The Simpsons Bracket: Day 6 – The Group of Death

KvikEMart

By: Connor Lenahan

Previously: Moe’s Tavern Region / Nuclear Plant Region / Springfield Elementary Region / Lard Lad Donuts Region / Krusty Burger Region

We have now reached the group of death in this bracket experiment. The today’s region, the Kwik-E-Mart, somehow found a way to get classic after classic despite the episodes being selected by a random number generator. This one is going to get intense. Here we go, the Kwik-E-Mart region.

As always, the seedings are random and mean nothing, while we also won’t waste time when a classic faces a scrub.

Round 1:

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Outright Victories:

“You Kent Always Say What You Want” over “Dial N for Nerder,” “Homer the Heretic” over “Bart the Genius,” “Bart Gets an Elephant” over “Moms I’d Like to Forget,” “Homer’s Triple Bypass” over “Homer the Moe,” “Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind” over “Coming to Homerica,” “Eight Misbehavin’” over “MoneyBART,” “Bart Sells His Soul” over “Donnie Fatso,” “Burns Verkaufen” over “Crook and Ladder,” “The Computer Wore Menace Shoes” over “Treehouse 21,” “Last Exit to Springfield” over “Home Away from Homer,” “Two Dozen and One Greyhounds” over “Jaws Wired Shut,” “Itchy & Scratchy & Marge” over “See Homer Run,” “Treehouse 7” over “I’m Spelling as Fast as I Can,” “Natural Born Kissers” over “The Homer of Seville,” “King-Sized Homer” over “The Bart Wants,” “Lady Bouvier’s Lover” over “A Star is Born Again,” “The Squirt and the Whale” over “Rome-old,” “A Fish Called Selma” over “Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold,” “Dancin’ Homer” over “Yokel Chords,” “Sideshow Bob’s Last Gleaming” over “Milhouse Doesn’t Live Here,” “Bart’s Girlfriend” over “Flaming Moe.”

Coin Flips:

“It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Marge” over “Homer vs. Dignity,” over “Ice Cream of Margie” over “Little Orphan Millie,” “Another Simpsons Clip Show” over “Lost Verizon,” “Homerazzi” over “The Falcon and the D’ohman,” “Lisa the Drama Queen” over “The Regina Monologues,” “Treehouse 16” over “Springfield Up,” “Bart-Mangled Banner” over “Midnight RX,” “Smart and Smarter” over “Pranksta Rap,” “Pokey Mom” over “Dude, Where’s My Ranch?”

Matchups:

“Mr. Plow” over “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?” – It’s not fun to eliminate Herb Powell and “The Homer” this early, but “Mr. Plow” is a beast.

“Sweets and Sour Marge” over “The Dad Who Knew Too Little” – The latter of these two is a pretty funny episode and really gives an interesting dynamic to the Homer & Lisa relationship. But I cannot get over how perfect Ben Stiller is, plus the Oompa Loompa.

 

Round 2:

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Outright Victories:

“Mr. Plow” over “You Kent Always,” “Homer the Heretic” over “Sweets and Sour Marge,” “Eternal Moonshine” over “Eight Misbehavin’,” “Bart Sells His Soul” over “Another Simpsons Clip Show,” “Burns Verkaufen” over “Homerazzi,” “The Computer Wore Menace Shoes” over “Lisa the Drama Queen,” “Itchy & Scratchy & Marge” over Treehouse 16,” “King-Sized Homer” over “Bart-Mangled Banner,” “Lady Bouvier’s Lover” over “Smart & Smarter,” “A Fish Called Selma” over “The Squirt and the Whale,” “Sideshow Bob’s Last Gleaming” over “Dancin’ Homer,” “Bart’s Girlfriend” over “Pokey Mom.”

Coin Flips:

“It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Marge” over “Ice Cream of Margie.”

Matchups:

“Homer’s Triple Bypass” over “Bart Gets an Elephant” – It’s a sweet story and has laugh out loud hilarious moments, like Homer briefly dying in Mr. Burns’ office. It’s terrific.

“Last Exit to Springfield” over “Two Dozen and One Greyhounds” – “See My Vest” is arguably the greatest Simpsons song ever (hold this thought), but “Last Exit” is “Last Exit.” We’re done here.

“Treehouse 7” over “Natural Born Kissers” – “Please, I have a wife and kids, eat them!”

 

Round 3:

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Outright Victories:

“Homer’s Triple Bypass” over “It’s a Mad, Mad,” “Bart Sells His Soul” over “Eternal Moonshine,” “Burns Verkaufen” over “The Computer Wore Menace Shoes,” “Last Exit to Springfield” over “Itchy & Scratchy & Marge,” “King-Sized Homer” over “Treehouse 7,” “A Fish Called Selma” over “Lady Bouvier’s Lover.”

Matchups:

“Homer the Heretic” over “Mr. Plow” – If you were to ask me in person for my favorite Simpsons episode of all time I would most likely say “Mr. Plow.” It just hits me perfectly. But I cannot pass up on the excellence that is “Homer the Heretic,” the most brilliant religion based episode of the series and also home to some of the funniest Homer sequences in the entirety of the show.

“Bart’s Girlfriend” over “Sideshow Bob’s Last Gleaming” – The show finally finds a match for Bart in terms of debauchery. Even better, the match is played by Meryl Streep. How awesome is this episode?

 

Round 4:

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Matchups:

“Homer the Heretic” over “Homer’s Triple Bypass” – The combination of Homer’s day off from church, which becomes the best day of his life, and the fire that almost kills him, are two of the greatest sequences in television history and tear inducingly funny.

“Bart Sells His Soul” over “Burns Verkaufen” – The “Land of Chocolate” scene is incredible, and the episode as a whole is amazing. But the emotional gravity of “Bart Sells His Soul” is almost without equal. The fact that it’s hilarious only improves its case.

“Last Exit to Springfield” over “King-Sized Homer” – “King-Sized Homer” is an absurdly brilliant concept. Homer gains 61 pounds to go on disability. This is a plot that only works on The Simpsons. However, there is no dull moment in “Last Exit to Springfield.” It’s widely accepted as the best episode ever. It isn’t losing now.

“A Fish Called Selma” over “Bart’s Girlfriend” – Remember when we mentioned best Simpsons musical moments? “Stop the Planet of the Apes, I Want to Get Off!” is that best moment. Ever. It isn’t close. Seriously the musical alone is better than seasons 18-25 and it’s only a few minutes long.

 

Round 5:

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Matchups:

“Bart Sells His Soul” over “Homer the Heretic” – The latter is one of the most hilariously executed episodes ever. The former is one of (with “Lisa’s Substitute”) the most brilliantly executed stories ever. It’s extremely tough to pick between them, but the feelings that “Bart Sells His Soul” conjures are too powerful to ignore.

“A Fish Called Selma” over “Last Exit to Springfield” – The Simpsons has never been the same since Troy McClure (and Phil Hartman) left far too early for this world. He was far and away the best recurring character the show had to offer and “A Fish Called Selma” is his feature role. After being featured in every film strip, informational video, and movie in the show he finally gets his time to shine. It ends up as one of the absolute funniest episodes of television history. Every scene is a classic. Troy McClure is a perfect creation, a man without flaw. If anything was going to knock out “Last Exit to Springfield” it would have to be flawless. This episode is flawless thanks to the greatest fictional movie star in history. “Last Exit to Springfield” is always placed at the top of the list for best episodes by default. It’s time to look back and realize that “A Fish Called Selma” is incredibly worthy of the throne.

