The Simpsons is a show which is clearly past its prime—the characters are more caricature than anything, the writing has gotten random and sloppy, and even the voice work seems tired and bored. But that doesn’t mean the show is completely incapable of producing great episodes, especially if you go back to the previous 15 seasons, which many fans still consider far inferior to the show’s first decade. Let’s take a look at three great episodes from the Simpsons from the last 15 years.
Season 23, Episode 496: Politically Inept
The Simpsons has been many things over the years, but “political” has not generally been one of them. The show rarely touches on the political, outside of the occasional pop culture reference. This is why Politically Inept’s success is a great surprise.
In the episode, Homer becomes involved in politics after a video of him misbehaving on a plane goes viral. Although he clearly has no idea what he’s talking about, he is promoted and exploited by various politicians and news networks for his story. Homer eventually realizes his mistake—having no idea what he’s talking about but pretending to, anyway—and withdraws from politics.
Season 22, Episode 469: Lisa Simpson, This Isn’t Your Life
“It’s a Lisa episode” isn’t a phrase many people like to hear, especially since the character has become a walking soapbox in recent seasons. But this episode manages to avoid the typical clichés of the heavy-handed “Lisa episode” by exploring Lisa’s pressure to succeed in academics as well as her feelings about her role in her family. The episode even manages to touch on some mature issues—including Lisa feeling wanting to avoid becoming like her mother, since she believes Marge is nothing but a homemaker—while balancing them with witty jokes.
Season 12, Episode 256: Skinner’s Sense of Snow
This is an “older” new episode, but it definitely holds up as one of the better episodes from the later seasons of the show. In this episode, the children of Springfield Elementary become snowed in with Principal Skinner during a freak snowstorm. Skinner finds himself dealing with bored, demanding and out of control children as the night goes on—forcing him to go to extreme measures to keep the peace.
With its fun jokes, realistic premise and solid characterization, this is definitely a “classic” new episode of the Simpsons.