Top 11 Simpsons Episodes
June 05, 2012
NC: Hello, I’m the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don’t have to. There is no doubt about it. The Simpsons has defined a generation of humor.
(Sad, touching music begins to play in addition to a montage of clips of episodes from the earlier seasons of The Simpsons)
NC (voiceover): It was slick, it was clever, it was satirical, it had unforgettable characters, and it left its mark forever on television history. Clearly, it was ahead of its time and taken off the air far too early.
NC: And...if it was still on air today, I’m sure it would continue to inspire and challenge all of the masses out there—
(A promotional ad for The Simpsons Season Twenty-Three is quickly shown)
NC: GODDAMN IT! IT’S STILL ON?!
(Clips from the most recent episodes of The Simpsons play out; among them the "Tik Tok" couch gag from "To Surveil With Love", the Banksy opening from "MoneyBART" and an opening sequence in slow motion)
NC (voiceover): Yes, like most people, I really wish The Simpsons would just up and die so we can talk about what a great impact it had on comedy as opposed to asking why the hell they’re beating a dead horse with another dead horse! But, either way, we still end up saying the exact same thing:
NC: “Wasn’t The Simpsons funny?”
(Clips from classic episodes of the show now play out)
NC (voiceover): And the answer is, “Yes.” Yes, it was. Despite the fact that they’ve more than overstayed their welcome, we still can’t forget what an entertaining, quotable and hilarious impact the show has had on us. It’s one of the most influential shows in that it helped form so many people’s sense of humor. So many of us today get our delivery, our writing, our performing, and just our straight-up sense of comedy from the genius that was The Simpsons. But again, I must ask, which ones had the biggest impact? Which ones were the most memorable, meaningful, or just downright funny?
NC: Well, let’s travel back to Springfield, El-la-ca-chusetts, this is the Top 11 Best Simpsons Episodes.
(The classic intro for the show plays out with the title in the clouds)
Background Singers: The Simpsons…
NC (voiceover): (with multiple voices, sings accompanying text underneath the title) Top 11 Best Episodes.
(For each interlude on the Top 11 list, there is a shot of the Simpson family’s TV screen with a numbered entry on it)
#11[edit | edit source]
NC (voiceover): Number 11: “Deep Space Homer.” Just the title alone invites so many possibilities, and The Simpsons take advantage of all of them. I mean, think about it: Homer in space. This is got to build up a lot of good jokes, and it does. NASA’s ratings as well as their funding is going down the toilet, so they decide to find the everyman to send up into space to get more viewers. The results are Barney and Homer, resulting in every kind of joke you can imagine out of these two. Drunk jokes...
Assistant: (takes away Barney’s can of beer) For the duration of the training, there'll be no more beer.
Barney: What? Three whole weeks with only wine?
NC (voiceover): Exercise jokes...
Homer: (does cartwheels in front of the scientist and his assistant) “There once was a man from Nantucket, Whose—” (He inadvertently smashes into a wall upside down) Ow! (falls onto the floor) Oof!
NC (voiceover): Movie jokes...
Homer: (speaks at a press conference) The only danger is if they send us to (speaks ominously) that terrible Planet of the Apes.
NC (voiceover): They even got Buzz Aldrin to guest star. Isn’t that great to hear one of the first men on the moon say...
Buzz Aldrin: (in reaction to Homer opening a bag of potato chips while up in space) Careful! They’re ruffled!
NC (voiceover): The jokes range from visual to verbal to story-driven to character-based, and just about all of them hit bullseyes. They showed us exactly what we wanted to see with this setup and had us laughing all the way through.
Homer: (approaches the space shuttle for the first time and loses his nerve by yelling in a slow, deep voice) NOOOOOOOO! (Returning to normal speed, he runs away)
(Interlude to the next entry)
#10[edit | edit source]
NC (voiceover): Number 10: “Itchy and Scratchy and Marge.” This fields an issue that is still being argued about today: “How much of violence in our youth is based on media?” In this episode, Maggie imitates a stunt she saw on “Itchy and Scratchy” and injures Homer on the head. When Marge sees where it came from, she starts an all-out war with the cartoon makers. At first, they ignore her, but after a while, she gains quite a following, enough that the producers feel they have to change their product to a friendlier image.
