Simpson Family Values
July 9, 2007 12:12 PM   Subscribe

Vanity Fair has an interesting write up on the history of the Simpsons. There are quotes from all sorts of people, including: Art Spiegelman, Jay Kogen, Rupert Murdoch, Conan O'Brien, etc.
posted by chunking express (71 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I was reading through their list of the 10 Best Episodes and getting ready to register my disgust throughout the world, and then I got to #1 and all was forgiven. That really is The Best Episode.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:20 PM on July 9, 2007

I thought they had a pretty good selection. It's really hard to pick a top ten though, there is a lot of great stuff in the first few seasons.
posted by chunking express at 12:27 PM on July 9, 2007

That was a really neat piece. Thanks for posting it. As for "the list", thankfully the Simpsons in its prime produced so many gems that one can argue over them forever. That being Homer at the Bat or Last Exit to Springfield or Homer Phobia?
posted by Sangermaine at 12:29 PM on July 9, 2007

If we're playing this game, I can't believe Lemon of Troy wasn't in the top 10.

Milhouse: Is this the untimely end of Milhouse?
Milhouse2: [pause] But Milhouse is my name!
Milhouse: But I thought I was the only one!
Milhouse2: [shakes head] A pain I know all too well.
Milhouse: So this is what it feels like...when doves cry.
posted by chunking express at 12:39 PM on July 9, 2007 [3 favorites]

Did I read that right? The actors only made $25,000 per episode until around 2000?

That is fucked up.
posted by tkchrist at 1:01 PM on July 9, 2007

I'm happy they put the "Krusty Gets Kancelled" episode in the top 10. That episode worked on many levels, but the best moment came when Krusty showed his "Itchy and Scratchy" replacement, "Worker and Parasite."
posted by NoMich at 1:01 PM on July 9, 2007

Batman's a scientist.
posted by quite unimportant at 1:09 PM on July 9, 2007

This was a wonderful article, thanks for posting it. I was all prepared to read a marketing puff piece, no one saying anything bad about anything for fear of risking the upcoming box office, but it's a very realistic and comprehensive coverage.

And that's about as solid a top ten as one could come up with (which doesn't actually say very much). I think it was a great selection of memorable, representative, and most of all funny episodes that are just about as hilarious today as they were when they were first aired.
posted by Riki tiki at 1:13 PM on July 9, 2007

A respectable list, to be sure, but for me the monorail episode will always be the ne plus ultra of half-hour animated comedy.

"I shouldn't have stopped to get that haircut."
posted by Rangeboy at 1:19 PM on July 9, 2007

Jay Kogen: We thought we were really writing these really funny, smart, special shows that were chock-full of jokes every few seconds. And then someone showed us this study Fox had done: the No. 1 reason why people liked The Simpsons was "all the pretty colors" and they liked it when Homer hit his head. We were writing the show for ourselves—we always made it funny for ourselves—but who knows why America likes it. Maybe they like the pretty colors and when Homer hits his head, but I hope it's for more.

Does anyone know what study he's talking about? It seems like there's a disconnect, because if that study were true then the show should have been increasing in popularity in recent years since the newer plots have tended towards the "Homer hurts himself and others doing stupid things" variety which is apparently what people want. Yet what actually happened is that the show has leveled out in terms of numbers, so perhaps people did love the show in its glory days for the intelligent humor and Mr. Kogen shouldn't be distraught.
posted by Sangermaine at 1:25 PM on July 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

tkchrist: Yes, you read that right. These people have had steady, entertaining jobs-- the sort of job that many of us would kill for-- for the better part of two decades, and for much of that span they only made several hundred thousand dollars a year.
posted by phooky at 1:29 PM on July 9, 2007 [8 favorites]

Maybe we can subvert the pre-Simpson's movie hype spam by featuring the "make your own simpson's avatar" here?
posted by Dave Faris at 1:34 PM on July 9, 2007

Rangeboy, I'm totally with you.

Mono means one, and rail means rail!
posted by ORthey at 1:47 PM on July 9, 2007

Phooky: FOX and The producer made hundreds of millions - if not billions - off that show.

$25,000 per episode for the caliber of talent on the Simpson's is insanely low. Those were top actors in the craft. Even for "voice" talent. They ARE the show. The deserved a much larger share of the profits than that.
posted by tkchrist at 1:55 PM on July 9, 2007

I wouldn't have expected it to be on the top ten list, but Lisa's Substitute was always one of my favorites.
posted by jiiota at 1:56 PM on July 9, 2007

Me too, Rangeboy.

