Thursday, October 6, 2016

Every Season of The Simpsons Ranked


The Simpsons was an animated American sitcom that aired between October, 1990 and May, 1999.* Although it only lasted for 9 memorable seasons, The Simpsons still easily managed to become the greatest television show in the history of the universe and perhaps even the single greatest achievement of homo sapiens. While it is widely understood that these 9 seasons of The Simpsons are outstanding practically beyond description, it is not widely understood which of those 9 seasons is the best. This is an important question, as determining which season of The Simpsons is the best will consequently determine which year was the best for the human race, as the people who were alive at that time had the opportunity to experience the unparalleled joy of the 20+ episodes of the show for the first time. This would have been, it follows, the most joyous time to have been a denizen of our planet.

*Note: The television program discussed in this article is not to be confused with "The Simpsons," which aired between 1989 and 1990, or "The Simpsons," which began in 1999 and continues through the present and features the same nominal cast of characters.

Understanding the task of ranking the 9 seasons of The Simpsons to be a gravely serious and important one, I did not enter into the commitment lightly and without due reverence, for I comprehended my task to be one of the most consequential ever undertaken by any person who has yet lived. Thus I resolved to be thorough and rigorous in my method, which was generally the following: First, I illegally downloaded all 9 seasons of the show (I don't have TV or a DVD player, ok?) and put them into individual folders. Then, in an attempt to remove any preexisting biases about which seasons were superior to others, I renamed the folders with random strings of letters and then sorted them alphabetically to randomize the order. From there I began to watch the episodes from season beginning to end and rate each one (with the exception of clip shows, which I did not include) on a scale of 1-10. (In hindsight I can see that this was an absurd idea, as it implies that it is possible for an episode of The Simpsons to score something less than, say, a 6 or 7. That is obviously not possible. Irregardless!) I kept a fastidious spreadsheet of the randomized season names and the ratings of each individual episode of each season, which I then averaged for comparison. After tallying the average scores for each season, I was able to compare the averages and determine when mankind's greatest achievement occurred.

So, without further Apu, here is how the 9 seasons stack up, from least to most awesome.

9th Place: Season 9 (average: 7.46/10)


By the lofty standards of The Simpsons, season 9 is rather mediocre. The writing is already in noticeable decline at this point, and the characters are beginning to become less lovable, less recognizable as their iconic selves from previous seasons. Although this season scored just one perfect 10 with "The Last Temptation of Krusty," there are still some gems here, most notably "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson," "Bart Star," and "Girlie Edition."

The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson9
The Principal and the Pauper
8
Lisa's Sax
8
Treehouse of Horror VIII
7
The Cartridge Family
7
Bart Star
9
The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons
8
Lisa the Skeptic
8
Reality Bites
7
Miracle on Evergreen Terrace
8
Bart Carny
7
The Joy of Sect
8
Das Bus
8
The Last Temptation of Krusty
10
Dumbbell Indemnity
8
Lisa the Simpson
8
This Little Wiggy
7
Simpson Tide
8
The Trouble With Trillions
7
Girlie Edition
9
Trash of the Titans
7
King of the Hill
7
Lost Our Lisa
7Natural Born Kissers7

8th Place: Season 2 (average: 7.54/10)


Season 2, which is confusingly the first season of The Simpsons, depicts a show still in its infancy and finding its singular comedic voice. As is characteristic of the first few seasons, the show is much more sentimental than it is outright funny; some of the most memorable episodes deal with important moments for the characters, like Marge and Homer's high school prom night, Bart's surprisingly genuine disappointment at failing a test (and subsequent elation at eventually passing it), Lisa's attachment to her substitute teacher Mr. Bergstrom, or Homer believing he was going to die after eating improperly prepared blowfish. Season 2 also contains the first "Treehouse of Horror" episode, a tradition continued by every subsequent season.

Bart Gets an 'F'
7
Simpson and Delilah
9
Treehouse of Horror
9
Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish
7
Dancin' Homer
7
Dead Putting Society
8
Bart vs. Thanksgiving
7
Bart the Daredevil
9
Itchy and Scratchy and Marge
8
Bart Gets Hit by a Car
7
One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Bluefish
8
The Way We Was
9
Homer vs. Lisa and the Eighth Commandment
7
Principal Charming
6
Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?
8
Bart's Dog Gets an 'F'
7
Old Money
7
Brush With Greatness
7
Lisa's Substitute
7
The War of The Simpsons
8
Three Men and a Comic Book
7
Blood Feud
7

7th Place: Season 10 (average: 7.65/10)



The 9th and final season of the show, Season 10 is firmly situated within the decline towards the program's end. There are some disappointingly mediocre episodes here, like the generally forgettable "Make Room for Lisa" and "The Old Man and the C-Student," but there are thankfully a few brilliant episodes to prop up the average. Stephen Hawking still stands out as one of the best "celebrity" cameos ever in "They Saved Lisa's Brain." This season's "Treehouse of Horror" episode is particularly memorable, and "Thirty Minutes over Tokyo" is easily one of the best episodes in any of the last few seasons.

