Hey hey friends!
So, courtesy of one heck of a cold (by the time you read this it’ll probably be gone so no need for chicken soup or well wishes my friends), I found myself with some extra time to write and said to myself, “Self… what do you want to write?” I’d finished the last episode recap for Season 27 and thought about doing one big recap for the season. Heck, I’d done that with Season 25 and 26. But wait, there’s a reason there’s no link on the second set of numbers. This walking carpet never did a season recap for 26. With extra time, cold meds on board, and a box of tissues, I decided to go back and revisit the season, mainly just rereading a bunch of words written on this site and re-watching a few of my favorites, in an effort to have one big recap. Here are some thoughts on the the 26th season of the Best. Show. Ever. It’s amazing that as of the end of Season 26, this animated sitcom had ran for 574 episodes over 26 Seasons. Haters can say what they want but that’s some serious longevity. I’m well aware of the “classic” period of the show but can’t agree that it’s just kept going like a juggernaut without some good stuff along the way. All season, we recaped each episode for you. The following are just some thoughts I had about each episode. The long episode recaps are linked in each title if you’re interested. For fairness sake, I’ll throw out a SPOILER ALERT for anyone who hasn’t seen the episodes as I may discuss plot points. Click more if you don’t care or want to hear more of my thoughts or both.
The Simpsons Season 26, September 28th 2014 to May 17th 2015. 22 episodes of yellow people hilarity. In fairness, I seriously love this family and their fellow citizens of Springfield, so I’m probably not as hard on every episode as other critics. The Simpsons brings me joy in a world too often devoid of it. It lampoons popular culture and tickles my funny bone. I can’t imagine a world without this silly cartoon and thankfully don’t have to for the time being. This post will basically be ramblings episode by episode. You can think of this as the Fuzzy Guide to Season 26. I tried to keep it as concise as possible.
I gave each episode a grade (blame it on the future teacher in me) but I also once came up with a blah/meh/oooh/aaaah/wowza/woo hoo scale that I never really used so I figured I’d resurrect that system too. Honestly, all the grades are pointless but fun. Up to you how you feel about episodes, these are just my thoughts that usually are not the same as other critics.
Episode 1 – “Clown in the Dumps”
This episode was the highly touted SOMEONE WILL DIE episode of the show. Advertised as the Yellow Wedding, there was a lot of fan anticipation although my thoughts a year and a half later are that a lot of us expected the death to be Rabbi Krustofski. I even wrote a post about it. All in all, this tale of Krusty getting roasted and his dad dying could pretty much be summed up by his Rabbi father’s last words… eh. It rhymes with meh. Lisa being worried about her Dad’s health was worth watching but to say the couch gag was strange might be an understatement. Not the best opener ever but oh well. RIP Rabbi. Final grade… B-/C+ (meh)
Episode 2 – “The Wreck of the Relationship”
So in honesty, I had to go back and read about this one since it wasn’t that memorable. Usually not a good sign. Kids don’t like to eat brocoli and why Homer chose this particular time to stand his parenting ground is beyond me. Homer and the episode get scurvy on a ship. Marge proves Fantasy Football is all about luck and hurricane winds. Final grade… C-/D+ (blah)
Episode 3 – “Super Franchise Me”
Marge starts a sandwich shop franchise (which is a rehash of her pretzel franchise in “The Twisted World of Marge Simpson” (S8:E11). I understand the family not wanting all of Homer’s meat to spoil but the premise left a slightly smelly episode. I enjoyed Homer’s great moments in sandwich history. Who knew the Spucklers could be so business savvy? At least the Simpsons family’s plan to get out of the franchise was worth it in the end and all of them working together is never a bad thing. You know they’re working hard when Homer loses weight. Final grade… C+ (meh)
Episode 4 – “Treehouse of Horror XXV”
Bring on the first episode from the season I actually wanted to rewatch. I throughly enjoyed all three segments. School is Hell was a fun concept with the hellish version of elementary school and Bart being a good student for once. I’m an uber Clockwork Orange fan so the tribute to Kubrick made me very happy. The last bit with the Tracey Ullman version haunting the current family was way too much fun. Definitely watch this one. It felt like a return to good form for this Halloween staple. Final frade… A (woo hoo)
Episode 5 – “Opposites A-Frack”