"I call the big one bitey"
posted by malaprohibita at 2:07 PM on July 9, 2007

Any top ten list that doesn't include "Twenty dollars! I wanted a peanut" and "Mmmmm.... free goo" isn't worth the pixels it's displayed in.

However, Worker and Parasite is perhaps the most genius ten seconds EVAH.
posted by jokeefe at 2:07 PM on July 9, 2007

phooky: so compensation should be inversely proportional to the fun and satisfaction of your job, rather than proportional to your talent or how much money you're making for your employer?

You're going to make a lot of janitors very happy.

Also, using the word "steady" to describe their tenure is disingenuous, since it only looks that way in retrospect. I'm sure it didn't feel too steady when Fox started auditioning replacements rather than provide a drop in the bucket raise for the people that were making them a mint. And that aside, there was never any guarantee that the ratings wouldn't make an abrupt 180 and leave them all jobless in any given season.
posted by Riki tiki at 2:09 PM on July 9, 2007

It's a good list but Frank Grimes was the best episode. It's not even close really. The Frank Grimes episode was a masterpiece that perfectly captured the essential purpose of the show and raised serious questions about the American Dream (tm) while being funny enough to make me cry.

RIP Frank Grimes
posted by nixerman at 2:11 PM on July 9, 2007 [3 favorites]

It think picking ten episodes out of 400+ is a damn near impossible task, but I think that list is pretty good. Other than the #2 choice, which shouldn't have made the list at all, or at the most should have been #10.
posted by SassHat at 2:14 PM on July 9, 2007

Riki Tiki is right (BTW that is going to be the name of my next hit song).

Working in television is very unpredictable. Look at what the Reality TV trend has done to creative professionals. It has thrown thousands of good people out of work and left us with a death of mindless shit.

I'm sure Hank Azaria and the other actors in the Simpson's never knew what was coming down the pike. The show could be cancled tomorrow. Ratings are fickle. But they could see that after ten years it was clearly THEY, the creative talent, who made the show. And there was FOX guzzling mountains of cash.

I think after generating that kind of income for ten fucking years double or triple your salary - or points on merch, is more than fair.

The very fact that so many would DIE for the job is proof that people who HAVE the job should be paid. They have made it past the rabble and through all the filters and proved how much they are worth.
posted by tkchrist at 2:19 PM on July 9, 2007

It's "dirty CAT cap," not "DIRTY CAT cap." Or don't East Coast Intellectual Ivy League Liberals like Vanity Fair know the difference?

Wait, isn't Conan O'Brien an East Coast Intellectual Ivy League Liberal?
posted by Quonab at 2:21 PM on July 9, 2007

Sangermaine: I completely agree, but you left off what may be the best. episode. evar: Deep Space Homer. Our lives are all greatly improved by Kent Brockman's "And I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords." Not to mention Barney bouncing along the roof of a pillow factory, only to be run over by a marshmallow truck.
posted by mzanatta at 2:21 PM on July 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

Nice piece, but that list really needs King-Size Homer on it.
posted by dhammond at 2:24 PM on July 9, 2007

Lisa's First Word is my favorite. The ending makes my eyes tear.
posted by yeti at 2:29 PM on July 9, 2007

I just can't believe the Australia episode is in there, given that I tend to point to it as the first episode that hints at how supremely awful the show got after season 8. It's the start of the "WACKY ADVENTURES" episode style that were a loosely connected series of gags built around a wacky premise and without a single bit of emotional warmth or character.

Why do I hate that episode so much? Because it's the first time that The Simpsons stops being The Simpsons and starts being a sitcom.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:37 PM on July 9, 2007 [4 favorites]

And I can't believe that "Like Father, Like Clown" isn't on there. That scene at the end where Krusty finally reconciles with Rabbi Krustofsky? I tear up every damn time.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:39 PM on July 9, 2007 [2 favorites]

A Streetcar Named Marge.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 2:51 PM on July 9, 2007 [2 favorites]

Whaty, no El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer? I had several aneurysms in that show due to laughter from which I am unable to recover?

"Note to self......"
posted by lalochezia at 2:51 PM on July 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

What's nice about this list and accompanying thread is that I can now remember just how great the simpsons used to be. So that's nice.
posted by puke & cry at 2:56 PM on July 9, 2007

Does anyone know what study he's talking about?