Lard of the Dance
7
The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace
8
Bart the Mother
7
Treehouse of Horror IX
9
When You Dish upon a Star
7
D'oh-in in the Wind
8
Lisa Gets an 'A'
8
Homer Simpson in Kidney Trouble
8
Mayored to the Mob
7
Viva Ned Flanders
7
Wild Barts Can't Be Broken
7
Sunday, Cruddy Sunday
8
Homer to the Max
8
I'm With Cupid
7
Marge Simpson in "Screaming Yellow Honkers"
7
Make Room for Lisa
6
Maximum Homerdrive
7
Simpsons Bible Stories
9
Mom and Pop Art
8
The Old Man and the C-Student
6
Monty Can't Buy Love
8
They Saved Lisa's Brain
9
Thirty Minutes over Tokyo
10

6th Place: Season 3 (average: 8.14/10)


The average score gap between 7th and 6th place is the largest between any two seasons on the list; from here to the top, there really are no bad episodes. Every season from those remaining (3-8) should be widely celebrated as the "golden age" of The Simpsons. Season 3 only scores one perfect 10, but it's one of my all-time favorite Simpsons episodes: "Homer at the Bat." Sentimentality and moral tales abound in this season as well, but the trademark Simpsons humor clearly shines through every episode. Season 3 brought us the "Flaming Moe," the fabricated tragic story of "Timmy O'Toole," and the folksy country stylings of Lurleen Lumpkin. All that's left to say is, "Goodnight, Springden. There will be no encores."

Stark Raving Dad
9
Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington
8
When Flanders Failed
8
Bart the Murderer
9
Homer Defined
8
Like Father Like Clown
8
Treehouse of Horror II
9
Lisa's Pony
7
Saturdays of Thunder
8
Flaming Moe's
8
Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk
7
I Married Marge
9
Radio Bart
8
Lisa the Greek
8
Homer Alone
7
Bart the Lover
9
Homer at the Bat
10
Separate Vocations
7
Dog of Death
7
Colonel Homer
9
Black Widower
7
The Otto Show
9
Brother Can You Spare Two Dimes
8
Bart's Friend Falls in Love
8

5th Place: Season 5 (average: 8.32/10)


Season 5 of The Simpsons, or as it was known briefly, The Thompsons, ("...I think he's talking to you") only contains one perfect episode in my estimation, but it's an iconic one: Homer's Barbershop Quartet. 8 other episodes, however, come damn close at 9/10, giving season 5 the most classic Simpsons episodes of any season so far. Homer blasts into space, Marge is involved in a high-speed police chase in a stolen car, Lisa strikes a blow for equality with the Lisa Lionheart doll, Bart wins an elephant from a local radio station, and Sideshow Bob performs Gilbert and Sullivan's  H.M.S. Pinafore. "We'll take the Spruce Moose! Hop in! ...I said, hop in."

Bart Gets an Elephant
9
Bart Gets Famous
8
Bart's Inner Child
8
Boy-Scoutz 'N the Hood
7
Burns' Heir
8
Cape Feare
8
Deep Space Homer
9
Homer and Apu
8
Homer Goes to College
9
Homer Loves Flanders
8
Homer the Vigilante
8
Homer's Barbershop Quartet
10
Lady Bouvier's Lover
7
Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy
9
Marge on the Lam
9
Rosebud
8
Secrets of a Successful Marriage
8
Springfield
9
Sweet Seymour Skinner's Badass Song
8
The Boy Who Knew Too Much
7
The Last Temptation of Homer
9
Treehouse of Horror IV
9

4th Place: Season 6 (average: 8.33/10)


Even with 5 perfect episodes ("Bart vs. Australia," "Itchy & Scratchy Land," "Lemon of Troy," "Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part I)," and "Treehouse of Horror V"), Season 6 is still just the 4th best season of The Simpsons. That speaks more to the brilliance of the seasons ahead of it than to the inadequacy of this one, because some of the show's most iconic moments are found here, including what is probably the best "Treehouse of Horror" episode of any season. Season 6 has left its mark if the phrase "purple monkey dishwasher" means anything to you, or if you know all of the words to Mr. Burns' epic "See My Vest" song-and-dance number. "Now let's all celebrate with a cool glass of turnip juice."