For personal reasons, finding out that Jane Fonda was going to do a voice on my favorite cartoon made me unhappy. With that being said, this was an enjoyable episode with a message about fracking which really can’t be ignored. When your water in on fire, it’s a bad thing. Burns romance was relatable and spoke to current partisan fighting we have today. Not a bad episode at all and after the meh beginning of the first three (thank goodness Bunny did those recaps), this made me feel like the season was finding its groove. Final grade… B+ (aaaah)
Episode 6 – “Simpsorama”
A Futurama/Simpsons crossover… what could be wrong with that? The answer is nothing. I loved this episode. Bender is the main character who gets some love but Fry, Leela, Professor Farnsworth, Hermes, Scruffy, Amy and even Zoidberg appear. I love Futurama so my opinion on this one might be skewed. Watch it yourself and decide but to all the critics who disliked this one, Eat My Shorts! Final grade… A+ (woo hoo)
Episode 7 – “Blazed and Confused”
Our favorite family goes to Burning Man, errr, Burning Guy courtesy of one evil new teacher for Bart done amazingly by the wonderful actor known as Willem Dafoe. He’s one evil dude and I enjoyed seeing Bart face off against a foe. Also makes me think that Willem’s last name is perfect. Anyhoo… this is another good episode to watch. My biggest memory before rewatching this one is Smellson being schooled by Mr. Lassen. Final grade… B (oooh)
Episode 8 – “Covercraft”
Homer’s mid-life crisis leads to him forming a cover band with Apu, Lovejoy, Kirk, and Hibbert. I originally gave this one a meh when I watched it but would probably upgrade it to an oooh or aaaah in hindsight. Nothing crazy special was done in this one but it was a fleshed out plot that delivered some laughs. Sammy Hagar guesting in the episode made this one worth re-watching. Final grade… B/B- (oooh)
Episode 9 – “I Won’t Be Home for Christmas”
Cosmic Wars Holiday Special… definitely worth watching the first few minutes. Homer upsets Marge and she puts her foot down. The result is some heartstrings tugged and a sappy ending I loved. I mean, Ned and Homer have a moment. Don’t believe me, watch the episode. Final grade… B+ (aaaah)
Episode 10 – “The Man Who Came to Be Dinner”
So this is the first episode to ever feature Kang and Kodos. Another one of the things hyped for this season. The beginning lampooning Disneyland made a certain skipper laugh a bunch. This is one of the episodes that got a lot of hate from reviewers that I disagreed with their opinions. There’s a “Deep Space Homer” tribute and I enjoyed seeing all the Rigel VII stuff. I’ll agree this doesn’t fit in with canon, but I think it’s worth a watch and find it interesting that this premise was once considered for the second Simpsons movie. I much prefer it as an episode. The end is a definite win for any Star Trek fans out there. Final grade… A-/B+ (wowza)
Episode 11 – “Bart’s New Friend”
Using a 1989-1990 script written by none other than Judd Apatow, the Simpsons modernized the premise and made one heck of an episode with Homer being hypnotized to think he’s ten. Bring on a fun relationship with his son. Lots of goodness and I have enjoyed this episode just as much every time I have watched it. I think it has a lot to do with this being written by a young Apatow in love with the show when almost everyone will agree it was amazing. Final grade… A (woo hoo)
Episode 12 – “The Musk Who Fell to Earth”
So… this episode still remains a weird one for me. I enjoy it a lot every time I watch it but my brother from another mother works for Elon Musk so I don’t know if that’s the reason. During my recap, I gave it a 3/4 sort of and I think that’s where it stays. It’s definitely not a stinker and discusses alternative energy in a fun way. Points for basing an entire episode around Musk and it working. Bonus points for TSTO showing up at the end. Final grade… B (oooh)
Episode 13 – “Walking Big & Tall”
So any time an episode has an original song in it, I’m usually on board. This one had two and Bart & Lisa’s “Why Springfield? Why not?” is immensely quotable and singable. Homer joining a group of chubbies brought lots of hilarity and there were several great callbacks to older episodes. I enjoyed this one, tons of fun to be enjoyed IMHO (pun intended). Final grade… A- (wowza)
Episode 14 – “My Fare Lady”
The 8 bit pixellated couch gag and Jetson parody may be what clinched this episode for me. Christopher Lloyd and Marge’s job for a ride sharing service get two furry thumbs up from me. The rest was just okay. I don’t know how many times I can see Moe’s bar trashed. It’s happened a bunch but him working at the Nuclear Power Plant was interesting and if you’re looking for an episode proving Homer can be an attentive hubby, look no further. The introduction to Laney Fontaine is good but mainly if you know of her other episode in the next season. Final grade… B-/C+ (meh)
