Season 9 is an important one in The Simpsons' run because, to many fans, it represents the top of the rainbow. At this point, the show is still at the top of its game, flinging clever jokes and social satire with such ease, especially compared to later seasons, that it's hard not to see this as the peak of its run, leaving open the question of whether or not subsequent seasons measure up. Be that as it may, there's hardly any question that the writing this season is among the series' best. This is the season that brought us "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson," where Homer illegally parks his car in front of the World Trade Center, and heralds the introduction of Duff Man ("Oh Yeah!), "The Treehouse of Horror VIII," where Bart's body gets switched with that of a fly and Marge turns into a witch, and "The Trouble with Trillions," which finds Mr. Burns hiding a trillion dollar bill from the federal government. Apu gets plenty of face time in an excellent episode where he meets his bride ("The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons"), and the town's kids get their chance at some screen time when they all get stranded on an island together a la Lord of the Flies in "Das Bus" ("We'll be like Swiss Family Robinson, only with more cursing," proclaims Bart). Definitely the show is still going strong by this point, and the 25 episodes of this season should still delight fans who've stayed with it through the years, in addition to the hours of commentaries and special features that come standard with every season of The Simpsons. - Daniel Vancini, Amazon.com
"The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson" (4F22)
Driven to the brink of insanity due to his appointed status as designated driver, Barney Gumble drives to downtown Manhattan in Homer's car, leaving it there. But when the family journeys to New York to retrieve the automobile, Homer faces a showdown with the dreaded big apple.
Due to the prominence of the World Trade Center in the plot, the episode was removed from syndication after the 9/11 attacks. By 2006 the episode had come back into syndication in some areas; however, parts of the episode are often edited out.
During a surprise banquet to honor his twentieth anniversary as principal, Seymour Skinner's true identity is revealed to be Armin Tamzarian. Now established as an impostor, Tamzarian retires and relocates to his old neighborhood in Capital City.
In "The Homega Man", Homer battles killer mutants after Springfield is destroyed in a nuclear blast. Next, a matter transportation device melds Bart with a housefly in "Fly Vs. Fly". Finally, Marge is accused of witchcraft during colonial times in "Easy-Bake Coven".
After a wild soccer riot tears up Springfield, Homer purchases a handgun to protect his family. But when Marge's repeated requests to dispose of the weapon go without notice, she whisks herself and the kids away to a seedy motel. This episode was banned in the United Kingdom.
Springfield's young boys are shown to be out of shape, leading parents to sign their sons up for pee-wee football. But when Homer snags the role as coach of the squad, the more talented quarterback, Nelson Muntz, is replaced by Bart. Joe Namath guest stars.
Just as he begins to enjoy the life of a bachelor, Apu receives an unwelcome reminder of his pending arranged marriage to an Indian woman named Manjula. Desperate to escape the agreement, Apu claims to have already married Marge Simpson.
While Lisa and her classmates conduct an archaeological dig, a skeleton with abnormal bone structures growing from the shoulders is uncovered, leading the townspeople to conclude the remains are that of an angel.
When Marge becomes a real estate agent, her firm loses lucrative sales due to her total honesty. Meanwhile, Homer buys a 1960's hot-rod convertible at the local police auction. Unfortunately, the rod's former owner and convicted felon, Snake, wants his car returned, and will do anything to get it back.
People throughout Springfield open their hearts--and wallets--after Bart accidentally burns the family's Christmas presents and claims they were stolen by a burglar. But when the truth is revealed, the Simpsons find themselves shunned by the entire community.
Anticipating a bloody shoot-'em-up movie, Bart and Homer are horrified to discover that their video rental, Paint Your Wagon, is actually a musical. Several song and dance moments from seasons past are recalled.
When Homer costs a carnival worker and his son their jobs, Homer offers the pair a place to stay. But when the carnies lock the family out of their house and claim it as their own, Homer attempts to get it back by outsmarting the two. Guest starring Jim Varney.
Along with the majority of Springfield, Homer and company are lured into the Movementarian cult by a slick pamphlet and tantalizing promises. But as Marge begins to realize that the cult only has money on its mind, she must try her hand at deprogramming to rescue her family.
Bart, Lisa and their classmates fight for survival after becoming stranded on a deserted island ala "Lord of the Flies". Meanwhile, Homer attracts the attention of Bill Gates when he creates a home-based consulting firm.
When Moe becomes broke while romancing a new love, he enlists the aid of Homer in an illegal scheme to collect money from his automobile's insurance policy. But after Homer botches the scam, Moe must find a way to bust his best customer out of jail. Helen Hunt does the voice of Moe's girlfriend.
Thanks to the unfounded predictions of Grampa Simpson, Lisa is convinced that she's genetically destined to lose her intelligence. Meanwhile, Apu discovers Jasper frozen in his freezer, and turns the Kwik-E-Mart into a tourist's trap.
Taking pity on Ralph Wiggum, Marge pairs him with Bart. But his association with Ralph quickly turns out to be beneficial when Bart learns that his father holds the master key to every store in Springfield.
When Homer's tax return accidentally falls into the severe audit bin at the IRS, he is promptly nabbed by the government. Forced to go undercover for them, Homer finds himself on a mission to retrieve a trillion dollar bill stolen by Mr. Burns.
Bart and Lisa compete with each other when the pair land anchor seats on a children's educational news program. Meanwhile, Homer obtains a helper monkey, which he quickly puts to work looting donut shops.
When his insults persuade the local garbage men to terminate his trash pick-up service, Homer enters the race for sanitation commissioner. Steve Martin and U2 guest star in the 200th episode of The Simpsons.
Crestfallen by Bart's shame of his poor physical condition, Homer sets out to work out. But when a pair of publicity scouts offer him the job of climbing Springfield's tallest mountain, The Murderhorn, to promote their product, Homer is too blindsided by lust for physical perfection to turn down the expedition.
After hastily boarding the wrong bus to a museum exhibit, Lisa finds herself lost in unfamiliar parts of Springfield. Meanwhile, Bart adheres novelty items to his face, only to later discover that the glue he was given is permanent.
After a near-fatal encounter with a farmer and his pitch-fork, Homer and Marge uncover the secret to reigniting their sex life: dangerous situations. Meanwhile, Bart and Lisa make their own discoveries using a metal detector, including the lost ending to Casablanca.