A Star is Burns
9
And Maggie Makes Three
9
Bart of Darkness
8
Bart vs. Australia
10
Bart's Comet
9
Bart's Girlfriend
8
Fear of Flying
8
Grandpa vs. Sexual Inadequacy
9
Homer Badman
9
Homer the Great
8
Homer vs. Patty and Selma
8
Homie the Clown
9
Itchy & Scratchy Land
10
Lemon of Troy
10
Lisa on Ice
8
Lisa's Rival
8
Lisa's Wedding
8
'Round Springfield
8
Sideshow Bob Roberts
7
The PTA Disbands!
9
The Springfield Connection
8
Treehouse of Horror V
10
Two Dozen and One Greyhounds
9
Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part I)
10

3rd Place: Season 8 (average: 8.48/10)


It's difficult to look at the episode list for season 8 and understand how it isn't the best season of The Simpsons. It certainly contains some of the single greatest episodes the show has ever done, including "Bart After Dark," which is my personal all-time favorite episode. Add in Frank Grimes, Shary Bobbins, Rex Banner, and Hank Scorpio, and season 8 seems like the undisputed champion. While the highs are astronomical, though, there are too many episodes that are simply ok, and they drag the average down enough to be bested overall by two other seasons. Any top 10 list of episodes, however, would certainly have more selections from season 8 than any other. The periodic brilliance of season 8 makes the general mediocrity of season 9 even more baffling. "In your face, space coyote!"

Bart After Dark
10
A Milhouse Divided
8
Burns, Baby, Burns
7
El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer
10
Grade School Confidential
8
Homer vs. The Eighteenth Amendment
9
Homer's Enemy
10
Homer's Phobia
9
Hurricane Neddy
8
In Marge We Trust
10
Lisa's Date with Destiny
8
Mountain of Madness
7
My Sister, My Sitter
7
Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious
9
The Brother from Another Series
8
The Canine Mutiny
8
The Homer they Fall
8
The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show
10
The Old Man and the Lisa
7
The Secret War of Lisa Simpson
8
The Simpsons Spinoff Showcase
9
The Springfield Files
9
The Twisted World of Marge Simpson
7
Treehouse of Horror VII
9
You Only Move Twice
9




2nd Place: Season 4 (average: 8.52/10)


Season 4's brilliance is the complete inverse of season 8's. If season 8 is a smattering of supernovae against relatively cold background radiation, season 4 is a sky full of shimmering constellations. There are only a few perfect episodes here - "Marge vs. The Monorail," "Selma's Choice," and "Treehouse of Horror III" - but the rest of them are damn close. You won't find the best known Simpsons moments in season 4, but you will find a consistent comedic voice that's constantly firing on all cylinders, and it is glorious. Choose any episode from this season and sit back and enjoy the perfect mix of soul and silliness. "Duff Gardens... Hurrah!"

Kamp Krusty
9
A Streetcar Named Marge
9
Homer the Heretic
9
Lisa the Beauty Queen
9
Treehouse of Horror III
10
Itchy and Scratchy the Movie
8
Marge Gets a Job
8
New Kid on the Block
8
Mr. Plow
9
Lisa's First Word
9
Homer's Triple Bypass
9
Marge vs. the Monorail
10
Selma's Choice
10
Brother from the Same Planet
7
I Love Lisa
8
Duffless
8
Last Exit to Springfield
7
The Front
8
Whacking Day
8
Marge in Chains
7
Krusty Gets Kancelled
9

1st Place: Season 7 (average: 8.87/10)


Not only does season 7 have the most perfect episodes (6), but it also is the only season in which every single episode scored 8 or higher. There isn't really even a mediocre episode in season 7, let alone a bad one. It's the season that gave us "embiggen" and "cromulent." The season of Marge's Chanel dress, Homer's predictably disastrous stint as Mr. Burns' assistant, Lisa's controversial investigation into the real Jebediah Springfield, and Bart's search for his soul (after selling it to Milhouse). The season of "Up and AT THEM!" and "My eyes! The goggles do nothing!" The season of "Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins. Homer Simpson, smiling politely." and "Buy me Bonestorm or go to hell!" The season of this, from "Homer the Smithers":

"Here are your messages."
"You have 30 minutes to move your car."
"You have ten minutes."
"Your car has been impounded."
"Your car has been crushed into a cube."
"You have 30 minutes to move your cube."
(phone rings)
"Is it about my cube?"

Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part II)
10
Radioactive Man
9
Home Sweet Homediddily-Dum-Doodily
8
Bart Sells His Soul
9
Lisa the Vegetarian
10
Treehouse of Horror VI
10
King-Size Homer
10
Mother Simpson
8
Sideshow Bob's Last Gleaming
9
Marge Be Not Proud
8
Team Homer
9
Two Bad Neighbors
9
Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield
8
Bart the Fink
9
Lisa the Iconoclast
9
Homer the Smithers
8
The Day the Violence Died
8
A Fish Called Selma
8
Bart on the Road
9
22 Short Films about Springfield
10
Raging Abe Simpson and his Grumbling
Grandson in the Curse of the Flying Hellfish

8
Much Apu about Nothing
8
Homerpalooza
10
Summer of 4 ft. 2
9

It is reasonable to conclude that The Simpsons achieved perfection in season 7, and therefore humanity did as well. Thus, the peak of human civilization and the best possible time to have been alive was between September, 1995, and May, 1996. I have spoken.

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