Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Top 15 Favorite Simpsons Episodes (Part 3)

Hey, everyone! Sorry that this has been put off for so long, just got a lotta shit on the go at home. Let's not delay this any further. Here are entries 5-1 on The Top 15 Favorite Simpsons Episodes!

#5 - S8xE10: The Springfield Files

I was SO pumped to see this episode. As a big fan of The X-Files at the time and a still big fan of the paranormal, this episode reeled me in with a simple commercial: Homer encounters an alien in the woods and Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully from The X-Files come to Springfield to investigate, with David Duchovny & Gillian Anderson reprising their roles as Mulder and Scully. However, what stops this episode from ranking higher is that the "alien" turns out to be a drugged up Mr. Burns. This episode also features a cameo from Leonard Nemoy, which is always awesome, but as great as the guests were, I had hoped that the "alien" was actually an alien proving otherworldly existence in the Simpsons universe in a more concrete manner than the very tongue-in-cheek Kang & Kodos, although I do love those two.


Cynic's Funniest Moment: There's a few in here, like Scully getting Homer to run on the treadmill for no other reason other than to lose some weight, but what fucking kills me every time I see it is Mulder's ID badge. Seriously, Google it and I DARE YOU not to laugh.
On a side note, since this shows Simpsons crossing over with another FOX license, I want Matt Groening to get Joel Silver on the phone and make a full length Halloween Special of Simpsons vs Predator. Make it happen, gentlemen!

#4 - S8xE04: Burns, Baby Burns
There are two things that make this episode so much win: Rodney Dangerfield and Journey. While on a trip, a man looks into a train window to see Mr. Burns is an almost exact match to the man in the photograph he carries around. When the man tracks down Burns, he reveals himself as Larry Burns (Dangerfield), his long lost son. Friction immediately surfaces as Larry's personality clashes with Charles' that results in Larry being labeled as a disappointment. Aiming to help his new friend, Homer convinces Larry to stage a phony kidnapping to make Burns actually care more about his son. Hell somewhat breaks loose and then everything is resolved by everyone dancing in the streets to Journey's "Any Way You Want It." Whenever I hear that song or someone mentions Rodney Dangerfield, I always think back to this episode and remember the stitches it left me in.

#3 - S8xE16: Brother From Another Series

The 2nd episode with Sideshow Bob on this list and easily the best. Sideshow Bob's brother, Cecil (voiced by Fraiser co-star David Hyde Pearce) bails him out of jail and gives Bob a job working at a dam Cecil owns until it turns out Cecil is insanely jealous of Bob for being Krusty The Klown's sidekick and not Cecil, despite how hard Cecil tried to be. When Bart & Lisa sneak into the dam to see what Bob is up to, they get caught up in this family drama and the old lesson "The Enemy Of My Enemy Is My Friend" rings true as Bart & Lisa end up working with Sideshow Bob to stop Cecil. This episode shows Season 8 was on a roll with some of the show's best work, 4 of the 15 on this list being from S8 and David Hyde Pearce's comedic timing confirms that in spades.
Cynic's Funniest Moment: I would say any line where DHP says anything, but I do need to be specific. After Cecil locks them in the dam and Lisa thinks that they're doomed, Bob immediately throws it back in her face with, "Oh, I see! When I come up with a brilliant scheme, you kids can't thwart my plans fast enough! But when CECIL tries to kill you, 'It's hopeless, utterly, utterly hopeless!'"

#2 - S5xE06: Marge On The Lam
After Homer royally fucks up his promise to spend more time with Marge, she ends up hanging out with her neighbor Ruth Powers. Turns out that Ruth and Marge are quite compatible with each other and Marge begins to adapt more of Ruth's wild side. Homer, feeling threatened by Marge not wanting to spend time with him, heads out and leaves the kids with lawyer Lionel Hutz (voiced by the late Phil Hartman). He hangs out with Chief Wiggum and they end up chasing Marge & Ruth because Ruth stole her ex-husband's car. When Homer sees Marge is with her, he becomes worried that Marge is leaving him and he, long story short, ends up apologizing for their whole marriage.
There are three reasons why I really liked this episode and why it ALMOST made #1:
A) This episode seemed to be rarely on, much like The Secret Wars Of Lisa Simpson. It's such a good episode that I took any chance to see it whenever it came up.
B) This episode lets Marge really get some shit between her toes instead of being the nagging voice of reason that she usually is and it would've been interesting if this kind of personality stuck around for more than this episode.
C) I LOVE the subplot of Lionel Hutz looking after the kids. Anything Phil Hartman touched on this show was comedic fucking gold.
Cynic's Funniest Moment: When Homer's arms are stuck in two vending machines and when one of the EMPs ask him if he's just holding onto the can, Homer replies, "You're point being?" We then see Homer leaving the plant embarrassed as the laughter of his co-workers follow him.

