6 HD Episodes of The Simpsons That Are Totally Worth Your Time

Laser Time, Simpsons, Christmas, The Book Job, O Brother Where Bart Thou, Holidays of Future Passed, A Totally Fun Thing That Bat Will Never Do Again, Brick Like Me, The Man Who Grew Too Much

And the last one is for Christmas!

“But The Simpsons hasn’t been worth watching since the late 90s at best! Boy, I really hope somebody got fired for that blunder!” Shut up.

“O Brother, Where Bart Thou?” – Season 21, Episode 8

Laser Time, Simpsons, Christmas, The Book Job, O Brother Where Bart Thou, Holidays of Future Passed, A Totally Fun Thing That Bat Will Never Do Again, Brick Like Me, The Man Who Grew Too Much

The Plot:

Sick of watching Lisa and Maggie enjoy the bond of sisterhood, Bart aspires to gain a younger brother he can pal around with. When his attempts to trick Homer and Marge into procreating fail again and again, he informally adopts a orphan, Charlie, as his little brother.

Why It’s Worth Your Time:

Let’s ignore the episode’s weakest moment (a pointless cameo by the NFL’s Manning Brothers) and focus on the good, because there’s a lot of it. This is a great Bart-focused episode that makes use of a plot that is simple, but with a strong emotional core. Unlike what might happen in a worse episode, Bart’s desire for brotherly love doesn’t feel like a forced plot point; it’s born as organically as a sitcom setup can be, and it’s a sympathetic, relatable childhood feeling. His attempts to trick his parents into sweet, child-creating canoodling via arranging romantic dinners and hiding their birth control pills is the kind of misguided child malevolence that makes early South Park classic, and lead to some great gags via the wise guidance of Nelson Muntz.

But the real draw here is the second half of the episode, and the story between Bart and his “adopted” orphan, Charlie. One of the greatest criticisms of modern Simpsons is the loss of its emotional component, a flaw this episode completely avoids. It’s definitely worth adding to your Christmas Simpsons marathon (we all have those, right?) alongside Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire, Marge Be Not Proud, Grift of the Magi, and another episode on this list (but we’ll get to that later).

“The Book Job” – Season 23, Episode 6

Laser Time, Simpsons, Christmas, The Book Job, O Brother Where Bart Thou, Holidays of Future Passed, A Totally Fun Thing That Bat Will Never Do Again, Brick Like Me, The Man Who Grew Too Much

The Plot:

When Lisa discovers (to her horror) that all of her favorite books were ghostwritten, she attempts to write her own. Meanwhile, Homer forms an Ocean’s Eleven super-team composed of Bart, Skinner, Patty, Moe, Professor Frink, and Neil Gaiman, in hopes of selling their own young adult bestseller.

Why It’s Worth Your Time:

If you’re a Laser Time reader, you’ve probably got some interest behind the scenes of media production — for example, how best-selling novels come to be. The Book Job provides two different perspectives: Lisa struggles with the blank page procrastination every writer has spent time with, and Homer’s super-team — which brings together a great assortment of characters to play off each other very well — navigates a cartoonish version of the publishing industry that only a great Simpsons episode could render so well. And unlike many worthless celebrity cameos (see the Manning brothers example above), Neil Gaiman plays himself hilariously as a clingy, lonely man so desperate to join the team (and so under-appreciated by Homer) that he ends up fetching their lunches. Also, it’s tough to look at this without laughing:

Laser Time, Simpsons, Christmas, The Book Job, O Brother Where Bart Thou, Holidays of Future Passed, A Totally Fun Thing That Bat Will Never Do Again, Brick Like Me, The Man Who Grew Too Much

Look at those assholes! 

“A Totally Fun Thing That Bart Will Never Do Again” – Season 23, Episode 19

Laser Time, Simpsons, Christmas, The Book Job, O Brother Where Bart Thou, Holidays of Future Passed, A Totally Fun Thing That Bat Will Never Do Again, Brick Like Me, The Man Who Grew Too Much

The Plot:

The Simpsons are going on a cruise! The family embarks on an all-inclusive Fun Cruise, and for once, a Simpson vacation goes swimmingly… too swimmingly. Hoping to prolong their happiness forever, Bart convinces the entire ship that the world beyond their boat has been destroyed by nuclear war. Things fall apart.

Why It’s Worth Your Time:

Every fan remembers the Simpsons heading to Australia or Itchy and Scratchy Land, but by the time our favorite family headed to Africa and battled an evil woman using monkeys as diamond-mining slaves, “The Simpsons Go to…” episodes began to grow formulaic and underwhelming.

A Totally Fun Thing flips the script by letting us see a rare occurrence: the family going on vacation and ending up totally functional and happy. This doesn’t last, of course, but it’s great to see the Simpsons actually have a good time. And despite a lack of characteristic strife, the humor doesn’t suffer (an art shift as the kids take on every activity on the boat is particularly neat). And when things do go wrong, the reasoning behind Bart’s actions is, again, born from a nice place of character and storyline advancement, rather than random jackassery.

