Ranking the Episodes of The Simpsons (Season 11)

The Simpsons - Season 11 
(Ranked by Awesomeness)

#22 - Treehouse of Horror X {The Simpsons attempt to cover up their accidental murder of Ned Flanders in "I Know What You Did-Iddly-Did." Then, Bart and Lisa become superheroes and save Lucy Lawless from the evil Collector in "Desperately Xeeking Xena." Finally, Homer's incompetence causes a Y2K apocalypse in "Life's A Glitch, Then You Die."}[Not the greatest Halloween episode ever, as none of the three segments really stick out. The only thing I really remember is the third episode, where everyone has to leave Earth. As one of Humanity's great hopes, Lisa is given a coveted spot on the "good" spaceship, but can only take one parent. Before the difficult question is even asked Lisa picks Marge. What a hater. (Bart and Homer are forced to take the ship with people like Tom Arnold and Andy Dick, so that when they finally die it comes as a relief.)]

#21 - Take My Wife, Sleaze {Homer's attempt at creating a motorcycle gang attracts a real gang, who kidnap Marge.}[You had to love Homer's gang, the Hell's Satans. I enjoyed his battle for Marge at the end, using a motorcycle for a sword. ("We both knew it would come to this.") Also, Marge taking care of the gang? Classic.]

#20 - Days of Wine and D'oh'ses {Homer doesn't like it when Barney quits drinking; Bart and Lisa get into trouble when they enter a photo contest for the new phone book cover.} [There is some really poignant stuff with Barney realizing the disaster his life is on alcohol, although nothing will ever top his self-made movie. The best line is when Barney rescues Bart, Lisa and the female reporter, who offers Barney "pity sex" as a thank you. Barney replies, "Is there any other kind?"]

#19 - Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder {Homer becomes a minor celebrity around Springfield after bowling a perfect game.} ["Kids...I have some bad news about Lenny." "Not Lenny!"]

#18 - Kill the Alligator and Run {The Simpsons become wanted criminals after injuring a famous alligator during a Florida vacation.} [I wasn't wild about this episode the first time I saw it, but after seeing COOL HAND LUKE the references were funnier to me. Highlights include Homer partying even while tied to a bed, and when the whole family works at the diner and lives in a trailer. Maybe that's because I recently spent several months on the run in a trailer, so I can relate.]

#17 - The Mansion Family {When Mr. Burns has to go the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for a checkup, he chooses The Simpsons to take care of his mansion while he is gone. Homer and his friends take Mr. Burns yacht into international waters, where they end up being targeted by modern day pirates.} [I remember Homer wanting to throw a box social (well, who doesn't?), and the pirates make me smile, along with Furious George. But my biggest memory of this episode is all the little diseases (that look like little fuzzy things that had stickers on their feet we had in school) trying to get through the door at once. They were in perfect balance against one another, known as "Three Stooges Syndrome," or as Mr. Burns summed it up, "I'm indestructible."]

#16 - Grift of the Magi {A toy company purchases Springfield Elementary and uses the student body as a focus group for their new Christmas toy Funzo.} [Who else but The Simpsons would have a kung-fu wielding Gary Coleman as a Security Guard? Also, as the Funzo seems a direct reference to the Furby, did any of you ever have one of those things?]

#15 - Saddlesore Galactica {The Simpsons get an abused horse and make him a contender in horse racing. Homer finds out a secret conspiracy about jockeys. Lisa tries to reach President Clinton when the results of a school band talent competition seem tainted.} [Something always bothered me about this episode, and I think it's the creepy jockeys-turned-Keebler-Elves. Who knew? The episode "borrows" from several other past Simpsons, including Lisa's horse and Marge's gambling problem, which Comic Book Guy is only too happy to point out. As Homer said when finding out Lisa is in the battle of the bands and he has to stay, "I stand by my disappointed groan."]