No, but the fact that there is such a study and those were the results surprises me not. This is a nation where one of the most common complaints about newspapers is -- literally -- the fact that the ink often rubs off on your hands.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:57 PM on July 9, 2007

Lisa the Vegetarian is top 3 for me. Hard to pick a favorite.

"It's still good, it's still good!"
posted by Roach at 3:04 PM on July 9, 2007

I think any top 10 list should have included the entirety of Treehouse of Horror as an honorable mention.

Those episodes were often the highlight of the television watching year for me.

That said: Monorail, Cape Feare and Rosebud are my favorites, and they're good, solid pics for the top 10.

The rake gag from Cape Feare and the Burns tantrum from Rosebud were probably two of my favorite TV moments ever.
posted by empath at 3:26 PM on July 9, 2007

Best Simpsons Episode Ever?
posted by blue_beetle at 3:50 PM on July 9, 2007

You people citing "Lisa the Vegetarian" are smoking crack. I've been a vegetarian since the 80's, and I thought it was so preachy that it made me itch.

And it had a cameo by frigging LINDA MCCARTNEY, where she pushes her frozen vegetarian dinners and declares that any other brand is likely to be full of pork.

It's not the worst by any stretch, but top 10? Come on.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:51 PM on July 9, 2007

I think these ones people have mentioned represent an element of The Simpsons that's died off in recent seasons:
Like Father, Like Clown
Lisa's First Word
Lisa's Substitute
It's funny that people were complaining about The Simpsons being anti-values in the early days, because if you look at what was being made, with episodes like these, the earlier seasons had a lot of wonderful moments and lessons on parenting, growing up, relationships, etc. I think the show has actually fallen away from that and focused more on the stupidity and absurdity.

Finally: I think any top 10 list should have included the entirety of Treehouse of Horror as an honorable mention.

Those episodes were often the highlight of the television watching year for me.

Definitely. I'd say the best was IV, just for the 3D Homer, though the other two stories were good. But the best single segment has got to be Citizen Kang. It so perfectly captures how ridiculous modern politics has become.

Kent: Senator Dole, why should people vote for you instead of President
Kang: It makes no difference which one of us you vote for. Either way,
your planet is doomed. DOOMED!
Kent: Well, a refreshingly frank response there from senator Bob Dole.
posted by Sangermaine at 4:03 PM on July 9, 2007

You people citing "Lisa the Vegetarian" are smoking crack. I've been a vegetarian since the 80's, and I thought it was so preachy that it made me itch.

The episode as a whole may not be the best ever, but the educational film "Meat and You" was three minutes of sheer TV brilliance. Rarely outside of a Coen Brothers movie have I been able to watch the same sequence over and over and over while sober and, as the kids say, lmao.

I dare you to find me an episode that could inspire a similar tattoo this badass.
posted by Ufez Jones at 4:04 PM on July 9, 2007

Mayor Curley,

There were so many great lines in that episode, though.

"When I grow up, I'm going to Bovine University!"

"Here's another Whopper for the copper"

"You don't win friends with salad"

"If you play Revolution #9 backwards, you get a recipe for a really ripping lentil soup"

"Back in their maharishi days, I was known as the 5th Beatle"

"What if someone asks for a nonalcoholic beer? Funny, it's never come up."

"Sure Lisa, some beautiful MAGICAL animal"

Etc., etc., etc.
posted by Roach at 4:06 PM on July 9, 2007

But the best single segment has got to be Citizen Kang.

Yes, in the pantheon of Simpsons quotations, it's hard to beat, "Abortions for some, miniature American flags for the rest."
posted by Rangeboy at 4:09 PM on July 9, 2007

What about Mr. Plow? Or "E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt)" (The Tomacco Episode)? Argh so many favorites!
posted by Big_B at 4:13 PM on July 9, 2007

I still have a soft spot for Lisa the Iconoclast:

Homer: I have two questions for you. One, where's the fife? Two, gimme the fife

Homer: Less chat, more hat!

Homer: You su-diddely-uck, Flanders!….Hear ye, hear ye! Ye olde town crier proclaimed crappy by all! Chooseth Homer Simpson, and he shalt rock thy world!
Wiggum: Good God, he is fabulous.
Skinner: Yes, he's embiggened that role with his cromulent performance.

Lisa: How about town crier? You'd be great at that.
Homer: You think so?
Bart: Well, yeah, Dad, you're a big fat loudmouth and you can walk when you have to
posted by slapshot57 at 4:15 PM on July 9, 2007

Regarding the voice actor's share of the cake:

In the summer of 2005 the voice actors for the Simpsons in Mexico, who not only dub, but sometimes rewrite and improvise, were replaced without warning. One day they woke up jobless, the dubbing company not answering their phone calls, and Fox denying any responsibility (Fox sells the series to Mexican networks in a package including the dubbing).