(In a new version of the “Itchy and Scratchy” show’s introduction, the two characters appear more innocent and give each other gifts)
Female Background Singers: They love! They share! They share and love and share! Love, love, love! Share, share, share! The Itchy and Scratchy Show!
(The title card to the show (labeled “Porch Pals”) shows the two holding hands and skipping along merrily)
NC (voiceover): The kids don’t like it anymore and partake in a revolutionary idea: going outside. Everything seems surprisingly peaceful until a tour of Michelangelo’s “David” comes into town, and all of Marge’s followers want her to protest it. But in reality, Marge sees it as a work of art, which leads to a perfect crossroads of freedom of speech and censorship.
Dr. Marvin Monroe: (to Marge in a live TV interview via satellite from Athens, Greece) Well, what do you have to say to all those Marge Simpson wannabes out there who wish to suppress David’s doodle?
NC (voiceover): But what makes this episode so great is that it’s not directly attacking freedom of speech or censorship. It basically shows that whichever choice you make, there’s always going to be consequences. In reality, they leave the choice up to you. Is it better to silence expression and free will and the hope for the greater good?
Monks (from Hot Fuzz): The greater good.
NC (voiceover): Or let freedom reign despite the fact that most of what we’re giving people is garbage? It doesn’t take a side; it instead attacks everyone, which is when The Simpsons' writing was at its best. In the end, there are no clear answers, but there are a lot of interesting issues. For a show that was certainly controversial when it came out, it would have been very easy just to throw together an episode where they say “Screw censorship”. But instead, they took a very clever, very adult, and very thought-provoking angle. Not bad for an episode that mostly features a cat getting horribly disfigured.
(In a clip from the “Itchy and Scratchy Show,” Itchy knocks out Scratchy’s eyeballs with a mallet and gives little bombs for him to place in his sockets; cut next to Scratchy brushing his fur in front of a mirror until he notices the bombs and screams before they explode)
NC: (makes a dopey laugh and points) Funny.
(Interlude to the next entry)
#9[edit | edit source]
NC (voiceover): Number 9: “Homer’s Enemy.” This is easily one of the darkest episodes The Simpsons have put out. And I’m not gonna lie, that’s what makes it so enjoyable. We’re introduced to a man named Frank Grimes, a genius mind who had no breaks in life, was met with nothing but misfortunes, and never had anything handed to him. He gets a job at the power plant where he comes across Homer Simpson, obviously the exact opposite. Everything was handed to him, he has no idea about sacrifice, and is as dumb as...well, Homer Simpson. Grimes is horribly confused/enraged that such a man can exist, and wants to prove to Homer, the world and himself that this is not how life works. People have to answer for their consequences and take responsibility for their actions. But Homer’s actions constantly have no punishment. (Beat) Actually, they do, except it’s often given to Grimes.
(Frank Grimes has a talk with Mr. Burns in his office after saving Homer’s life (who almost drank a beaker of sulfuric acid) yet inadvertently destroying a wall with the acid)
Mr. Burns: How dare you destroy my valuable wall and spill my priceless acid?
(Grimes confronts Homer at Homer’s station)
Grimes: Stay the hell away from me! Because from now on, we’re enemies. (He starts to leave)
Homer: Do I have to do anything?
(Grimes grunts to himself in frustration before walking off)
NC (voiceover): The more and more Grimes tries to expose Homer for the fraud that he is, the more and more Homer is rewarded and Grimes is punished. Again, they could’ve made Grimes just the straight-up bad guy, but honestly, you really sympathize with him. Why are sometimes good, smart people punished and bad, stupid people rewarded?
(Homer has invited Grimes to his house for dinner, and Grimes is upset about the grand showcase of Homer’s home (compared to his apartment stuck between two bowling alleys) and all his accomplishments from previous episodes like meeting ex-president Gerald Ford, going on tour with Lollapalooza, going into space and winning a Grammy)
Grimes: God, I’ve had to work hard every day of my life, and what do I have to show for it? This briefcase and this haircut! And what do you have to show for your lifetime of sloth and ignorance?