 

Round 6:

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Matchups:

“A Fish Called Selma” over “Bart Sells His Soul” – Biggest upset of the tournament thus far. Well, the two biggest now. For the members of The Simpson family we have had 25 years to see them at their best and worst. “Bart Sells His Soul” is Bart’s finest hour, but it’s one of many great episodes Bart has as the pseudo-co-main character. Troy McClure only has one shot, one opportunity to make his time in the spotlight classic. He delivers a thousand times over with some of the funniest lines in the entire show including “I hate every ape I see, from chimpan-A to Chimpan-Z.” He’s gone, but not forgotten. He’s also in the final 8.

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Coming tomorrow, the Tire Fire Region

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The Simpsons Bracket: Day 5 – Marge’s Time to Shine

Krusty_burger

By: Connor Lenahan

Previously: Moe’s Tavern Region / Nuclear Plant Region / Springfield Elementary Region / Lard Lad Donuts Region

Just as the marathon of The Simpsons heads out of it’s classic period, the bracket gets stronger. Today gives us some of the best episodes in history. The best of the best. Strap in, this is going to be a fun one. Here is the Krusty Burger region.

As always, the seedings are random and mean nothing, while we also won’t waste time when a classic faces a scrub.

Round 1:

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Outright Victories:

“Some Enchanted Evening” over “The Devil Wears Nada,” “This Little Wiggy” over “Tis’ the Fifteenth Season,” “Homer Alone” over “At Long Last Leave,” “The Twisted World of Marge Simpson” over “The Trouble With Trillions,” “Marge vs. the Monorail” over “Children of a Lesser Clod,” “Treehouse 3” over “In the Name of the Grandfather,” “Moaning Lisa” over “The Wettest Stories Ever Told,” “Lisa the Greek” over “The Bart of War,” “Thursdays with Abie” over “The Haw-Hawed Couple,” “Homer the Whopper” over “The Ned-liest Catch,” “Simple Simpson” over “Mona Leaves-a,” “Cape Feare” over “Trash of the Titans,” “The Telltale Head” over “Eeny Teeny Maya Moe,” “Little Girl in the Big Ten” over “Pranks and Greens,” “C.E.D’oh” over “The Father, the Son, and the Holy Guest Star,” “Lisa the Simpson” over “Bonfire of the Manatees,” “Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy” over “24 Minutes,” “A Streetcar Named Marge” over “Marge’s Son Poisoning,” “Like Father, Like Clown” over “Double, Double, Boy in Trouble,” “Three Men and a Comic Book” over “The Mansion Family,” “Dog of Death” over “Brawl in the Family,” “Realty Bites” over “Bart Gets a ‘Z’,” “The Old Man and the Lisa” over “The Heartbroke Kid.”

Coin Flips:

“Milhouse of Sand and Fog” over “The Real Housewives of Fat Tony,” “Tennis the Menace” over “Three Gays of the Condo,” “500 Keys” over “My Big Fat Geek Wedding,” “Missionary: Impossible” over “The Ziff Who Came to Dinner.”

Matchups:

“Kamp Krusty” over “My Sister, My Sitter” – I totally forgot about a line from “Kamp Krusty” until it came on during the marathon the other day. A blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment when Mr. Black toasts “gentlemen, to evil!” I was on the floor.

“Simpson Safari” over “Future-Drama” – Am I the only one who looks for a solid gold animal cracker in the box? Yes? Whatever.

“Who Shot Mr. Burns” over “One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish” – Okay this one stings. Watching Homer spend what he believes are the last hours of his life doing everything he wants to do before listening to the Bible on tape is just beautiful. That said, the story of “Who Shot Mr. Burns” is so incredible and laugh out loud funny that it cannot lose this early.

“Mother Simpson” over “Homer and Apu” – “Homer and Apu” is terrific, but “Mother Simpson” is an all time hilarious tearjerker.

“Moe Baby Blues” over “The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace” – I can actually remember watching “Moe Baby Blues” for the first time and laughing hysterically. “Moe Baby Blues” may very well be the funniest episode of the last ten years.

 

Round 2:

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Outright Victories:

“This Little Wiggy” over “Some Enchanted Evening,” “Homer Alone” over “Milhouse of Sand and Fog,” “The Twisted World of Marge Simpson” over “Tennis the Menace,” “Moaning Lisa” over “500 Keys,” “Simpson Safari” over “Thursdays with Abie,” “Simple Simpson” over “Homer the Whopper,” “Mother Simpson” over “The Telltale Head,” “A Streetcar Named Marge” over “Like Father, Like Clown,” “Three Men and a Comic Book” over “Dog of Death,” “Realty Bites” over “The Old Man and The Lisa.”

Matchups:

“Marge vs. the Monorail” over “Treehouse 3” – This was a clear victory, but I wanted to shout out one of the best lines in any medium ever in “…he was a zombie?” from “Treehouse 3.” Perfection.

“Kamp Krusty” over “Lisa the Greek” – “Kamp Krusty” was apparently being written as a feature length movie before being converted into an episode. I would do anything in this world to have a feature length version of “Kamp Krusty” and Bart’s mutiny of the camp.

“Cape Feare” over “Who Shot Mr. Burns” – …You’ve got to be kidding me. This is painful. Two of maybe the five best episodes ever. This could have been the final matchup and it would have been a showdown for the ages. Yet here we are. Cape Feare takes an atomically small edge for a fairly unfair reason. It takes half an hour to tell a perfect story while “Who Shot Mr. Burns” takes two. The second half hour of which is slightly weaker than the first. That’s just enough to let Sideshow Bob jump by.

“Missionary: Impossible” over “Little Girl in the Big Ten” – “Save me Jebus!!” The number of times I have screamed that while in distress is impossible to count, but damn is it good.

“Moe Baby Blues” over “C.E.D’oh” – So help me if this isn’t a perfect game by Homer. Every single line he has is perfect. It makes me love the episode all the more. Seriously, watch this episode.

“Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy” over “Lisa the Simpson” – It’s a fight between Lisa at the height of her powers fighting to make Lisa Lionheart versus thinking her powers are fading due to the Simpson Gene. The former wins out for somehow pulling off not just a parody of the Barbie doll, but having Grandpa go on a rampage in a toy store.

 

Round 3:

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Matchups:

“Homer Alone” over “This Little Wiggy” – Homer trying to find Maggie after losing her is too perfect. When he calls the missing child hotline only to have “Baby Come Back” meet him is inspired. I love it.

“Marge vs. the Monorail” over “The Twisted World of Marge Simpson” – “Does whiskey count as beer?”

“Kamp Krusty” over “Moaning Lisa” – “They fed us gruel! They forced us to make wallets for export and one of the campers was eaten by a bear!”

“Simple Simpson” over “Simpson Safari” – Homer makes a shockingly good super hero, and I always laugh at Ralph at the bacon factory.

“Cape Feare” over “Mother Simpson” – No episode has had a harder path thus far than “Cape Feare,” but that speaks to how incredible it is. Would like to shout out the ending of Homer sitting on his car looking into the night sky after his mother leaves, but this time with a proper good bye. Other than “And Maggie Makes Three” this is the best ending to an episode ever.

“Moe Baby Blues” over “Missionary: Impossible” – Isn’t it great to see Moe happy?

“A Streetcar Named Marge” over “Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy” – All this time later and the “Streetcar” musical is still amazing and crazily catchy.

“Three Men and a Comic Book” over “Realty Bites” – It’s entirely too easy to relate to the feuding over something trivial over as a comic book as my brothers and I still do that and the youngest of us is a sophomore in high school.

 

Round 4:

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Matchups:

“Marge vs. the Monorail” over “Homer Alone” – “I call the big one Bitey.”

“Kamp Krusty” over “Simple Simpson” – Lisa’s letter home crying out for help is a work of sheer brilliance that is both terrifying and giggle inducing.

“Cape Feare” over “Moe Baby Blues” – “I think he’s talking to you.”

“A Streetcar Named Marge” over “Three Men and a Comic Book” – Few moments better display Maggie’s brilliance beyond her years (and then some) than when she repeatedly tries to break out of the Ayn Rand School for Tots. It’s wonderful.

