our reasoning for the episodes’ inclusion on this list.

“The Call of the Simpsons” (season 1)

callThis is an extremely rewatchable episode of season one. Despite the protests of Simpsons purists (those who only like seasons 1-11), much of the rest of the first season of The Simpsons suffers from lack of character development and has some relatively unrefined, crude art (compared to later seasons, of course). It’s all classic and necessary, and provides a great starting point (after the Tracey Ullman shorts)–but “Call” is ultimately the cream of the season one crop. -J

“Cape Feare” (season 5)

feareThis episode is considered a classic by many. It is a great example of using Sideshow Bob’s character so early in the show’s run for amazing sinister effect. Obviously there is the classic Simpsons formula of using a pre-existing movie plot, in such a way, and inserting Simpsons characters into it. The hilarity of the rakes, and the songs– it reminds us of watching the Simpsons when we were young–the nostalgia effect. My favorite detail is the “e” on the end of the episode’s title, because Bob is a theater fanatic. -H

“Time and Punishment” (Treehouse V segment, season 6)

time andThis is definitely my top favorite Treehouse segment. It’s sandwiched between two other classic stories (“The Shinning” and “Nightmare Cafeteria”) but stands out as the most funny, to me. I’m always laughing all the way through this segment, no matter how many times I watch it. From Flanders’ re-Neducation to the sick dinosaurs and when Homer is so sick of everything, he just kills any animal he sees. And the ironic twist in it gets me every time, too. Donut rain. He could have had the perfect universe. But at the end, the rest of the family just has forked tongues. Close enough! -J

“Two Bad Neighbors” (season 7)

2bad2The Bush family. Never liked em. That’s what makes this episode so amazing. It was made after George H. Bush made a comment that we need more families like the Waltons and less like the Simpsons. Barbara Bush had said she thought The Simpsons was “the dumbest thing” she’d ever seen, until Marge wrote her a letter. In this episode, we have Bart acting almost as Dennis the Menace (a classic stereotypical prankster archetype) to George Bush’s Mr. Wilson. It’s insane, and gags are a mile a minute–especially when Homer gets involved. “Bart’s the boy, I don’t know the name of the man..” -J

“Bart After Dark” (season 8)

bart afterDespite my hatred for musicals, the absurdity of this episode solidifies it as a classic. The song at the end, “We Put the Spring in Springfield” is catchy, funny, touches upon several characters, and addresses the hypocrisy of society’s stigma against sex workers. Every man in town is going to the burlesque house! It’s the only time we see Lovejoy’s dad. And Quimby’s wife was working there! Bart’s connection to this place and the women and the running of this business is so interesting–how protective he becomes. The song is an earworm in the best of ways. It will never leave your head. -H

“Brother From Another Series” (season 8)

Cecil_and_BobI love this episode because it plays to the obvious connection to Kelsey Grammer’s Frasier character (was Grammer made for these roles?) as it also features David Hyde-Pierce as Cecil, Sideshow Bob’s brother. It shows some of Bob’s backstory, his start with Krusty. There are numerous references to Frasier itself — “Maris?” Throughout the series, Bob will go back and forth between being the villain, or to be better. But the circumstances don’t allow for this, as in this episode, Cecil makes him declare everyone will live to regret locking him up again at the end. -H

“Easy Bake Coven” (Treehouse VIII segment, season 9)

witch margeThis is definitely my favorite Treehouse of Horror segment, it has so many funny lines. From “the Bible says a lot of things” to how Maude is worried the witches will make them perform acts of carnality, and Flanders says “yeah, that’ll be the day” before telling her that they’re 35, and way past their life expectancy. The plot of the segment is fantastic, how it goes from the townspeople persecuting Marge for being a witch to the twist, that she really is a witch. Also–the art in this episode is stellar. The scene where the bats explode from Marge’s hair is one of my favorite pieces of art in the whole series. Basically, there are constant, funny lines throughout– great writing from the Simpsons team.