Okay, this one was really hard to choose. There's been so many great Simpsons episodes that it's really hard to choose just one as your favorite. Is it the one with Johnny Cash as the Space Coyote? Burns losing his fortune? Lisa making her own doll? The Flying Hellfish? I thought long and hard about it and upon realizing it, I felt stupider for not thinking of it sooner.

#1-S4XE12: Marge vs The Monorail
Once this occurred to me, I had an M. Bison "Of Course!" moment. It's got great writing (by Conan O'Brien), awesome guest appearances (Phil Hartman, Leonard Nemoy) and some of the most memorable Simpsons lines ever. After Mr Burns pays the city $3 Million for dumping toxic waste in a public park, the city debates what to use the money for. After plenty of good ideas and a hilarious retrospect of the state of Main Street, enter Lyle Lanley (Hartman). Lanley wins the town over with a musical number pushing his transportation method of choice, The Monorail. Marge disapproves of the idea and finds a town where the Monorail was previously built. She finds the designer and he explains that Lanley cut costs everywhere and the train failed horribly. As the Monorail begins its maiden voyage through Springfield, it immediately malfunctions and Homer, the conductor, has to find a way to shut it down before everyone on the train is killed.
I find this episode one of the most quotable of the series and I still hum the Monorail showtune from time to time. It also contains my favorite Simpsons quick gag (and this episode had a lot of them), which brings us to our funniest moment.
Cynic's Funniest Moment: When Marge is radioing Homer to help him stop the train. It's not so much what he says but just how calmly he says it.
Marge: Homer? Homer, can you hear me?!
Homer: Hello?
Marge: Homer, I have a man here who thinks he can help you!
Homer: Batman?
Marge: No, he's a scientist.
Homer: Batman's a scientist.
Marge (annoyed): It's not Batman!

Well, there you have it! After over a week of being delayed, my fondest Simpsons memories have been listed on Blogspot. I hope you enjoyed reading them and by all means, feel free to share your own Simpsons memories. Of course, as I type this, it occurs to me that I still have not seen The Simpsons Movie. After talking about the show in this detailed of a fashion, perhaps I'll have to give that one a watch. Cynic out!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Top 15 Favorite Simpsons Episodes (Part 2)

Hey, everyone! The Cynic is coming at you again with Part 2 of Coffee With The Cynic's Top 15 Favorite Simpsons Episodes! In the chance that you missed Part 1 of this list, you can see it here.

#10 - S05xE02: Cape Feare
Bart's nemesis, Sideshow Bob (voiced by Kelsey Grammar), gets out of prison again and has been out to kill Bart ever since Bart cracked Bob's framing of Krusty The Klown and every other scheme since. Following a parody of the film Cape Fear, The Simpsons are put into Witness Protection, renamed The Thompsons and move to Terror Lake. Unfortunately, Bob follows them and the climax of the episode shows Bart trying to keep Bob from killing him as their houseboat floats down the river to Springfield.
Cynic's Funniest Moment: NOT the rake bit, that hasn't aged well. As much as I love Homer kicking in Bart's door wielding a chainsaw wearing a hockey mask mere seconds after Bart says he's under a lot of stress, I gotta go with the part where Bob is writing all of his notes in blood and begins to write him memoirs the same way. When he starts passing out, his cellmate Snake finally tells him what we've all been thinking, "Use a PEN, Sideshow Bob!"

#9 - S09xE01: The City Of New York vs Homer Simpson
This episode was pulled from syndication after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but since then has been put back in some regions. On a night out with the guys, resident drunk Barney Gumble draws the short straw and is the designated driver. When Homer's car hasn't been returned, The Simpsons find out that Barney went mad and drove it to New York City, a place Homer swore to never return to. While the family is off sightseeing, Homer finds his car parked in front of the World Trade Center. After failing to meet up with the man who can take the boot off of his car due to a very funny bathroom break, Homer fucking snaps and puts his car through absolute HELL to meet up with the rest of his family and leave the city.
Cynic's Funniest Moment: While I do love the running from one tower to the other to use the bathroom, I laughed hard at Homer's reaction to the Kravkalesh salesman's drink options.
Salesman: Mountain Dew or Crab Juice.
Homer: BLAUGH! UGH! EWWWWW! I'll take a Crab Juice.

