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My Simpsons Ultimate Episode Ratings and Rankings: Season 15, Part 3

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14.The Ziff Who Came to Dinner - 3.5/5
15.Treehouse of Horror XIV - 3.5/5
16.Today, I Am a Clown - 3.5/5
17.Milhouse Doesn't Live Here Anymore - 3.5/5
18.Margical History Tour - 3.5/5

We're continuing to see a drop in quality with Season 15 episodes but again, it isn't a steep and sudden drop. These next 5 episodes, while certainly not in the same league as the top 8 of this year, are all pretty close in quality to the previous 5. One or two little problems that the others may have also had is all the difference it takes to be put lower on the list. These episodes may have had a few poorer jokes, they may have just been a bit more uninteresting, it really doesn't take much.

Still, a 3.5/5 on my scale does manage to mean above average. Barely, but above average nonetheless. Let's start with the, to date, final appearance by Artie Ziff. I love John Lovitz's many appearances on the Simpsons, even his role in the less than stellar Homerazzi of Season 18. This episode is no different. It starts out strongly at the movies, then gets kinda dull when Homer is arrested. I must point out that there are still several decent jokes here, of particular note is the Artie Can-Can. We get another Selma relationship in this episode, but this one I actually kinda liked. As I mentioned in this episode's review thread I really wouldn't have minded if Artie stayed around for at least a few more episodes. Maybe they could have worked on making his relationship with Selma a lasting one, or at least a longer one. Alas, twas not meant to be.

Season 15's two trilogy episodes have the same grade and appear rather close to each other on this list, but Treehouse of Horror XIV is noticeably better. Reaper Madness is admittedly a story that was already done on Family Guy, but I really enjoyed it anyway, as my current default picture might show you.(I'd love to have this image on a poster) Frinkenstein is the longest and weakest story as it is a bit boring. However Jerry Lewis plays a good one time character and I especially enjoyed his interactions with Flanders and Skinner. Stop the World, I Want to Goof Off is Milhouse and Bart being boys done right. It is an interesting Twilight Zone parody done with several solid jokes. All in all a good enough show. Margical History Tour on the other hand is less than stellar. Again it is not as good as ToH, but not really a bad episode. I really enjoyed the Henry VIII segment, but the other two were a bit weaker. Its biggest flaw though is that it is unmemorable. That is why it is as low as it is on this list.

Sandwiched in between the two trilogy episodes are stories about Krusty and Milhouse. Both of these episodes are fine and all, but like Margical History Tour struggle to remain memorable. Homer's story in Today, I Am a Clown is great and gives us a fantastic thought bubble gag involving Homer and Abraham Lincoln, but it detracts from the Krusty story. The two stories almost feel like they are fighting with dominance at certain points, and although we get a satisfying conclusion to both, the Krusty story seems like it could've been more. Milhouse moving away is such a great idea that it is genuinely surprising that they didn't get to it before this season. I think I even mention this in the review thread. Is this the one with a subplot involving Homer begging? I can't even remember which is not a good sign. I think it is, but I mean that is this episode's main problem: not being memorable. Still, the Bart and Lisa story ends smaltzily enough and it isn't really a bad episode.

As we descend further I suspect the main problem, at least of this still relatively early solo-Jean era, will not be outlandish plots or bad characterizations, rather it will be what we're really starting to see in full force here, which I've already mentioned several times: lack of memorability.

I will finish Season 15 next time, recap how I rank all 22 episodes, and announce what season I'm going to start on next.