Grimes: Everything! A dream house! Two cars! A beautiful wife! A son who owns a factory! Fancy clothes and... (He sniffs the air)...lobsters for dinner!
NC (voiceover): It’s just him trying to get some clarity in life and him obviously receiving no answers, or at least, none that make any sense. I guess you could argue with sort of a “leave good enough alone” story, but the ending is so dark and closes on an image that is downright mean-spirited, that it reaches major uncomfortable levels as Simpsons episodes go. And you know what? That’s kind of funny once in a while. Sometimes, we need something really harsh and mean to mix it up with all the shrugging happy endings we get so much, and this one is definitely an enjoyably unpleasant episode. I mean, even for a Simpsons episode, the ending is shockingly aggressive. It’s sort of like the No Country for Old Men of the show; you know you just watched something disturbing, but you feel even worse for having enjoyed it.
Grimes: (to Homer) If you lived in any other country in the world, you’d have starved to death long ago.
Bart: He’s got you there, Dad.
(Interlude to the next entry)
#8[edit | edit source]
NC (voiceover): Number 8: “Cape Feare.” This is one of those episodes everyone keeps bringing up, and for a while, I didn’t get why. It’s funny, don’t get me wrong, but why do so many people always pick it as one of their favorites? Well, watching it again, I found it’s not just funny; it’s really funny. Being the third appearance of Sideshow Bob, this was the first time he didn’t have a diabolical scheme for power lined up, but instead just wanted straight-up vengeance on his arch-nemesis Bart Simpson. It was actually one of the first times you saw Bart in real peril, like someone was actually trying to murder him, and it came from the perfect person you’d want to see try to murder him. I guess from that angle, it’s pretty cool. I mean, we have seen this confrontation building up for several episodes, and they delivered it just at the right time; you know, before it became every other season. But on top of that, practically every joke works in this episode. Big or small, visual or verbal, it’s hard to think of a scene that didn’t make me laugh out loud at just the absurdity of it. Remember this gem?
(The radio is playing in Bart’s room while Bart is asleep)
Marty (the wacky radio DJ): This is dedicated to Bart Simpson with the message “I am coming to kill you slowly and painfully.” (Bart wakes up in fear upon hearing this and clutches to his bed sheet)
Background Singer: (laughs maniacally before shouting) Wipeout! (The music to the song “Wipeout” starts to play as Bart cowers under the bed sheet)
NC (voiceover): How about this one?
(As the Simpson family moves out to a new location while under the witness protection program, Sideshow Bob sneaks a ride under the family car)
Homer: Hey, kids, wanna drive through that cactus patch?
Sideshow Bob: (disguise his voice from under the car) No!
Homer: Whoop, two against one!
(Homer drives recklessly through the cacti, much to Sideshow Bob’s chagrin)
NC (voiceover): And need we forget...
(Sideshow Bob extricates himself from under the car and has the misfortune of stepping onto the ground where someone has left a bunch of rakes lying around; he steps on several with his oversized feet, and the bone-crunching smash of the rake handle flying into his face makes him groan)
NC (voiceover): Throw in a clever knockoff of Cape Fear, and you have a damn funny episode with lots of laughs that pay off.
Sideshow Bob: (sings, finishing off the song “For He is an Englishman” from HMS Pinafore) Englishman! (A British flag drops down behind him for the big finish)
(Interlude to the next entry)
#7[edit | edit source]
NC (voiceover): Number 7: “Homer at the Bat.” Again, sometimes, just putting a character in a certain scenario is all you need. Homer playing baseball; Boom! The jokes just write themselves. Mr. Burns starts a softball team to which Homer seems to do surprisingly well with, all because of what he claims is his magic bat. But once Burns makes a million dollar bet with another power plant team, the game is on to cheat like nobody’s cheated before. He gets some of the greatest baseball players of all time on his side and forms the ultimate superforce. What makes this episode so good is not only the writing, but also the fact that they actually got these players to do the voices. They even managed to give a lot of them sort of comedic personalities, like Darryl Strawberry’s a kiss-ass, Steve Sax is a beat, and Ozzie Smith is trustingly naive. Even with all these people to juggle, though, they still keep the focus on Homer, never losing track that it is still his story. All the players are funny and memorable, all our characters are funny and memorable, the conclusion is something of a perfect anticlimax, and it ends on one of the funniest stills of the show. It’s an all-star cast with all-star jokes. What’s not to love?
