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Welcome to The Simpsons Poll
Okay, so it’s not that important, but in forum terms this is big. The first ever official “whatever” poll, and in a sense the first ever politics one as well.
First of all I’d like to thank BillAdama, nj, Zorg and Daniel for nominating such great episodes.
I'd like to add, however, that EVERYONE is free to vote.
THE SIMPSONS POLL RULES
The poll will be contested among 33 nominated episodes. Any episodes voted for which are not among these 33 will not be given any points.
Rank as few as one, as many as all, of the 33 episodes. Unranked ballots containing any number of episodes will be void.
There is an OPTIONAL points system you can use while voting. This allows you to decide by how much you like one episode more than another, and ultimately to give your most favoured episodes a better chance of scoring highly overall:
1) Points should be given according to where an episode is ranked i.e. You give your #1 episode the most points, your #2 episode the second most points, etc. Following this system, you can award each episode up to 50 points, with the maximum possible number of overall points you can use being 1122 (by giving you #1 50 pts, your #2 49 pts…your #33 18 pts)
2) If you do not use the points system yourself (remember it is optional), and just rank the episodes, I will simply award 33 points to your #1 ranked episode, 32 points to your second ranked episode, etc. Without using the points system, your top episodes may not get as much credit as you would have wanted them to
If you have not seen some of the episodes which you have not ranked, you can, if you want to, list these unseen unranked episodes (indicating that you haven't seen them); I will then award each of them the median number of points of the episodes which you have ranked. This rule applies regardless of whether or not you use the points system.
Example ballot [in square brackets is what I'll do when counting the ballots]:
1. Last Exit to Springfield - 50 pts
...11. Lisa's First Word - 18 pts
...21. Homer's Enemy - 2 pts
...I haven't seen: This Little Wiggy, Trilogy of Error. [Median number of points for episodes ranked is 18 pts --> This Little Wiggy and Trilogy of Error both receive 18 pts from this ballot]
Example ballot 2
1. Homer’s Barbershop Quartet – 46 pts
2. Radioactive Man – 38 pts
…33. The Way We Was – 1 pts
Example ballot 3 (without using points system) [in square brackets is what I’ll do when counting the ballots]
1. Cape Feare
2. Homer vs. the Eighteenth Amendment
…30. Oh Brother, Where Art Thou
I haven’t seen: Lisa’s Substitute, Mountain of Madness, The Cartridge Family [median number of points for episodes ranked is 18.5 pts --> Lisa’s Substitute, Mountain of Madness and The Cartridge Family all receive 18.5 pts from this ballot]
Any questions regarding the above rules should be posted on this thread. The biggest doubts seem to be over the points system. I’ll consider scrapping it and just treating it as if everyone has simply ranked when counting up the results, if there is large opposition to it. Personally I think it livens the poll up and allows you to put more weight behind your favourites, without being unfair in any way.
There is also a big question mark hanging over the deadline for ballots. Until further notice it will be 24th September. I realise that that is too short a time for a poll like this, but that’s the best I can do without massively extending it, which will also make finding time to tally and reveal the results difficult. Again, if people really can’t make that deadline, just say and I’ll try and sort something else out.
Finally, I don’t mind how you submit your ballots. Either post them on this thread, or email them to me at email@example.com. Particularly if there aren’t that many voting, it might ruin the results to post them in the thread. If everyone agrees with this then I’d suggest emailing me.
These are the 33 nominated episodes which you can vote for. Only votes for these episodes will be counted:
Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish [2/04]
D: Homer inadvertently convinces Mr. Burns to run for governor, with the help of a three-eyed foe.
C: Although this episode is as close to Citizen Kane as The Simpsons ever got (I know, Rosebud), the paps manage to steal the show with their mid-air footage of the incriminating half-chewed fish.
The Way We Was [2/12]
D: When the TV breaks, Homer and Marge drag the family from the jaws of oblivion by recounting how they first got together, post senior prom.
C: Not for the unsentimental, this one proves The Simpsons to be as sweet as they are American.
Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment [2/13]
D: Homer gets the family free cable without a second thought, until Lisa acts as his conscience.
C: Before the days of Buddhism and vegetarianism, morals on The Simpsons meant the hard stuff. Not one of the funniest episodes (minus Bart’s Top Hat entertainment cameo), yet still one of the best.
Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? [2/15]
D: Homer discovers he has a more successful, better looking half brother, and then proceeds to ruin his life through no fault of his own.
C: Perhaps the first “outsider” episode. Herb (who is, as BillAdama said, an extremely underrated character) is everything his half brother isn’t: a fighter, a self-made man, but above all desperately unlucky.