 

Round 5:

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Matchups:

“Marge vs. the Monorail” over “Kamp Krusty” – “Donuts, is there anything they can’t do?”

“Cape Feare” over “A Streetcar Named Marge” – “Bartdoyouwannaseemynewchainsawandhockeymask!?!?”

 

Round 6:

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Matchups:

“Cape Feare” over “Marge vs. the Monorail” – Two of the most incredible half hours in television history. Again, two of the five best Simpsons episodes ever. There is no way to pick between them without pain. The edge here is going to fall just narrowly with “Cape Feare.” This episode is just perfect for every second of it. It’s sharp, funny, and makes half an hour feel like two hours. Small moments are killer – “Oh no, Dad’s been drugged.” “No he hasn’t.” Don’t get it wrong, “Marge vs. the Monorail” is perfect, it’s just missing one thing. That thing is Sideshow Bob.

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Coming tomorrow, the Kwik-E-Mart Reigon (The Bracket of Death).

The Simpsons Bracket: Day 4 – D’oh

Lard_lad_2

By: Connor Lenahan

Previously: Moe’s Tavern Region/Nuclear Plant Region/Springfield Elementary Region

Every single day has become like a wonderful dream. On just about every television in my house The Simpsons have been on constantly. The quantity of episodes has been incredible, but the fact that they’re all quality makes it all the sweeter. I imagine this feeling is what it’s like to consume the Gummy Venus De Milo.

Similar to the strong stretch the marathon remains in, the bracket again has heavy hitters looking to jump into the final group. Here’s the Lard Lad Donuts region.

Round 1:

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Outright Victories:

“Bart the Fink” over “How Munched is That Birdie in the Window?,” “The Book Job” over “The Daughter Also Rises,” “Catch ‘Em if You Can” over “Sleeping with the Enemy,” “Life on the Fast Lane” over “The Ten-Per-Cent Solution,” “Secrets of a Successful Marriage” over “Waverly Hills 9021D’oh,” “The Great Louse Detective” over “Girls Just Want to Have Sums,” “Fear of Flying” over “The Great Wife Hope,” “The Last Temptation of Krust” over “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bangalore,” “$pringfield” over “Moe’N’a Lisa,” “Wild Barts Can’t Be Broken” over “Mr. Spritz Goes to Washington,” “Homer vs. the 18th Amendment” over “Moe Goes from Rags to Riches,” “Homer’s Enemy” over “Gone Abie Gone,” “Bart the Lover” over “Homer Simpson: This Isn’t Your Wife,” “Homer vs. Patty and Selma” over “Four Great Women and a Manicure,” “Beyond Blunderdome” over “Any Given Sundance,” “The Frying Game” over “Oh Brother, Where Bart Thou?,” “Insane Clown Poppy” over “The Great Simpsina,” “Simpson and Delilah” over “Treehouse 12,” “She of Little Faith” over “Co-Dependants Day.”

Coin Flips:

“Saddlesore Galactica” over “Homer and Marge Turn a Couple Play,” “Ned ‘n Edna’s Blend” over “Lona-a Lisa,” “Bart the Mother” over “The Seven Beer Snitch,” “Simpsons Bible Stories” over “Husbands and Knives,” “Mobile Homer” over “Love is a Many Strangled Thing,” “Half-Decent Proposal” over “The Italian Bob.”

Matchups:

“Treehouse 11” over “Last Tap Dance in Springfield” – With “G-G-Ghost D-D-Dad,” “Scary Tales Can Come True,” and “Night of the Dolphin,” this is a fairly terrific Treehouse of Horror episode. Good enough to push out Little Vicky and her dance class.

“The PTA Disbands” over “The Springfield Connection” – “The PTA Disbands” is an episode that has more moments than you remember. Guy jumping out the window in a panic, “purple monkey dishwasher,” “that’s a paddlin’.” It’s just awesome.

“The Old Man and the ‘C’ Student” over “Apocalypse Cow” – I don’t know about you, but I like “Springy the Springfield Spring” as a future Olympic mascot.

“Guess Who’s Coming to Criticize Dinner” over “The Great Money Caper” – Underrated Simpsons musical moment: When Homer, upon wandering into a retirement party, is asked if he likes food he begins singing acapella about the foods he loves including “baby deer” before mimicking one. Always great.

“Days of Wine and D’oh’ses” over “Fraudcast News” – Isn’t it nice to have Barney turn his life around? After having him as a punching bag for so long it’s fairly refreshing to see him sober and together.

“Special Edna” over “The Old Man and the Key” – The Principal Skinner & Edna Krabappel relationship was a really fun one to watch grow for years, and “Special Edna” was a sweet little moment before it ended.

“Saturdays of Thunder” over “Funeral for a Fiend” – Watching Bart and Homer bond and become closer is a whole lot better when it includes betrayal and a furious Martin Prince being denied medical clearance to race.

 

Round 2:

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 3.21.14 PM

Outright Victories:

“Bart the Fink” over “Saddlesore Galactica,” “Fear of Flying” over “The Great Louse Detective,” “The Last Temptation of Krust” over “The Old Man and the ‘C’ Student,” “$pringfield” over “Guess Who’s Coming to Criticize Dinner,” “Homer vs. the 18th Amendment” over “Wild Barts Can’t Be Broken,” “Days of Wine and D’oh’ses” over “Ned n’ Edna’s Blend,” “Homer’s Enemy” over “Bart the Mother,” “Bart the Lover” over “Simpsons Bible Stories,” “Homer vs. Patty and Selma” over “Special Edna,” “Simpson and Delilah” over “Mobile Homer.”

Matchups:

“Treehouse 12” over “The Book Job” – Long live King Snorky.

“Life on the Fast Lane” over “Catch ‘Em If You Can” – For all the great moments in Simpsons lore, the fact that Homer got Marge a bowling ball with his own name on it is grossly underrated. Plus the perfect definition of brunch comes from this episode.

“Secrets of a Successful Marriage” over “The PTA Disbands” – Watching Homer fall into utter despair without Marge is funny enough, but when he points out that they’ve been separated “a day” I lose it.

“Saturdays of Thunder” over “Beyond Blunderdome” – Boy that Mel Gibson episode did not age well did it?

“The Frying Game” over “Insane Clown Poppy” – I have absolutely no problem admitting that I would pay a five-figure dollar amount to own a Screamapillar.

“She of Little Faith” over “Half-Decent Proposal” – There’s something perfect about Lisa finding Buddhism in “She of Little Faith.” It’s a perfect fit. Also, the meditation chant of “Who likes short-shorts?” is spot on.

 

Round 3:

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Matchups:

“Bart the Fink” over “Treehouse 11” – Krusty has had a rollercoaster career through the entirety of the show, but watching him really hit bottom (and fake his death) is shockingly entertaining. Bob Newhart makes one of the greatest cameo appearances ever, Rory B. Bellows remains my pseudonym, and this episode moves on for it’s overall sharp, high quality writing.

“Secrets of a Successful Marriage” over “Life on the Fast Lane” – How great would it be to be in Homer’s adult education class? I mean really. Not only is it informative, as Homer innocently details his family’s personal life, but he also is such an entertaining boob. I will never look at eating an orange the same way.

“Fear of Flying” over “The Last Temptation of Krust” – Seriously, “Fear of Flying” could win this entire tournament for the Guy Incognito joke alone.

“Homer vs. the 18th Amendment” over “$pringfield” – Before we let it go, I would like to recognize “Floreda” and “Lisa cried, then I cried, then Maggie laughed… she’s such a little trooper,” as two of my favorite jokes in the entire series, but alas they are not enough to topple the amazing rivalry of Rex Banner and the Beer Baron. This actually is a very happy birthday for Rex Banner.

