So if you don’t see any new posts at Daily Possible for the next 12 days, now you know why. I will do my best to multitask in my home office, although that may not be good enough. As Homer once told Bart: “You’ve tried your best and failed miserably. The lesson is: Never try.”
Trying to tally up all the life lessons from “The Simpsons” is tougher than counting all the three-eyed fish in the sea. These 11 episodes stand out for imparting priceless wisdom. This very incomplete list of favorites skews heavily toward the early prime years, which is good, because once these air is around when I’ll need to head out to the Kwik E Mart to stock up on Buzz Cola and Krusty-Os.
1. “The Crepes of Wrath,” Aug. 21, 3 p.m. ET
Bart heads to France as an exchange student, and to his utter amazement actually learns French. Homer’s sendoff advice: “Always remember that you’re representing your country. I guess what I’m saying is… Don’t mess up France the way you messed up your room.”
The Simpsons meanwhile, host Adil, from Albania. Principal Skinner gives him a warm Springfield Elementary welcome.
Skinner: “You might find his accent peculiar. Certain aspects of his culture may seem absurd, perhaps even offensive. But I urge you all to give little Adil the benefit of the doubt. This way, and only in this way, do we hope to better understand our backward neighbors throughout the world.”
2. “One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish,” Aug. 21, 9:30 p.m. ET
Homer believes that he has 24 hours to live after thinking he ate the deadly blowfish at a local sushi restaurant. He plans a jam packed last day on Earth. But when the alarm clock goes off, Homer shuts it off and sleeps in. He does still find time to have a “man-to-man talk” with Bart. Homer shares “the three little sentences that will get you through life.”
“Number 1: Cover for me. Number 2: Oh, good idea, Boss! Number 3: It was like that when I got here.”
3. “Lisa’s Substitute,” Aug. 22, 1:30 a.m. ET
An uncredited Dustin Hoffman voices Lisa’s inspirational substitute teacher, Mr. Bergstrom, who Lisa tries desperately to stop from leaving for his next assignment. “That’s the problem with being middle class,” Mr. Bergstrom tells Lisa as he boards the next train to Capital City. “Anybody who really cares will abandon you for those who need it more.”
Meanwhile, Bart runs his own inspirational campaign for fourth-grade class president. “He says there aren’t any easy answers,” about his brainiac opponent, Martin.”I say, he’s not looking hard enough!”
4. “Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk,” Aug. 22, 8:30 a.m. ET
Homer’s job as safety inspector is in danger when the nuclear plant is sold to German businessmen. Especially after he drifts off to “the land of chocolate.”
5. “Kamp Krusty,” Aug. 22, 3:30 p.m. ET
Bart and Lisa head to Camp Krusty, but Bart won’t get to go unless he keeps his grades up. “Son, if you really want something in this life, you have to work for it,” Homer says. “Now quiet! They’re about to announce the lottery numbers.”
6. “Marge vs. the Monorail,” Aug. 22, 9 p.m. ET
Springfield spends money on a needless monorail built from shoddy materials and piloted by Homer as conductor. Sample question from his MCAT (Monorail Conductors Aptitude Test): “True or false? You can get mono from riding the monorail.
7. “Krusty Gets Kancelled,” Aug. 23, 2 a.m. ET
“Thirty-five years in television and already nobody remembers me. Just like what’s his face,” Krusty the Klown tells Lisa and Bart when they meet him out on the street holding a cardboard sign. (“Will drop pants for food.”) But the kids come to Krusty’s rescue, by organizing a comeback special, with some help from his celebrity friends including Hugh Hefner, Johnny Carson, half-brother Luke Perry, and especially from Bette Midler who duets with Krusty on “Wind Beneath My Wings.”
8. “Homer Goes to College,” Aug. 23, 3:30 a.m. ET
In order to keep his job (yet again, d’oh!), Homer must pass Nuclear Physics 101, but despite the best efforts of his kindly nerd tutors at Springfield U., he gets an “F” anyway. “Oh, I’m going to lose my job just ’cause I’m dangerously unqualified,” Homer says.
“Mr. Simpson, there is a way. We could — well, use a computer to change your grade,” one of the nerds tells him.
“Computers can do that?”
“Well, yes…the only problem is the moral dilemma it raises, which requires –”
Homer (kissing a computer): “Oh, I love — moral whuzzah?”
9. “The Last Temptation of Homer,” Aug. 23, 6:30 a.m.
Homer and Marge’s marriage is tested when Homer attends a nuclear energy convention with his comely coworker Mindy (guest voice Michelle Pfeiffer). Over dinner at Madam Chao’s, “the sexiest Chinese restaurant in Capital City,” Homer seeks guidance from a fortune cookie. “You will find happiness with a new love,” his fortune reads. “Aw, even the Chinese are against me. What’s the point? I can’t fight fate.” (But fate is fickle. “Hey, we’re out of these ‘new love’ cookies,” someone in the kitchen says. “Well, open up the ‘stick with your wife’ barrel,” he’s told.)
10. “Bart Sells His Soul,” Aug. 24, 3:30 a.m. ET
Bart’s faith is tested when he sells his soul to best bud Milhouse for five dollars. He seeks support from Marge, but she can’t see anything wrong with her “special little guy.”
Bart: “Mom, I need to tell you something. I kind of –”
Marge: “Let me guess. A mother can always tell. Hmm. It’s not fear of nuclear war. It’s not swim-test anxiety. It almost feels like you’re missing something…something important.”
Bart: “Like I don’t have a soul?”
Marge: “Aw, honey, you’re not a monster.”
11. “King-Size Homer,” Aug. 24, 5 a.m. ET
As I said earlier, my own work ethic may be tested this week. Homer’s work-for-home experience may not provide the best example of the right path to follow. In order for Homer to work remotely, he must first qualify for disability. But how? He could get injured on the job and sent home with pay. (“It’s like a lottery that awards stupidity,” his colleague Lenny tells him.) Homer’s best course of action is to become morbidly obese under the care of esteemed medical professional Dr. Nick Riviera.
“Now there are many options available for dangerously underweighted individuals like yourself,” says Dr. Nick. “I recommend a slow steady gorging process combined with assal horizontology. … You’ll want to focus on the neglected food groups such as the whipped group, the congealed group and the chocotastic!”
I value my health more, but in the spirit of the occasion, I may venture out to 7-Eleven instead of Kwik E Mart and bring home some of Homer’s favorite donuts. Mmm, donuts….
What are your favorites? (Episodes, not donuts.) Please share in the comments. I’m less interested in the “worst episode ever,” unless you’re Comic Book Guy.