Lisa’s Substitute [2/15]
D: Lisa falls for her substitute teacher (and faces competition from Edna K, the new Mrs. Robinson) while Bart runs for class president.
C: The one that defines each member of the family fully: Homer’s unintended thoughtlessness; Marge’s neurotic pendency; Bart’s underdog streetsmart; Lisa’s often forgotten sensitivity. More than anything else, it’s the show at its heart – parents and children. Not much sassy cultural swipe, just a beautifully written episode.
Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington [3/02]
D: Lisa wins an essay competition, but she sours the resulting trip to D.C. by revealing “the truth about democracy.
C: I’m not an expert on American politics, but I’m guessing the bribery scene with Bob Arnold was a pretty hard punch in the groin for those watching so patriotic to think America equals democracy. The moment which propelled Lisa from just the clever one in the family to the intellectual voice for the entire series.
Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes? [3/24]
D: Just when Homer has enough money to buy what he’s always wanted – a vibrating chair – his half brother turns up at the door asking him to fund an invention which translates baby speak.
C: A fitting end to the Herb saga: Herb has his redemption, and more importantly Homer has his.
Kamp Krusty [4/01]
D: Bart and Lisa go to the summer camp of hell, whereas Homer and Marge fare better off without them.
C: Maybe it’s an early dig at Disney, but the episode works best on a more general level. All of the summer camp scenarios are only too real, from the greedy celebrity endorser to the brutal games of bored teens; the Homer and Marge backstory provides laughs for parents among the audience.
Homer the Heretic [4/03]
D: Homer gives up church after asking God’s permission, before a house fire converts him back.
C: A God who agrees with Homer Simpson, diminishing the entire religion of Hinduism to ‘miscellaneous’, what could be more faith-affirming? The great thing about this episode is that it treads so carefully around the God question to focus on the modern man’s (hilarious) take on God.
Lisa’s First Word [4/10]
D: Attempts to get Maggie to speak evoke the story of Lisa’s first word, starring a two year old Bart.
C: Not only are we back into “Awww…Ain’t that cute” territory (with Elizabeth Taylor, no less), but we also get to see the traumatic past which made Bart Simpson the underachieving badass superhero he is today as well as a clever parody of the 1984 Olympics.
I Love Lisa [4/15]
D: Lisa takes pity on Ralph, which only ends in heartbreak for him.
C: The episode which turned Ralph into one of the show’s star performers. Bart’s lack of sensitivity helps to make it a delightfully uncomfortable watch.
Last Exit to Springfield [4/17]
D: Homer becomes leader of the Power Plant’s union, and unknowingly outwits Mr. Burns in the fight for a free dental plan for employees.
C: The episode that made foregrounding groundbreaking. From The Grinch to Yellow Submarine, every piece to the jigsaw puzzle that is art gets its own five seconds.
Homer’s Barbershop Quartet [5/01]
D: Homer leaves Marge to fix the car while he tells of the days when he and three other likely lads won Grammies and were bigger than Jesus.
C: Seeing as it’s AMF, it’s a good job this one got through. The parody to end all parodies. Not the most original, written by a Beatle-freak, still I can’t help but love it.
Cape Feare [5/02]
D: Sideshow Bob spends the episode trying to kill Bart, and ends up being thwarted by his own love of opera.
C: An exercise in making attempted homicide comical, this episode will forever leave Sideshow Bob associated with rakes.
Treehouse of Horror V [6/06]
D: Homer plays Johnny in The Shinning, experiences toaster time travel in Time and Punishment, and Bart dreams of cannibal teachers in Nightmare Cafeteria. Also features Groundskeeper Willie cameos and the Inside Out Fog Song.
C: Often considered the best Treehouse, this trio is topped by an almost like-for-like parody of The Shining, with its glorious resolution in the family’s discovery of a portable TV.
Homer Badman [6/09]
D: Homer faces the wrath of women everywhere and a media storm after he is accused of sexual harassment, and all for a piece of candy.
C: An episode brilliant at times in capturing the post-modern world, which above all shows how touchingly naïve Homer can be.
Homer the Great [6/12]
D: Homer joins the Stonecutters cult, disgraces them, somehow becomes their chosen one, and is then driven mad with power.
C: Among the richest in satire, with the Conservative anthem and the armed monkeys, this one has a knack of resonating even where these types of cults are completely unheard of. It seems the message is for civilisation in general.
Lisa’s Wedding [6/19]
D: Lisa has her future predicted at a renaissance fair, and finds out that she will abandon the love of her life for her family.