“Brick Like Me” – Season 25, Episode 20

Laser Time, Simpsons, Christmas, The Book Job, O Brother Where Bart Thou, Holidays of Future Passed, A Totally Fun Thing That Bat Will Never Do Again, Brick Like Me, The Man Who Grew Too Much

The Plot:

What if Springfield was made of Lego bricks? This episode takes that concept, but, much like the film clearly inspiring it, adds a real-world twist.

Why It’s Worth Your Time:

It’s easy to look at Brick Like Me and write it off as not only a gimmick, but also a quick cash-in on The Lego Movie’s success. But just as the Chris Pratt film came out of nowhere as a critical darling, Brick Like Me deserves a place among the Treehouse of Horrors and Lisa’s Weddings of the alternate reality Simpsons multiverse. The Lego setting is put to excellent use and provides never-ending great gags (like Bart’s detention duties consisting of assembling the endless “Springfield Elementary” sets  Skinner receives every year for Christmas, or Ralph Wiggum happily being used as part of a wall). And just like The Lego Movie, the mid-episode twist is worth experiencing for yourself.

“The Man Who Grew Too Much” – Season 25, Episode 13

Laser Time, Simpsons, Christmas, The Book Job, O Brother Where Bart Thou, Holidays of Future Passed, A Totally Fun Thing That Bat Will Never Do Again, Brick Like Me, The Man Who Grew Too Much

The Plot:

I don’t know. Sideshow Bob does something, I guess.

Why It’s Worth Your Time:

This episode is nothing special, or maybe it is. The final few minutes definitely make it worth watching for any fan of the show. After the unfortunate 2013 death of Marcia Wallace (Edna Krabappel), the show retired her character without much fanfare. However, this otherwise-unrelated episode features a closing tag in which Ned Flanders (Edna’s current husband, in case you don’t keep up with the show’s rich mythology) and Nelson Muntz pay a quick and solemn tribute to Edna and Marcia. It’s absolutely heartbreaking, and you totally want your heart broken, right?

“Holidays of Future Passed” – Season 23, Episode 9

Laser Time, Simpsons, Christmas, The Book Job, O Brother Where Bart Thou, Holidays of Future Passed, A Totally Fun Thing That Bat Will Never Do Again, Brick Like Me, The Man Who Grew Too Much

The Plot:

We take a look at a Springfield Christmas 30 years in the future. The Simpson children have gone down separate paths: Lisa is married to Milhouse, Bart is a divorcee with two kids, and Maggie is a pregnant rock star. The family reunites for Christmas, when Bart must unexpectedly provide a memorable holiday for his sons.

Why It’s Worth Your Time:

The Simpsons has done a number of “future episodes” since the classic Lisa’s Wedding, but none have been all that memorable. Holidays of Future Passed breaks that trend. Despite the sci-fi future backdrop full of holograms, this episode places Lisa and Bart into realistic, less than ideal adulthoods. Instead of getting bogged down in future gags (though there are plenty of those), the writers make use of the setting to tell a unique story– showing a role reversal with Bart and Lisa as parents, and creating an arc about the importance of staying together as a family. Despite having only 22 minutes to invest you in this future world, this episode will engross you in the drama more than anything since Who Shot Mr. Burns?

This holiday look ahead proved so popular that it gained a direct continuation in the form of Season 25’s Days of Future Future. That outing is less successful (including some really bizarre and over-the-top gags, such as a dead Homer being replaced by a never-ending stream of clones and Milhouse becoming a zombie — which would feel much more at home in a Treehouse of Horror segment), but it is still worth a glance — taken with lowered expectations — as further exploration of the show’s second-best future.

Jonathan Persinger is a fiction/pop culture writer from Pennsylvania. His work has appeared in Cracked, eFiction, the Avalon Literary Review (Summer 2014),  Quail Bell Magazine, and more. He runs Blog with a Dog, where he makes fun of TV shows aimed at children. He’s also the founding editor of Remarkable Doorways Online Literary Magazine, which is currently open for submissions.

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4 thoughts on “6 HD Episodes of The Simpsons That Are Totally Worth Your Time

  1. I thought I was a Simpsons fan but have not seen any of these other then “Holidays of Future past.” I checked em out and they are all great Sir! Thanks for my reintroduction into Simpsons fan-hood.

  2. Agreed sir. I’d also like to throw in ‘Homer The Whopper’ (from season 21) as both great and especially LaserTime-worthy. It’s basically another more modern spin on the superhero movie, done so previously brilliantly in ‘Radioactive Man: The Movie’ but different enough here (Homer’s the lead) to be superb. Plus the writers (Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg) deliberated wrote it in the style of a pre-Season 10 episode.

    The line “I’m so cold” had me on the floor.

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