In celebration of Every Simpsons Ever, now available on FXX on demand with Sling Blue, we’ve chosen our favorite Simpsons episode from each of the past 27 (!!!) seasons. Taking an exhaustive look back at the series thus far, it is easy to see why it remains one of the longest-running, beloved and quotable pieces of pop culture. Perhaps South Park summed it up best when one of the boys hatches multiple schemes only to be repeatedly told that The Simpsons already did it.
So now we cordially invite you to head to the Kwik-E-Mart, grab a cold Duff beer (Buzz Cola for the kids) and your favorite flavored donut and enjoy your time in Springfield.
Season 1, episode 1, “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire”
Admittedly, revisiting the first season–between the primitive animation and Homer’s Walter Matthau voice — can be trying at times. Alas, the pilot that laid the foundation for 600+ episodes must have done something right. Our first, full 30 minute adventure with the Family Simpson provides Santa’s Little Helper’s origin story and solidly fleshes out the characters we know and love today. See: Marge’s friends and family letter, Lisa’s speech to Aunt Patty regarding belittling Homer, “I’m Bart Simpson, who the hell are you?”
Season 2, episode 9, “Itchy & Scratchy & Marge”
Marge wages a campaign against cartoon violence after Maggie injures Homer while mimicking Itchy & Scratchy. The show eventually retools to a sappy interspecies lovefest under Marge’s guideance and ratings tank instantly as the children of Springfield collectively turn off their TVs (something the staff here at Sling TV does NOT endorse). The subsequent years after this episode debuted saw similar uproars against edgy cartoons like Beavis & Butthead, South Park, Family Guy and even a little show called The Simpsons.
Season 3, episode 10, “Flaming Moe’s”
Season 3: where selecting a single favorite episode of an entire season gets tricky. “Flaming Moe,” the tale of Moe the bartender stealing Homer’s novel/repulsive cocktail recipe, has rightly earned its place in the pantheon of Simpsons episodes. Deep cut: the spot-on 90’s trash TV opening credits of Eye on Springfield are worthy of a local Emmy or Cable ACE nom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VkuizuorGQ. “There’s a party in my mouth and everyone’s invited,” indeed.
Season 4, episode 9, “Mr. Plow”
Homer’s brief career as snow plow operator Mr. Plow and his self-produced company commercial speak for themselves in perhaps one of the greatest episodes of all time. This is no small feat for Season 4, which overflows with iconic tales of shoddy monorail building/catchy musical numbers (S4E12, “Marge vs. the Monorail”), Bart and Homer finding respective solace in a proxy father and son (S4E14, “Brother from the Same Planet”), Lisa’s immortal “I Choo-Choo-Choose You” Valentine to Ralph Wiggum (S4E15, “I Love Lisa”), Bart and Lisa writing for Itchy & Scratchy via Grampa (S4E19, “The Front”) and snake abuse to the tones of Barry White (S4E20, “Whacking Day”)
Season 5, episode 2, “Cape Feare”
This Cape Fear parody sees the Simpsons go into witness relocation after Sideshow Bob is released from jail and culminates in a musical number that is nothing short of a masterpiece. Family Guy take note: the Bob stepping on rakes scene is the way to do an extended gag.
Season 6, episode 18, “A Star is Burns”
Springfield holds a film festival in hopes of boosting popularity. Hans Moleman is the episode’s MVP with his America’s Funniest Home Videos tribute submission, Man Getting Hit By Football, and uttering one of the best Simpson’s quotes ever: “I was saying Boo-urns” in response to Mr. Burns’ questioning if the crowd booed his submission. Honorable Season 6 mentions: the solution to detention overcrowding presented in “Treehouse of Horror V” (S6E5), Meryl Streep’s bad girl turn in “Bart’s Girlfriend” (S6E7), Homer’s secret society of “Homer the Great” (S6E12) and Springfield’s prepration for the end of the world in”Bart’s Comet” (S6E14).
Season 7, episode 7, “King Size Homer”
Ladies and gentlemen, you must know that selecting a favorite Season 7 episode has been the “Sophiest” of choices as they are all winners. Fear not, the Sling Blog has higher standards than your local little league; everyone will not be getting a trophy, not on our watch. Seriously though, this season is so spectacular we wouldn’t begrudge you if you stopped reading this and started watching. For those still with us: “King Size Homer” sees Homer hit 300lbs in order to be declared disabled so he can work from home. Mr. Burns’ ancient calisthenics, Dr. Nick’s weight gaining advice, Homer operating a computer and Homer’s muumuu are all worth the price of admission.
Season 8, episode 2, “You Only Move Twice”
Homer accepts a cushy job at the Globex Corporation which requires the family to move to swanky company town Cypress Creek. Unbeknownst to Homer, his new boss with what has to be one of the greatest names invented, Hank Scorpio, is a Bond-level diabolical supervillain. Can any town with a hammock district really be that bad, though?
Season 9, episode 7, “The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons”
In a refreshingly Apu-centric episode, the Kwik-E-Mart manager’s swingin’ bachelordom comes to an end as his mother arrives from India to plan his arranged marriage.
Season 10, episode 1, “Lard of the Dance”
Homer and Bart start a father and son grease collecting business and encounter some stiff competition proving grease collecting is apparently a profession and a lucrative one at that. Meanwhile, Lisa encounters a too-cool-for-school mean girl classmate voiced by Lisa Kudrow.