Terry Cashman: (sings) We’re talkin’ Homer, Ozzie and the Straw.
(Interlude to the next entry)
#6[edit | edit source]
NC (voiceover): Number 6: “22 Short Films About Springfield.” A lot of people complain that the Simpsons episodes don’t really have a flowing narrative—in fact, the story they start off with often has nothing to do with what they end on—well, in this episode, they just go for broke and straight-up show the lives of Springfield and their day-to-day troubles. We get a few minutes with Lisa, a few minutes with Smithers, a few minutes with Dr. Nick, a few minutes with Homer, we even get a few minutes with Bumblebee Man. Surprisingly, what I do like about this episode is that they do sort of connect, like Lisa will be chased by bees, so we follow one of those bees to Smithers. He gets stung and goes to the hospital where we see Dr. Nick is going to work. He ends up draining the power, which leads to the lights flickering in another story, and so on and so forth. So each story very loosely does come together. They even make fun of the fact that they’re telling the story in such a strange way, that they even make a few Pulp Fiction homages. It’s great just to see the characters do what they do and not necessarily have to be bound by a three-act structure all the time, as well as a happy ending. Sometimes, the jokes and characters can simply come from the jokes and characters. I think the only nitpick I have is that while they did connect a lot of the stories together, they never did connect it to the commercial interruptions, and that really annoys me, because it's like the commercials just get in the way of every—
NC: —thing. (He looks around a bit, confused)
(Interlude to the next entry)
#5[edit | edit source]
NC (voiceover): Number 5: “Marge vs. the Monorail.” This is another one where the comedy is just on. When I think of an episode that just had a ton of energy, a ton of music and a ton of jokes, this one often pops in there. Springfield comes into a ton of money, and there’s a town meeting held about what to do with it. A con artist recommends building a monorail, never giving away that he plans to buy cheap faulty parts and keep the rest of the money for himself. And he recommends it in probably the most amusing of ways.
Lyle Lanley: (speaks in rhythm) I swear it’s Springfield’s only choice! Throw up your hands and raise your voice!
Townspeople: (sings) Monorail!
Lyle Lanley: What’s it called?
Townspeople: (sings) Monorail!
Lyle Lanley: Once again!
Townspeople: (sings) Monorail!
NC (voiceover): Again, this leads to a lot of great possibilities, like Homer being the conductor...
(Homer shows off the steering compartment to his family, and Marge discovers an opossum family in the fire extinguisher compartment (no fire extinguisher is to be seen)
Marge: Homer, there’s a family of possums in here!
Homer: I call the big one Bitey.
NC (voiceover): ...a lot of the characters getting onboard, discovering what happened to the original monorail, even somehow working Leonard Nimoy into one of his strangest cameos.
(After the monorail speeds out of control, Krusty the Clown tries to escape by jumping out from the emergency door, but Leonard Nimoy catches him in the nick of time and pulls him in)
Leonard Nimoy: No! The world needs laughter.
NC (voiceover): It has a song number, it has action, it has great character-based jokes, it just has hit after hit after hit, and each one continues to get a bigger laugh after the next. There’s nothing much else to say about it, except...
NC: (speaks in anticipation) Monorail! Monorail! Monorail!
Townspeople: (sings) Monorail! (Everyone poses for a big finish and speak together) Monorail!
Homer: (sings) Mono... (He realizes that the song is already over) D’oh!
(Interlude to the next entry)
#4[edit | edit source]
NC (voiceover): Number 4: “Homer the Great.” We all like to fantasize about another world we don’t see where people get more privileges than the everyday common person. Well, this is The Simpsons take on it. Not only is it funny, but the layout of the story is just freakin’ perfect. Homer stumbles across an ancient order of the Stonecutters, an organization that really doesn’t do anything except keep secrets and reward itself.
