Best. Episode. Ever? Pick your 'Simpsons' favorite
"The Simpsons" airs its 500th episode this Sunday night. "At Long Last Leave," like many latter-day "Simpsons" outings, features a story we've seen variations on several times before (including in "The Simpsons Movie"), but also features many funny jokes that affirm my belief that I'm happier to live in a world that keeps giving us new "Simpsons" episodes (especially when they are occasionally as great as "Holidays of Future Passed") than I will be in the one where that inevitably stops. The couch gag in particular is marvelous, and actually made me choke up a bit.
The show has been on so long, has passed so many anniversaries, that I've run out of deep thoughts to say about the series at this latest milestone. So instead, I will borrow a suggestion from Time's Jame Poniewozik, who took the occasion of the 500th episode to both declare his own favorite "Simpsons" episode ever ("Homer's Enemy," which I've never liked) and to invite viewers to do the same.
I like Poniewozik's insistence on being absolute here. You can't name your 2 or 3 favorites, can't rattle off a list. Off the top of your head, if someone asks you what your favorite "Simpsons" episode ever is, what comes to mind? For me, it's "Homer the Heretic," the third episode of the show's magical fourth season, in which Homer decides to skip church for once, has the best Sunday of his life, and decides that, from now on, he's going to worship the Lord in his own way, as he wisely explains to Marge here:
There are many, many, many "Simpsons" episodes I can easily and immediately accept as someone's favorite, but to me, "Homer the Heretic" captures everything that was and is great about the series: social satire, extraordinary quotability ("'This Things I Believe'"), a good family story, and an innate sweetness in spite of Homer's outsized antics.
That's mine. Your turn. Remember: pick only one, and, if you have time, explain why it's your favorite.
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by. It has deep soul, a wicked sense of humor, and Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, and Robert Forster.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
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