#8 - S07xE03: Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily
I think you can tell from the title which one I'm talking about. In a gross misunderstanding resulting from quite possibly the biggest clusterfuck in the history of The Simpsons, Bart, Lisa & Maggie are put in foster care under the roof of The Flanders' family. While Homer & Marge attend a parenting correctional course, Bart & Lisa become worried that Maggie is forgetting she's a Simpson (confirmed in spades in a reference to The Exorcist that is fucking creepy). Things escalate when Ned learns that the children haven't been baptized and Homer & Marge race against time to stop Ned from making their kids be Flanders' in the eyes of God, which, by the way, I think Homer shoulda beat the snot out of Ned for even ATTEMPTING such a thing, seeing as how Ned has NO right to attempt such a thing. Sure, maybe I'm looking too deep into that since it is played for laughs, but seriously, what the hell?!
Cynic's Funniest Moment: When Homer & Marge ask Grandpa Simpson about what happened and he brushes it off like a juice stain.
Homer: We leave you with the kids for three hours and the county takes them away?!
Grandpa: *walking away* Oh, bitch, BITCH, BITCH!

#7 - S06xE25 & S07XE01: Who Shot Mr. Burns?
If anyone was accusing the show of losing steam, I think this two part episode told them where to stick it. Seriously, the marketing behind this episode was great! What better way to get people to tune into the season premiere than a season finale that when the words "To Be Continued" came on screen, you literally looked up and the Gods and went "NOOOOOOOOOOOO!" On top of that, you had to wait 4 months for an answer.
An oil deposit is discovered under Springfield Elementary and the money would be used to further the school's advancements. However, his greed gets the better of him and Mr. Burns steals the oil for himself, enraging the entire town. When he sets up an instrument to block out the sun, the townspeople begin considering to take action against him. When Burns is found shot on a sundial, the entire town becomes a suspect. Homer is named the primary suspect because of an eyelash with Simpson DNA found on Burns' suit and by Burns himself, who can say only Homer's name in post-traumatic stress, despite the fact he could never remember it before. When Burns becomes coherent again, it's revealed that Maggie was the one who shot him. The ending was quite a surprise but the explanation given actually works well.
Cynic's Funniest Moment: It appears that Homer is about to strangle Mr. Burns but Burns regains his vocabulary and his old ways (i.e. not remembering Homer's name). The look on Homer's face is absolutely priceless before he lets out the most chilling, pent up, enraged "D'OH!" ever to be heard.

#6 - S08xE25: The Secret War Of Lisa Simpson
From what I remember of watching the episode syndication, you know, where they just air a marathon of Simpsons episodes as airtime filler, this episode was actually pretty rare and I took every opportunity I had to see it. On a field trip at the police station, Bart pulls a prank that blows out every glass window in Springfield. Heeding Chief Wiggum's advice, The Simpsons ship Bart off to Military School and Lisa, bored with her class, stays with him for the challenge, thinking its her dream school. Because the commanding officer (Willem Dafoe) moves all of the boys into a different hall, they immediately hate Lisa and do everything they can to try and make her quit. Bart stays by her side for support and the episode peaks with the class going across The Eliminator.
Cynic's Funniest Moment: Much like the rest of these entries, this episode was chalk full of comedic gold. However, the best is when Bart is given a grenade launcher on the firing range but intentionally misses his last target. When told of that, he quips with, "Did I?" Cut to Principal Skinner in the school parking lot covered in soot standing in front of a crater holding his keys out to unlock his now non-existent car.

Alright, two down, one to go. See in a few with entries 5-1!
-The Cynic

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Top 15 Favorite Simpsons Episodes (Part 1)

Ah, The Simpsons. The mere mention of the name brings back all kinds of memorable television moments: Homer finding out he has twenty four hours to live, Krusty The Klown faking his death, Lisa's look into the future where the man of her dreams turns around on her, Bart becoming a Hall Monitor, Maggie being adopted by bears, the list goes on. I used to be an avid Simpsons viewer as a kid but I had stopped watching because a lot of the newer episodes felt lacking to me. The ONE time I decide to try and catch a new episode of the show, they use Kesha's "Tik Tok" as the theme song. It's no secret that I FUCKING HATE KESHA, so this really pissed me off. The Simpsons, a show that has to have some kind of talent to warrant an over twenty season run, and Kesha, a talentless bitch who is the Jabberwock of music (the bad musician that all other bad musicians fear), should not be in the same sentence, much less the same animation. Now that I've had ample time to cool off about it, I decided to think back and remember my fondest moments of a show that, as harsh as this may sound, is dead to me. Here is Coffee With The Cynic's Top 15 Favorite Simpsons Episodes! Why 15? Because there was NO WAY in Hell I was going to be able to narrow it down to seven. 15 was hard enough, and I could write an essay on the honorable mentions alone.

