#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?!
Marge: Homer, I have a man here who thinks he can help you!
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!