Wired celebrates the new, 23rd season of The Simpsons with a list of top ten episodes. They have some good ones (notice that most of their choices come from the first several seasons), but this is hardly the best of the best. My choices:
10. “Bart the Daredevil,” season 2, writtern by Kogen and Wolodarsky
Great quote: “Bones heal, chicks dig scars.”
Why I love it: What may still be the single funniest joke in the history of television:
9. “Bart’s Friend Falls in Love,” season 3, written by Kogen and Wolodarsky
Great quote: “Bet the eight ball didn’t see that one coming.”
Why I love it: The brilliant Raiders of the Lost Ark opening sequence, perhaps the entire series’ best parody.
8. “Homer and Apu,” season 5, written by Greg Daniels
Great Quote: “Are you really the head of Kwik-E-Mart?”
Why I love it: This one might have more ironic subversions of audience expectations of any Simpsons episode.
7. “22 Short Films About Springfield,” season 7, written by a whole bunch of different guys
Great quote: “Professot Frink, Professor Frink, he makes you laugh, he makes you think, he does that thing….eh, that monkey is going to pay.”
Why I love it: A wildly experimental parody of pop culture phenomenon Pulp Fiction and an obscure Canadian film about classical music–distills the essence of the series better than any other episode.
6. “Homer the Smithers,” season 7, written by John Swartzwelder
Great quote: “What did you do to get the fruit basket?” “I knocked Mr. Burns out a third story window.” “Makes sense to me.”
Why I love it: Mr. Burns’ attempts to become independent reveal his odd character better than all the “Burns is evil” episodes combined, though this one also gives us some of the best “Burns is evil” jokes.
5. “Treehouse of Horror V,” season 6, written by a few different guys
Great quote: “No beer and no TV make Homer something something.” “Go crazy?” “Don’t mind if I do!”
Why I love it: I take back what I said before about Raiders of the Lost Ark. The best parody on The Simpsons was their pitch-perfect take on The Shining.
4. “Homer Goes to College,” season 5, written by Conan O’Brien (yes, the one who would later become a famous TV talk show host)
Great quote: “Hel-lo, that sounds like a pig fainting!”
Why I love it: Thematically, this one is about reality defying society’s media-saturated stereotypes. Also, this might be the nerdiest TV episode ever written.
3. “Trash of the Titans,” season 9, written by Ian Maxtone-Graham
Great quote: “Can’t someone else do it?”
Why I love it: same reason as #4. Also, this might have the best social commentary of any episode. Also also, U2 is my favorite band.
2. “Homer’s Enemy,” season 8, written by John Swartzwelder
Great quote: “Looks like all my years of hard work have finally paid off.”
Why I love it: Like #3, this is truly powerful social commentary. Also, Frank Grimes is by far the series’ best minor character. Also also, this is by far the darkest humor in any episode in the series.
1. “Marge Vs. the Monorail,” season 4, written by Conan O’Brien
Great quote: “I call the big one Bitey.”
Why I love it: no profound insights or deep social commentary (other than that great Simpsons standard: people are stupid), just a great musical number and some of the silliest, most original jokes ever on TV. A pure joy from beginning to end.