Hello and welcome to another Simpsons Sunday post. Since last week was the best of the season finales and the premier of Season 27 is tonight, here is my revised top 10 list of the best season openers in the history of the series. I did this list last year and like last year, I didn’t limit the list to the first 10 years of the show because there are so many interesting: plots, New characters and turning points that occur during the series’s continuing run that you just can’t overlook them. However, I also did not and won’t include any of the Treehouse Of Horrors or Who Shot Mr. Burns Pt 2 in this list because:
1. The Treehouse Of Horrors are anual Halloween specials:
2. The Who Shot Mr. Burns Pt 1 and 2 stands on their own, as the only 2 part episode in the history of the series, so far. They also of course, end and start Season 6 and Season 7, respectively. Although it is tempting because John Walsh host of America’s Most Wanted, did A profile of the plot of Who Shot Mr. Burns PT 1 as if it was a real crime profile on America’s most wanted.
One more thing before I get into the list, I would have loved to have put Season 8’s You Only Move Twice on the list. It is one of the most loved episodes in the first 10 seasons because of the one time character Hank Scorpio, voiced by Albert Brooks. He has to be one of the coolest bosses anyone could work for. On the other hand, he is also a super villain. As a Canadian, I love that one of Bart’s class mates at his new school is from Canada and his name is Gordy. Cool huh? Unfortunately, it isn’t a season opener.
So without further ado, here is my top 10 season premieres of The Simppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppsons and it is a bit different from last years list, hence the title.
10. Homer The Whopper makes the list this year because I like how Comic Book Guy actually gets to be outside his element somewhat, as he is a writer for his own comic strip Every Man and is asked to write a script for a movie, casting Homer as Every Man. I also think it is really cool that Seth Rogen guest starred as a trainer lyle McCarthy. Plus, Seth Rogen is Canadian and I love that, being a fellow Canadian from Central Canada.
9. Clown In The Dumps is on this list because it had one of the most anticipated happenings in the plot in that a character has died. Obviously, it was Krusty the Clown’s Dad, Rabbi Hyman Krustofsky. The talk on the internet before hand and the misinformation that came out made this one of the most anticipated season premieres since Who Shot Mr. Burns? Pt 2. By the way, Who Shot Mr. Burns? Pt to aired 20 years ago last Thursday.
8. The Falcon And The D’ohman is another good episode opening Season 23. This is mainly because it gives the fans the answer as to whether Ned Flanders and Edna Krabappel have remained a couple after Season 22’s finale The Ned-liest Catch, when they meat and become a couple. Of course, they remain this way until Marcia Wallace’s death on October 25th 2013 and Edna Krabappel is retired in her memory.
The other thing I like about this episode is the main plot, where Homer meets the new security guard at his work named Wayne Slater, voiced by Kiefer Sutherland. I think that is really cool that this character actually didn’t mind Homer and took care of him and his family and friends.
7. Okay, I’m going to throw in tonights episode Every Mans Dream because it has an interesting plot twist, in that Homer and Marge go through a trial separation. This is because Homer is attracted to a marriage counselor who is in her 20s, voiced by Lena Dunham. This is also sparked some talk on the Internet and this also makes this episode one to watch.
6. The City Of New York VS. Homer Simpson is another episode which I like because it is one of the many, in which the family travel outside of Springfield. We also get to see how Homer reacts to such food as Khlav Kalash, drinking cans of crab juice to wash the taste out of his mouth and having to find a restroom,while waiting for the parking enforcement officer to show up. As well as trying to leave despite the boot on his car. Of course, he first tries to bight it off earlier in the episode before being informed to call the phone number on it. Let’s face it, he would eat anything no matter how nutritious or dangerous it is for him to eat.
We also see: Marge, Bart and Lisa take in the sights of New York City and a musical. They also take a ride on the subway and Bart pulls one of his crazy antics again, by claming to have no taste buds for fellow passengers. He would do anything to draw attention to himself and that’s the way we likes it.
I think the two contrasting stories make this episode one of the best season openers and Frank Sinatra’s signature song New York New York at the end of the episode makes a lot of sense and is a nice touch. I don’t know if he was a fan of The Simpsons but I think it is cool that he or someone in his Entourage allowed the song to be heard at the end of the episode.
