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The Best Simpsons Epi-ma-sodes

This is a hard thing to do, ranking Simpsons episodes. Sure, it hasn't been brilliant for a long time, but it had an amazing run of incredible, never-grow-old, always-funny episodes. Years worth. And while some just have some of the best bits EVER, others are just a cohesive blend of perfect timing and perfect writing. Picking just 10 or 20 for a list of the best Simpsons episodes ever is impossible. So I picked my favorites, the ones I couldn't in good conscience cull out. I ended up with 85. Putting them in order was difficult, and I guarantee I will move some up and other down, but overall, these 85 eps are television comedy gold. Warning: Fox may have any or all of these clips removed from YouTube at any time.

The Best Simpsons Epi-ma-sodes TV Episodes
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  1. 1

    "Have the Rolling Stones Killed."

    It's almost impossible to pick the best Simpsons Episode, but this one is easily in the top 5, and I put it at the top because that's just the kind of day it is. Of course, this is a Swartzwelder ep, probably all these in the top 10 or even 20 are.

    Smithers: I have some sad news to report. A small puppy, not unlike Lassie, was just run over in the parking lot.
    (Audience gasps)
    Smithers: And now it's time for the comedy stylings of Homer Simpson!
    Homer: Are you ready to laugh?

    Mr. Burns pines away for Bobo, his beloved childhood teddy bear and symbol of lost innocence. When the bear turns up in Maggie's possession, the resulting tug of war affects the whole town. more on Wikipedia
  2. 2

    Lisa Needs Braces - DENTAL PLAN

    So much awesomeness. This is possibly a perfect episode in terms of structure. But down to the details, every single one is gold. The Grinch parody with Mr. Burns, Lisa's protest guitarin', the Smartline bits, the dentists office...

    This ep was also the source of Grandpa's awesome Union buster speech to mr Burns:

    "We can't bust heads like we used to, but we have our ways. One trick is to tell 'em stories that don't go anywhere - like the time I caught the ferry over to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for my shoe, so, I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on 'em. Give me five bees for a quarter, you'd say.

    Now where were we? Oh yeah: the important thing was I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn't have white onions because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones..."

    Boy: You can't treat the working man this way. One day we'll form a union and get the fair and equittable treatment we deserve. Then we'll go too far, and get corrupt and shiftless and the Japanese will eat us alive!
    Mr. Burns' Grandfather: The Japanese!? Those sandal-wearing goldfish tenders? Bosh! Flimshaw!
    (Years Later)
    Mr. Burns: If only we'd listened to that boy, instead of walling him up in the abandoned coke oven.

    Lisa: Do you really think you can get our dental plan back, dad?
    Homer: Well, that depends on who's the better negotiator, Mr. Burns or me...
    Bart: Dad, I'll trade you this delicious doorstop for your crummy old Danish.
    Homer: Done and done!

    Mr. Burns: Simpson, eh? New man?
    Smithers: He thwarted your campaign for governor, you ran over his son, he saved the plant from meltdown, his wife painted you in the nude...
    Mr. Burns: Doesn't ring a bell.

    Dr. Wolfe: How often do you brush, Ralph.
    Ralph: Three times a day, sir.
    Dr. Wolfe: Why must you turn my office into a house of lies?

    Homer negotiates his union's contract with Mr. Burns, mindful that he needs a dental plan for Lisa's new braces. Burns mistakes Homer's utter ineptitude for strategy and concedes, on the condition that Homer resign as union president. more on Wikipedia
  3. 3

    I wanted to put this one at #1, but couldn't deny the awesome of Rosebud. Still, the Planet of the Apes musical still makes me laugh myself to death.

    Lisa: Dad, what's a Muppet?
    Homer: Well, it's not quite a mop, and it's not quite a puppet, but man… (laughs) So to answer your question: I don't know.

    Parker: Ever hear of Planet of the Apes?
    Troy: Uh, the movie or the planet?
    Parker: The brand-new multimillion dollar musical. And you are starring… as the human.
    Troy: It's the part I was born to play, baby!

    Washed up and plagued by scandal, Troy McClure sees a marriage to Selma as his ticket back to success. more on Wikipedia
  4. 4

    The visual gag of homer obsessed with Clown College and seeing everything around him as bobbing clowns is one that has stayed with me forever and ever.

    "Aw, being a clown sucks! You get kicked by kids, bit by dogs, and admired by the elderly. Who am I clowning? I have no business being a clown! I'm leaving the clowning business to all the other clowns in the clowning business! "

    Krusty's Accountant: So let me get this straight - you took all the money you made franchising your name and bet it AGAINST the Harlem Globetrotters?
    Krusty the Clown: But I thought the Generals were due.
    [watches the game on TV]
    Krusty the Clown: He's spinning the ball on his finger. Just take it. That game is fixed!