The had been doing the voices since season one, and their work was exported to some 40 countries, watched by 250 million people.

The reason? Rumors started that, taking advantage of the popularity of the series, they would strike if their salaries were not doubled for the next season.

Their salaries? $20 to $50 US per episode.

How's that for fairness?
posted by Dataphage at 4:28 PM on July 9, 2007 [2 favorites]

There were so many great lines in that episode, though.

I can't argue that it's without its moments. I even think "diagnosis: delicious" to myself sometimes when I taste something I like. It even made me revisit the implications of loving animals but eating meat that led me to become a vegetarian. And perhaps I was turned off on a personal level when I saw the obnoxious zealotry of my childhood conversion so accurately depicted in Lisa's character. Regardless of whether it bites too close to the bone for me, there's a lot of funny material in it, but it's sanctimonious as a whole.

And even if it worked as whole better than it did, Linda McCartney's crass pitch would be black mark enough to taint it.

"[I don't trust my competitor's products because] you'd be surprised how often you find a big hunk of pork in them."

Aren't you supposed to pay to promote your products on TV in a distinct advertisement? And then get sued for defamation if you say something that broadly damaging about your competitors?

And am I really to believe that one of the richest families in Britain is nuking frozen dinners? Why didn't she complain about the quality of white ciders and pot noodles, too?
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:29 PM on July 9, 2007

I recall the March 2000 article in the New Yorker about Simpsons writer George Meyer: "Taking Humor Seriously - George Meyer, the funniest man behind the funniest show on TV."
posted by ericb at 4:37 PM on July 9, 2007

April 16, 2004: 'The Simpsons' Voice Actors Demand Higher Pay.
posted by ericb at 4:40 PM on July 9, 2007

May 01, 2004: Actors on 'The Simpsons' Drop Profit-Share Demand:
"Efforts by the actors on ‘The Simpsons’ to win new contracts granting them a percentage of the profits on the show, one of the most lucrative in television history, have ended after Fox threatened to shut down production, according to a person close to the negotiations.

On Friday night Fox announced that a deal had been reached with the representatives of the actors after weeks of negotiations. ‘We couldn't be happier to have reached a multi-year deal with the enormously talented cast of `The Simpsons,' ‘ a Fox spokesman said. The official, who asked that his name not be published, declined to discuss the details of the agreement, but associates of the actors said that the cast's major effort to gain a percentage of the profits had failed.

Fox officials said on Friday that despite the delay in filming new episodes of ‘The Simpsons’ for the new season, that there would be ‘a full season of episodes next year.’

The actors' demand was the first time in television that voice performers sought to be accorded the same financial terms as actors on hit sitcoms like ‘Friends’ and ‘Frasier.’ The actors said Fox had earned upward of $2.5 billion from the series since its debut in 1989.

The actors also asked for a near tripling of their salaries to $8 million a season. Fox said that the actors' revenue figures were extravagant and that their contract demands did not take into account the high costs of maintaining an animated show that employs numerous animators, writers and producers.

Matt L. Groening, who invented ‘The Simpsons,’ and James L. Brooks, who helped turn the show into a half-hour series and is still an executive producer, have earned at least $150 million, perhaps much more, according to people with knowledge of the show's financial arrangements.

In recent days, people close to the negotiations said, several of the actors had grown concerned about the possibility that the show would be canceled — as Fox was threatening — if the impasse was not resolved.

‘The Simpsons’ itself is remarkably resilient. It remains Fox's No. 1 Sunday series and ranks No. 1 in its time slot for adult viewers 18 to 49 years old, the demographic most coveted by advertisers....’’
posted by ericb at 4:44 PM on July 9, 2007

And ... BTW ... the history of their compensation (as of April 2004 and before they reached agreement with FOX):
"Aside from [Yeardley] Smith [Lisa] and [Hank] Azaria [Moe, Apu, others], the actors in negotiations are Dan Castellaneta (Homer), Julie Kavner (Marge), Nancy Cartwright (Bart) and Harry Shearer (Mr. Burns and others). They were initially paid $3,000 an episode, their representatives say, and now earn about $125,000 an episode. The actors are seeking $360,000 an episode, as well as a percentage of the show's profits." *
posted by ericb at 4:48 PM on July 9, 2007