“Lisa the Skeptic” (season 9)

lisa skepticThis episode is a perfect example of how I feel when people bring up my lack of belief in conventional religion, and my disagreements with it. The town is looking at this “angel skeleton”, and they can’t believe that it could be anything other than that. Lisa is the only one who maintains that there is some other plausible explanation. And then, the added twist at the end that the whole thing was just a marketing scheme– a hoax perpetrated by the advertisers for a new shopping mall. Another funny aspect is how the scientist admits at the end that he never ran the tests for the skeleton’s authenticity. -H

“Das Bus” (season 9)

das busThis is a hilarious episode, an ultimate rewatcher. The kids get stranded on an island, and have to fend for themselves- with questionable results–Lord of the Flies style. There is a lot of amazing dialogue between all the kids, after we see them in a model U.N. at school before the later events. They’re never able to make a coconut-based game system, and they’re never able to train any monkey butlers. However, we see a whole court system set up, where Milhouse is accused of eating all their food, when it was in fact a boar– and the terrible, hackneyed ending of the narrator half-heartedly explaining that just, someone rescued them (Moe) makes the final scene that much funnier. -H

“Guess Who’s Coming to Criticize Dinner” (season 11)

criticize dinnerAnother solid favorite–this episode features Homer as a food critic, who is assisted by Lisa, because he’s such a bad writer. Until he goes too far, and becomes too mean. So many jokes, and their hilarious delivery–and the insane ending. The best way to describe this episode is Marge’s words at the end “only your father could take a part time job at a small town paper and become the target of international assassins”. Episodes like this are why we watch The Simpsons. For Homer’s antics, for the non sequiturs, for the absurdity, and for the family dynamic. There are so many things to like about this episode. -J

“The Computer Wore Menace Shoes” (season 12)

menace shoesThis might overall be my favorite episode of The Simpsons. I watch it constantly. And I laugh every time. So many quotable lines, from “it’s small, and it’s smelly” to “did YOU bring us here?” to “SHUT UP! That’s why.” This is one of the first episodes that plays up the utter absurdity of everything. The show went from being a sitcom type show, to just a bizarre free-for-all. They really hit it hard in season 12. Just watch it, and love it. -J

“Skinner’s Sense of Snow” (season 12)

skinnerThis is another of my absolute favorites. To people who only like or watch the first 11 seasons, you’re really missing out. Some really amazing stuff in season 12. Check it out. Bart story (mostly). And Skinner. My favorite character. Some quotable lines in this, where the kids are amazed he has TWO jobs, he paints houses in the summers– he must be a millionaire! But Skinner insists he wasn’t a principal when he was ONE. Just hilarious. A real rewatcher. And it’s a Christmas episode! Wow. Also, the b-story with Homer and Ned is excellent. And Nibbles at the end! -J

“New Kids on the Blecch” (season 12)

kids on the blecchDespite my lack of knowledge or enjoyment of boy bands, this episode is hilarious. Amazing. Just watch it. One of my absolute favorites. Top 5. It’s stellar and funny from start to finish. I’m not a fan of N’SYNC (although my wife is, and she doesn’t like this episode much!) However, I find all the guys’ lines so funny. “Word.” “Those wack invertebrates will STING you! Oldschool!” They should bring N’SYNC back for one more episode. Minus Justin. He’s a jerk. -J

“Weekend at Burnsie’s” (season 13)

burnsiesAnother solid favorite. Homer smoking weed is something you just gotta love. More amazing lines. “Make me slap him.” Gold. Everything is great here, from the classic intro sequence to hanging out with Otto (“remember when you dropped your keys, and we thought the phone was ringing?” “Hahaha yeah. Get out.”) And this episode is another example of how The Simpsons is known for and often makes excellent usage of guest starts. I’m not a fan of Phish, but their inclusion in the episode perfectly fits within the theme. But that depends on what the meaning of ‘was’ is! -J

“I Am Furious (Yellow)” (season 13)

furious yellowAngry Dad is a huge win, to me. I feel like Angry Dad a lot. This is an incredibly solid, funny episode, written by John Swartzwelder (of course). It sums up the internet cartoon/website bubble in so many ways– and it includes guest star Stan Lee! Classic. It even inspired a sequel episode later on, about the making of an Angry Dad movie. -J

“24 Minutes” (season 18)

24 minutesThis episode is a brilliantly written take on the show 24 (which, strangely, I don’t like), which was a fellow FOX show at the time. Skinner’s CTU (Counter Truancy Unit), which includes Lisa, has to employ Bart’s help to find out what’s going to happen at the school bakesale. The irony is not lost on me that the Counter Truancy Unit is making kids miss school to do all this. Bart beats up Nelson for once! Wow. The episode even has Kiefer Sutherland! It’s funny. Watch it. Just ask wealthy Saudi financier Ahmed Adoodi. -J