    Krusty the Clown's reckless spending forces him to open a clown college to keep afloat. New graduate Homer discovers the perks and perils of being Krusty. more on Wikipedia
  5. 5

    First of all. The sandwich. Maybe if not for the sandwich, I wouldn't have put this one so high. But ... sandwich, I could never stay mad at you.

    Homer (to sandwich): Another foot and it'll fit in the fridge!

    Homer: Marge, I'd like to be alone with the sandwich for a moment.
    Marge: Are you going to eat it?
    Homer: (short silence) ...Yes.

    Also. Duff Gardens. Nuff said.

    After seeing Aunt Gladys die alone, Aunt Selma wants to get married and have a baby... until she spends a day babysitting Bart and Lisa at Duff Gardens. more on Wikipedia
  6. 6

    Albert Brooks is Scorpio. This is easily my favorite of his many Simpsons roles. So. So. Funny.

    I quote almost everything Hank Scoprio said... constantly, and every time I see it, I still laugh.

    Hank Scorpio: Uh, hi, Homer. What can I do for you?
    Homer: Sir, I need to know where I can get some business hammocks.
    Hank Scorpio: Hammocks? My goodness, what an idea. Why didn't I think of that? Hammocks! Homer, there's four places. There's the Hammock Hut, that's on third.
    Homer: Uh-huh.
    Hank Scorpio: There's Hammocks-R-Us, that's on third too. You got Put-Your-Butt-There.
    Homer: Mm-Hmm.
    Hank Scorpio: That's on third. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot... Matter of fact, they're all in the same complex; it's the hammock complex on third.
    Homer: Oh, the hammock district!
    Hank Scorpio: That's right.

    Hank Scorpio:What happened?... When did that happen?... How much of it?... Oh my goodness, I'll be right up!
    [Hangs up the phone]
    Hank Scorpio: Homer, I've gotta go, there's a problem upstairs! Somebody ate part of my lunch!

    "You Only Move Twice" is the second episode of The Simpsons' eighth season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 3, 1996. The episode, based on a story idea by Greg Daniels, has three major concepts: the family moves to a new town; Homer gets a friendly, sympathetic boss; ... more on Wikipedia
  7. 7

    Like so many of these great, great episodes, you have to see them in action to appreicate the nuance of the timing and the character animation. Watching Homer walk as a fat man is honestly brilliant. The scene where he's sitting on his couch in his mummu waving his "reaching broom" at the kids who are staring at him through the window is pure awesome.

    Woman on Phone: The fingers you have used to dial are too fat. To obtain a special dialing wand, please mash the keypad with your palm now.

    Dr. Nick: Instead of making sandwiches with bread, use pop tarts. Instead of chewing gum, chew bacon.
    Bart: You could brush your teeth with milkshakes.
    Dr. Nick: Hey, did you go to Hollywood Upstairs Medical College too?

    "King-Size Homer" is the seventh episode of The Simpsons' seventh season. It originally aired on FOX in the United States on November 5, 1995. In the episode, Homer despises the nuclear plant's new exercise program, and decides to gain 61 pounds in order to claim a disability and work at home. Homer ... more on Wikipedia
  8. 8

    Marge: I still thing we should have used the money to fix Main Street.
    Homer: Well, you should have written a song like that guy.

    This is possibly one of the best epsiodes that Conan O'Brien wrote for the Simpsons. The song alone is worth its #9 slot. Not to mention the Town Hall conversations surrounding the song. Pure brilliance. Decisions by Committee at their finest!

    Marge: Homer, there's a man here who thinks he can help you.
    Homer: Batman?
    Marge: No, he's a scientist.
    Homer: Batman's a scientist.
    Marge: It's NOT Batman.

    When Springfield gets a sudden windfall, a charismatic traveling salesman convinces the town to build a monorail. more on Wikipedia
  9. 9

    Another brilliant Swartzelder ep. Mr. Burns could be one of my top 5 favorite characters, and this ep is full of everything that makes him so great.

    Homer: Here are your messages: You have thirty minutes to move your car. You have ten minutes. Your car has been impounded. Your car has been crushed into a cube. You have thirty minutes to move your cube.
    (Phone Rings)
    Homer: Hello, Mr. Burns' office.
    Mr. Burns: Is it about my cube?

