“Oh, I’ll stay away from your son, all right…I’ll stay away…FOREVER.”
It’s Debate Day here on Trope and Dagger! Today we’re picking sides on which is the best episode of the Simpsons ever! To read up on Andy’s misguided nonsense, go here: Incorrect Things. Now, let me tell you why I’m so very right! And if you agree with Andy…
The Simpsons have been on a long loooooong time, and there are many classic episodes. Bart the Daredevil, Mr. Plow, Who Shot Mr. Burns?, Bart Sells His Soul, The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show, Marge Vs. The Monorail…All these names recall great memories of uproarious moments. The Simpsons are now into their 26th season, and while I may have not partaken in the more recent seasons, it’s safe to say that the Simpsons of old is some of my favorite television of all time.
However, in my opinion there is one episode of the Simpsons that stands above the rest. It is the pinnacle of what the Simpsons can be, and one that I will happily watch whenever anyone wants to watch the Simpsons. The Simpsons Season 5, Episode 2: Cape Feare.
If you haven’t seen this 26 year old episode, go watch it now! Do it, you won’t regret it! I’m not even going to put in a spoiler warning, it’s so freakin old. I can’t link directly to it, but hopefully you can track down a DVD or…something so that you can watch it!
So why is this episode the top of the list, the cream of the crop, the apple of my eye? Well, glad you asked!
First off, this episode is an excellent example of how the Simpsons knows how to parody. It took the film that had recently come out, Cape Fear, and turned its chilling moments into hilarious comedy. And it’s ridiculous to think that they decided to parody this movie, as it really is pretty upsetting and hard to watch. I mean, De Niro plays a rapist who terrorizes a family, who watches this film and thinks “This could be hilarious”? Jon Vitti, the Simpsons writer, that’s who. And he was totally right! It’s able to turn the frightening moments from the movie into rich comedy and points out the utterly ludicrous moments from the movie for how silly they are! Strapping yourself underneath a car to follow a family? Yeah, that really shouldn’t work out too well, and it doesn’t for Sideshow Bob!
Then we have golden moments from Homer, like when the FBI is trying to get him accustomed to a new name (“I think he’s talking to you”), when he’s trying to bond with his son (“BARTDOYOUWANNASEEMYNEWCHAINSAWANDHOCKEYMASK?!?!?!”), and when he’s sleeping through the attack on the family (“Oh no, dad’s been drugged!” “No he hasn’t.”). This is Homer at his best, not too over the top, and completely oblivious to almost everything around him. “Oh my god! Somebody’s trying to kill me! Oh, wait, it’s for Bart.”
And finally, the amazing guest star of this episode, Kelsey Grammer voicing Sideshow Bob. This is the episode where Sideshow Bob shines the brightest, at his utmost evil, plotting to murder Bart in cold blood and without remorse. He begins by sending Bart threatening letters, using his own blood, which of course causes him to pass out after a point. He is then paroled from prison, having charmed the parole board by explaining that his tattoo of “Die Bart Die” on his chest is German from “The Bart, The” and of course no one who speaks German could be an evil man. Then he proceeds to stalk the family, even following them to Terror Lake strapped under their car, which leads to the greatest moment of slapstick comedy on this show, and possibly ever.
And come on, that last confrontation with Bart where Bart tricks him into singing the entire score of the H.M.S. Pinafore? Not only hilarious, but Sideshow Bob truly does send us to heaven when he sings. I want to hear the rest of the songs, not just the snippets that we got! Absolutely beautiful. And genius. And again, fucking funny.
And what better way to have Sideshow Bob caught than by having the boat randomly crash next to a brothel that the Springfield PD was at? Bake him away, toys!
By Lucifer’s beard, this is a damn good episode. This is the BEST episode! I want to go watch it again right now, it is so incredibly funny. It was hard to pick out of the hundreds of episodes, but this is absolutely the best the Simpsons has ever been.
Cape Feare. It is undoubtedly the best episode of the Simpsons ever.