We're pretty darned excited for the "The Simpsons" "every episode ever" marathon on FXX, beginning on August 21. That's right, they'll be showing every single episode. That's a dizzying prospect, as is the task of narrowing down 552 episodes (or 228 hours) to only the very best.
In compiling this list, we realized that the fourth season was possibly when the show peaked with some if its greatest eps like "Marge vs. the Monorail," but that doesn't mean that nothing good happened after that.
What's here are some of the most beloved, most quoted eps that you simply have to see. Your list won't look exactly like our list but yours likely has eps that very nearly made the cut here. Just don't look for any "Treehouse of Horrors" segments: They have their very own 'best of' list.
Photo courtesy of FOX
Gallery | Best Simpsons Episodes
- 'Cape Feare' (1993, Season 5, Episode 2)
This homage to "Cape Fear," where ex-con Sideshow Bob is hellbent on murdering Bart, contains so much greatness: "Die, Bart, Die." Bob vs. the rakes. The Simpsons going into Witness Protection as "The Thompsons." Grandpa going off his meds and being courted by Jasper. It's too hard to choose!
- 'Last Exit to Springfield' (1993, Season 4, Episode 17)
Any Simpsons fan knows that "Dental Plan" means "Lisa Needs Braces!" But there's also the inspired "Lisa in the Sky With Diamonds," sequence and Lisa's hideous no-insurance braces that inspire a photographer to exclaim, "There is no God!"
- 'A Fish Called Selma' (1996, Season 7, Episode 19)
The finest Troy McClure episode, complete with the musical “Stop the Planet of the Apes, I Want To Get Off.” You might remember Troy from such episodes as “Lisa the Vegetarian” and "The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase.”
- 'Deep Space Homer' (1994, Season 5, Episode 15)
One of Homer's many far-fetched job stints: American astronaut. He and Barney compete for the job. (Sorry, Homer, there's no swimsuit competition!) The episode that gave us Homer's weightless potato-chip chomping sequence and one of the series' most handy heroes: Inanimate Carbon Rod. But wait, did we ever learn whether ants can sort tiny screws in space?
- 'Marge vs. the Monorail' (1993, Season 4, Episode 12)
Springfield falls for a con man's song and dance and builds a monorail that no one needs. The song is one of the show's best ("Is there a chance the track could bend?" "Not on your life, my Hindu friend"). Monorail! Monorail! Mono! D'oh!
- 'Kamp Krusty' (1992, Season 4, Episode 1)
As if this episode, about the cruddiest summer camp in the world, isn't funny enough, it ends with Krusty making it up to the kids by taking them to the happiest place he knows, Tijuana, Mexico!
- 'Selma's Choice' (1993, Season 4, Episode 13)
When Homer gets food poisoning, Selma takes Bart and Lisa to Duff Gardens. There, she realizes she's in over her head as Lisa (on a dare from Bart) drinks the water in one of the rides, freaks out and proclaims, "I am the Lizard Queen!" Selma wisely opts to adopt her own lizard instead of have kids.
- 'I Love Lisa' (1993, Season 4, Episode 15)
A must for any Ralph Wiggum lover: He falls madly in love with Lisa after she takes pity on him on Valentine's Day and gives him a "I Choo Choo Choose You" valentine. Inept wooing and exclusive tickets to a Krusty show follow, where she breaks his heart on live TV.
- 'Homer's Phobia' (1997, Season 8, Episode 15)
Truly one of the finest episodes: Director John Waters (as himself) becomes Homer's new best friend, until Homer realizes that John prefers the company of men. Homer's panicked attempts to make sure Bart doesn't turn gay includes taking him to a steel mill that – oops – is also a gay disco.
- 'Homer Badman' (1994, Season 6, Episode 9)
Homer is mistakenly accused of sexually harassing a babysitter, so he goes on the "Hard Copy"-esque "Rock Bottom," whose ridiculously biased segment turns him into a media pariah.
- 'Bart of Darkness' (1994, Season 6, Episode 1)
The Simpsons get a pool, leading to a surge in Lisa's popularity. Bart breaks his leg and becomes a morose shut-in who spies what he thinks is Ned Flanders murdering his wife in this clever "Rear Window" tribute. Gotta love that ending with a pool-less and de-pantsed Martin Prince wistfully singing "Summer Wind."
- 'Boy Scoutz In the Hood' (1993, Season 5, Episode 8)
Bart and Milhouse “go crazy, Broadway-style” after indulging in a Squishie made entirely out of sugar. Bart awakens to find he's (gasp!) joined the uncool Junior Campers, where he learns how to use knives, build traps and that you should never, ever trust Homer on a raft.
- 'The Springfield Files' (1997, Season 8, Episode 10)
Mulder and Scully's improbable visit to Springfield to er, probe, Homer's mysterious alien encounter also features Leonard Nimoy narrating a la “In Search Of...,” Moe smuggling whales and an alien line-up featuring Marvin the Martian, ALF and Chewbacca. Perfection.
- 'Brush With Greatness' (1991, Season 2, Episode 18)
A fantastic early episode: Marge rediscovers her love of painting, (as a teen, she obsessively painted Ringo Starr) and Mr. Burns commissions her to do his portrait. We'll never forget that final reveal, or Jon Lovitz as her glib art teacher. "Another triumph!"
