When I was in third grade, I only wanted to be one person for Halloween: Lisa Simpson. I remember going around and around with my mom (who was not a sewer) that it couldn’t be THAT hard to make a triangle dress. We figured it out, and that 2D lampshade, when paired with a yellow turtleneck, yellow tights, red Keds, and a blue plastic saxophone, made the perfect costume. Unfortunately, this was 1990, the year of The Halloween Snowstorm, so my time out was cut short.
Nonetheless, it was epic.
To say that I have watched “The Simpsons” since the beginning would be putting it very mildly. This is MY show. Good bet that if I am streaming anything, it is this. For that reason, this one was a hard list to draw up, but I am confident in saying that these are my five favorite episodes:
1. “Scenes from a Class Struggle in Springfield” (Season 7, Episode 14): Marge found a Chanel suit for $90. That thrifting goal alone makes the episode amazing. But what I really appreciate is how this simple pink suit (actually modeled off of the one worn by Jackie Kennedy, a woman with whom Marge shares a maiden name…just saying) helps develop and reveal a side of Marge we never knew but we certainly all had to suspect was there, somewhere.
2. “Two Dozen and One Greyhounds” (Season 6, Episode 20): As I have said before, I like a good musical. The song “See My Vest” is a big reason why I would consider this an all-time favorite episode. I also find this to be one of the witter episodes of the series; it is a great parody of multiple Disney dog references, and the ending, well, it still sends chills down my spine while sending chuckles up from my gut every. single. time.
3. “Kamp Krusty” (Season 4, Episode 1): The rumor is that the script for this episode was originally developed as if it were to have been a “The Simpsons” movie, which would have been amazing. Even with the half-hour format, this episode has a great plot that I could watch over and over again.
4. “22 Short Films About Springfield” Season 7, Episode 21): Before there were the ensemble cast movies like “Love Actually,” “Valentine’s Day,” and “He’s Just Not That Into You,” there was this episode of “The Simpsons.” In this seventh season gem, twenty-two tales of Springfieldians are woven together to demonstrate Bart, Milhouse, and the viewer that, yes’um, Springfield is that interesting after all.
5. “Lisa the Iconoclast” (Season 7, Episode 16): This episode’s place on this list if more than cromulent. The historian in me loves this episode, as it lets me go back and forth on the purpose of local public history. What is more important: Uncovering every single detail even if it turns truths into myths, or does the unifying embiggened legend have a place at the table, too?
Honorable Mention: “The Twisted World of Marge Simpson” (Season 8, Episode 11): Risk-averse Marge gets kicked out of her women’s investment group, determined to beat them at their own game and invests in a pretzel franchise; this sends her down all the interesting roads one takes when they venture out into entrepreneurship. My road has had less mob involvement, but regardless, one cannot help but appreciate her moxie, Homer’s dedication to helping her succeed, and the fact that “The Simpsons” new food trucks were cool before the rest of us.
I am an English person, so I know all too well the traumas and troubles that come with an attachment to fictional beings. For the last 30 years, though, I have been a step-child with The Simpsons, my favorite second family. I understand what happens with all good things, so I know the end WILL come, but in the meantime, I am just going to chill on the couch for as many gags we still have to come.