Broadcast in 1991, the third season of The Simpsons contains a host of candidates for "Best Simpsons Episode Ever." Homer is in such good form throughout that a reasonable case can be made that he has superseded the importance of his Greek namesake in the annals of culture and civilization. The opener, "Stark Raving Dad," for instance, features a guest appearance by an uncredited Michael Jackson, who plays an obese white inmate whom Homer meets while confined to a mental institution. Other standout episodes include "Like Father, Like Clown," in which Krusty reveals he is estranged from his Rabbi father; this is The Simpsons at the height of its powers, mature, ironic, erudite, and touching while bristling with slapstick and Bart-inspired cheek. "Flaming Moe's" features Aerosmith and sees Homer invent a cocktail that desperate, sleazy bartender Moe steals from him. Finally, there's "Brother Can You Spare Two Dimes," in which Danny DeVito reprises his role as Homer's brother, regaining the fortune Homer lost him by inventing a Baby Translator. Immensely enjoyable at any level, this third year demonstrates conclusively that The Simpsons is quite simply, and by a large margin, the greatest television show ever. - David Stubbs, Amazon.com
"Stark Raving Dad" (7F24)
Thanks to Bart leaving his lucky red hat in the load of washed white shirts, Homer wears a pink shirt to the nuclear power plant. He is promptly committed to a mental institution, where he meets up with a white man who walks and talks like Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson does the voice uncredited.
Thanks to Lisa's patriotic and winning essay in a Reading Digest contest, the Simpson family wins a trip to Washington DC. However, Lisa's faith in democracy is shaken when she sees her local representative taking a bribe for a permit to cut down Springfield National Forest.
After having a very lousy day of school, Bart accidentally stumbles into the Legitimate Businessman Social Club, a mobster front. He becomes a bartender, but when he shows up late at work and blames Principal Skinner, Skinner disappears.
Krusty finally drops by to have dinner with the Simpsons to thank Bart for believing that Sideshow Bob framed him, and drops a bombshell: He real name is Krustofsky, and he is estranged from his rabbi father, who disowned him when Krusty decided to be a clown instead of a rabbi. Now, Bart vows to reunite Krusty with his father.
In order to build a father/son relationship, Homer helps Bart build a soapbox racer. However, when Martin injures himself during the time trials, Bart must make an important decision: Turn his back on his father and be Martin's replacement driver, or race in his soapbox and let Nelson win.
Homer helps invent the hottest drink in Springfield. However, when Moe steals the recipe and turns Moe's Tavern into the hottest spot in Springfield, Homer vows revenge. Guest stars include Catherine O'Hara and Aerosmith.
It's Bart's tenth birthday. Bart receives a radio microphone, which he promptly uses to play practical jokes on everyone, including pretending that a little boy named Timmy O'Toole has fallen down the local well.
Mr. Burns bets $1,000,000 that his company team can beat a competing plant's team. In order to do so, he replaces the regular company team with new security guard Roger Clemens, new janitor Wade Boggs, lunchroom cashier Ken Griffey Jr., and other new employees like Steve Sax, Don Mattingly, Ozzie Smith, Darryl Strawberry, Jose Canseco, and Mike Scioscia.
After taking the Career Aptitude Normalization Test, Lisa finds out she's more suited to be a homemaker, while Bart is more suited to be a police officer. While Bart enjoys his taste of authority, Lisa turns into a bad kid.
When Santa's Little Helper suffers from a twisted stomach, the Simpsons sacrifice in order to pay for a life saving operation. However, when the family's morale suffers from the cuts, the dog runs away, and becomes one of Mr. Burns' hounds.