5. Homers Barbershop Quartet is another good season opener. It flashes back to 1985 when rock music was becoming stale and there needed to be something new to shake things up. This is when Homer formed The Be Sharps with: Principal Skinner, Apu and originally Cheif Wiggum. Their manager Nigel ask the band to replace chief Wiggum because he was “too village people. “Of course, they found Barney singing in an Irish tenner voice and he was the new member. They won a Grammy for the song Baby On Board and then things fell apart.
I like that the writers referenced The Beatles in this episode and that George Harrison guest starred as himself. He wasn’t my favourite Beatle but he did influence me to try and play slide guitar when I was learning to play back in the late 1980s.
Another thing I like about this episode is that when auditions were held to replace chief Wiggum, grandpa Simpson and Groundskeeper Willie were two of the three auditions that made me laugh the most. Grandpa did a parody of old McDonald had a farm and groundskeeper Willie did his own rendition of the 1960s hit by Petula Clark Downtown. Jasper’s rendition of A Summer Place was funny but not as much as the other two failed auditions. Oh, I shouldn’t forget Chief Wiggum’s failed attempt by singing If I Could Walk With The Animals in disguise. Ha ha, nice try chief. Over all, this episode is one of the ones that should have been put on an iTunes collection or something because Season 5 isn’t on iTunes yet, at least in Canada that I know of right now.
4. Camp Krusty is great because we get to see Bart and Lisa looking forward to going away to summer camp. Well, they go and it is a living hell for everyone because of the absence of Krusty The Clown and the bullies of Springfield Elementary School: Jimbo, Dolph and Kearney — serving as camp counselors. Eventually, Bart sparks a riot after the kids are told by Mr. Black, the evil Director of the camp that Krusty is paying them a visit but it is actually Barney, disguised as him.
Eventually, Krusty gets wind of this and shows up to appease Bart and the other kids and he promises to give them the time of their life, in Tijuana.
Once again, it is not on iTunes yet and it should be, either on a collection or as a part of Season 4. This is most certainly one of the greatest episodes in the golden period of The Simpsons.
3. Stark Raving Dad is number 3 on this list because it combines warmth with absurdity. First of all: Homer is put into a mental institution and he is bunked with someone who sounds like and says he is Michael Jackson. He eventually convinces his new friend to come to the Simpsons home and Bart tells his friends that Michael Jackson is here. Word spreads throughout the town and when everybody sees a large white man instead of Michael the crowd disperses. Meanwhile. Lisa’s birthday is forgotten and Michael convinces BART to write her a song. Eventually it comes together and Bart plays the song for Lisa with Michael the next morning at 6:00 AM. She says “that is the best present ever” and hugs Bart. Then Leon Kompowsky starts talking in his normal voice and admits that he is a brick layer from Paterson NJ. He was an angry young man until he started talking like Michael Jackson and everyone is grateful for him helping both Homer and Bart. He leaves and the episode ends with Lisa’s birthday song playing.
I am not the biggest fan of Michael Jackson but I do like some of his songs that rock a bit. I do like the song that Bart wrote for Lisa at the end of the episode and it does choke me up a bit every time I hear it. That is partly why it is where I put it in the top ten.
This episode is also important in The Simpsons timeline because it signals a change in that the realistic stories are still there but other bizarre and surreal elements are coming into the mix as well. Like the fat bald Michael Jackson impersonator, for example. This episode also introduced 3 key components of Homer Simpson that were not there before.
1. He is unaware of how he is perceived or how the real world functions:
2. He is able to create a mass following of fans or enemies at a moments notice:
3. He has a tendency to get himself into the most asinine and extreme situations either too good or bad luck. For example: on one occasion he could be the mayor of Springfield and on another he could be sentenced to prison, with no real Middleground to his livelihood.
Another thing that is interesting to note when looking at the credits is that Michael Jackson was credited under the pseudonym John Jay Smith. Dustin Hoffman did something similar for his guest appearance as he was credited as Sam Etic. Jackson was a fan of the show and he produced Do The Bartman which appeared on Simpsons Sing The Blues in 1990 and my guess is that he recorded his lines around the time of recording that song and album. Nancy Crartwright talks about meeting Michael in her book My Life As A 10-year-old boy. Also, in the Season 26 episode Walking Big And Tall, Bart and Lisa write another song called Why Springfield, Why Not? It is also mainly in the key of c natural, as is Happy Birthday Lisa! Hmmm, I find that the key of c is a favourite among the writers. This song is a call back to Stark Raving Dad, in that The circumstances of writing this song was referenced in this episode too. If you look up this episode on Wikipedia, it incorrectly states that this was the last episode, where Dan Castellaneta used his Walter Matthau voice for homer. If that was true, we would have heard it in the episode When Flanders Failed because it was also produced during Season 2’s production run. I actually think that we last heard it during the beginning of Season 2 and Homer’s voice had become what it is now but traces of the old voice were heard, even in the episode Like Father, Like Clown. Just listen to how when Marge suggests that Homer should take Milhouse home and homer says “gladly.” Doesn’t that sound like his Walter Matthau sounding voice? I think so. Anyway, I digress.