Lenny: (after handing Homer a membership pack, including a decal) You put that sticker on your car so you won’t get any tickets. And this other one keeps paramedics from stealing your wallet while they’re working on you.
Carl: Oh, and don’t bother calling 911 anymore. Here’s the real number. (He hands Homer a card with “912” on it)
Homer: (takes the card) Ohh!
NC (voiceover): Now that’s pretty funny. Homer manages to get in, but gets in big trouble when he accidentally destroys their sacred parchment. That’s also pretty funny. They discover a birthmark on him, though, that indicates that he is the Chosen One, sent to bring balance to the Stonecutters. And he, of course, abuses the power like mad. That’s really funny. But then it turns out he is the Chosen One when he starts to feel bad and takes on some responsibility by helping the community, only to find that the Stonecutters don’t want balance and instead want to go back to getting drunk and doing nothing. And the way they get out of being Stonecutters, I won’t dare ruin for you here, but let’s just say it’s a perfect bookend to a perfect joke, and a clear sign of how stupid and immature the whole idea of privilege organizations can be. It’s another one of those that just has great joke after great joke, many of them ranging from very creative to just bizarre. Like, remember who makes up the Stonecutter high council? How the hell did they even come up with those people? Well, if you don’t know what I’m talking about, give it a watch and find out what you’ve been missing.
Stonecutter Members: (sings, finishing off their song) We do!
Number One (voiced by Patrick Stewart): Thank you.
(Interlude to the next entry)
#3[edit | edit source]
NC (voiceover): Number 3: “Lisa’s Wedding.” The Simpsons have done a lot of “What if?” future episodes, but by far, the funniest and probably the most heartfelt is “Lisa’s Wedding.” This is the first time you feel like this is what the Simpsons would really be doing several years down the line. Bart’s a construction worker, Lisa’s top of her class, and Maggie apparently is a blabbermouth gossip, and yet we still never hear her talk. That is freaking genius. But it’s more than just showing us their future selves; it’s following the story of Lisa meeting another student and falling in love. Once he proposes, the rest of the episode is the groom trying to fit in with the family, but hopelessly being disturbed and terrified by them. It’s a good episode because not only is it funny, but it also shows Lisa’s connection to her roots, and the fact that she can be annoyed by them but still not even flinch for a second about how much she loves them is really quite touching. On top of that, the groom is actually a pretty entertaining character, too. It would have been easy just to make him a generic jerk...and granted, they don’t make him the nicest guy...but they actually do give him a few funny lines and a few good scenes to work off of.
Moe Szyslak: Oho, an English boy, eh? You know, we saved your ass in World War II.
Hugh Parkfield (voiced by Mandy Patinkin): Yeah, well, we saved your ass in World War III.
Moe: (conciliatory) That’s true.
NC (voiceover): But, of course, we love seeing what happens to these people in the future. Mr. Burns, Krusty, Lenny, Carl, every reveal gets a big laugh. It’s also funny seeing our cute little innocent child characters suddenly get some more adult jokes.
Lisa: (to Bart at the wedding scene) Hugh didn’t have a bachelor party.
Bart: We had one in his honor. (Lisa looks glum) I had one in his honor. (Lisa continues to look glum, and he is abashed) I went to a strip club.
NC (voiceover): Throw on top of that a touching story with great character, and you have one of The Simpsons' finest.
(In the present day, the fortune teller (who has told the story of Lisa’s future) laughs maniacally and throws a smoke bomb; the smoke clears, and she's still sitting there; Lisa backs away slowly)
(Interlude to the next entry)
#2[edit | edit source]
NC (voiceover): Number 2—The Halloween Episodes.
NC: Yeah, yeah, I know it’s a cheat, but hey...
NC (voiceover): If I was to judge the Halloween episodes show by show, they take up half of the list. They’re that good. The Halloween episodes are a great excuse for the Simpsons to do whatever they want. (A brief clip from the Fountainhead parody in "Four Great Women and a Manicure" plays) You know, before they started doing whatever they want. (Back to the montage of clips of the Halloween episodes) They were dark, they were creative, they were satirical, they were gory, they were cute, they were poignant, they were stupid, they were all just tiny little masterpieces. Plus, who doesn’t look forward to those aliens every year?
