Next month fledgling network FXX, which purchased the rights to all 25 seasons of The Simpsons, will air the longest marathon in TV history when it shows nearly two weeks of episodes of one of the greatest sitcoms ever 24 hours per day culminating in the release of all episodes of the cartoon comedy online. All 552 episodes plus the movie will air in a row, unabated. For any fan of The Simpsons, it is enough to make you want to guzzle orange soda and down burritos like the Comic Book Guy in what we can only imagine will be the BEST. MARATHON. EVER!
I began watching the show before it was a show, when it was just a skit on the Tracey Ullman Show. At the time, it was mildly creepy and surreal. By the time it hit the air, I was hooked. I still have the body of a bass guitar I bought years ago with Bart Simpson riding a skateboard on it, painted by a good friend of mine.
The smartest thing the show ever did, however, was shift the focus from Bart to Homer right around season three. It opened the show up for adults and helped keep it interesting. It doesn't hurt that both the amazing writers and brilliant voice over celebrities have some of the best comedic timing in the business.
In honor of the marathon, here are ten of my favorite moments...whittled down from about 200.
Rock stars, is there anything they don't know?
In the episode, "Lisa the Vegetarian," Homer is driven a little crazy by Lisa's insistence on pushing her new found food choices on her family. She even destroy's Homer's barbecue by sending the prized pig rolling down the road and, ultimately, soaring through the air -- making for a nice Mr. Burns "when pigs fly" joke. In the end, Paul and Linda McCartney offer Lisa advice on vegetarianism and tolerance. Homer, with one of his occasional moments of clarity, seems to understand and takes Lisa on a veggie-back ride.
Simpson, Homer Simpson, he's the greatest guy in history.
In one of many brilliant musical numbers, Homer does an opening number as Fred Flintstone, altering the words to his predecessors theme song in the episode "Marge vs. Monorail."
"You might remember me from such films as..."
There were so many amazing moments from Troy McClure, voiced by the late, great Phil Hartman, but perhaps nothing funnier than his "Stop the Planet of the Apes, I Want to Get Off" musical from "A Fish Called Selma." No one can forget all his "you might remember me from" films including "P" is for Psycho, Locker Room Towel Fight: The Blinding of Larry Driscoll and Suddenly Last Supper, but it is impossible to top the Dr. Zeus song.
Me fail English, that's unpossible.
Ralph, the son of chubby police chief Clancy Wiggum, is not exactly what you might call quick witted -- a chip off the ol' block, in fact. He is known for some of his oddball one-liners, but perhaps none better than the above.
A Twizzler is not a sprinkle.
Hank Azaria voices a number of characters on The Simpsons but none as endearing as Apu, the Indian-born Kwik-E-Mart proprietor. Here, he has a problem with Homer's selection of toppings for his donut.
Two, four, six, eight, Homer's crime is really great...
No one can ever accuse the staff writers for the show of not being intelligent. In fact, many of them are clearly word nerds. In "Homer Badman," an attempt to pry the irresistible Gummy Venus de Milo from the rear end of a baby sitter lands Homer in some hot water. The chant outside his home was an English major's wet dream.
We just heard this place existed.
In "Bart After Dark," the boy is taught a lesson by being forced to work in a secret house of burlesque called La Maison Derrière. The culmination of the episode is another classic Simpsons musical number including a moment of whimsy from Nelson and a couple other juvenile delinquents.
Not the Kentucky Fried Panda! It was finger Ling Ling good!
In "Lisa the Tree Hugger," residents of Springfield try to save an old tree from a developer who wears a cowboy hat and shoots his six guns indiscriminately while shouting, "Yee haw!" Lisa is sucked into the whole thing by a dreamy environmentalist. When the tree is finally cut down, it careens down the hillside and into town where it levels Kentucky Fried Panda. It's at that moment we hear Homer cry out for his beloved restaurant.
I didn't think he'd do "Moon River," but then -- bam! -- second encore!
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When Bart steals the family car to go on a road trip with Milhouse, Nelson and Martin, they wind up in Branson for a performance of Andy Williams. Turns out, bully Nelson Muntz is a huge fan of the crooner and coos in appreciation despite the rest of the gang's ambivalence.
I'm looking for Amanda Hugginkiss. Why can't I find Amanda Hugginkiss?
In early episodes, a favorite bit found Bart prank calling Moe's Tavern seeking out characters like I.P. Freely and Mike Rotch. Once Moe caught on, he would threaten Bart in some fairly creative and descriptive ways. When Bart asks for Amanda Hugginkiss, Barney responds to the above question with, "Maybe your standards are too high." If that weren't enough, Moe goes off on Bart with this gem: "If I ever find out who you are, I'm going shove a sausage down your throat and stick starving dogs in your butt."