“Homer’s Enemy” over “Days of Wine and D’oh’ses” – “He was blown up in a silo explosion.” Frank Grimes seriously is the greatest isn’t he?

“Homer vs. Patty and Selma” over “Bart the Lover” – Maybe I am higher on “Homer vs. Patty and Selma” than most, but it’s such a great half hour. Homer smashing a plate over his head for no discernable reason, being forced to bark like a dog, the pumpkin investment. It’s quietly great.

“The Frying Game” over “Saturdays of Thunder” – “The Frying Game” is an oddly strong story. It’s all an elaborate hoax, but I think that’s what makes me love it. Every time I’ve watched it I find myself getting deeply invested in the story, including getting concerned that Homer is saying goobye to Marge forever. No I’m not crying why do you ask?

“Simpson and Delilah” over “She of Little Faith” – Are there that many moments in The Simpsons when Homer is happier than he is in “Simpson and Delilah?” He finally has his hair back, he’s good at his job, and everything is going right. It all comes crashing back, but that time at the top is spectacular.

 

Round 4:

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Matchups:

“Secrets of a Successful Marriage” over “Bart the Fink” – Of all the awkward family dinners in the Simpsons’ home, I’m not sure any come remotely close to Homer’s class observing a “normal” night. Surely none are nearly as funny either.

“Homer vs. the 18th Amendment” over “Fear of Flying” – Thanks to the former episode, every toast I make for the remainder of my adult life will be “To alcohol, the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.”

“Homer’s Enemy” over “Homer vs. Patty and Selma” – Every single Frank Grimes sequence is pure comedy gold. Watching him slowly lose his mind due to Homer’s incredible luck in life is just the best. “Would you like to see my Grammy Award?” Perfect.

“Simpson and Delilah” over “The Frying Game” – Even after losing the incredible life he finally had, along with peak happiness, Homer is held by Marge in bed. She starts singing “You are so beautiful to me” and everything is okay again. It’s one of the most beautiful segments the show ever has.

 

Round 5:

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“Homer vs. the 18th Amendment” over “Secrets of a Successful Marriage” – Despite largely being an idiot, Homer occasionally is a genius. Figuring out how to become the biggest outlaw in Springfield and not get caught, all while making sure prohibition in Springfield only takes for a matter of hours is one of his absolute brightest moments. It’s peak Simpsons for sure.

“Homer’s Enemy” over “Simpson and Delilah” – While the latter is a personal favorite this is essentially a no contest. “Homer’s Enemy” is absurdly high concept and even higher execution. The idea to put a real person in Homer Simpson’s world through the prism of Frank Grimes could not have been done better. It’s perfect.

 

Round 6:

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Matchup:

“Homer vs. the 18th Amendment” over “Homer’s Enemy” – Without a doubt these are two of the absolute best half hours the series has to offer. The edge here falls with the tale of the Beer Baron in a hyper close decision. Like almost no other episode “Homer vs. the 18th Amendment” has been able to work its way into my daily vocabulary. “Avenge our deaths,” the aforementioned alcohol quote (a top five quote ever), the affinity for the word funnel, it’s all there. It’s all hilarious too. While Frank Grimes’ time on this Earth was cut tragically short, we will always remember him, but the Beer Baron escapes yet again.

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Coming tomorrow, the Krusty Burger region

The Simpsons Bracket: Day 3 – Lisa’s Day

SpringfieldElementary3

By: Connor Lenahan

Previously: Moe’s Tavern Region/Nuclear Power Plant Region.

Waking up to “Deep Space Homer” is a great way to start any day. With The Simpsons Marathon entering its third day we are right in the middle of the best stretch the show ever had from seasons 4 through 8. Another day spent with America’s funniest family means it’s time to see what will be joining “You Only Move Twice” and “Homer The Great” in the final eight of the tournament. This is the Springfield Elementary region. As always, the seedings are random and mean nothing, while we also won’t waste time when a classic faces a scrub. Good? Good.

 

Round 1:

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Outright Victories:

“When You Dish Upon A Star” over “Bart Stops to Smell the Roosevelts,” “When Flanders Failed” over “How I Wet Your Mother,” “All’s Fair In Over War” over “The Greatest Story Ever D’ohed,” “New Kid On The Block” over “Please Homer, Don’t Hammer ‘Em,” “I Love Lisa” over “Pray Anything,” “Hungry, Hungry Homer” over “The 90’s Show,” “The Homer They Fall” over “Large Marge,” “Krusty Gets Kancelled” over “”The Otto Show,” “Lisa The Skeptic” over “Marge in Chains,” “Round Springfield” over “The Fight Before Christmas,” “The Day The Violence Died” over “Marge vs. SSCCTG,” “Brother’s Little Helper” over “Little Big Girl,” “Bart After Dark” over “Faith Off,” “Homer’s Barbershop Quartet” over “No Loan Again, Naturally,” “Homerpalooza” over “Moonshine River,” “Lisa’s Wedding” over “I’m With Cupid,” “King of the Hill” over “Sunday, Cruddy Sunday,” “Lisa’s Substitute” over “How The Test Was Won,” “Girly Edition” over “Once Upon a Time in Springfield.”

Coin Flips:

“Take My Wife, Sleaze” over “’Scuse Me While I Miss the Sky,” “I’m Going to Praiseland” over “American History X-Cellent,” “Homer and Ned’s Hail Mary Pass” over “Papa Don’t Leech,” “Stop, or My Dog Will Shoot” over “Rednecks and Broomsticks.”

Matchups:

“Poppa’s Got a Brand New Badge” over “Behind The Laughter” – Two of my personal favorite episodes from the post-season 10 era. I happen to love “Poppa’s Got a Brand New Badge” for a reason they mention in the episode – it’s one of the few times Homer is actually good at his job and it results in him being targeted by the mob. It’s terrific.

“Stark Raving Dad” over “Lisa’s Pony” – I would like to take a moment to express my affinity for pink shirts and my mental health stability.

“All Singing, All Dancing” over “The Wife Aquatic” – It’s small, but when Homer ejects the tape of “Paint Your Wagon” from the VCR directly into the trash I burst out laughing. It’s a slept on visual gag I happen to love.

“Flaming Moe’s” over “HOMR” – I love, love, love “HOMR,” but even I know that this is a clear choice. There’s just too much wonderful about “Flaming Moe’s” to pass on.

“I D’oh-bot” over “Krusty Gets Busted” – I’m going with a bit of an upset here. I happen to think that “I-D’oh-bot” is a pretty strong episode that’s ever stronger against the other episodes at the time. Plus watching Homer shoot the Robo-Ralph in the face slays me every time.

“Holidays of Future Passed” over “Principal Charming” – It’s the best episode of the last five years against a mid-level season two episode. There’s a beautiful heart to “Holidays of Future Passed” that pushes it through.”

“Marge Gets a Job” over “The Call of the Simpsons” – “You don’t have to sue me to get my pants off” is the greatest law school pickup line in history.

“Mr. Lisa Goes To Washington” over “Bart vs. Thanksgiving” – “Mr. Lisa Goes To Washington” was going to win regardless, but I saw a point on Twitter from Homer’s Ass Grove (@HomersAssGrove) that Bart is really a prick in the latter episode. Makes it a tough watch voluntarily.

 

Round 2:

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Outright Victories:

“When Flanders Failed” over “When You Dish Upon A Star,” “New Kid on the Block” over “All Singing, All Dancing,” “I Love Lisa” over “Take My Wife, Sleaze,” “Round Springfield” over “I’m Goin’ to Praiseland,” “The Day the Violence Died” over “Brother’s Little Helper,” “Homer’s Barbershop Quartet” over “I D’oh-bot,” “Lisa’s Wedding” over “King of the Hill,” “Lisa’s Substitute” over “Stop, or My Dog Will Shoot,” “Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington” over “Girly Edition.”