Episode 15 – “The Princess Guide”
I feel bad admitting it but this was another forgettable episode I had to look up because for the life of me, I couldn’t really think of the plot. Thank goodness a certain fuzzball did an episode recap lol. So, there’s a sweet, sweet moment in here between Lisa and Homer that makes me happy. Moe has a storyline and somehow, he charms a princess from Nigeria. Obviously the whole thing didn’t leave a lasting impact but it’s not an awful episode. This episode has a tribute to Leonard Nimoy at the end which is definitely a win. I’d understand if you skipped this one though. Final grade… C+ (meh)
Episode 16 – “Sky Police”
This is a fun episode with a clever title that somehow applies to Wiggum getting a jetpack, the First Church of Springfield being destroyed again, and members of the church earning money to save said church by counting cards in a casino. While the church being wrecked and Marge gambling has been done before, I found this take on it to be fresh. Lots of laughs and I enjoyed watching this one again. Final grade… B+ (aaaah)
Episode 17 – “Waiting For Duffman”
This is one of those episodes that started off as a meh for me but grew in my opinion with repeat viewings. If you ever were looking for an episode about Duffman, I’d probably suggest “Old Yeller Belly” (S14:E19) even though that’s more about Suds McDuff, but there is lots of Duff stuff to enjoy in this one including a contest to pick a new one after Barry Huffman can’t go on. Game of Thrones gets some love and Homer spends time sober. Final grade… B (oooh)
Episode 18 – “Peeping Mom”
A meh episode entailing Marge sticking like glue to a Bart who is obviously lying. Ned gets a puppy that likes Homer. Not much else to say about this one other than I refused to watch it again for this recap. Final grade… C-/D+ (meh)
Episode 19 – “The Kids Are All Fight”
A fun flashback episode showing Bart and Lisa at ages 4 and 2 respectively. Also another appearance of the clown bed which once upon a time was the way Alissa and I started our friendship. Definitely worth a watch and just as good with a repeat viewing. Final grade…A-/B+ (wowza)
Episode 20 – “Let’s Go Fly a Coot”
This episode is a weird one for me to discuss. I LOVE all the stuff involving Grampa and his time serving in the Air Force. I really enjoy Homer learning to respect his dad and spend time with him. I loathe the B plot of Bart smoking e-cigarettes to impress Milhouse’s cousin Annika. It’s basically an episode I want to give an A to on one side and a D for the other. Final grade… ??? I feel woo hoo and blah so maybe a C? Final is an oooh just because I’m an Air Force vet and all of that saved it from a meh.
Episode 21 – “Bull-E”
This seemed like one of the funnier episodes of the season to me but on repeat viewing, I didn’t like it as much as I did the first time. Basically deals with the issue of bullying in a silly way. Bart reaching puberty is awkward to me but the incomparable Albert Brooks voices a new character so let’s call it a draw. Otto’s schooooool train was worth seeing again too. Final grade… B- (oooh)
Episode 22 – “Mathlete’s Feat”
Springfield Elementary faces off against Waverly Hills in two mathletics competitions. One ends in a loss, then win, then loss scenario and the other includes Homer as a solution. If you’re a math nerd, this one probably will be high on your list. There’s fun with the elementary becoming a Waldorf school and it’s always nice to see Benjamin, Gary, and Doug. Willie gets more air time than usual too and if you’re a Rick & Morty fan, you definitely need to watch the couch gag. All in all, I thought it was a good episode to close out the season. Final Grade… B+ (aaaah)
So there’s some thoughts and a “recap” for Season 26 of The Simpsons. This season basically started slow and then kicked into really enjoyable episodes. Here’s the final tally on the blah/meh/oooh/aaaah/wowza/woo hoo scale.
Woo hoo – three/Wowza – three/Aaaah – four/Oooh – six/Meh – five/Blah – one
You can take those ratings as you will, I’ll happily recommend anything that got a higher rating than meh but definitely check out Episodes 4, 6, and 11 if nothing else. 10, 13, and 19 aren’t shabby either. This recap took a bit more time than I thought it would but I enjoyed the process. Keep your eyes open for a Season 27 recap soon-ish. I’m not sure if I exercised brevity as much as I would have liked but suffice to say, I think Season 26 might be one of the best new seasons. I’ve rambled enough for this post. Now to look forward to Season 28! What were your thoughts about the Season? Were your favorites different than mine? Is there something I missed you feel has to be said? Chime in below. Y’all stay classy as usual.
TTFN… Wookiee out!