(In a clip from the “Time and Punishment” segment, we see Kang and Kodos laughing evilly until they suddenly change into the likeness of Peabody and Sherman from the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon)
Kang: (in Sherman’s voice) What happened to us, Kodos?
Kodos: (in Mr. Peabody’s voice) Quiet, you.
NC (voiceover): Even with the last few Halloween episodes not being so great, you know you’re still gonna watch them. We know they’re worth looking at because even when you had to sit through the groaners, the bullseyes are still worth them. Even the worst Halloween episode has something to admire. They satirize everything from TV to movies to literature to urban legends. I suppose if I had to nitpick, I’d say the one downside is that the specials used to be tied together by something representing a narrative, like somebody telling a story or someone having a dream, something like that. I do miss those, but at the same time, I do acknowledge it would be very tricky every year to come up with new ways to tell these shorts, so I do understand. But when you get down to it, that’s not what we’re here for. We are in fact here for the shorts. Even at its poorest, there’s always something entertaining or creative, and the Halloween specials never disappoint on that front. Gothic, gross, and just going all out, the Halloween episodes are always a fave.
(In the “Bart Simpson’s Dracula” segment, the Simpsons family (and Grandpa Simpson) turn to the camera after they all hiss at Lisa, about to swoop down and attack her)
Entire Family: Happy Halloween, everybody! (They begin humming to the melody of “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” a la A Charlie Brown Christmas, complete with gentle snow falling down upon them)
NC: Now, before I get to Number 1, I want to point out that this is all opinion-based—
Audience Member (offscreen): We’re gonna hate it, aren’t we?
NC: Everyone has their own different take on things...
Audience Member (offscreen): It’s a real bad one, isn’t it?
NC: What you might like, I might not. What I may like, you may not—
Audience Member (offscreen): Hate it already!
NC: Just show it!
(Interlude to the next and final entry)
#1[edit | edit source]
NC (voiceover): And the Number 1 Simpsons episode is...”Bart Gets an F.” Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Wait a minute, the first episode of the second season? Isn’t that just the one where Bart keeps failing? I don’t remember that one being especially funny. Why is this one so special?” Well, there’s several reasons why I think this is the best episode. First off, it was the beginning of the new animation style. The Simpsons weren’t as rubbery or dead-eyed like in the first season. Now they seem much more flowing, controlled and alive, so that was a big deal. Second, this was a huge stepping stone in terms of writing. The Simpsons' identity was finally starting to evolve into that fast satirical type way of telling jokes. In the first season, it was pretty slow and clunky, but here, this is where that great Simpsons speed finally starts to take off. But even that’s not why I consider it the best episode. We’re used to seeing Bart get bad grades...yeah, whatever, he’s a troublemaker; it’s part of the territory...but in this episode, it finally starts to add up. They have a real talk with him, much like how real parents and real teachers talk to kids as well.
(Bart, Homer and Marge have a meeting with Mrs. Krabappel and Dr. J. Loren Pryor, the school’s psychiatrist)
Mrs. Krabappel: Bart has failed his last four exams in History. Is there anything you’re not telling us?
Bart: Okay, okay! Why are we dancing around the obvious? I know it, you know it. I am dumb, okay? Dumb as a post! Think I’m happy about it?
Marge: (consoles Bart) There, there, Bart.
Dr. J. Loren Pryor: As shameful and as emotionally crippling as it may be, I’m afraid my recommendation is for Bart Simpson to...repeat the fourth grade.
Bart: What? You can’t hold me back! I’ll do better, I promise!
(Mrs. Krabappel and Dr. Pryor mutter to each other)
Mrs. Krabappel: (is skeptical) Sure, that’ll be the day.
NC (voiceover): There’s suddenly something at risk, and something Bart values is now truly on the line. So, what, he buckles down, works hard and everything is fine, right? Actually, no. He finds he has trouble focusing, can’t remember any facts and is constantly distracted by the world around him. He doesn’t give up, though; he tries hard almost to the point of torturing himself, even prays to God for things to work out. But in the end, despite all his efforts, reality takes its toll.