“How the Test Was Won” (season 20)

test was wonWhat’s the matter, superstar? This is a late era Simpsons classic. Best use of Ralph and the bullies yet. A totally unique Skinner adventure with these kids and Bart. Mindblowingly funny in SO many spots. “What kind of pencil do we take, again?” “Take a number two… I’m holding a BIG number two in my hands, and enjoying the weight and feel of it.” Tons of funny lines. Slurp my snot! -J

“Gone Maggie Gone” (season 20)

gone maggieI am one of the few people who doesn’t hate The Da Vinci Code– it served its purpose, and I found it interesting. In this episode, they parody it in a funny way, and this is a solid Lisa episode. There are lots of other gags (Homer crossing the lake with Maggie, Santa’s Little Helper, and the poison). The ending is funny too — how first Lisa think she’s the gem child, but it turns out to be Maggie, who is replaced finally by Bart. And he makes the convent a dark place. Great from start to finish. -H

“Rednecks and Broomsticks” (season 21)

rednecksThis is a great episode from start to finish. From Lisa discovering Wicca to the b-story of Homer befriending hillbillies and becoming a moonshine connoisseur– and the stories connect at the end! Cletus is hilarious and amazing as always. You get to see a lot more about him, his family, and friends. The hillbillies “hyucks” at the end– I still laugh every time. Also, Lisa finding these new friends is endearing and heartwarming. And Ned freaking out about his neighbors practicing witchcraft, just hilarious. -H

“Yellow Subterfuge” (season 25)

yellow subterfugeA super recent entry on this list–from season 25! What an incredible revenge story. Skinner as the man with no name is amazing. His western-themed daydream is a great opener, starting off the episode on an odd, hilarious note, and ending it on a weird, creepy note just perfectly, showing the overall pathetic nature of our favorite ridiculous principal. Please take note of one of the funniest lines in the show so far, where Agnes says she “stopped taking those pills” that make her nice. Great commentary on the frivolous nature of the education system and its standardized tests. Plus, it has an amazing Krusty b-story! My second favorite character. -J

“Gone Boy” (season 29)

This episode is a modern classic. Excellent usage of Sideshow Bob — the town is trying to track down Bart, who is lost, and Bob is looking for him as well. And hilarity ensues. You’ve never seen Bob interact with Milhouse before like this! And amazingly, another Christmas episode. The writing in this is stellar. The parts with Bob’s therapist– it’s really a must-see. And the weird ending, with Bob in the future, living in a lighthouse. Wow. Excellent, all around. -H

These were our picks and write-ups on them — hope you enjoyed them! It only took us a couple years to put all this together!

20 Awesome Cartoons That Currently Produce and Air New Episodes

11 Sep

We’ll edit this list/post whenever things change (if shows are canceled/added, etc.)Dan Halen

These are all the ones we currently track, watch and love!

American Dad!
Annoying Orange
Aqua Something You Know Whatever
Beavis and Butt-Head
Bob’s Burgers
China, IL
Family Guy
Mary Shelley’s Frankenhole
Futurama
The Amazing World of Gumball
Metalocalypse
Regular Show
South Park
SpongeBob Squarepants
Squidbillies
Superjail!
The Cleveland Show
The Simpsons
T.U.F.F. Puppy
Ugly Americans

In addition, we’re looking forward to checking out Brickleberry in a few days here and the Seth MacFarlane reboot of The Flintstones, supposedly (hopefully!) coming in 2013.

Ren and Stimpy, SpongeBob, Aqua Teen, Squidbillies!

6 Jan

Ren and Stimpy

REN AND STIMPY!

Wanted to write quickly about the new/upcoming cartoons here in a few days.

For those of you who don’t follow me on Twitter (you should!) I’ve mentioned a few things lately.

They have been showing Ren and Stimpy marathons on Nickelodeon (NickToons) lately, which has been EXCELLENT!

It’s always been one of my favorite cartoons – it’s amazing – weird, and funny, and perfect. Billy West!!

I also believe there was a couple of new SpongeBobs on Nick today, and they were great.

Finally, in adult swim news from Dave Willis himself, new ATHF episodes start in May, and new Squidbillies in September, although they’re trying to move the Squids’ date up!

So much great news!