Season 11, episode 22, “Behind the Laughter”
This delightfully meta episode explores the meteoric real-life (?) rise and fall of the Simpsons playing “the Simpsons” on The Simpsons in the style of VH1’s Behind the Music, narrator, opening credits and all. Too bad they weren’t able to heed the warning of the voice over: “For America’s favorite family, everything was coming up roses. But those roses contained ready-to-sting bees.”
Season 12, episode 9, “HOMR”
Medical tests reveal a sky blue crayon to the brain was to blame for Homer’s dullness (it got stuck up there after he stuck it up his nose and sneezed, naturally). Although his IQ skyrockets after having the crayon removed, Homer finds he was happier before and does the only logical thing: puts the crayon back where it belongs.
Season 13, episode 20, “Little Girl in the Big Ten”
In two dueling impossible storylines, Lisa pretends to be a student at the local college and Bart is confined to a plastic bubble after contracting the “panda virus.” Funny bits: “I took an oath, and by Xena [Warrior Princess], Lisa’s failing gym” -Lisa’s gym teacher; Grampa’s talking Liberace action figure prize, ball puns
Season 14, episode 3, “Bart vs. Lisa vs. the Third Grade”
Bart and Lisa find themselves in the same class at school after Bart is demoted a grade and Lisa is skipped one, but their roles are reversed. Bart’s downfall? He fails a major test because he was too busy watching the family’s new satellite TV service. Before we assign blame, let’s review some of the quality programming that occupied his time: the behind-the-scenes NBC News feed revealing Tom Brokaw’s eating disorder, the English language Japanese adaptation of Friends and The Clock Channel. Editor’s note: Sling TV is working on acquiring these channels [Actual editor’s note: no we are not].
Season 15, episode 12, “Milhouse Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”
Milhouse moves to Capitol City and becomes a tracksuit and gold chain wearing, bleached hair having, geniune cool kid. With his best friend no longer by his side, Bart cozies up to Lisa. Be on the lookout for the class trip to the Museum of Television & TV.
Season 16, episode 15, “Future-Drama”
A cute glimpse into the future as Bart and Lisa (with date Milhouse) attend their senior prom, complete with another glimpse into the future of Lisa and Milhouse’s miserable life together. Don’t worry, everyone goes back in time to the current day, which is now 12 years in the past or 4 years after the future traveled to… this suddenly got very confusing.
Season 17, episode 5, “Marge’s Son Poisoning”
Marge and Bart bond after finding a special cafe while on a tandem bike ride. All good things must come to an end, sadly, as the establishment is closed for health code violations (ewww), Bart lashes out at Marge after being labeled a mamas boy (awww) and Marge envisions a Skinner-like future for her son if they continue to spend as much time together (ickkk)
Season 18, episode 14, “Yokel Chords”
A musical episode heavily featuring Cletus’ children. Enough said.
Season 19, episode 14, “Dial ‘N’ for Nerder”
In an odd turn of events, Bart and Lisa are led to believe their prank killed Bart’s classmate, Martin Prince, and subsequently try to cover up their involvement. It feels all sorts of wrong to list an episode in which a 10 year old dies at the hands of other children as a favorite. Fear not! Turns out Martin isn’t dead after all, but Bart and Lisa’s reaction was pretty disturbing… but hey, in the B-story, hilarity ensues when Marge believes Homer is cheating on his diet so she hires a TV crew to follow him around. Sweet relief!
Season 20, episode 21, “Coming to Homerica”
Some high ranking government officials might learn a thing of two watching this episode and the fallout when Springfield builds a wall along the border with neighboring town Ogdenville.
Season 21, episode 18, “Chief of Hearts”
Homer and Chief Wiggum become fast friends after bonding when Homer serves court-ordered community service. It’s just a shame this natural bromance took 21 seasons to get off the ground. In other news, Marge thinks Bart is on drugs, but it is something far more nefarious: a Pokemon-style card game. Hopefully she doesn’t blame herself.
Season 22, episode 12, “Homer the Father”
Homer becomes a fan of a cheesy 80’s sitcom and begins using it as a model for parenting his children. Of course, this backfires when it leads Bart to sell nuclear secrets! But, it’s in exchange for a dirt bike so it’s OK, right?
Season 23, episode 17, “Them, Robot”
Homer takes a dramatic stand against worker automation and vows to bring jobs back to Springfield after Mr. Burns replaces the staff with advanced robots. Upon further review, it was less of a stance on industrial labor and more Homer goofing off and tinkering with the robots to make them more fun.
Season 24, episode 13, “Hardly Kirk-ing”
Turns out bald Millhouse is a dead ringer for his father, Kirk, so Bart and Millhouse enjoy the fruits of fake adulthood (like voting!). Any reason to give Kirk Van Houten more screentime is very welcome.
Season 25, episode 10, “Married to the Blob”
Comic Book Guy gets married! Worst wedding ever.
Season 26, episode 6, “Simpsorama”
The Futurama crew crosses-over from the year 3000 to the Simpsons’ world in this satisfying mix of two great tastes that taste great together. This is a very fun episode to watch for fans of both or either show, particularly Homer and robot Bender’s friendship.
Season 27, episode 17, “The Burns Cage”
27 seasons in the making, a near fatal incident prompts Smithers to come out of the closet and reveal his love to Mr. Burns, who rebuffs him. Homer and team host a singles’ party, featuring a cameo by the phenomenal George Takei, in an effort to set Smithers up. The episode ends on a satisfying note as Smithers returns to Mr. Burns, who tells him he is “excellent” in a nice moment between the two.
Every episode of The Simpsons seasons 1-27 is available on-demand on FXX; season 28 (still in progress) is available on-demand on FOX.