My Simpsons Ultimate Episode Ratings and Rankings: Season 11, Part 1
by, 03-13-2012 at 05:15 PM (655 Views)
So now I must move onto what is considered by many to be the worst season of the Simpsons. The third season of the Mike Scully Era, often characterized as having extremely wacky episode premises or endings along with "jerkass" Homer. I found that I was able to get through much of this season at a decent pace, I watched the first 15 or so episodes one at a time over 15 days, but the last episodes took me a bit longer to finally get through. As a result this blog will be the first in well over a month closer to two. I was 11 years old when these episodes aired in the later half of 1999 and the beginning of the new millennium. As is often the case I can remember watching some of these for the first time rather vividly, while others I hardly remember at all, while others still I'll never forget for how awful they remain...
1.) Behind the Laughter - 5/5
2.) Brother's Little Helper - 5/5
3.) Treehouse of Horror X - 4/5
4.) Last Tap Dance in Springfield - 4/5
5.) Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder - 4/5
6.) Missionary: Impossible - 4/5
These first four episodes seem to be the best fairly easily for me while the last two are more of a "risky" pick though I use the term loosely. I have recently noticed Behind the Laughter seems to have received much criticism here which doesn't surprise me given the overall nature of the fandom, but does in that I consider it the funniest, most sharply written, entertaining episode of the season without question. If you haven't seen Behind the Music, or didn't know of it when the episode aired I suppose I can understand you not enjoying the episode as much as if you did. I was fully aware and remember watching and loving this enough to openly praise it at school the next morning. Of course, the fact that such an obviously non-canon format bending episode is easily the best of the season is probably not a good sign. Brother's Little Helper is wonderful too. Bart's descent is fun to watch and the only questionable material I find in the episode at all is the MLB involvement. Both of these episodes were, not surprisingly, directed by Mark Kirkland, my favorite animation director on the show. Kudos to Mr. Kirkland and his crew for all the great Bart scenes particularly the one where he wraps himself in tinfoil.
The nest episode is also non-canon. Treehouse of Horror X's middle section involving Stretch Dude and Clobber Girl is very clever and full of funny jokes. It is the strongest of the three despite Homer only being in it for a single line which is saying something. I prefer it to Nightmare Cafeteria from Treehouse of Horror V, the only segment with NO HOMER(get it?) and likely the best Treehouse of Horror of them all. In between that is a nice I Know What You Did Last Summer parody with great Sugar Crisp and cliche Horror Movie hiding places references among other things, and a dated but still alright Y2K story. Last Tap Dance in Springfield is probably the best "normal" episode of the season, ignoring the magic shoes and parts of the sub-plot, though I still enjoy the sub-plot. I enjoy Lisa's attempt at trying something someone her age would be interested in and her reactions as she fails miserably at it. The dance instructor has several funny likes and Professor Frink is even used well.
I still think of Hello Gutter as a fantastic Homer and Maggie story despite the heavy emphasis on bowling and stardom. The opening bowling act has plenty of great stuff such as the origin of the family's concern for Lenny. The middle act has some iffy stuff with Homer's attempted suicide being the low point of the episode. Thankfully Maggie's involvement with the rest is good enough to save the episode. I love the ending scene at the bowling alley. Missionary: Impossible seems like the riskiest choice due to some wacky scenes like the toad abuse and love it or hate it PBS stuff, particularly the ending, but I love it. Some of the stuff with Homer on the island is pretty meh, but all the PBS stuff is great and Bart's little sub-plot of becoming the man of the house is also really fun to watch. I just wish it was given more time. I suppose I should mention Jeebus as well...