(Mrs. Krabappel grades Bart’s exam before him after class)
Mrs. Krabappel: Well, Bart, it’s a 59. That’s another F. (She places the exam on his desk)
Bart: Oh, no. I can’t believe it.
NC (voiceover): And in my opinion, this is the saddest fucking thing I’ve ever seen in this show.
(Bart looks at his exam, then breaks into tears and starts crying)
Mrs. Krabappel: What’s the matter? Well, I would think you’d be used to failing by now.
Bart: (sobs) No, you don’t understand. I really tried this time. I really tried! This is as good as I can do, and I still failed!
NC (voiceover): I identify a lot with this episode. I wasn’t a very good student growing up either, and I can tell you, all the talks, all the pressure, all the fears of failure are properly represented here. In my opinion, this is the most dramatic episode they’ve ever put out. There’s no villain, there’s no one element to play, it’s just a tough slice of life. And it shows that you can still try your best and not necessarily succeed, which is a hard lesson for anyone to learn, so hard that they don’t even really teach it that much in TV or movies. It’s tough to deal with, and this episode doesn’t sugarcoat it. It shows just what an impact it has on him and how much it can really hurt. Now, true, there is still a happy ending, but to be fair, I think it kinda works. His hard work does have some payoff, and he uses what he learned to his advantage. But this is the first, and in my opinion, only time The Simpsons had a perfect mix of good comedy, good storytelling, and surprisingly good drama. I’ve never seen an episode that balanced all three of those so well. You get sucked into Bart’s dilemma, you feel bad for what he’s going through, and you want to see him come out okay. On top of that, there’s still some good laughs, a lot of heart, and a satisfactory resolution. Although I will say, if his big concern is not repeating the fourth grade, then how come in every single episode, HE’S STILL IN THE FOURTH GRADE?! I don’t know, but what I do know is that this is a truly unique episode, and in my opinion, the absolute best of them all. It’s touching, it’s funny, it started the style that we’re the most familiar with with The Simpsons, it’s just a gem.
(In a dream sequence of Bart imagining himself at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, all the delegates run about and leave the room all because of the excitement of snow outside, leaving Bart all alone)
Delegate: Hey, look, everybody! John Hancock’s writing his name in the snow!
NC: I’m the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it—
Elephant in the Room: Ahem. (NC looks off to see an animated elephant standing there with arms folded)
Elephant in the Room: Wasn’t there a game you played based on The Simpsons?
NC: No questions here. (He looks to the camera) I’m the Nostalgia Critic, I remember it so you don’t have to. (He gets up to leave)
(The arguing between NC and the Elephant goes on as the credits roll)
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Feel free to clean up and edit both Elephant in the Room’s and NC’s dialogue that overlap each other)
Elephant in the Room: (simultaneously) I’m only saying it’s worth bringing up. Because, you know, it had the “Simpsons” name on it, and you shouldn’t make a joke about it throughout the entire video. I don’t know, I just feel like it was such a HUGE disaster and a HUGE bomb, that yes, if you’re willing to hurt you, and it really does affect you. I mean, I’m not saying it does; I’m just taking a wild guess here, because the way you’re acting right now, it does sort of seem like a whiny little girl. I don’t know, in my opinion, you’re an ass.
NC (voiceover): (simultaneously) Oh, what? What? I mean, really think about it. There’s no connection to the game. Okay, sure, it was Simpsons. Yes, there was a Simpsons game, but that doesn’t mean it had anything to do with the show. Didn’t Matt Groening specifically make the game? Okay, I know he did some talented things that he enjoys, but that doesn’t mean that, you know, the Simpsons writers wrote it or anything like that. I mean, it’s not an episode. It’s a freakin’ video game. You know what? There’s a lot of Simpsons video games. Okay, okay, it wasn’t necessarily the worst. I could’ve picked one a lot worse, but, YOU KNOW WHAT? YOU’RE A GODDAMN ELEPHANT!
(NOTE: Runners Up: “Lisa on Ice,” “Blood Feud,” “Who Shot Mr. Burns,” “Rosebud” and “Mother Simpson”)
Channel Awesome Tagline—Homer: (sings) Mono…(realizes that the “Monorail” song is over) D’oh!