Coin Flips:

“The Sweetest Apu” over “All’s Fair in Oven War,” “Marge Gets a Job” over “Homer and Ned’s Hail Mary Pass.”

Matchups:

“Stark Raving Dad” over “Poppa’s Got a Brand New Badge” – Who would have ever thought that Homer and Michael Jackson would have gotten along with each other as well as they do?

“The Homer They Fall” over “Hungry, Hungry Homer” – Homer’s wonderful climb to the top of the ranks of heavyweight boxing moves on, but I’d like to take a second to shout out “Me so hungie” as a line I quote at least once a week.

“Krusty Gets Kancelled” over “Lisa the Skeptic” – It’s heavy on guest stars, but damn if they aren’t great. Johnny Carson was amazing on screen and off, in fact, possibly more impressive off given his superhuman strength.

“Flaming Moe’s” over “Bart After Dark” – While the burlesque house is fun, there looks to be nothing more fun in the world than Moe’s Tavern during the peak of the Flaming Moe. I mean, Aerosmith even comes to play. It’s awesome.

“Homerpalooza” over “Holidays of Future Passed” – I hope one day to meet Billy Corgan from The Smashing Pumpkins and have the same “Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins. Homer Simpson, smiling politely” exchange. It’s perfect.

 

Round 3:

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Outright Victories:

“New Kid on the Block” over “The Sweetest Apu,” “Lisa’s Wedding” over “Marge Gets a Job.”

Matchup:

“Stark Raving Dad” over “When Flanders Failed” – “When Flanders Failed” is actually a downer for all but the last few minutes. I give the nod to the laugh out loud “Stark Raving Dad” and moments like the psychological survey. Bart’s right, we all wet our pants every once in a while. Right?

“The Homer They Fall” over “I Love Lisa” – Whoever made the decision to have Homer’s increasing success be symbolized by increasingly lavish car washes is a national treasure. I love “I Choo Choo Choose You” but this episode is genius.

“Round Springfield” over “Krusty Gets Kancelled” – I copied and pasted the wrong episode in the bracket, but the beautiful final tribute to Bleeding Gums Murphy is too much to pass on here.

“Flaming Moe’s” over “The Day the Violence Died” – It’s been something close to a decade since I first saw “The Day the Violence Died” and to this day I can not get over how weird, truly straight up weird, the ending with Lester and Eliza is. It cuts down an otherwise great episode.

“Homer’s Barbershop Quartet” over “Homerpalooza” – Getting brained by a Grammy is one of my favorite Homer moments ever. It’s the high and low light of his musical career and I am in tears every time.

“Lisa’s Substitute” over “Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington” – So, Dustin Hoffman got an Oscar for this episode right? “Deserved” is an understatement.

 

Round 4:

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Matchups:

“Stark Raving Dad” over “New Kid on the Block” – The only moment in the show that approaches the sweetness of Bart and Lisa’s relationship is Lisa’s first word of “Bart.” Bart finally delivering with a good birthday gift is just beautiful.

“The Homer They Fall” over “Round Springfield” – Words cannot express how much I happen to love the beginning to the title fight between Homer and Drederick Tatum. “Mr. Armageddon,” “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” and “Opponent” together make me start punching pillows I’m laughing so hard.

I love “Round Springfield” but “The Homer They Fall” just kills me.

“Homer’s Barbershop Quartet” over “Flaming Moe’s” – Raise your hand if you’d like iTunes to start carrying “Baby on Board” and the rest of The Be Sharps catalog online. (Raises arm until shoulder dislocates)

“Lisa’s Substitute” over “Lisa’s Wedding” – The introduction of Mr. Bergstrom with the cowboy hat down to the digital watch continues to be a master class in comedy. It’s amazing and always is.

 

Round 5:

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“Stark Raving Dad” over “The Homer They Fall” – “Lisa it’s your birthday, happy birthday Lisa.” Cue tears. We’re done here.

“Lisa’s Substitute” over “Homer’s Barbershop Quartet” – It’s amazing to have an episode that dedicates itself to recognizing how special Lisa is and not go overboard with it. It’s moving and beautiful.

 

Round 6:

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“Lisa’s Substitute” over “Stark Raving Dad” – “You Are Lisa Simpson.” Need I say more?

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Coming tomorrow, the Lard Lad Donuts Region.

The Simpsons Bracket: Day 2 – Hard Choices

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By: Connor Lenahan

Previously in the bracket marathon: Moe’s Tavern Region.

After a long day of early era Simpsons yesterday we are hitting the greatest stretch of television in history. I woke this morning to the middle of season three and have watched into season four – one of the strongest seasons any show has ever had.

More Simpsons means more brackets. After “You Only Move Twice” made the finals yesterday it’s time to find out what will join it. Without further ado, here’s the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant region.

Round 1

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Outright Victories:

“The Springfield Files” over “Judge Me Tender,” “E Pluribus Wiggum” over “Elementary School Musical,” “The Strong Arms of the Ma” over “Love, Springfieldian Style,” “Marge on the Lam” over “All About Lisa,” “Lisa on Ice” over “Grift of the Magi,” “Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder” over “Tales from the Public Domain,” “A Tale of Two Springfields” over “The Seemingly Neverending Story,” “Lisa’s First Word” over “The Burns and the Bees,” “Team Homer” over “G.I. D’oh,” “Screaming Yellow Honkers” over “The Lastest Gun in the West,” “And Maggie Makes Three” over “Marge Gamer,” The Last Temptation of Homer” over “Treehouse 23,” “Two Bad Neighbors” over “Boy Meets Curl,” “There’s No Disgrace Like Home” over “Simpsons Christmas Stories,” “D’oh-in in the Wind” over “Father Knows Worst,” “Weekend at Burnsies’s” over “Dangerous Curves,” “Treehouse 1” over “Bye, Bye, Nerdie,” “Separate Vocations” over “Moe Letter Blues,” “Bart The Daredevil” over “Margical History Tour,” “Deep Space Homer” over “So It’s Come To This: A Simpsons Clip Show.”

Coin Flips:

“The Mook, the Chef, the Wife, and Her Homer” over “The Scorpion’s Tale,” “Penny-Wiseguys” over “Brake My Wife, Please,” “Million Dollar Maybe” over “Regarding Margie,” “The Boys of Bummer” over “The Good, the Sad, and the Drugly.”

Matchups:

“Sideshow Bob Roberts” over “Bart the General” – As I said yesterday, Sideshow Bob is my second favorite character behind Homer. It’s easy for him to take that spot when episodes like “Sideshow Bob Roberts” exist. One of the finest political moments the series ever has.

“The Way We Was” over “Black Widower” – And just like that a Sideshow Bob episode, and a good one at that, drops out. Why? Because “I’m going to hug you, and kiss you, and then I’ll never be able to let you go” is one of the sweetest moments ever.

“Homer The Great” over “Lisa The Iconoclast” – It’s hard to pick against a story as great as “Lisa The Iconoclast” or Homer’s moments as a town crier who doesn’t “su-diddly-uck,” but the Stonecutters are just the best. Even little things, like Homer’s yellow paint tracking of Lenny and Carl, are flawless.

“Radioactive Man” over “The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show” – Two classics, but I give an edge to “Radioactive Man” for the increasingly crazy ways the movie begins to fall apart. I will openly admit that I could change my mind on this 100 times too; I just had to pick.

“Lisa the Beauty Queen” over “Simpson Tide” – When in doubt, pick Lisa becoming a beauty queen because the first place winner was struck by lightening over Homer accidentally causing World War 3.

“Two Cars in Every Garage, Three Eyes on Every Fish” over “In Marge We Trust” – I will pay any amount of money in the world to have a three eyed goldfish. Give me Blinky now, dammit.