#14 - Faith Off {Bart is led to believe he has special healing powers after a tent revival.} [I like Bart as a Faith Healer. The highlight of the whole episode is that great musical number when Bart starts his ministry; Cherri and Terri make great groupies. My other great memory is the foreign kicker who will have nothing to fall back on because he majored in English. "I know...is a phony major!"]

#13 - Pygmoelian {Plastic surgery not only transforms Moe the Bartender from ugly to hunky, it helps gets him a job on a hit daytime drama.} [I've only seen ten minutes of MY FAIR LADY, and hated that, so I didn't get every reference, but I did enjoy the sight of Moe as a looker, and I loved the send-up of Daytime Soap cliches.]

#12 - Eight Misbehavin' {Apu struggles with fatherhood after Manjula gives birth to octuplets.} [How great was the Octuplets show at the zoo? (Octopia!) Normally I find babies ugly, but I guess not Indian babies, and not 8 of them!]

#11 - Last Tap Dance in Springfield {Lisa has difficulties learning to tap dance. Meanwhile Bart and Milhouse ditch summer camp to spend a week living in the mall.}[This episode combines two of my childhood fantasies: living at a mall, and a girl who can tap dance. (Well, I really wanted a ballerina, but whatever; as long as she has the calves.) I love how "Lisabella" gets pregnant in the movie just from dancing; Baptists would have a field day with that. And I go back to the mall: non-stop video games, candy, great beds, escalators. Except for the occasional Cougar, what's not to love? Tappa Tappa Tappa!]

#10 - Guess Who's Coming to Criticize Dinner? {Homer's negative reviews as a food critic puts his life in danger. Fortunately he has Lisa fighting for him.}[Homer makes a great food critic, and the plot to kill him in the end (via poisoned eclair) fits right in. As Marge puts it, "Only your father could take a part-time job at a small town paper and wind up the target of international assassins." Even when Homer turns against all the restaurants, his lowest rating is 7 stars (out of 4). However, his prose does him proud: "So come to The Legless Frog if you want to get sick and die and leave a big garlicky corpse. PS, parking was ample."]

#9 - Little Big Mom {Lisa finds out how rough Marge has it when her mom is in traction and she becomes the woman of the house. Homer and Bart's antics get her so worked up she conspires to teach them a lesson.} [I love it when Lisa gets a little comeuppance, although I have to admit her leprosy idea (well, Lisa and Lucy's) was pretty keen. Bart and Homer looking at each other and going "Unclean! Unclean!" will go down in my memory, but perhaps not as much as Flanders in his ski suit. Stupid Sexy Flanders!]

#8 - E-I-E-I-(ANNOYED GRUNT) {Homer cowards out of a pistol-duel and hides out with the rest of the family on a country farm.} [This episode is memorable for one simple reason: ToMacco. Seriously: when has Homer come up with that great an idea before? My other great memory is Homer talking in "movie-poster," like when he tells Marge, "Sometimes you have to break the rules to free your heart" and "When there's nothing left to believe in, believe in hope." When questioned, Homer just as breathlessly announces he got his wisdom, "From the producers of....Waiting to Exhale."]

#7 - Beyond Blunderdome {When Mel Gibson becomes convinced that Homer is the only man with the guts to tell him the truth, he insists Homer accompany him to Hollywood to help fix his newest film project, a remake of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.}[A really solid episode all the way around. Mel Gibson was a good sport to agree to all of this. The Jimmy Stewart allusions (three, I think) are classic, and Homer/Mel have a great chemistry.]

#6 - Missionary: Impossible {When Homer is wanted dead for reneging on a 10,000 dollar pledge to PBS, Reverend Lovejoy sets him up for missionary work in the South Pacific until the heat dies down.} [One of the classics. So much to love. The PBS angle was awesome. Betty White, Mr. Rogers, the Telletubbies and the Sesame Street chasing Homer. ("Elmo knows where you live!") And who can forget how quickly the casino ruined the natives? "How can Ace be worth 1 and 11? What kind of God would allow that?" However, this episode will forever be immortalized for the first time Homer ever uttered those prophetic words: "Save me,Jebus!"]