2. Bart Gets An F is at number 2 because it shows that: while Bart may be the mischievous school hating bratty boy, he does occasionally make an honest effort to try and pass his tests in school.
We also see that Mrs. Krabappel does show that she has a heart and comforts Bart when he breaks down and cries after failing his exam, initially. However, she does barely pass him thanks to an obscure reference he makes while crying.
Another important thing to note about this episode is that we are introduced to mayor Joe Quimby, when he declares the day Barts blizzard a snow day. Of course we see more of him as the series has progressed.
1. Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire is the series premier and of course, the premier of Season 1. Plus, it is a Christmas special and there are a few of those in the history of The Simpsons.
We learn that the characters have changed somewhat from The Tracy Ullman shorts. Bart isn’t just the bratty brother, terrorizing Lisa and Lisa isn’t the female Bart like she was during this period.
Bart does show some compassion for Homer, when he finds out that his job as a mall Santa only gives him a pay of $13, when he says in a sad tone of voice ” Come on, Dad. Let’s go home.” When Aunt Patty is trashing Homer Lisa gives one of her more intellectual speeches which confuses Patty. I’m not even going to try and quote it here because it is a long speech but if you have the episode somewhere, take a listen to where Patty does trash her brother-in-law.
We also are introduced to: Barney, Mr. Burns, Principal Skinner, Waylon Smithers, Milhouse, Patty and Selma and Moe the bartender.
It is at the top for the fact that all the new characters and changes we see evolve in the show over time are so up front in this episode. All though Homer’s voice stil sounds like Walter Matthau and the mechanics of the voice we now know as Homer still had yet to be worked out. However, that voice in it and the first 13 episodes worked at the time. If the Walter Matthow sound was stil there past Season 2 it probably wouldn’t have worked and the writers would have a harder time developing Homer’s character, without the change in voice that Dan Castellaneta made and knew needed to be made, in order to convay more emotions.
As I said, it is much like last years list but with some changes in the bottom half and I will do it again next year for Season 28 and again, if there are more seasons to come. My favourite episodes sometimes change but there a group of them that stay near the top as repeat watches for various reasons.
On the birthday front, the late Phill Hartman would have been 67-year-old on September 24th. In case you don’t know, he was born in Canada in the town of Brantford Ontario, The home of hockey player Wayne Gretzky and the school for the blind W Ross McDonald. I know that because I went there for 15 years. Anyway, let’s not forget that Phil voice some much love characters in the first few seasons such as, Troy McClure, Lionel hutz and other characters as needed to suit the episodes plot.
Let us not forget his work on Saturday Night Live and his work with Paul Rubens the voice of Peewee Herman on Peewees Playhouse. I think if he was around today, he would be voicing all the characters I have mentioned and more, into history and would make us laugh his way to the bank.
I hope you join me in watching the season premier of Season 27, Every Mans Dream. I am looking forward to it and downloading it for myself on iTunes when it comes out. that is indeed it for this weeks post. In the mean time, I recommend checking out Chris Ladesma’s blog. He is the Music Editor for The Simpsons and has been since day 1.
Also, check out Yeardley Smith’s blog at http://gobbingoff.tumblr.com
Don’t forget about Marchez Vous, which is her women’s shoe designer company, which she started earlier in the decade. You can check out their website at
Additionally, for more news on The Simpsons, you can go to http://news.simpsonswiki.com/
You can also comment here or you can email me at email@example.com and I will reply as soon as I can to all messages I receive. If you follow me on Twitter or are my friend on Facebook you can comment directly to me that way too.
You can follow Simpsons Executive Producer Al Jean on Twitter and his Twitter handle is @AlJean.
He has ran the show since Season 13 and has ran it during Seasons 3 and 4.
Anyway, that is it for this weeks post. Talk to you again on Weather Wednesday.