“If a cow ever got the chance, he’d eat you and everyone you care about.”
Yesterday,FXX began their ultimate Simpsons marathon — all the episodes, aired back to back in chronological order. 12 days. 25 seasons. 552 episodes.
In October, FXX will be launching “Simpsons World,” a web-based platform that contains the entirety of the Simpsons run, allowing you to watch any episode you want at any time. That’s a lot of TV — and for many of us of a certain age, that’s also a lot of our lives. The ongoing marathon on the FXX network serves to help promote and whet the appetite for “Simpsons World.” The marathon has only been on the air for a day and I’m convinced that I need to dedicate most of my waking life to “Simpsons World.”
The broadcast schedule is available here from FX Networks.
Because none of us have the time or butt-fortitude for a 24/7 marathon, I attempted to distill a list of not-to-miss episodes. This was a cruel task — my brainstorming session looked like this:
If you can’t read the text, my brainstorming session included suggestions like: “That Time Homer Eats a Ghost Pepper,” “The Chowder Episode,” “The One with the Softball Team,” “The Time Grandpa Tied an Onion to His Belt (A Yellow Onion, On Account of the War),” “Lisa Drinks the Water at Krustyland” and “11th Level Vice President.” Episode titles are not my forte.
The following may not be your top episodes, but they rank among my favorites the show has ever aired. Tell me what I missed in the comments.
“Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy”
Season 5, Episode 14. Lisa, a devoted Malibu Stacy fan, is dismayed by the way the doll promotes air-headed bimbosity. In an effort to find out why her role model is so disappointing, Lisa tracks down the creator of the doll, Stacy Lovell, played by gravelly voiced Kathleen Turner. Together, they create Lisa Lionheart, a feminist doll for the ages.
In the b-plot, Grandpa gets a job at Krusty Burger.
Lisa [playing with Malibu Stacy]: A hush falls over the general assembly as Stacy approaches the podium to deliver what will no doubt be a stirring and memorable address. [pulls Stacy’s cord]
Malibu Stacy: I wish they taught shopping in school!
Lisa [about her doll]: She’ll have the wisdom of Gertrude Stein and the wit of Cathy Guisewite, the tenacity of Nina Totenberg, and the common sense of Elizabeth Cady Stanton! And to top it off, the down-to-earth good looks of Eleanor Roosevelt.
“Treehouse of Horror V”
Season 5, Episode 6. The anthology Treehouse episodes remain my favorite part of the Simpsons. There are so many classic episodes to choose from — the time Bart and Lisa reanimate all the dead in Springfield, the time Kang and Kodos take over the earth, when Homer brings home a cursed Krusty doll as a birthday gift for Bart. But I’ll pick volume 5 for the bonanza of good shorts — “The Shinning,” “Time and Punishment,” “Nightmare Cafeteria,” and the end bit where a gas makes everyone turn inside out and then they sing “One” from A Chorus Line. That’s some good stuff right there.
Montgomery Burns: That’s odd. Usually the blood gets off at the second floor.
Homer Simpson: Well, what do you think, Marge? All I need is a title. I was thinking along the lines of… No TV and no beer make Homer something, something.
Marge: Go crazy?
Homer Simpson: Don’t mind if I do!
Lisa: Bart, does it strike you as odd that Uter disappeared and suddenly they’re serving us this mysterious food called “Uterbraten”?
Principal Skinner: Oh relax kids, I’ve got a gut feeling Uter’s around here somewhere hahahahaha, after all isn’t there a little Uter in all of us? hahahaha… hahaha, in fact, you might even say we just ate Uter, and he’s in our stomachs… right now! AHAHAHAHAHAHA!… Wait, scratch that one.
“Lisa the Vegetarian”
Season 7, Episode 5. Lisa realizes the adorable little lamb she meets at a petting zoo could easily be turned into lamb chops for dinner. Horrified by the idea of eating anything with a face, Lisa decides to go vegetarian, alarming her parents, her school (who shows an educational film on slaughterhouses), and her community. During Homer’s BBQ, Lisa launches the roast pig into the air, causing a panicky Homer to run after it chanting, “It’s still good, it’s still good” as the pig sails through increasingly disgusting terrain. Later, she meets Paul and Linda McCartney and learns how to not be preachy about her food choices. A lesson we could all stand to internalize.
Homer: All normal people love meat. If I went to a barbeque and there was no meat, I would say, “Yo Goober! Where’s the meat!?” I’m trying to impress people here, Lisa. You don’t win friends with salad.
Principal Skinner: Uh oh. Two independent thought alarms in one day. The students are overstimulated. Willie, remove all the colored chalk from the classrooms.
Groundskeeper Willie: I warned ye! Didn’t I warn ye?!? That colored chalk was forged by Lucifer himself!
Season 5, Episode 2. Bart’s nemisis, Sideshow Bob, returns in this Cape Fear homage. After convincing the town that he’s reformed and no longer wants to murder Bart — his “Die, Bart, Die” tattoo is really German for “The Bart, The” — Bob gets out of jail and immediately starts trying to murder Bart. The Simpsons take off for their own safety, but Bob straps himself to the bottom of their car and tags along. The highlight of the episode is easily the ending, in which Bart convinces Bob to sing the score to H.M.S. Pinafore before murdering him, once again foiling a Sideshow Bob plot.
Sideshow Bob: Bart Simpson? Uh, that spirited little scamp who twice foiled my evil schemes and sent me to this dank, urine-soaked hellhole.
Parole Officer: Uh…We object to the term: “urine-soaked hellhole,” when you could have used: “peepee-soaked heckhole.”
Sideshow Bob: Cheerfully withdrawn.
Blue-haired Lawyer: What about that tattoo on your chest? Doesn’t it say “DIE BART DIE”?
Sideshow Bob: No that’s German for “The Bart the.”
Bart: I’ll be Gus, the lovable chimney-sweep. Clean as a whistle, sharp as a thistle, best in all Westminster. Yeah!
“Two Dozen and One Greyhounds”
Season 6, Episode 20. The Simpsons’ dog, Santa’s Little Helper, gets himself in the family way. The resulting litter of puppies gets bought up by Mr. Burns, who plans to turn them into clothes. His showstopper “See My Vest” is one of the best musical homages the show has ever done.
TV Announcer: Your cable TV is experiencing difficulties. Please do not panic. Resist the temptation to read or talk to loved ones. Do not attempt sexual relations, as years of TV radiation have left your genitals withered and useless.
Bart: Hey, look! A really small dog just fell out of Santa’s girlfriend.