    Bart: What did you get that for?
    Homer: For knocking Mr. Burns out of a 3rd story window.
    Bart: Makes sense to me.
    Lisa: Did he die?
    Homer: What am I, a doctor?

    Forced to take a vacation, Smithers needs to find a temporary replacement who won't outshine him. Homer seems the perfect choice until a sudden outburst forces Mr. Burns to assert his independence. more on Wikipedia
  10. 10

    Although I was never a huge fan of Sideshow Bob, I appreciate a lot of the kinds of humor he could bring.

    But this episode makes this list on two brilliant things all by itself.


    The Rake Gag


    [Home is in an office with two FBI men letting him know about going to the federal witness protection program]
    FBI man 1: Tell you what, Mr. Simpson, from now on your name is Homer Thompson,at Terror Lake.Let's just practice a bit, hmmmm? So when I say hello Mr. Thompson, you say hi.
    Homer: Check!
    FBI man 1: Hello, Mr. Thompson.
    [Homer stares blankly]
    FBI man 1: [pause]
    FBI man 1: Now, remember, your name is Homer Thompson.
    Homer: I gotcha!
    FBI man 1: Hello, Mr. Thompson.
    [again Homer stares blankly]
    FBI man 1: [FBI men stare at each other]
    [hours pass by]
    FBI man 1: [frustrated] Argh... Now when I say "Hello Mr. Thompson" and press down on your foot, you smile and nod.
    Homer: No problem.
    [stepping hard on Homer's foot]
    FBI man 1: Hello, Mr. Thompson.
    [Homer stares blankly again for a few seconds]
    Homer: [whispering to the FBI man next to him] I think he's talking to you.

    When Bart receives death threats from newly paroled Sideshow Bob, the family goes into the Witness Relocation Program and starts a new life on a houseboat on Terror Lake. more on Wikipedia
  11. 11

    It's so funny that one of my favorite episodes wasn't super well-received at the time of airing. But it contains two of my favorite Simpsons' storylines. Brad Goodman and the Trampoline. Brad Goodman, of course, was voice by the awesome Albert Brooks, and is, again, brilliant.

    Brad Goodman is a reference to John Bradshaw, an author whose books gave us the notion of the `inner child'. Bradshaw used hilariously simple line drawings to get his points across (cf. the circle Goodman draws on the blackboard) and had no professional training or credentials. (Oh my god, it's Glen Beck!!)

    Brad: Folks, I'm often asked about my qualifications. Well, I may not have a lot of "credentials" or "training", but I tell you one thing: I'm a Ph.D. in pain. Now let me show you how you can change your life. [Steps to a blackboard] Troy, this circle is you. [draws one]
    Troy: My God, it's like you've known me all my life!

    Goodman: You know, my course can help you with every personality disorder in the "Feel Bad Rainbow." Let's look at the rainbow: what's in there? [reads list] Depression, insomnia, motor-mouth, darting eyes, indecisiveness, decisiveness, bossiness, uncontrollable falling down, geriatric profanity disorder (or GPD), and chronic nagging.

    Bart heckles the guru at a self-help seminar, and the man presents him to the audience as a role model for their "inner child." But when the whole town tries to "be like Bart," things start to fall apart. more on Wikipedia
  12. 12

    This episode introduced me to another one of my favorite characters, Kirk Van Houten... Milhouse's dad who gets divorced from Milhouse's mom in this one. Some of the visual gags are my all-time favorites: Kirk's hilarious bachelor apartment... the awesome, dated 70s reject, goodwill furniture and the name: Casa Nova: A Transitional Place For Singles.

    Kirk: Single life is great, Homer. I can do whatever I want. Today I drank a beer in the bathroom.
    Homer: The one down the hall?
    Kirk: Yeah! And another great thing, you get your own bed. I sleep in a racing car, do you?
    Homer: I sleep in a big bed with my wife.
    Kirk: Oh, yeah...

    And Kirk's beautiful, beautiful song he sings at the end to win his wife back (failing)

    Can I borrow a feeling?
    Could you lend me a jar of love?
    Hurtin' hearts need some healin'.
    Take my hand with your glove of love.

    Kirk and Luann Van Houten are getting a divorce. Homer is confident that it will never happen to him, but Kirk tells him how quickly things can change. more on Wikipedia
  13. 13

    I admit that so much of this ep is hilarious because it makes fun of the film industry. But it also contains Ranier Wolfcastle. Which is an automatic +10.

