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.