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My Simpsons Ultimate Episode Ratings and Rankings: Season 15, Part 2

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9.The Wandering Juvie - 4/5
10.Catch 'Em If You Can - 4/5
11.Marge vs. Singles, Seniors, Childless Couples and Teens, and Gays - 4/5
12.The President Wore Pearls - 4/5
13.My Mother the Carjacker - 4/5


The next 5 episodes on my list are all rated a 4/5. However, what does a 4/5 grade mean exactly? Well, it means I found the episode's plot, jokes, and characterizations to be significantly above average for the era, but that the episode did not near perfection. It is worth mentioning that as we descend the ladder so to speak the episodes will continue to decrease in quality, but usually at a slower, more gradual pace. That is what we find here as all 5 of these episodes are not that far off from the top 8, but are still noticeably inferior.

Interestingly, although all 5 of these episodes meet the 4/5 requirement, I found it very easy to differentiate the top 3 from the other 2. The Wandering Juvie is a great 22 minutes or so of television. Gina was a very well written one time character who I wish had returned, but understand that any story with her is probably limited to begin with considering she's in Juvenile Hall. Charles Napier's warden character is also very funny. Still, a pointless Homer story and a few missed gags were enough for this to not even crack the top 8. That is however, more than anything, a testament to the strength of Season 15 as a whole. This would likely have been in the top 5 in Seasons 11 and 12. We'll save their discussions for another day...

Catch 'Em If You Can is an example of a movie parody done right. It borders on poor characterizations for Marge and Lisa, but manages to give a feeling of freshness despite the fact that its main plot is just a movie parody. Grandpa's few moments aren't the best but he does have a decent gag or two. Marge vs. was the really big surprise here though. I hadn't ever thought much of the episode and was pleasantly surprised when I re-watched it. It moves from a strong and long Maggie centered first act to an admittedly weaker last two acts from a story standpoint, but the gags still manage to work well enough. Homer's political commercial is a definite highlight.

The final two episodes to make the 4/5 bracket are admittedly weaker. Honestly i could see them as being high 3.5/5s but I feel comfortable enough with putting them here. The Evita parody of The President Wore Pearls has good enough, by which I mean funny enough, songs but the story itself is flawed. Maybe its just because I never bothered to watch Evita but I find that Catch 'Em If You Can is a much better movie parody episode. My Mother the Carjacker is the return of Mona Simpson and the writers manage to at least retain her characterization and not totally ruin Mother Simpson. Her next appearance was such an abomination that I can't help but wonder if me comparing this episode to that one is why i graded this so high. Then again, I also compared this to Mother Simpson and it is vastly inferior to that masterful episode. This is the lowest of the 4/5s for a reason, and I think it is a combination of too many failed gags and a story that starts and ends alright, but the middle conflict comes off as rather weak, or perhaps contrived. The last poor thing i can say about this episode really is that it just isn't that memorable. Still, I laughed at enough to give it a good grade.

I would not be surprised if judging from my comments about the last two episodes anyone wonders why I have them so high. Again, they are only this high on the post-classic era scale. They would not be as well received in the classic era. I know that this trend will continue as we move further down the list. With a show as long as the Simpsons you need to have absolutely great stories to remain memorable. We're starting to see here that Season 15 is beginning to falter in regards to this requirement.

Well that's it for Part 2, feel free to comment if you think I'm still vastly overrating an episode or think I've gone completely insane. Next time we'll move to the more average episodes of Season 15.
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