    Director: Okay, listen up everybody: this is the hardest, most expensive scene in the movie, and we only get one shot at it, so we have to do it just right. Fallout Boy will untie Radioactive Man and pull him to safety, moments before he's hit with a forty-foot wall of sulfuric acid that will horribly burn everything in its path. Now that's real acid, so I want to see goggles, people.
    Wolfcastle: Real acid?

    Wolfcastle: My Eyes! The Goggles, they do nothing!

    Martin: Uh, Sir, why don't you just use real cows?
    Painter: Cows don't look like cows on film. You gotta use horses.
    Ralph: What do you do if you want something that looks like a horse?
    Painter: Eh, usually we just tape a bunch of cats together.

    Bart longs to play "Fallout Boy" in the new Radioactive Man movie, but the Van Houtens thrust Milhouse into the spotlight. Meanwhile, the town of Springfield sees an opportunity for profit. more on Wikipedia
  14. 14

    Oh Swartzwelder, so much funny. Danny DeVito returns as Homer's brother, whom Homer had ruined in a previous episode thanks to "The Homer", the development of a car that destroyed Herb's multi-million dollar auto company.

    TV Announcer: Except for huge gaps in the western states, "Hands Across America" was a complete success.

    Homer: Herb, this is the stupidest thing I've ever seen. I can't believe we blew 2,000 bucks on it when right now rollers could be kneading my buttocks.
    Herb: Homer, could you stop thinking about your ass?!
    Homer: I tried, but I can't.

    Homer’s half-brother Herb Powell returns, his finances in ruin from his last encounter with Homer. With a little help from the family, he invents a product that’s sure to turn his life around. more on Wikipedia
  15. 15

    Homer is accused of sexual assault when he pulls the Gummmi Venus De Milo off the babysitter's ass. But the true star of this episode is the TV show "Rock Bottom", which is a direct mockery of "Hard Copy" and the satire is spot on.

    (In an edited version of his interview with Godfrey Jones, the splices can be told because the clock in the background keeps changing times.)
    Homer: Somebody had to take the babysitter home, then I noticed she was sitting on / her / sweet can... / so I grabbed / her / sweet can... / Ohhhh, just thinking about / her / can... / I just wish I had / her / sweet, sweet / s/s/sweet can...
    Godfrey: So, Mr. Simpson, you admit you grabbed her can. What do you have to say in your defense? (we see a still video shot of Homer looking lustful) Mr. Simpson, your silence will only incriminate you further! (the frozen image of Homer begins to slowly zoom in) No, Mr. Simpson, don't take your anger out on me! Get back! Get back! M-Mr. Simpson! NOOOO!
    (freeze frames on the screaming Godfrey)
    Announcer: Dramatization may not have happened.

    Lisa: Sorry, Dad, we do believe in you, we really do.
    Bart: It's just hard not to listen to TV: it's spent so much more time raising us than you have.

    When Homer gropes for a gummy candy stuck to the babysitter's pants, she mistakes his intentions and turns the town against him. more on Wikipedia
  16. 16

    Marge wants to start her own business and (after an awesome trip to the Franchise Convention) decides on Pretzels. Which Homer helps her fund by borrowing money from the mafia.

    Frank: Congratulations, and welcome to the dynamic world of mobile pretzel retailing.
    Marge: When can I start? Where's my territory?
    Frank: Your..territory...well, lemme tell ya. Wherever a young mother is ignorant of what to feed her baby, you'll be there. Wherever nacho penetration is less than total, you'll be there. Wherever a Bavarian is not quite full, you will be there.
    Marge: Don't forget fat people. They can't stop eating!
    (Homer walks by)
    Homer: Hey, pretzels!

    Marge: Homer! Did you tell the mafia they could eliminate my competitors with savage beatings and attempted murder?
    Homer: (swallowing beer) In those words? Yes.

    This is a black day for baseball...

    Bart: Oh, cheer up, Mom. You can't buy publicity like that. Thousands and thousands of people saw your pretzels injuring Whitey Ford.
    Homer: You can call them Whitey-whackers!

    Marge's new pretzel franchise is failing until Homer strikes a deal with Fat Tony, Springfield's local mobster. more on Wikipedia
  17. 17

    Homer buys a truck with a plow on it and starts up a business plowing driveways. He does well until Barney steals his idea and takes all his customers.

    Homer: Well, I really should discuss this with my wife.
    Salesman: Your wife? (cracks an imaginary whip)
    Homer: What, you think I'm going to buy a $20,000 truck just because you
    make that noise?
    Salesman: (cracks his whip again)
    Homer: Okay, I'll take it

    Man: Hello, I'm calling from Delinquent Accounts at Kumatsu Motors.
    Homer: Oh, you want the Mr. Plow who plows driveways. This is Tony Plow, you know, from Leave It To Beaver.... Yeah they were gay.

