The Top 10 Moments in 32 Genius Seasons of ‘The Simpsons’
OK, who are we kidding. We could never choose The Simpsons‘ ultimate top 10 moments given that the show, which airs its 700th episode Sunday night, March 21, jam packs each installment with brilliant lines and plot devices.
But we’re going to try. Below, the 10 clips that make us laugh no matter how many times we watch them, courtesy of the longest-running American scripted primetime series (32 seasons, with two more on the way) in TV history.
Homer vs. Springfield Gorge (Season 2)
No good deed goes unpunished. In “Bart the Daredevil,” Homer Simpson (voiced by Dan Castellaneta) stops son Bart (voiced by Nancy Cartwright) from trying to jump the Springfield Gorge on his skateboard, but then goes over the edge himself. As he hits every rock face on the way down, this episode might just set the record for the most “D’ohs” per minute.
The Planet of the Apes Musical (Season 7)
In “A Fish Called Selma,” has-been actor Troy McClure (another Hartman character) gets the part he was “born to play”: the role of The Human in the Broadway musical Stop the Planet of the Apes, I Want to Get Off. And thus is born the immortal song lyrics: “I hate every ape I see / From Chimpan-A to Chimpan-Z.”
Grampa’s Entrance — and Immediate Exit (Season 8)
Bart lands a job at a burlesque house in “Bart After Dark,” and as he mans the door, a whistling Grampa Simpson (also voiced by Castellaneta) walks in the door, hangs up his hat, spots Bart, and walks right back out in one continuous motion. The animation has since become a popular meme used when people want to back out of an uncomfortable situation.
Canyonero! (Season 9)
For “The Last Temptation of Krust,” The Simpsons got Hank Williams Jr. to record a “Rawhide”-like jingle for the Krusty the Clown-endorsed Canyonero SUV, the epitome of American excess. “Can you name the truck with four-wheel drive? / Smells like a steak and seats 35” Williams sings. “Top of the line in utility sports / Unexplained fires are a matter for the courts!”
Homer’s Erotic Photo Session (Season 10)
The Simpson family patriarch got “homer-erotic” in “They Saved Lisa’s Brain,” an episode that otherwise focused on Lisa being invited to join the Springfield chapter of Mensa (and which featured a guest spot by Stephen Hawking). In an unbeatable gag, Homer finds a gift certificate for an erotic photo session and goes for it. As he undresses in his bedroom, the photographer — who bears a striking resemblance to Annie Leibovitz — coats her lens with Vaseline.
‘Stupid Sexy Flanders’ (Season 11)
In “Little Big Mom,” as Homer decides between ski slopes dubbed Widowmaker, Spinebuster, and Colostomizer, his “okally-dokally” neighbor Ned Flanders (voiced by Harry Shearer) shows up wearing a skin-tight suit. Just like he did on the Springfield Gorge, Homer unwittingly starts sliding down the slope, and instead of recalling his ski teacher’s instructions, he can’t stop thinking about Flanders’ all-too-delineated buttocks.
A Power-Hungry Lisa (Season 15)
When Lisa (voiced by Yeardley Smith) is elected student body president of Springfield Elementary School, she goes on a power trip in this parody of the musical Evita. When she’s sent to The Springfield Magnet School for the Gifted and Troublesome, she appears at the back of the bus for her “Don’t cry for me Argentina” moment, with the words: “Don’t cry for me, students of Springfield. You can still reach me through email.”
Age Is Only a Number (Season 23)
We love this episode because while the Simpsons clan, flashbacks aside, are usually stuck in amber, in “Holidays of Future Passed” we flash forward to a time when the family is older. Marge and Homer have traveled the world, a flunked-out-of-college Bart lives in the rundown “Lofts of Springfield Elementary,” Lisa, after dating women, is married to a man and has children, and Maggie, well, she’s a superstar rocker dubbed “the voice of her generation.”
Guillermo del Toro’s Intro (Season 25)
Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro reimagined The Simpsons’ intro for Season 25’s “Treehouse of Horror XXIV,” and he packed in references to classic horror films (The Birds, The Shining, Alien), appearances by silver screen-monsters (Godzilla, The Phantom of the Opera, Frankenstein, Dracula), cameos of renowned authors (Stephen King, Edgar Allen Poe, Ray Bradbury), and even nods to his own movies (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy, Pacific Rim).
Trump’s ‘Glam’ Squad (Season 27)
Given the his surreal presidency, we have to give a special mention to this Season 27 bonus clip, which shows Donald Trump responding to a 3 a.m. page to the White House Situation Room…after his cosmetics team spends hours plumping up his face, giving him a spray tan, and putting an orange Pomeranian on his bald head. (Also, note Trump’s speed-dial contacts: Ivanka, Putin, and Michelle Obama’s speechwriter.)
The Simpsons, 700th Episode, Sunday, March 21, 8/7c, Fox