Monday, April 7, 2008

The Simpsons: Season 1 Ranking

Since the age of three, The Simpsons have been in my life. My parents were never the sheltering kind and believed that exposing me to several different (perhaps "inappropriate") forms of media, would keep me from rebelling as a teenager and turning into a drug addicted stripper/prostitute showcased in Lifetime's Movie of the Week. It worked. I can safely say that I am a sober, well adjusted college student who spends her free time writing blogs on various forms of entertainment instead of shooting up. So, for my first post, I have decided to rank my Season 1 of The Simpsons.

Like most television series, Season 1 is often different in style and mood from its later seasons. The Simpsons is no exception. Definitely a pilot season, these episodes aren't quite as funny as later on in the series' run. None the less, Season 1 has its gems, which I will describe in excruciating she-nerd detail.

Here we go... 

13. Homer's Odyssey
12. There's No Disgrace Like Home
11. The Telltale Head
10. Bart the Genius
9. Call of The Simpsons
8. Homer's Night Out
7. Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire
6. Some Enchanted Evening

Rank: 5
Episode: Moaning Lisa (1-6)
Suffering from a case of the blues, Lisa struggles with her day to day life which is only lightened when she meets soulful jazz musician Bleeding Gums Murphy.

Commentary: I love Lisa episodes. I have always associated with Lisa the most of all the Simpsons characters. This is quite odd because I'm not like her at all. I'm not a book worm or a do-gooder or a vegetarian, but for some reason Lisa's episodes always manage to speak to me more than Bart, Homer, and even Marge episodes. It's probably just because I'm a girl. That being said, Moaning Lisa is the only Lisa episode of Season 1, and definitely the most morose. An eight-year-old with depression? Unfortunately, it's probably more common than we wish to admit. But in 1990, in an animated show, I think it was rather brave to show this kind of an issue involving a little girl. Granted, Lisa is mature beyond her years so I suppose it makes sense for her to be aware of the "suffering in the world" and fully grasp it. Sorry to get so philosophical, but the seriousness of this episode sets it apart from the others. The message of the story is that it's okay to be sad once in a while and it helps to have people there who understand.

Favorite Quote: Marge: "Lisa, get away from th
at jazz man!" [to Bleeding Gums] "Nothing personal, I just fear the unfamiliar."

Rank: 4
Episode: Bart the General (1-5)
Synopsis: With the help of his grandpa, his schoolmates and a specialist in warfare, Bart rises against the school bully.

Comments: Bart the General is very, very much a guy episode. Bullies. War. Training montages. Various references to 1970's Best Picture Winner Patton. My reasons for ranking this episode so high elude me. I suppose I like it because it shows Bart as a protector. The reason why he gets into so much trouble with Nelson (in his first appearance) is for defending Lisa. I like episodes where Bart and Lisa get along. They're very sweet, and I am fond of sweet. I also like that Bart is shown as an underdog other than the usual 1990's smartass answer to Dennis the Menace. He actually cries in this episode, which I don't believe happens after the second season. Bart the General is a true underdog story, but one that requires the help of others.

Favorite Quote: "Contrary to what you've just seen, war is neither glamorous nor fun. There are no winners; only losers. There are no good wars, with following acceptions: the American Revolution, World War II, and the Star Wars trilogy. If you'd like to learn more about war, there's lots of books in your local library, many of them with cool gory pictures. Well, good night, everybody. Peace, man." - Bart

Rank: 3
Episode: The Crepes of Wrath (1-11)
Synopsis: After getting on the last nerve of Homer and Principal Skinner, Bart is sent to France via a student exchange program where he is treated as a slave to two wine-making brothers.
Comments:Woo-hoo, another Bart episode! In this one, Bart is back to his normal bad boy self. However, instead of the usual episodes where he gets away with murder, he is actually punished, all though indirectly. Why do I like this one so much? It's not because of the schmaltz. (Bart cries again because of an emotional letter from home). But simply because the French brothers, Cesar and Ugolin are a stereotypical hoot. Only on The Simpsons would violation of child labor laws be humorous. But can you really say that Bart didn't deserve it? I mean, as much as I love him, he is kind of a little shit. His trip to France turns out to be an educational experience that, at least for the time being, makes him realize how lucky he is to have his crazy family.

Favorite Quote: Bart: "Hey, come on you guys, quit being so grabby."
Cesar and Ugolin: "ARGHH!"

Rank: 2

Episode: Krusty Gets Busted (1-12)
Synopsis: After Krusty the Klown is accused of robbing the Kwik-E-Mart, Bart and Lisa set out to prove his innocence.

Comments: I want everyone who sets their eyes on this blog to know that I hate clowns. They are creepy and cause unnecessary terror for children and adults. However, for some unknown reason, Krusty has never bothered me. He's not my favorite character, mind you, but I have always been fond of him. Maybe it's because he has vices and doesn't try to uphold an image of perfection. My affection for Krusty is not the reason for putting this episode in my top 5. I love it because it is a very clever mystery story and is only solved because of the loyalty of Bart, who refuses to believe that his hero is guilty of armed robbery. With the help of Lisa, the siblings use their knowledge of Krusty to help solve the mystery. The clown's pacemaker, illiteracy, and small feet eventually prove that a jealous Sideshow Bob framed Krusty to take over his after school show and turn it into a "Cavalcade of Whimsy" where the children are exposed to readings of The Man in the Iron Mask. Of course, all wrongs are righted in the end and Sideshow Bob is sent to prison and instantly becomes a reoccuring character in the Simpsons universe.

Favorite Quote: Apu: "Hey, hey, this is not a lending library! If you're not going to buy that thing, put it down or I'll blow your heads off!"

Rank: 1
Episode: Life On the Fast Lane (1-9)
Synopsis: Marge takes up bowling lessons with a handsome teacher after Homer selfishly bestows her with a bowling ball for her birthday. 

Comments: Here it is. My favorite Simpsons episode from Season 1. I am not alone in my favoritism. This episode actually won the Emmy for "Outstanding Animated Program." I truly believe that this is the best episode of the season. All Simpsons fans know how rocky Marge and Homer's marriage is and usually, as seen in later seasons, it is Homer's fault. This episode starts out no different, but eventually Marge, the rock and ever loyal and righteous half of the partnership actually considers having an affair with the suave, charming, and attentive Jacques. There are several touching moments in the episode, such as when Homer discovers the personalized bowling glove that Jacques gives to Marge and the moment when he tells her how much he loves her perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We also see Bart and Lisa's reaction to their mother's possible affair. It's a surprisingly deep and touching story for a shown most known for slapstick humor and "Ay Carumba!" It's episodes like this that make me love the Simpsons. Emotion and humor can work together, and often create something not easily forgotten.

Favorite Quote:
Jacques: "To the greatest moment in life, better than the deed, better than the memory...the moment of anticipation."

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