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My Simpsons Ultimate Episode Ratings and Rankings: Season 10, Part 1

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I have spent the last two or so weeks re-watching Season 10 of the Simpsons. Season 10 originally aired from the Summer of 1998 to the Spring of 1999. Most fans from its early years tend to consider the first seven, eight, or at most nine seasons to be the "classic era" of the show. Season 10 was Mike Scully's second of four years in charge but Season 9 did have several episodes from previous show runners. This was the first season with nothing but Scully episodes, 23 of them. I was 10 years old during this season's original broadcast. Just thinking about it leaves me somewhat surprised. I won't say it seems like yesterday because I can only remember watching a handful of these when they originally aired, but I do find it amazing that the show had already aired 200 episodes by this point...and was not even halfway finished.

The Scully Era, as I assume anyone bothering to read this already knows, is considered to be for the most part a mediocre, Homer heavy era. It is characterized by nonsensical, gag heavy plots, more-so than even in the Mirkin Era, and a disturbing phenomenon known as Jerkass Homer. During my review of this season I've been driven to think of how I specifically characterize this incarnation of the character. I guess it is one, to me, in which the character hurts others, directly or indirectly, and acts outrageously stupid or obnoxious for the sake of the plot. Ultimately though I think that how everyone perceives Homer during any era of the show, including this one, is up to personal interpretation. The strange thing, to me, is that Homer has always shown certain traits in his character that we see here, only in previous years they weren't presented in such awful ways, at least it seems. The Jean-Era Homer has the advantage of being aware of the fan-term and even mocks it multiple times. Jean Homer shows these tendencies from time to time as well, but not as nearly as often, at least it seems to me. Anyway I could probably write an entire blog on the Jerkass Homer character and his multiple appearances alone but I really don't want to. I'll just leave it with this very basic mention and interpretation, at least for now.

I have to be honest here and say that this season was not as enjoyable for me to rewatch as the first 3 I chose: 15, 16, and 20. I'm not at the moment entirely sure why that is actually but I do have some ideas. This season just seemed much more difficult for me to get through as by the end I had little enthusiasm left for watching any more. Maybe it can be contributed to watching 80 plus episodes for this blog over the last 2 plus months, but I really don't think that's it. The sad thing is I consider this to be a better season than the two that follow, though I'll know for sure when I actually get to those. I'll save my general opinions of the season as a whole for the end after I reveal my grades and rankings for each episode, but they should already be fairly predictable just based on what I've already written. Anyway let's get on to the actual episodes themselves:

1.)Treehouse of Horror IX - 5/5
2.)Lisa Gets an "A" - 5/5
3.)Wild Barts Can't Be Broken - 5/5
4.)Mayored to the Mob - 5/5
5.)Bart the Mother - 4.5/5

Strangely enough this is in all likelihood the only season in which my favorite episode is the Halloween special. As a whole, this is probably my favorite Halloween show since Treehouse of Horror V and the next closest one I like that aired after this is Treehouse of Horror XX, which I really did enjoy quite a bit. The opening segment is easily the best as it manages to be both gruesome and funny, something that I think all Halloween show segments should try to accomplish. The second also manages to be solidly funny and the idea of being trapped in a cartoon, while certainly having been done before, is disturbing. The third segment is the weakest but it still has many good jokes and manages to be above average. This was one of the episodes I can still remember watching when it originally aired.

The main plot of Lisa Gets an "A" is a good example of Lisa acting like a little kid, and later her self. It makes sense that she would become addicted to staying home from school and it also makes sense that she would feel guilty and be driven to confess when the school is given money because she cheated. It also manages to be entertaining and funny. When paired with a very strong B plot, one of the most memorable of all time at least for me, the episode becomes genuinely fantastic.

Going by my above definition of Jerkass Homer you'd probably be asking yourself why I rate Wild Barts Can't Be Broken so highly. To be sure Homer becoming drunk, vandalizing the school, and getting the kids blamed for it does seem pretty mean. Homer is drunk here and not alone, but has no intent of getting the kids blamed for anything. His actions are also excused, at least for me, by a nice comment on fair weather fans in sports. Most importantly though, it is his actions that jump start a genuinely good plot, not an outlandishly stupid one. I like the idea of the kids versus the adults and I really like where it goes here. From sneaking to the movies to broadcasting the parents' secrets to singing a very good parody musical number from Bye Bye Birdie there is just a lot of stuff to like in this episode. To me, it remains a highlight of this season.

Mayored to the Mob was much better on this most recent viewing than I remembered it being and Bart the Mother was a little worse. Mob is an extremely funny episode and manages to pull off the Homer gets a new job plot very nicely, probably the best over the remainder of the Scully Era. Mark Hamill is also a legitimately funny guest star and the episode remains entertaining. Bart the Mother is still a very strong episode, but it is hurt ever so slightly by a less than perfect emotional aspect. Bart and Marge bonding is done nicely, but was handled better in Marge Be Not Proud, and emotional episodes in general are not very common or good in this era. This is probably the best of them but it isn't as great as I remembered, though still certainly very good.
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  1. alex_on_ice's Avatar
    Great Part 1 to Season 10 oh, that's Raspberry! I read the entire thing. I really love three of the five episodes you've put in your top 5 (Mayored to the Mob, Wild Barts Can't Be Broken and Lisa gets an "A" but I'm not really fond of the other two.

    However, after reading the paragraphs (at the end of your review) concerning the two episodes I don't really like much, I can easily understand why you like them. I'll have to watch Bart the mother soon. I haven't watched this episode in a very long time.

    I'm going straight to Part 2. I also enjoyed your explanation at the beginning of your review of jerkass Homer. It was well done.