“Hurricane Neddy” over “Politically Inept, with Homer Simpson” – “Politically Inept” had one of the stronger premises for any episode of the past three seasons, but completely lost it’s way in the second half. Meanwhile watching Ned Flanders go bezerk will never not be funny.

“22 Short Films About Springfield” over “Duffless” – “Duffless” is a really sweet story and really funny, which makes it sad that it got crushed this early. “22 Short Films” is one of the more brilliant episodes ever. Think how crazy it is that they juggled as much as they did to pull off a hilarious episode AND a Pulp Fiction parody. Game over.

 

Round 2:

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Outright Victories:

“The Springfield Files” over “The Mook, the Chef, the Wife, and Her Homer,” “Sideshow Bob Roberts” over “E Pluribus Wiggum,” “The Strong Arms of the Ma” over “Penny-Wiseguys,” “Lisa on Ice” over “Hello Gutter, Hello Fadder,” “Homer The Great” over “Million Dollar Maybe,” “Lisa’s First Word” over “A Tale of Two Springfields,” “Radioactive Man” over “The Boys of Bummer,” “Team Homer” over “Lisa The Beauty Queen,” “And Maggie Makes Three” over “Screaming Yellow Honkers,” “Treehouse 1” over “Weekend at Burnsies’s,” “22 Short Films” over “Separate Vocations.”

Matchups:

“The Way We Was” over “Marge on the Lam” – The edge here falls to the story of how America’s greatest couple, Homer and Marge, came to be. That said, recognition is due to Homer getting his arms caught in two separate vending machines. “They’ll grow back right?” is a question we have all asked at some point.

“The Last Temptation of Homer” over “Two Cars, Three Eyes” – As amazing as Blinky is, it cannot hold up next to Homer coming as close to adultery as he ever does without actually going through with it. Who thought almost adultery would be hilarious?

“Two Bad Neighbors” over “There’s No Disgrace Like Home” – I’m not sure I have ever fully realized that Homer gets in a fist fight with Bush 41, but it’s one of the best moments of my life regardless. It’s perfect.

“D’oh-in in the Wind” over “Hurricane Neddy” – Homer has forever runined Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl” for me thanks to “D’oh-in in the Wind.” I have absolutely nothing wrong with it at all.

“Deep Space Homer” over “Bart The Daredevil” – Not only was “Bart the Daredevil” the introduction of Lance Murdock and Truck-o-Saurus, but it includes one of the funniest moments in the show with Homer trying to jump the gorge. However, “Deep Space Homer” is too good. Inanimate Carbon Rod, NASA, James Taylor, Planet of the Apes – It has it all.

 

Round 3:

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Outright Victories:

“The Way We Was” over “The Strong Arms of the Ma”

Matchups:

“Sideshow Bob Roberts” over “The Springfield Files” – Two great episodes, but there has to be a winner. “Sideshow Bob Roberts” is one of the most brilliantly written episodes the show has to offer. It’s a sharp parody of “All The President’s Men” that is great on every watch. Plus, Sideshow Bob in A+ form. “The Springfield Files” is a hilarious episode, but its time has come.

“Homer The Great” over “Lisa on Ice” – “Lisa on Ice” is great, but there are legitimate tears in my eyes every time the story moves to Stonecutters headquarters. There’s a non-zero chance I will get a Stonecutter tattoo too.

“Lisa’s First Word” over “Radioactive Man” – Not just for the glory that is Bart as a toddler, or Lisa as an adorable newborn, but for Maggie’s “Daddy,” which has moved me close to tears on every viewing.

“And Maggie Makes Three” over “Team Homer” – Remember how I said close to tears? The only character that has reduced me to a blubbering mess is Maggie thanks to “do it for her” at the end of this episode. I’m getting choked up thinking about it.

“The Last Temptation of Homer” over “Two Bad Neighbors” – Is there a sweeter song in history than “Oh Margie, you came and you found me a turkey…?” I say no.

“Treehouse 1” over “D’oh-in in the Wind” – “Treehouse 1” is the episode with “Bad Dream House,” where the house wants to kill them, “Hungry Are The Damned” which introduced Kang and Kodos along with “How to Cook for Forty Humans,” and “The Raven,” with Darth Vader narrating. This is an easy choice.

“Deep Space Homer” over “22 Short Films” – Two flawless episodes, but there really aren’t many lines funnier than “and I for one welcome our new insect overlords.” “Deep Space Homer” is a quote factory, and I just cannot pick against it.

 

Round 4:

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Matchups:

“Sideshow Bob Roberts” over “The Way We Was” – There really is no weak moment in the entirety of “Sideshow Bob Roberts.” They pack an incredible amount of story into one half hour. It’s fast, it’s smart, it’s hilarious, it’s our winner here.

“Homer The Great” over “Lisa’s First Word” – “I think I have to do it again, my blindfold came off.” Dead. Every. Time. Sweetness falls to hilarity.

“And Maggie Makes Three” over “The Last Temptation of Homer” – I have watched far too much television in my day. Not just confined to The Simpsons, but over every show I have ever watched, I cannot think of a scene that touches my heart like Homer’s love for Maggie. While he may forget her in the house, he never forgets her at work, and it leaves me a blubbering mess every time.

“Deep Space Homer” over “Treehouse of Horror” – Homer goes to space and repeatedly dooms the mission. Is there any way that premise isn’t hilarious? If you don’t think the animation on Homer’s corkscrewing chomp on his disaster coated Ruffle is beautiful then you are doing life wrong.

 

Round 5:

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Matchups:

“Homer The Great” over “Sideshow Bob Roberts” – We’ve gotten this far into this section of the bracket without even the slightest mention of “We Do.” That is how good “Homer The Great” is. For as brilliant an episode “Sideshow Bob Roberts” is, it just doesn’t have the flawless moments of it opposition.

“Deep Space Homer” over “And Maggie Makes Three” – This was like picking between two of my children. I didn’t want to make this choice. I overthought it. What my gut told me was “Deep Space Homer” because it causes such sever belly laughs. Is it the right choice? Maybe. Is it the choice here? Yes.

 

Round 6:

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“Homer The Great” over “Deep Space Homer” – Jumping into the Springfield Gorge would be easier. This hurt. It was a little easier than the last decision, but it was still painful to choose. I went with “Homer The Great” because it’s just a bit stronger. I still love you “Deep Space Homer.”

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And now, for the monkey reenactment of the Battle of Gettysburg.

Coming Tomorrow: The Springfield Elementary Region

The Simpsons Bracket: Day 1 – Welcome to Insanity

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By: Connor Lenahan

It goes without saying that The Simpsons is my favorite television show of all time. I have seen every single episode an absurd amount of times. I haven’t quite checked the math, but I believe that during my 20 year existence on this Earth I have spent somewhere around half a full calendar year just watching The Simpsons.

Now FXX is joining me in the obsessive watching. As you are reading this there is a marathon of every single Simpsons episode airing on FXX. That’s right, all 552, and the movie, in a row. For twelve days. It’s Christmas in August.

To coincide with this beautiful marathon, I have devised a marathon of my own. For the next nine days I will be putting up The Simpsons Bracket, a tournament to determine the best episode in series history. 512 enter, one leaves.

Now, obviously there are more than 512 episodes that have aired. Specifically there are 40 more. I made the executive decision that only the first 513 to air would count for the purposes of our bracket below. I was not interested in trying to fight between episodes in seasons 23-25 only to have them lose to “Last Exit To Springfield” in the first round.

I also did not make a typo above. The first 513 made the bracket. This is because I also decided to count “Who Shot Mr. Burns” as one hour-long episode as it follows one storyline. Outside of that it’s everything from seasons 1-23 and the beginning of season 24.