C: Only in The Simpsons could a “meet the parents” story turn out with the parents not being good enough for the groom. It’s also noteworthy that it takes Lisa’s future to see the loyalty to her family which she so often hides.
Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part 1) [6/25]
D: Mr. Burns’ plan to block out the sun was all going smoothly until someone shot him, leaving America with hours of spin-off crimewatch pastiches.
C: It would have been easy for the writers to skimp on the storyline in favour of the mystery. But conspiracy aside, it’s still a great episode, which elevates Mr. Burns to his supervillain status.
Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part 2) [7/01]
D: The mystery unfurls with an ending that will leave you dummystruck.
C: Some people see the ending as a cop out, but let’s face it, it was never going to be Smithers who shot Mr. Burns (well, not with a gun anyway). All the parody you’d expect, with an extra special bit from Moe.
Radioactive Man [7/02]
D: Hollywood big shots decide that Springfield would be the perfect town for a superhero movie, bringing the set of Radioactive Man and casting Milhouse as his sidekick, much to Bart’s disgust.
C: In addition to all the fun-filled imitation and the heartfelt story of Bart and Milhouse, there is a wonderful irony in a major Hollywood production company being taken advantage of by the town it came to use in its movie.
Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily [7/03]
D: Bart and Lisa are taken from their parents by social services and placed in the care of Flanders of all people.
C: This had to happen some time; in their savage social commentary The Simpsons’ neglect for human decency, for the future of children, finally comes to the fore. As usual, however, Marge saves the day.
22 Short Films about Springfield [7/21]
D: Bart and Milhouse spit on cars; Apu parties for four minutes; Lisa gets gum in her hair; Smithers gets stung by a bee and Mr. Burns gets treated; Dr. Nick nearly causes a blackout; Snake robs Moe; Skinner serves ‘Steamed Hams’; Homer locks Maggie in a box; McDonald’s vs. Krusty Burger; Bumblebee Man’s ‘El Divorco’; Pulp Fiction; Reverend Lovejoy’s dog makes a toilet of Flanders’ garden; the townsfolk get in on Lisa’s gum remedies; Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel; Milhouse needs the toilet, and ends up being Bruce Willis; Lisa’s haircut; the town’s revenge on Nelson; back to Bart and Milhouse. Hey, that’s only nineteen.
C: A classy homage to the incredible supporting cast The Simpsons has developed over the years.
Treehouse of Horror VII [8/01]
D: Bart discovers he’s an evil twin, Lisa creates her own miniature world, and aliens battle for the presidency.
C: All three parts are very strong. The last one has absolutely nothing to do with Halloween, but probably has the biggest scope of all the Treehouse sketches. The Two Party System joke has to be the standout moment.
You Only Move Twice [8/02]
D: The Simpsons move to Cypress Creek, the perfect eco-town home to a James Bond villain.
C: This episode, on the one hand is a hilarious justification for Springfield’s baseness, and on the other contains a high watermark for guest appearances from Albert Brooks (as Hank Scorpio).
Mountain of Madness [8/12]
D: A teambuilding exercise at Mt. Useful goes wrong as an avalanche covers the checkpoint with Homer and Mr. Burns inside it.
C: An awkwardly real picture of the modern workplace is punctured by Mr. Burns’ complete disregard for the rules and the point of the exercise. The ensuing madness is pure hysterics. Surely a high point for Season 8, and for many a last hurrah for the series.
Homer’s Phobia [8/15]
D: Homer is terrified for Bart’s safety when a gay man comes to visit, but his efforts to man him up only end with camper-than-camp John saving their lives.
C: They managed to keep this subject pretty light throughout. One of the funniest bits, which helps to make the point of the episode, is when Homer’s gaydar is so bad that Marge actually has to spell it out for him.
Homer vs. the Eighteenth Amendment [8/18]
D: When drinking is prohibited in Springfield, Homer first bootlegs alcohol and then makes his own.
C: This is your typical fun episode (albeit there is some sort of message), but with a landmark moment: Marge encourages Homer to break the law. Also, Rex Banner is among the best one-time characters in the show’s history.
Homer’s Enemy [8/23]
D: Eight Seasons in, and down-trodden newcomer to the plant Frank Grimes is the first ever to notice Homer’s attitude problem.
C: I could just write the same comment as I wrote for Oh Brother, Where Art Thou, since this is the “outsider” episode. One difference: the “black” in black comedy swamps this one. For fans of Kubrick, this is the Strangelove of character study in animated sitcom.
The Cartridge Family [9/05]
D: Homer buys a gun which takes over his life and drives his family away from him.