    Homer: Now we play the waiting game..... Ahh, the waiting game sucks. Let's play Hungry Hungry Hippos!

    "Mr. Plow" is the ninth episode of The Simpsons' fourth season, which originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 19, 1992. In the episode, Homer buys a snow plow and starts a business plowing driveways. It is a huge success, and inspired by this, Barney Gumble starts a rival ... more on Wikipedia
  18. 18

    Shelbyville steals the town's beloved lemon tree, and the boys go on a mission to get it back. This episode is beautifully paced and put together. It doesn't have the knock-you-down laughs of some of the others on this list, but it's really just well done.

    Mrs. Krabappel: Children, please! If you don't learn Roman numerals you'll never know the years certain motion pictures were copy-righted.
    Nelson: (enters classroom) Everybody come quick, something's happened, no time to explain.
    Mrs. Krabappel: No, children, no, your education is important! Roman numerals, etc... Whatever. I tried. (lights a cigarette

    Bart: Milhouse, you and me will be Omega Team. Todd, you and Data are Team Strike Force. Nelson, that leaves you and Martin.
    Martin: Team Discovery Channel!
    Nelson: Aww ... your wussiness better come in handy

    Bart: (to group) If you get lost remember, you can always find east by staring directly at the sun

    Bart: Oh, it's no use. I'm never gonna find that tree. This whole raid was as useless as that yellow lemon-shaped rock over there. Wait a minute ... there's a lemon behind that rock!

    The simmering rivalry between Springfield and a neighboring town heats up when Shelbyville kids steal Springfield's prized lemon tree. more on Wikipedia
  19. 19

    Once I started writing about this ep, I actually had to move it up the list. There is so much awesome stuff in here - Moe's re-imainging of his bar into a TGIF-type family restaurant, the prank Bart plays on the church organ lady making her play the entire "In the Garden of Eden", Milhouse's eyebrows.

    Bart: Well if your soul is real where is it?
    Milhouse: (touching his chest) It's kinda in here... and when you sneeze, that's your soul trying to escape. Saying "God bless you" crams it back in. And when you die, it squirms out and flies away!
    Bart: What if you die in a submarine, at the bottom of the ocean?
    Milhouse: Oh, it can swim. It's even got wheels, in case you die in the desert and it has to drive to the cemetery.

    Dr. Hibbert: All right, where would you kids like to eat tonight?
    Kid #1: The Spaghetti Laboratory!
    Kid #2: Face Stuffers!
    Kid #3: Professor P. J. Cornucopia's Fantastic Foodmagorium and Great American Steakery!
    Dr. Hibbert: How about this place?..."Moe's"

    Moe: No c'mon, I need a name that says "friendly all-American cooking."
    Homer: How about Chairman Moe's Magic Wok?
    Barney: I like it!
    Moe: Nah, I want something that says people can have a nice relaxing time.
    Homer: I got it! Madman Moe's Pressure Cooker!
    Barney: I like it!
    Moe: Hey, how about Uncle Moe's Family Feedbag?
    Barney: I hate it.

    Grandma Van Houten: You dial 91, and then when I say so, dial 1 again!

    "Bart Sells His Soul" is the fourth episode of The Simpsons' seventh season. It first aired in the United States on the Fox network, on October 8, 1995. In the episode, while being punished for playing a prank at church, Bart declares that there is no such thing as a soul and to prove it he sells his to ... more on Wikipedia
  20. 20
    f t p @ X

    This is a brilliant example of the exact kind of cultural satire this show was capable of. Sadly, so much of this hilarious episode is actually reflected in our society... sans humor. This ep is also Matt Groenig's #3 personal favorite.

    Homer: Not a bear in sight. The Bear Patrol must be working like a charm!
    Lisa: That’s specious reasoning, dad.
    Homer: Why thank you, honey.
    Lisa: By your logic, I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.
    Homer: Hmm. How does it work?
    Lisa: It doesn’t work; it’s just a stupid rock!
    Homer: Uh-huh.
    Lisa: But I don’t see any tigers around, do you?
    Homer: Hmm... Lisa, I want to buy your rock.

    Bodyguard: Sir, there's an angry mob here to see you.
    Mayor Quimby: Does it have an appointment?
    Bodyguard: Yes.
    principal Skinner: I phoned ahead!

    When Mayor Quimby uses immigrants as a political scapegoat, the Simpsons discover that Apu is an illegal immigrant. more on Wikipedia
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