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My Simpsons Ultimate Episode Ratings and Rankings: Season 13, Part 1

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Well anyone bothering to read this, as I promised in my last blog I took an exceedingly long amount of time to watch all of Season 13. In fact, this will be my first blog entry in over 2 months! This season's episodes originally aired from November of 2001 through May of 2002. Season 13 is an interesting one in that it originally aired at a time when I, then a 13 year old, had stopped watching the show every week. I can remember watching under half of these when they originally aired, though I remember liking the ones I did watch.(Not that it was that difficult for the show to please a 13 year old me.)

Around these parts this is considered the first season in a sort of brief(3 to 4 seasons depending on who you ask) renaissance for the show. This is because this season marked the end of Mike Scully's Era(save 1 episode) of the series. After the first five holdover episodes Al Jean took over and hasn't left ever since. At the time, his first year was viewed positively and with a hope that the years to come would be even better. Kinda ironic when you consider things today huh? But then looking at the past knowing what we know now isn't exactly fair to begin with I suppose. Anyway, 13 year old me had no idea about this significant change, all I knew was that the show was still going and I would watch if I happened to catch it but wouldn't actively search for it. But how about current me? What are my thoughts on this season having taken the past two months to watch it once more? Here's my top five:

1.)I Am Furious (Yellow) - 5/5
2.)The Old Man and the Key - 4.5/5
3.)Half-Decent Proposal - 4.5/5
4.)Jaws Wired Shut - 4.5/5
5.)The Frying Game - 4.5/5

Two rather obvious points should be made before elaborating on the episodes presented here. First, you'll notice that none of the Mike Scully run episodes made it in to the top 5. Considering how he is viewed here I suppose that shouldn't be too surprising but as you'll see in a future blog post I didn't really hate any of his episodes here. Second, you'll notice we have a severe lack of perfect score episodes here. In fact, we have only one. Mike Scully run Season 10 had more than that!(It had more 1/5's too though but still) So what does that mean? If I had to give my feeling on this season as a whole right now I suppose I'd say average to good, with perhaps one or two truly bad episodes and five borderline wonderful ones. Not too exciting huh? I was also surprised about the average feel of this season, especially given its reputation as mentioned above. Perhaps I'll better be able to express my feelings regarding this as I go on, but let's rap up this first part with some general feelings on these five episodes.

I have always loved Furious Yellow, even back when I first saw it. Stan Lee jamming that Thing into the Batmobile and trying to change into the Hulk have always been hilarious. The strange thing is though that I've never really been a comic book kid. I used to watch Batman the animated series in the 90s, and sometimes Superman as well, but that was really the extent of my comic book interest. Those two series are DC property anyway so why did I love the Stan Lee cameo? Well I knew who he was and appreciated how Comic Book Guy reacts to him and what his appearance would mean to the character. Plus his total willingness to make himself out as senile was just great. The other aspect of this episode I love is Angry Dad. It almost seems like a commentary on Scully Era Homer's often extreme characterization but I wouldn't go that far. Homer in the episode is wonderful and Bart gets off some nice one-liners too. I think one of my favorite types of episodes is the Homer-Bart ones, which I tend to file this one under. I came into this season expecting to give around 5 or so perfect scores but in the end this was the only episode I felt still deserved it.

Our mandatory Grampa episode of the season comes next and it is very strong. I like the Grampa character though in recent years his episodes have been less than stellar.(Though I caught Thursdays With Abie in syndication last week and thought it was better than I remembered.) This episode is really good though. The switcharoo between Homer and him, while not original, is still played great and we just have several strong gags throughout like the Old Man Yells at Cloud scene or the death race. The last act in Branson is particularly strong though. Artie Ziff returns and we get a nice little Homer and Marge episode which makes good use of their established past. Aside from the mandatory strong jokes here the animation in this one is also noticeably great. I particularly like several of the bedroom scenes with Homer and Marge. They seem to remind me of much earlier episode scenes between the two.

Jaws Wired Shut also seems to be playing with Homer's established character. He is forced to listen and become a better father/husband and this second act is definitely the funnest to watch of the episode. The first at the movies is also fun and certainly funny, while the third act is a bit weaker though still contains some great stuff such as the long Popeye reference. I was surprised with how highly I ranked The Frying Game here though. This is one of those episodes I actually remember watching on the night it aired and I really disliked the ending. Like I said in its episode thread though I really like this one more and more every time I see it. The screamapillar and several Green Mile references are great, but the episode just seems to move at a rapid pace and I have a hard time finding much of anything to hate about it until the end, which I've actually grown to appreciate. Very fun and solid episode to be sure, but certainly the weakest of these top five.

Updated 10-14-2011 at 02:25 AM by Oh, that's raspberry!