- 'Lisa's Substitute' (1995, Season 2, Episode 19)
Poor Lisa! She finally finds a teacher who appreciates her, but before she knows it, she's on his way to his next job, breaking her heart in the process. Mr. Bergstrom is voiced by "Sam Etic," but everyone knew it was really Dustin Hoffman, channeling his "Graduate" role when Mrs. Krabappel tries to seduce him.
- 'Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish' (1990, Season 2, Episode 4)
The classic episode where Marge serves Mr. Burns the famous three-eyed fish, on camera on election night, ruining his run for governor. Never underestimate Marge.
- 'King-Size Homer' (1995, Season 7, Episode 7)
Homer deliberately bulks up to 300 lbs to go on disability so he can work from home. It backfires horribly, ending with a near nuclear meltdown. Best scene: Homer shops for clothes for the ample gentleman. "I don't want to look like a weirdo. I'll just go with the muumuu."
- 'Radioactive Man' (1995, Season 7, Episode 2)
"Up and atom!" Springfield goes nuts when a big comic book movie comes to town. Bart wants to play sidekick Fallout Boy, but a reluctant Milhouse lands the part. Jiminy jillkers, we love this ep.
- 'The Computer Wore Menace Shoes' (2000, Season 12, Episode 6)
This terrific ode to the trippy '60s series “The Prisoner” has Homer being gassed and ending up on a mysterious island he can never leave. Meanwhile, a heavily German-accented double takes his place at home -- and no one notices! Homer eventually escapes. Or does he?
- 'Homer vs. the Eighteenth Amendment' (1997, Season 8, Episode 18)
Bart's accidental drunkenness at the St. Patrick's Day parade leads to a ban on all alcohol. Homer turns bootlegger as the Beer Baron, one of his cleverer schemes that actually works. Of course, Springfield isn't beer-less for long, as Homer memorably toasts: "To alcohol! The cause of -- and solution to -- all of life's problems."
- 'Das Bus' (1998, Season 9, Episode 14)
How important is this episode? It inspired the hit TV show “Lost.” Okay, no, but it's a hilarious take on the “Lord of the Flies” with a little “Swiss Family Robinson” thrown in. Sadly, there are no monkey butlers or delicious wine, for the kids, just a rapid breakdown of Springfield Elementary's model U.N.
- 'Skinner's Sense of Snow' (2000, Season 12, Episode 8)
What's the best part of this episode about the kids being snowed in at school? Skinner being stuck in a sack and bombarded with dodgeballs? Ralph Wiggum cuddling a Brillo pad like a teddy bear? Homer's exhaust-fume-induced hallucinations about harem girls and ranch dressing hoses? Or Lisa's line, “That sounded like a silo tipping over.”
- 'Three Men and a Comic Book' (1991, Season 2, Episode 21)
Bart, Milhouse and Martin get more than they bargained for when they split the price of the rare "Radioactive Man #1" comic book. Their shared prize leads to paranoia and greed of "Treasure of the Sierra Madre" proportions.
- 'Itchy and Scratchy Land' (1994, Season 6, Episode 4)
If you've been to Disneyland more times than you can count and dig the '70s thriller “Westworld” (where nothing can go wrong, go wrong, go wrong...) you have to love this episode about Itchy and Scratchy robots run amok at their theme park.
- 'The Joy of Sect' (1998, Season 9, Episode 13)
Homer joins the Movementarians and Marge is just about the only one who isn't brainwashed into worshiping the unseen "Leader." Pop culture hat tips include her "Prisoner" style escape and Groundskeeper Willie channeling Robert Shaw in "Jaws."
- 'Homer the Great' (1995, Season 6, Episode 12)
Every guy in Springfield seems to be part of the secretive and ultra-exclusive Stonecutters, except Homer. He's ultimately revealed to be their Chosen One, but manages to blow his newfound status.
- 'Bart on the Road' (1996, Season 7, Episode 20)
A day at the DMV with his aunts leaves Bart with a fake ID, so he, Milhouse, Martin and Nelson set out on a road trip where they're quickly stranded with no car and no cash. The episode that revealed Nelson's secret love of Andy Williams.
- 'Radio Bart' (1992, Season 3, Episode 13)
When Bart realizes he can pull great pranks with the toy microphone he got for his birthday, he pretends to be “Timmy O'Toole” who's fallen down a well, sparking a local panic. Who can forget the “We Are the World”-esque celebrity song, “We're Sending Our Love Down the Well," or that Sting's such a great digger?
- 'Brick Like Me' (2014, Season 25, Episode 20)
The show can still pull off a brilliant episode, even this late in the game. Falling (coincidentally) after “The Lego Movie,” Springfield is re-imagined in Lego. (Love Marge's blender-holding hand and Krusty simply walking off a car wreck, although on Mojo the Monkey's legs.) At the heart of it all is a very sweet story about Homer and Lisa. I'll rewatch this one any time.
- 'A Streetcar Named Marge' (1992, Season 4, Episode 2)
Marge lands the lead of Blanch DuBois in a musical version of "A Streetcar Named Desire," and channels her rage against oafish Homer into the part. Playing Stanley Kowalski: Ned Flanders. Who knew he was so ripped?