The bracket was randomly separated into eight regions for the sake of construction. This made for easier organization. Also, easier brackets to read. The eight regions are as follows:

Moe’s Tavern – 8/21

Springfield Nuclear Plant – 8/22

Springfield Elementary – 8/23

Lard Lad Donuts – 8/24

Krusty Burger – 8/25

Kwik-E-Mart – 8/26

Springfield Tire Fire – 8/27

And, The Leftorium. – 8/28

With The Finals coming on 8/29.

The winners from each of the eight brackets made it to the elite eight round of the tournament to determine a winner. I fully admit this is the least objective bracket in history. There’s a great chance that I eliminated your favorite episode/moment before it’s time. But therein lies the fun. The arguments this raised in my house caused so much laughter that it was deafening. It’s all an excuse to spend more time thinking about the greatest television show in history. Who says no to that?

One last thing to mention before we start: Seeding does not matter. At all. It was all a random number generator and an Excel sheet. Also, for many matchups I am just going to outright declare a winner when appropriate. I do not need to explain why “Marge vs. The Monorail” deserves to beat “Children of a Lesser Clod.” It’s just a better episode. No need to waste your time, or my time.

Without further ado, on today, the beginning to the Simpsons Marathon, I present The Simpsons Bracket.

Moe's_Tavern

Moe’s Tavern Region

 Round 1:

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Outright Victories:

“The War of the Simpsons” over “Today I Am a Clown,” “Bart Star” over “Homer and Lisa Exchange Cross Words,” “I Am Furious (Yellow)” over “Homer Scissorhands,” “Grade School Confidential” over “Lisa Goes Gaga,” ”Rosebud” over “New Kids on the Blecch,” “Marge Be Not Proud” over “The Wandering Juvie,” “Treehouse of Horror 5” over “Dumbbell Indemnity,” “Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily” over “Smoke on the Daughter,” “Burns’ Heir” over “The Day of the Jackanapes,” “Angry Dad: The Movie” over “MyPods and Broomsticks,” “Lost Our Lisa” over “The President Wore Pearls,” “Old Money” over “She Used to Be My Girl,” “El Viaje Misterioso” over “Take My Life, Please,” “Mom & Pop Art” over “Simpson Tall Tales.”

 

Coin Flips:

“Goo Goo Gai Pan” over “The Fool Monty,” “Treehouse of Horror 10” over “Adventures in Baby-Getting,” “Beware My Cheating Bart” over “The Principal and the Pauper,” “Postcards from the Wedge” over “Bart Has Two Mommies,” “The Last of the Red Hat Mamas” over “The Blue and The Gray,” “Helter Shelter” over “The Monkey Suit.”

 

Matchups:

“Bart Gets Famous” over “Bart’s Friend Falls in Love” – I’m pretty sure I have used the line “You’ll have to speak up, I’m wearing a towel” at least once a week for the last seven years. Even weirder, I have also screamed “My boy’s a box, damn you, a box!” at the top of my lungs. That episode changed me man.

“Hellfish” over “Homie The Clown” – Before I get death threats, I think “Homie the Clown” is one of the funniest half hours of television I have ever watched. It’s incredible. That said, if you told me that they were going to make a feature length version of the “Hellfish” story I would get in line now. It’s one of the best stories the show has ever come up with.

“Colonel Homer” over “Lisa the Tree Hugger” – You know, if Homer doesn’t want to bunk with Lurleen then I’m totally game.

“The Secret War of Lisa Simpson” over “Alone Again, Natura-diddly” – Since I was a little kid I have wanted to pull off the same prank Bart does with the megaphones and only now am I approaching the financial ability to do it along with the insanity.

“Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield” over “Homer Loves Flanders” – “Just once in my life I’d like someone to call me sir without adding ‘you’re making a scene.’” Makes me die laughing every single time.

“You Only Move Twice” over “Homer at the Bat.” – This hurt. Really bad. I love both of these episodes dearly. In fact, on a test bracket a while ago I believe I had both in the final eight of the tournament. To have them in the first round is a severe betrayal on the behalf of the random number generator that helped seed these episodes. I chose “You Only Move Twice” in a razor thin victory because Hank Scorpio is the single greatest one time character the show has ever had. If he was the villain in the next real Bond movie then it would win 15 Oscars. I need a shower, this is evil.

“Brother from the Same Planet” over “Bart Carny” – I forgot how damn funny “Brother from the Same Planet” was until recently. I stand by Homer mistakenly calling Pepi “Pepsi” as one of the most genius moment the show has ever had.

“Homer’s Night Out” over “The Bob Next Door” – While I will openly admit that Sideshow Bob is my second favorite character behind Homer on the entire show, I can never watch “The Bob Next Door” without thinking it’s a bit too cartoonish by Simpsons standards. He cuts off his own face. Enough said.

“Lisa’s Rival” over “Homer vs Lisa and the 8th Commandment” – Yes, I have it wrong above. That’s because after I finished making this section of the bracket I remembered that I totally forgot about the subplot of Homer stealing the sugar, one of the finest points of comedy in history, and forgot to switch it. It’s incredible.

“Homer Badman” over “Homer Simpson in: ‘Kidney Trouble’” – I think it’s Homer’s anger that Marge won’t sit in a “hollowed out wheelchair” to store candy in that inspired me to wear a backpack on my own wheelchair entirely for the purpose of carrying copious amounts of candy.

“I Married Marge” over “Homer the Smithers” – As much as I love Homer decking Mr. Burns it’s hard to pick against the heartwarming story of Homer becoming a responsible husband and eventually father. It’s touching.

“Itchy & Scratchy Land” over “Bart vs. Australia” – By the time Homer begins chucking everything on his person at the robots in an effort to stop them – a banana, underwear, a camera (successfully) – I am in tears. Nothing about this could possiblay go wrong.

 

Round 2:

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Outright Victories:

“Bart Gets Famous” over “Goo Goo Gai Pan,” “Hellfish” over “The War of The Simpsons,” “Grade School Confidential” over “I Am Furious (Yellow),” “Marge Be Not Proud” over “Treehouse of Horror 10,” “Brother from the Same Planet” over “Homer’s Night Out,” “Burns’ Heir” over “The Last of the Red Hat Mamas,” “Lost Our Lisa” over “Angry Dad: The Movie,” “Old Money” over “Helter Shelter,” “Itchy & Scratchy Land” over “Mom & Pop Art.”

 

Coin Flips:

“Beware My Cheating Bart” over “Postcards from the Wedge.”

 

Matchups:

“The Secret War of Lisa Simpson” over “Colonel Homer” – Lisa’s longing for home is relatable to dizzying degrees. The ways she goes about fighting homesickness range from hilarious, calling Grandpa so he can ramble on, to heartbreaking – Marge singing “you are my sunshine.” Square in the feels.

“Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield” over “Bart Star” – There is an extremely decent chance that Marge is the greatest seamstress in the world. I realize how weird this is, but it’s otherworldly impressive she took one suit and changed it so many times successfully. I am aware this is a cartoon, but still.

“You Only Move Twice” over “Rosebud” – “Do you expect me to talk?” “I don’t expect anything from you, except to die and be a very cheap funeral.” Scorpio is the best.

“Treehouse of Horror 5” over “Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily” – When I did a test run of this bracket months ago I actually had “Treehouse 5” in the final. This was almost entirely on the strength of the “Dad! Your hand is in the toaster!” scene. I love “Home Sweet Homediddly” but “Treehouse 5” is impossibly good.

“Homer Badman” over “Lisa’s Rival” – “Homer Badman” pulls off the greatest misdirection in the history of the show by beginning at candy expo and transforming into mistaken sexual harassment claim. Impressive is a gross understatement. Add in the fact it’s laugh out loud hilarious and you have a classic on your hands.

“El Viaje Misterioso” over “I Married Marge” – The matchup takes a beautiful tale of Homer and Marge’s marriage now and pits it against the beginning of their marriage. This goes far beyond my training as a furniture salesman. The decision falls to the Guatemalan Insanity Pepper because it takes the weirdest path of any episode to prove that Homer and Marge really are soul mates.