#15 - S05xE04: Rosebud
This is the episode where Mr. Burns has dreams about his old teddy bear, Bobo. As it turns out, through an elaborate turn of events, Bobo has wound up in Springfield and is in the possession of Maggie Simpson. Upon discovering this, Burns & Smithers do everything short of using heavy artillery to get the bear back. When Burns admits defeat and tells Maggie to take care of Bobo for him, Maggie has a change of heart and lets C.M. Burns have his old bear back. This episode had a lot of heart but wasn't sappy all the way through. In fact, the buildup to the sap was quite funny.
Cynic's Funniest Moment: Burns & Smithers are stuck to the ceiling of The Simpson's kitchen as Homer has a midnight snack of 64 slices of American Cheese. The conversation that follows the next morning is priceless.
Marge: Have you been up all night eating cheese?
Homer: Aye thingk Ahm bleyend...

#14 - S09xE14: Das Bus
In a parody of "Lord Of The Flies," Bart, Milhouse, Lisa (why do the fourth and second grades always go on field trips together?) and their classmates end up stranded on an island where they have to use their wits to survive. Things only worsen when when Milhouse is accused of eating all of the food and his warnings of a monster go unheard. Unlike the original LOTF, Bart isn't the only survivor of his group when the kids break up into two tribes and he isn't chased onto the beach where Bob Peck (Jurassic Park's Robert Muldoon) in military fatigues rescues them.
Cynic's Funniest Moment: Probably a tie between Otto's would-be last words to the kids ("Zeppelin rules!") and James Earl Jone's end narration, where the story just picks an ending out the sky ("And the children were eventually rescued by, oh...let's say, Moe.")

#13 - S06xE23: The Springfield Connection
Marge chases Snake into an alley after he cheats Homer at a game of 3 Card Monty, but he pulls a knife on her. In a surge of adrenaline, she knocks him out with one shot using a trash can lid. Amazed by the thrill of stopping a criminal, Marge enlists in the police force, which makes Homer insecure about his masculinity. When I first saw this episode as a child, I honestly thought this was how police boot camp policies worked ("I told you, you don't get your gun until you tell me your name!").
Cynic's Funniest Moment: Again, another tie, between Homer being arrested by Marge in the parking lot (depicted above)...
Homer: Ooo, Marge, not here...wait, you're not really arresting me, are you?
Marge: You have the right to remain silent.
Homer: I choose to waive that right. *yells incoherently*
...and Homer's discovery of the counterfeit jeans operation in his garage (or "car hold," according to Moe).
Herman: *Pulls gun* Not so fast!
Homer: Okay *slows pace towards door*
Herman: Maybe you should just stop entirely.

#12 - S07xE24: Homerpalooza
Homer Simpson has a fucking awesome taste in music and anyone who says otherwise is a blithering idiot. This episode made me a fan of Mountain's "Mississippi Queen" and Bart should've been pimpslapped out the window for trashing Homer's music. Now that I've gotten that off my chest, Homer wants to feel more accepted by his kids so he takes them to Hullabalooza, a tour parody of Lullapalooza, and immediately gets accused of being a narc and is thrown out of the crowd. In a fit of anger, he accidentally sets off a stage prop and gets shot in the stomach, but feels fine afterwards. He then joins Hullabalooza as part of the Traveling Freak Show. With guest stars like Cypress Hill, The Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth and Peter Frampton, this episode had a lot of laughs and a lot of star power.
Cynic's Funniest Moment: Again, there's a few in here, but Peter Frampton's reaction to the stage prop going off kills me every time.
Tech: Uh oh, there goes Peter Frampton's big finale. He's gonna be pissed off...
Frampton: You're damned right I'm gonna be pissed off! I bought that pig at Pink Floyd's yard sale!

#11 - S07xE20: Bart On The Road
Whenever I hear Golden Earring's "Radar Love," I immediately think of this episode. In order to start his Spring Break earlier, Principal Skinner has a "Take Your Kids To Work Day" to clear out the student body. Lisa goes to work with Homer & Bart ends up at the DMV with Patty and Selma where he makes a fake drivers license and rents a car. He, Milhouse, Nelson & Martin take a road trip to Knoxville where the car gets crushed under a Wigsphere and Bart calls Lisa for help. This one is a classic and I love the oddball pairing of the clashing personalities stuck in the car. The scenes of Lisa & Homer hanging out at his work are also quite humorous and it's nice to see Homer spending quality time with his daughter instead of completely neglecting her.
Cynic's Funniest Moment: After Lisa explains to Homer what happened to Bart, they call the power plant closest to him so they can get him to deliver a new power terminal. The operative on the other end says that Springfield's terminal is running fine and there's no need to send a new one. Homer, without a second thought, grabs a can of soda and pours it all over his terminal, shorting it out and putting the entire plant, not to mention the city, at risk and the guy on the other end completely loses his shit.

Be sure to check back later for Part 2, where we look at entries 10-6!

-The Cynic