#5 - Brother's Little Helper {Bart is put on medication to control his behavior, but the pills cause him to become paranoid and insane.}[One of the greatest parody episodes of all time. How great was "Focusyn? And Bart turns all paranoid about MLB, which turns out to be true! (Mark McGwire saying "Yoink!" as he steals the list was classic. Sadly, the last time he would appear in public without assumed shame.) There's a great clown-car gag, and nerd-Bart gets me every time.]

#4 - It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Marge {Everybody loves the new Simpsons' house guest Becky. Except Marge, who thinks Becky wants to kill her.} [Oh my, is this classic. First Otto asks Becky to marry him in the drive-thru (cutting off her answer to wail alongside the radio during a guitar solo), then he rejects Becky when he finds out she doesn't like Heavy Metal. (Lost in this is the in-joke that Otto considers Poison Heavy Metal.) Then Marge starts to go crazy, thinking Becky is trying to take over. Becky leaves the skins in the mashed potatoes, which Homer loves, and she ties the socks differently so as to not wear out the elastic. (After watching this episode I have done this.) Patty and Selma are no help. Patty says, "Never let an attractive woman into your house. All they do is usurp your family and then kill you." Selma adds, "Like that documentary THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE." What's funny is that the men are all chuckling to themselves, while you women--EVEN THE MOST ARDENT AND EVOLVED FEMINISTS--secretly agree with this. At first Marge is dubious, but eventually she goes off the deep end, which ends up with her screaming at Becky, "Usurper! Usurper!" This is such a great episode. I cannot believe it's ranked this low. The rest must be orgasmic.]

#3 - Alone Again, Natura-Diddly {Ned deals with his grief after Maude's untimely death.}[The Simpsons don't kill people very often, but then they do, they go all out. Maude's death was treated with the solemnity it deserved--knocked off the back of the bleachers during a NASCAR race by a T-shirt fired by a T-shirt gun while carrying non-footlong hotdogs. I mean, how much more sacred can you get? This episode marks the beginning of Homer treating Ned less like the enemy and more like a friend....a friend he often can't stand. Homer's dating tape for Ned is hysterical, and overall this is just a class episode all the way. One other thing I have to mention. At the funeral Bart ends up playing Bible Blasters (a video game) with Rod and Todd, trying to convert the heathens. At one point Bart only "wings" the non-believer, making him a Unitarian. My dad dies laughing every time he sees that scene.]

#2 - Behind the Laughter {The Simpsons discuss their fame in a behind the scenes look at the show.} [It's shows like this that set The Simpsons apart from anything else out there. What an amazing idea, parodying not only VH1's Behind the Music, but the very Simpsons themselves. The episode treats The Simpsons as if it were a TV show, played by the Simpson family. Brilliant. The behind-the-scenes fighting. The crappy merchandising. The "growth" hormones the kids got to stay same size. Even the narration is a terrific send-up of over-the-topdocutainment specials. I love when The Simpsons show daring, even if they don't 100% pull it off, like the Spin-off Showcase. This episode is just perfect, and gets better every time. Plus, for one shining moment at least, we learn where the Simpsons live!]

#1 - Bart to the Future {Bart gets a glimpse of the future while the family is on vacation at an Indian casino.} [I honestly think if you take all the components of this episode together, it makes the Top Ten of all time, and it gets better every time I watch it. Amazingly, it might be even better than the first "future" episode, where Lisa is engaged to HughParkfield and the robots keep crying. In this episode Lisa is president (where you get two secret murders, and if you don't use 'em, you lose 'em). So many great moments, from Rod and Todd being gay, to "Smell you Later!" as the national phrase for Goodbye. The temporary refund adjustment. (I'm surprised no politician has tried this.) Homer and Marge searching for Lincoln's lost Treasure, and Homer's response when they find it. Then there is the immortalKrusty joke, made in a wheelchair, that's so hilariously inappropriate I cannot repeat it here. But it was Bart's vision of the future, so when Lisa asks about it, Bart eagerly tells about his band and his moped, but as to Lisa's future, Bart shrugs, "Eh....some government job."]

