Best ‘Simpson’ Episode Ever

The Simpsons‘ hey day is long gone. The show is in its 34th season. At one point in the first season, it was mentioned Marge was 34 years old. So, now the show is almsot as old as Marge was.

After a couple rocky seasons where people and parentel groups told everyone not to watch the show, around the third season, the show began to improve in its quality. Some of the jokes and gags may have gone over the heads of the children, but they were clever parodies for the older audiences to get. By the end of 1992, the third and fourth season was called one of the best shows on TV by Entertainment Weekly.

And it was in the fourth season, where many of the most memorable episodes would air. These episodes included “A Streetcar Named Marge,” “Mr. Plow” and “Marge vs. the Monorail.” Then, on March 10, 1993 “Last Exit to Springfield” aired with many critics later calling it the best episode of the entire series.

The plot revovles around Mr. Burns (voiced by Harry Shearer) wanting to remove the dental plan as part of the coverage of labor union that Homer Simpson (voiced by Dan Castellaneta) is a part of. At the same time, his daughter, Lisa (voiced by Yeardley Smith) has been informed by the sadistic dentist (voiced by Hank Azaria) she’s going to need braces. But since the dental plan has been lost, Lisa has to get a creepy head gear that pre-dates stainless steel.The episodes parodies the scene in the 1989 Batman where the Joker sees his reflection in the mirror and laughs maniacally.

Burns wants to give the plant’s labor union a free key of beer at each meeting knowing they’re foolish enough to accept it, for giving up the dental plan. But after some comically long thinking, Homer stops everyone and reminds them they need the dental plan. And he begins tearing up the contract Burns has sent over. Burns also had a spy camera adapted on the tap and is watching all this. He’s surprised by Homer’s behavior but doesn’t recognized him despite his assistant Waylan Smither (also voiced by Shearer) reminds him of past plot points.

The union vote to make Homer their new union chapter president as their previous one as gone missing. It’s been implied the president was killed and buried in a football field. This is a parody of some of the questionable practices involving the labor unions, such as the Teamsters where a rumor circulated by Jimmy Hoffa was buried under New York Giants stadium. But Homer is incompetent and only succeeds because Burns underestimates him and mistakes his ineptitude for stalling.

What makes the episode work is how well it’s written by Jay Kogen and Wallaca Woolardsky, who seem to have so much fun parodying so many pop culture references that work even to this day. Homer envisions himself like Don Fanucci from The Godfather Part II walking through the streets being praised and blessed by the common folk. Along with the Batman joke, there’s a nod to How the Grinch Stole Christmas as well as the guitarist in Harlan County USA as Lisa plays folk style music as the nuclear power plant workers go on strike.

This is also part of the “McBain” movie where as the episode opens with Rainier Wolfcastle (voice by Shearer) playing the cop tracking down Mendoza at a party he is having. While Bart (voiced by Nancy Cartwright) seems to be in the background for a lot, he does get some good laughs off as he pesters younger children in the dental office by telling him the dentist takes their baby teeth and sells them to manufacturers to use as the rattle in spray cans. And the epsiode cracks down on the the sadist “anti-dentite” jokes years before Seinfeld. The dentist tortures his children patients by showing them the Big Book of British Smiles which include pictures of British people with fugly, outrageous teeth.

There’s some humor about Burns and Smithers playfully running around the factory thinking they can operate it themselves. And as they go to a secret room that requires so many security checkpoints, they discover that it’s got a screendoor wide open with a stray dog in the room. I don’t want to give away too many jokes because it’s better to see it.

Directed by Mark Kincaid, it manages to do cram so much into a story that he’s called it surreal. Al Jean, one of the show’s writers and producers, has called it one of the “craziest.” I think it works the jokes just come flying at you that it doesn’t have time to let you know if you got it. On repeated viewings, you notice things you may have missed. It’s both smart and absurd at the same time.

What do you think? Please comment.

Published by bobbyzane420

I'm an award winning journalist and photographer who covered dozens of homicides and even interviewed President Jimmy Carter on multiple occasions. A back injury in 2011 and other family medical emergencies sidelined my journalism career. But now, I'm doing my own thing, focusing on movies (one of my favorite topics), current events and politics (another favorite topic) and just anything I feel needs to be posted. Thank you for reading.

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