C: Here Homer and guns are mocked in equal measure. So deft is the writing that, just as Homer believes, they become one: it’s impossible to tell where it’s Homer’s character under scrutiny, and where it’s the general perception of guns in America.
This Little Wiggy [9/18]
D: Bart is forced into a friendship with Ralph, which weirdly leads Ralph to save Mayor Quimby from execution.
C: This could be one of the first episodes with idiosyncrasies not of the family or social portrait, such as Ralph’s arson-loving imaginary leprechaun. Still, it’s an original theme of social awkwardness and a great way to add depth to Ralph’s character. One thing I still don’t understand though – how did the police chief’s son get to be Ralph?
Behind the Laughter [11/22]
D: A VH1-style special charting the rise and rise of The Simpsons, as explained by the “actors” themselves.
C: Not much to say about this one: exactly what you’d expect, perfect for its generation, but you have to see it to realise its brilliance. One unexpected thing was the following Behind the Laughter episode featuring Droopy.
Trilogy of Error [12/18]
D: A series of unfortunate events – the garbage collection of Flanders’ mailbox, Marge cutting off Homer’s thumb, Bart being blackmailed by the police into wearing a wire, Lisa’s exploding science project – told separately as Homer’s, Lisa’s, and Bart’s day.
C: Maybe one of the top five most cleverly written episodes, a real gem in an increasingly average Season. Aside from the inventive plot structure, there are just so many highlights in this episode, from 123 Fake Street to Linguo’s last, grammatically correct words.
D = Description; C = Comment
The comments above are not intended to influence your voting. They just add some of my light-hearted and ill-informed insight to the episodes.
I want to add a comment for Homer the Great.
It's probably the most quotable episode in the whole series, which is saying a lot.
"Remove the stone of shame! Attach the stone of TRIUMPH!"
"The first ever meeting of the ancient society of...no-Homers!"
"Sorry, no Homers."
And of course, the entire "We do" song.
And the reason it's so quotable is that it features one of the best guest voice performances ever, Patrick Stewart.
I'll use quotes from episodes as well as comments in the results. Yours will be contenders for Homer the Great, and another quote I can think of is 'Who holds back the electric car? Who makes Steve Guttenberg a star? We do' from the song.
About 3 days and 4 hours left to post your ballots, people. Anybody who finds that time limit unreasonable or otherwise impossible speak out at this stage, or it will be too late to sort something else out.
Also sorry to anyone interested who wasn't aware of this extremely premature deadline. In that case, consider this a chance to put together an emergency ballot.
01. You Only Move Twice
02. The Cartridge Family
03. Homer Badman
04. This Little Wiggy
05. Homer vs. The Eighteenth Amendment
06. Treehouse Of Horror V
07. Radioactive Man
08. Cape Feare
09. Homer's Phobia
10. Homer's Enemy
11. Lisa's Substitute
12. Homer The Great
13. Trilogy Of Error
14. Lisa's Wedding
15. Lisa's First Word
16. The Way We Was
17. I Love Lisa
18. Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily
19. Who Shot Mr. Burns Pt. 1
20. Homer's Barbershop Quartet
21. Two Cars In Every Garage...
22. Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes
23. Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?
24. Who Shot Mr. Burns Pt. 2
25. 22 Short Films About Springfield
26. Kamp Krusty
27. Last Exit To Springfield
28. Mountain Of Madness
29. Homer vs. Lisa...
30. Treehouse Of Horror VII
31. Behind The Laughter
32. Mr. Lisa Goes To Washington
33. Homer The Heretic
It's okay, nj. You're not the only one to have voted if that's what you meant. BillAdama has already emailed a list. I'm assuming Zorg will vote tomorrow; Daniel I'm not sure about. I'm also keeping my fingers crossed that someone else might decide to vote at the last minute.
And anyone who wants to follow BillAdama's lead and comment on episode(s) is free to do so...
So far I have only received ballots from BillAdama and nj. After three ballots (including mine) there is no clear leader and it is hard to predict even which episodes will finish in the top 20. There is, however, a leading pack starting to develop.
Zorg, Daniel, and anyone else who wants to vote, you have nine hours to submit your ballots before the original deadline. I don't mind late votes; I'm not asking you to stick to a deadline on a whim. It's just that I literally have tomorrow to tally and reveal the results.
Reminder: Either post your ballots on this thread, or (to add suspense) email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I now have Zorg's list.
Daniel and anyone else, you basically have until just before I finish counting and start revealing the results to submit your ballots. That is likely to be around 12 hours from now, at 12.00pm forum time.
We now have a runaway leader in the poll, but one low vote and a high one among the chasing pack could still swing it.