(Originally published December, 2008)

Stupid Sexy Flanders!

Obscure Simpsons' Reference Band Names


#20 Sideshow Luke Perry - Who can forget Krusty's worthless half-brother? (I was also tempted to go with "Krudler," a racehorse co-owned by Krusty and Bette Midler.)

#19 Worker and Parasite – This would make a great German band

#18 In Rod We Trust – This would also make a good Twilight Zone tribute band.

#17 Floor Pie – Who hasn't fallen for this most subtle of traps?

#16 Poochie, We Hardly Knew Ye – 
"The name's Poochie D and I rock the Telly
I'm half Joe Camel and a third Fonzarelli
I'm the kung fu hippie from Gangsta city
I'm a rappin' Surfer you the fool I pity!"

#15 Nahasapeemapetilon – You're halfway to "MacArthur Park" just with the name

#14 Mr. Plow – "What's my name? Mr. Plow. That name again is Mr. Plow."

#13 Worst Band Ever! – Right now Weezer is upset they didn't think of this ironic band name first.

#12 Feast of Maximum Occupancy – It's not just a band, it's a religion!

#11 I was saying Boo-urns – For the Hans Moleman in all of us.

#10 Maison Derriere – 
We're the gin in your martini, 
The clams on your linguini, 
Yes we put the [BOING sound-effect] in Springfield!
(Move over Barry White)

#9 Pageant of the Transmundane – It just sounds so much more majestic than Freak Show, doesn't it? To this day Billy Corgan is made he made his second group Zwan.

#8 The Gilded Truffle – I'm sensing Southern Rock, or possibly an operatic touring company

#7 Fishbulb – "Mr. Sparkle" would also make a fantastic name, but Fishbulb just gets at the heart of what makes The Simpsons great

#6 Remorseless Eating Machine – There's no truth to the rumor that this is made up of the ghosts of Miami Sound Machine. (Too soon?) 

#5 Amanda Hugginkiss – Why can't I find Amanda Hugginkiss? (Maybe my standards are too high.)

#4 Serak the Preparer – If you were really cool, you'd have a bumper sticker made up saying, "Don't blame me, I voted for Serak the Preparer." (This one is really obscure, so ten points to anyone who got it.)

#3 Half-Inflated Dark Lord – This band could totally spin off of Spinal Tap. You've got death-metal just waiting to happen. Oy! (I love how they censored the syndicated episode.)

#2 Purple Monkey Dishwasher – I'm so excited about this one that I'm actually going to start it. I'm thinking Rap/Folk/Polka, or RaFolka. Who's with me?

And the number one obscure band name you can get from The Simpsons is….

#1 Stonecutters – You KNOW you want to sing along, so I have the lyrics for you. Long live Steve Gutenberg! 

Who controls the British crown? 
Who keeps the metric system down? 
We do! We do! 
Who leaves Atlantis off the maps? 
Who keeps the Martians under wraps? 
We do! We do! 
Who holds back the electric car? 
Who makes Steve Guttenberg a star? 
We do! We do! 
Who robs the cavefish of their sight? 
Who rigs every Oscars night? 
We do! We do!

(originally published July, 2007)

[August 2014 Update - I've been watching The Simpsons Every. Episode. Ever. marathon virtually non-stop for eight days. During that time I came up with a few more great obscure Simpsons references that would make killer band names. I was going to re-number the list. but it took me ten minutes to count how many episodes it's been; there was no way I could re-number everything and find pictures. Anyway, I hope you like them, and if you think of any more leave 'em in the Comments! -H]

Superslaw - This would probably work best as a Hellmann's Mayonnaise commercial band. You know, like how there was that Free Credit Report band for awhile?