 

Round 3:

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Outright Victories:

“Marge Be Not Proud” over “Beware my Cheating Bart,” “Homer Badman” over “Old Money.”

Matchups:

“Hellfish” over “Bart Gets Famous” – “Hellfish” might be my favorite WWII movie of all time. It’s dark, hilarious, sweet, and just incredible. Plus it inspired the line that my brother Chase drops every time someone wakes him up from a nap: “…Santa?” I can’t knock it.

“The Secret War of Lisa Simpson” over “Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield” – I have a great respect for strength. Lisa fights through hazing and homesickness, just to name two obstacles, to make it through and complete her year at military school. It’s really Lisa at her strongest, and that’s a great thing.

“You Only Move Twice” over “Grade School Confidential” – Realistically you could justify putting “You Only Move Twice” deep in the tournament without once mentioning any scene that doesn’t feature Hank Scorpio or Homer. But everything in this is just perfect. It’s a machine.

“Treehouse 5” over “Brother from the Same Planet” – Here’s how good “Treehouse 5” is. It’s this deep in the tournament and I haven’t even mentioned “The Shinning” yet. It’s too good.

“Burns’ Heir” over “Lost Our Lisa” – Homer may not have a better moment as a father than when he drops the following knowledge on his kids: “Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is never try.”

“El Viaje Misterioso” over “Itchy & Scratchy Land” – It is me, or is Johnny Cash a little too good as the Space Coyote? Plus Homer’s Chili hallucination is artistically gorgeous. As is the fact it happened on a “Chili Trip.”

 

Round 4:

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Matchups:

“Hellfish” over “The Secret War of Lisa Simpson” – Has anyone ever been happier about someone’s death than Grandpa about Asa Phelps? Also, the assassination attempt that is “as intricate and precise as a well-played game of chess” is amazing. Seriously, give me this as a movie.

“You Only Move Twice” over “Marge Be Not Proud” – “Marge Be Not Proud” is one of the most realistic stories I’ve ever seen. It actually makes me uncomfortable to watch as Marge’s anger is incredibly genuine. As powerful as it is, The Simpsons is rarely funnier than “You Only Move Twice” ever. When I watch The Simpsons I want comedy, so I’m going with Hank Scorpio.

“Treehouse 5” over “Burns’ Heir” – To knock it out of the park of a whole episode while telling three separate stories is no small feat. Obviously there have been plenty of Treehouses over the years, 23 make this bracket, but “Treehouse 5” is so clearly the best it’s unreal. It’s one of the funniest half hours of television ever, not just for The Simpsons.

“Homer Badman” over “El Viaje Misterioso” – Open offer: If anyone reading this can get me a Gummi Venus de Milo I will buy you a steak dinner. This is 100% legitimate. This episode is flawless.

 

Round 5:

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Matchups:

“You Only Move Twice” over “Hellfish” – Two of the most cinematic episodes ever made, yet it’s clear as the summer sky that “You Only Move Twice” moves on. Casual moments like Homer dejectedly kicking away a live grenade after quitting his job during an attack on Scorpio’s lair are too perfect for words.

“Treehouse 5” over “Homer Badman” – Two of the absolute best episodes of all time without question. I’m taking the side of “Treehouse 5” in a very close decision because a few of the lines/bits from the episode – Willie getting axed in the spine thrice, the toaster on the hand, “no TV and no beer make Homer something, something” – remain some of the funniest things I have ever heard just enough to bounce out the flawless “Homer Badman.”

 

Finals:

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“You Only Move Twice” over “Treehouse 5” – Here’s the thing with Treehouse 5, it gives two A++ segments to open up the show, but the third act, “Nightmare Cafeteria” just isn’t as perfect as the first two. Amazing? Absolutely. But it dips just enough that “You Only Move Twice” can clip it. That episode is top to bottom flawless. Albert Brooks gives energy to the show whenever he appears that is impossible to match. Never does he fall into a character better than when he is Hank Scorpio. He isn’t on screen all that much, but when he is, he steals every microsecond. It reaches the final eight.

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Coming tomorrow, the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant region.

 

Blanket

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By: Connor Lenahan

I have a question for you: What item in this world do you value over every other? If there was suddenly a fire to engulf your room, which happened to contain every single thing you own, what would you save if you could only choose one thing? The something in this galaxy that you cannot physically live without.

My answer is clear. It’s my baby blanket. The blanket, pictured above, was made for me by my great grandmother on my mom’s side. For the past twenty years I have slept with it beneath my head. For the past two decades it has been my constant. For as long as I have been on this Earth it has been with me. Fairly literally too.

Save for maybe 20 days in the last 15 years I have had my blanket beneath my head as I fall asleep. It comes with me on every trip. It has been to more states and more countries than a great deal of my friends. It has been with me through every challenge I have ever had to face. My blanket has been with me in every operating room I have ever entered. Just last spring, while getting my leg surgically repaired after breaking my shin, I clutched my blanket to my chest with my left arm while my right was being used to administer anesthesia.

I love this blanket more than almost anything. I happen to live a life that changes on the fly quite often. Sometimes for the good, like when a new job opportunity will arise out of nowhere, and sometimes for the bad, when a simple walk to math class transforms into two surgeries and months of healing/rehabilitation. Through it all I have something to fall back on. Every single night I know I can put my head down on my blanket and everything is okay. 20 years of safety is no joke.

I knew I wanted to write about my blanket at some point this year. It was a matter of when. I chose today, my 20th birthday, to honor something that has been a crucial part of my existence from the day I first took a breath on this planet.

It’s amazing that the blanket has survived to 20 in one piece. It’s a miracle that I have as well. Today was a terrific way to begin my life after being a teenager. That’s because of the wonderful family and friends and blanket I am blessed to have in my life.

Now it’s time to lie on that blanket for the 500,000th time and know that everything is alright.

Pastaland

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By: Connor Lenahan

A fun rumor circulated the Dean of Students office at Boston University last week. With just a few days to go before the BU Men’s Basketball team departed for Italy the tidbit had been passed amongst the daytime occupants that I too would be venturing to Pastaland. How did I happen upon this rumor? Because just the other morning at work our Dean of Students, the legend himself, Kenn Elmore, approached me with a smile and quipped “so I heard you’re off to Italy!”

After sadly informing him that no, in fact, I was not heading to the world capital for risotto, I started to laugh. It made sense to assume that I would be joining my brothers on the team overseas, but instead I sit in my bed in Pennsylvania having spent the weekend before my birthday with my family.

Tomorrow morning, however, I will awake at a normal time and, most likely, consume left over chicken wings from this weekend whilst my guys are on a plane en route to Pastaland.

The best part about this trip is the chance to finally say that basketball is back. While a lot of my friends on the team have been on campus like me for the summer it has been for conditioning and workouts as opposed to formal practice. Now, however, it feels real. The guys are going to be playing four games against pro teams in Italy. The most fun part of this being that they must abide by international rules, meaning a different ball and court setup.

Regardless of the changes this looks to be a great experience for the guys. After the massive overhaul of the roster earlier this year. We lost six players to transfer/graduation while finally getting back Eric Fanning and Blaise Mbargorba – transfers from the season prior who had to sit out a season – and adding three freshmen in Cheddi Mosely, Eric Johnson, and Nick Havener. This has created a drastically different men’s team than the one I watched last fall.

The beautiful part in this change is that one thing held constant – these are still my brothers. These are still some of my best friends in the world. They are still incredible people and inspirations to me. They are still a great team.

So while I am not joining them tomorrow morning on the flight to Pastaland in person, I will be there in spirit. Because I love my guys. I’m going to try and follow these games in any way I can. Because finally basketball is back. And because of that, life is good.

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