Ahh Lisa. If not my favourite character, then the one I relate to the most. She’s the main focal point for some of my favourite episodes of The Simpsons, including my very favourite. This is because the show always treats her efforts, passions and insecurities seriously, even if they start to bore or annoy other characters in her family and in Springfield at large. She’s also the focal point for many of my least favourite episodes because her earnestness can sometimes start to bore the audience as much as it does those around her. Continue reading →
This wasn’t the easiest list to make, but limiting myself to the better, earlier seasons does mean that I have less to choose from and therefore less crap to wade through. The primary common denominator amongst these 20 is that the stories they tell feel rote or boring. I can handle stupid but funny, wacky but fun, but certain characters and situations are simply comedic deadweight.
Just like my ‘best of classic era‘ list, I’m defining the classic era as seasons 3-8. There’s no real consensus but that’s where I choose to draw the line. I’m not including clip shows for obvious reasons – they’re just the worst (despite my fondness for ‘The 138th Episode Spectacular’)
As I mentioned in my previous Top Simpsons Episode List (up to season 8), I am a lot kinder to the Mike Scully (9-12) and Al Jean (13+) seasons of The Simpsons than many others because I grew up with these episodes. Sure they were muddled in with the re-runs of classic era episodes, but at the time I couldn’t see much of a differentiation, funny was funny and The Simpsons continued to make me laugh, with season 9 and onwards providing me many hours of enjoyment. Having said that, it’s easy to now see a differentiation in the quality and tone of the show. The laughs were still there, but they came from a sillier place. The show became broader, cruder and targeted towards a younger audience. The satire was blunted in favour of Stupid Homer, or worse, Jerkass Homer as he came to be not-so-affectionately titled.
Full Disclosure: I still have, to this day, 40+ VHS tapes of The Simpsons episodes that I taped off the TV (that’s right, I’m bad) as a young lad. I have all the DVDs up until season 11 where the horrible packaging made it impossible to remove the discs. Most embarrassingly, I have an entire folder full of sheets (almost 100 in total) which perfectly document which episodes are on which tapes (and a brief description), whether or not the episode exists in its entirety or was only half taped, and a grade out of 10 for each. So this list is in honour of that boy who had (and clearly still has) way too much time on his hands.