And...after the agreement (reported on May 03, 2004):

'The Simpsons' Actors Get Huge Pay Rise
The actors who voice Homer and Bart on The Simpsons are delighted with a huge pay rise which see them earning millions of dollars for their work on the hit animation show. Dan Castellaneta and Nancy Cartwright - who voice Homer and Bart respectively - are thrilled with their new contract following their battle with TV bosses at 20th Century Fox Television for a pay rise to $8 million each for the 22-episode 2004-05 season. The series producer explains, 'We couldn't be happier to have reached a multi- year deal with the enormously talented cast of The Simpsons.' The loss of even a few episodes of the animated hit show - a bulwark of Fox TV's schedule - would be financially painful for the network. The actors were earning $125,000 an episode before their contract dispute."
So, $8 million each for 22 episodes comes out to '$363,636 and change' per episode. Not bad work, if 'ya can get it!
posted by ericb at 4:52 PM on July 9, 2007

"[I don't trust my competitor's products because] you'd be surprised how often you find a big hunk of pork in them."

I think that was ... a joke.
posted by me & my monkey at 5:05 PM on July 9, 2007

And let us not forget when ‘The Simpsons’ ('Blame It on Lisa') caused a diplomatic incident with Brazil and President Fernando Henrique Cardoso. Producer James L. Brooks apologized (kinda):
‘‘We apologize to the lovely city and people of Rio de Janeiro. If that doesn’t settle the issue, Homer Simpson offers to take on the President of Brazil on Fox Celebrity Boxing.’’
And then the writing staff had fun in future episodes:
‘‘Rio tourism board president Jose Eduardo Guinle proceeded with exploring legal action, but eventually got over it. The show’s writers, however, did not. After board spokesman Sergio Cavalcanti told Reuters that Guinle was most offended by ‘the idea of the monkeys, the image that Rio de Janeiro was a jungle’, the writers made a running gag of it. In addition to Homer’s reference to ‘the monkey problem getting worse’ in Rio in ‘The Regina Monologues’, Krusty the Klown also reveals in ‘Mr Spritz Goes to Washington’ that immigration officials are constantly hounding him because his monkey sidekick, Mr. Teeny, is from Brazil, adding, ‘His uncle was the Head Monkey on the Bureau of Tourism.’’’*
posted by ericb at 5:15 PM on July 9, 2007

Ooh ... no offense about the "monkey quotes," me & my monkey. You a'int Brazilian, are you?
posted by ericb at 5:16 PM on July 9, 2007

Man, that article about George Meyer was great. An article helped by the fact it was written by a friend.

I don't know which episode is my favorite, and I think that there are still top-notch episodes being made, but the one that I find myself thinking about the most often, and which to a degree exemplifies everything I love about the show, it's Lisa the Greek (the one where Lisa always picks the winner in football matches).
posted by Kattullus at 5:38 PM on July 9, 2007

For me, one of the most naggingly irksome things about The Simpsons these days is how flashback episodes are both far more infrequent and far less chronologically specific. It used to be that Homer and Marge (Well, Marge, technically) graduated the same year as my parents, but now they fudge the dates, or are intentionally vague and lamely acknowledge it with winking references to the internet.

If Bart can be 10 for 18 years, why can't it permanently be 1991?*
[/Fussy fanboy weirdness]

*Yeah, I can understand why they do it, I just think the older flashback episodes were far funnier for their cultural/historical accuracy.
And there aren't enough Kubrick references anymore.
And how come I can't get no Tang 'round here?
Interesting read, btw. Thanks, chunking express!

posted by Alvy Ampersand at 5:48 PM on July 9, 2007

I think that was ... a joke.

I'm pretty sure it wasn't-- jokes are funny.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:36 PM on July 9, 2007

I think if everybody who works on the Simpsons had their salaries doubled, there would still be tons of money left over.

I have many favorites, but the first episode Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire is one I have a need to see every other year or so.

It was all so rough and new.
posted by rougy at 6:37 PM on July 9, 2007

From the article:
Rupert Murdoch, C.E.O., News Corp.: I was at a program meeting with Barry Diller and the people at Fox Network, and afterwards Barry said, "Come into my room, I want to show you something." And he had a tape there, of about 20 minutes in length, of all the little 30-second bits that had been through The Tracey Ullman Show. And he played it, and I just thought it was hilarious. I said, "You've gotta buy this tonight." He said, "No. It's more complicated than that." So we went forward from there.