Flying Hellfish - of if they are into pot - Flying Hellphish

Armin's Frozen Peas - These three words may be the funniest thing Skinner has ever said. Would work for a Weezer-type band

Whipping Cupcakes - To be honest, this might work better as a sexual position

Abattoir & Costello LLC - Would also make a FEARED Personal Injury Law Firm name

Space Coyote - If I made the list again, Space Coyote would be #1 with a bullet. Would also make a fantastic mascot for a football team!

"Good night, Springton; there will be no encore!"

17 Seconds

Seventeen seconds after they jumped the world ended.
Torn apart by war, family, fate, they decided 
They would rather die together than live apart. 
Had they but known (how could they?) 
What was about to happen
Perhaps they would have spent those last seventeen seconds together - all the time left in the world
But I suspect not. 
They would not want to share their moment with anyone. 
They would want it to be theirs and theirs alone.

In the Stillness

The quiet stillness hangs heavy in the Dark.   
They call it Solitude, but this is a dressed-up word.  
It is Loneliness, and the Night alone knows its silent savage effect.

One never feels so empty, so hollow, so hopeless and so truly 


As in that darkened stillness.  

The days seem long when they are happening, 
But at night they are just....
Gone, snatched away with barely a
Jumbled memory left to hold in their place.

How can this much of your life have been taken from you, 
With so little of your Life's Work accomplished?  
Where have the days gone?  
How long has it been since you laid there 
Thinking these very same thoughts, and
What have you done since the last time?

These are the things one thinks of, 
Alone with the cruelty of unstoppable thought, 
There in the dark, in the stillness.

The enormity of Life's flow lost cannot be understood by the young. 
They are transcendent in their immortality, and
Elevate trifles to problems and problems to crises, 
To be obsessed over and moved on from before the Moon turns, 
Before the Dawn breaks Night's hold.

It is only after some of those days, 
And weeks, 
And months 
And years 
Pile up that their true worth becomes apparent, and 
Even then there seems nothing ever to be done but
Bitter lamentation. 

Moving forward, 
Life plays out as the Tyranny of the Urgent, 
One moment, 
One thing after another that needs be done.  
Only in the stillness, in the dark, do those 
Moments which seemed so necessary 
Fall flat when held up and examined, 
When compared to ideas, goals and dreams.  
The banality of daily life is almost too terrible to face, the 
Shame of it might bring down Heaven's judgment at this 
Very moment 'twere there any justice.  

These are the things one thinks in the stillness, in the dark.

They say the death of a man is the destruction of a great library, 
Full of works that can never be copied or retrieved.  
Each day wasted is like a book thrown in the fire, 
Given over to the hunger of implacable flame.  
The binding cracked, the pages singed, now charred, now gone.  
The fire eats the book without remorse - it will 
Never ever be read by anyone.

These are the thoughts one has, alone in the stillness, in the dark. 

{Originally Published June, 2010}

Travel Down That Road


Travel down that Road with me, travel down that Road
Not to a Place, or a Time...or a Memory...
But a Feeling.  You know the one I mean.
The feeling that does not have any words to describe it. 
I would best call it....I don't know....searching....maybe
Contentment, stretching its muscles languorously, 
Pushing against Boundaries, not as if to destroy the 
Walls of a Prison, but as if one reaching out to the 
Rough-hewn rock for the first time, Feeling the deliciously 
Cool texture against finger-tips and cheek.
Like stretching muscles you didn't know you have - 
A slight tug of resistance -- maybe even a little pain -- 
But nothing you cannot handle, or even welcome. 
Fixing the Calendar won't work - neither of us trusts that 
Drunken Guardian Time to keep vigil on the Truth
To a Place?  As if the mind could be so contained. 
To Memory?  She's a whore: she goes where the money is. 
(Don't mention Logic. The smartest never have a clue.)
All we have left, then, is admittedly the worst standard of 
Measurement available; we can never explain it to others, 
Something we can rarely understand in ourselves.
An inner THRUM of Thought and Bone fused together.
Can you feel it?  Is your soul stretching with a slow smile?
Travel down that Road with me.  Travel down that Road. 

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