And to think, that stodgy old Dow Jones family is looking for a white knight.
posted by Slap Factory at 7:14 PM on July 9, 2007

lalochezia writes "Whaty, no El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer?"

Yeah, that one was great. They could take out Cape Feare and The President Wore Pearls, and replace them with El Viaje and Deep Space Homer. The 2001 references were beautifully done - the whole thing was hilarious. Kent Brockman says, "And I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords. I'd like to remind them that as a trusted TV personality, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves." That was the first time anyone used the meme, 'I, for one, welcome our new [X] overlords.'
posted by krinklyfig at 7:20 PM on July 9, 2007

I like that one where Ralph Wiggum wants to be a Viking.
posted by Tube at 7:47 PM on July 9, 2007 [2 favorites]

No, no, NO, no, NO, no, No!



posted by Kattullus at 8:19 PM on July 9, 2007 [2 favorites]

Flaming Moe's, Mr. Plow, Marge vs. The Monorail, Last Exit to Springfield ("Lisa needs braces! Dental plan... Lisa needs braces! Dental plan..."), Cape Feare, Homer Goes to College, Rosebud, $pringfield, Homer and Apu (Best. Musical number. Ever.), Deep Space Homer, Sideshow Bob Roberts, Lisa on Ice, Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy, Homer the Great, Homie the Clown, A Star is Burns (if only for the line "I was saying Boo-urns."), Bart Sells his Soul, King-Size Homer, Marge Be Not Proud, Lisa the Iconoclast, You Only Move Twice, The Homer They Fall, My Sister My Sitter, Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie...
posted by papakwanz at 9:08 PM on July 9, 2007

I'm pretty sure it wasn't-- jokes are funny.

You're right. Linda McCartney, reading a script written for her by David S. Cohen, was obviously literally claiming that all other frozen vegetarian entrees have big hunks of pork in them, rather than the much more likely possibility that it was a joke you didn't get.
posted by aaronetc at 9:21 PM on July 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

Am I the only one who really liked You Only Move Twice? The sheer number of fantastic throwaway gags was astounding.
posted by Sphinx at 1:11 AM on July 10, 2007

cor! that Vanity Fair's fucking good. Great article on the Simpsons and great article on Sly Stone
posted by criticalbill at 2:55 AM on July 10, 2007

"Looks like we're having an Imagination Christmas this year!" is hands-down the single funniest line I've ever heard spoken on television. My family still quotes it monthly when discussing who can and can't make family get-togethers, etc.

My favorite overall episode is a tie between the Bart/Milhouse/Nelson/Martin roadtrip:

"Homer, are you laughing at me?"
"He's very quiet and likes puzzles."
"Yablo Canyon One, why can't you be like Yablo Canyon Two?"
"No! Then he'll know I told!"
"But on the plus side, I knocked down the Sun Sphere!"

and the "Kid's News" episode, if only for the sheer, utter brilliance of the passing train/cat lady combo.

And yes, I remember when Bart was older than me.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:53 AM on July 10, 2007

posted by OmieWise at 8:10 AM on July 10, 2007

I think that's "Diablo Canyon," actually.

I was actually thinking about "I didn't think he was going to do Moon River, and then BAM! second encore" this morning and cracking myself up. Awesome.
posted by myeviltwin at 8:24 AM on July 10, 2007

Thirding El Viaje.
posted by thejoshu at 9:13 AM on July 10, 2007

posted by xjudson at 10:07 AM on July 10, 2007

Quite telling that their top ten list includes only one episode more recent than 10 years ago.

Personally, just for sheer anarchic random weirdness, my favorite episode will always be "I Am Furious Yellow."
posted by blucevalo at 11:21 AM on July 10, 2007

Am I the only one who really liked You Only Move Twice? The sheer number of fantastic throwaway gags was astounding.

NO! That episode kills me every time.

And every time I see it aired I'm annoyed that they took out the "Would you like some cream?" "Um, er, uh, no" bit after Hank gives Homer sugar directly out of his pockets and apologizes for the lack of packets.

Sheer brilliant WTFery. I don't know if it's a reference to anything, and I don't care.
posted by flaterik at 11:54 AM on July 10, 2007

I know it's late, but I finally found the title of my vote for best episode: Trilogy of Error. (You know, the one from three different points of view, with Linguo the robot, Lisa's "Run Lola Run" experience, and Homer losing his thumb!)
posted by Zephyrial at 8:32 AM on July 11, 2007

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