The best Simpsons episode ever

20:41, Jan 17 2011

A few weeks ago, in my post about repeats, I mentioned how TV3 never seems to repeat my favourite episodes of The Simpsons, before naming Deep Space Homer my favourite Simpsons episode of all time.

Now, a commenter named Wilbur didn't like this much. He claimed that if I were a true Simpsons fan I "wouldn't be naive enough to try and pick one episode as the best ever". Well, unfortunately for Wilbur, not only am I naive enough to name one, but I'm going to dedicate a blog post to explaining why too.

Deep Space Homer is the 15th episode of Season 5, and follows Homer as he becomes an astronaut in an attempt to gain the respect of his family, friends, and the workmates who overlooked him for a Worker of the Week award in favour of an inanimate carbon rod. It first aired in February 1994, and heavily parodies hit space movies like The Right Stuff and 2001: A Space Odyssey - and in the years since, it has carved out a little piece of my heart and taken its place as my favourite Simpsons episode of all time.

There are good reasons why I like Deep Space Home" the most, such as ...

It contains one of the best Homer moments of all time.
"Hello, is this President Clinton? ... Good! I figured if anyone knew where to get some Tang, it be you ... SHUT UP!" Soon after phoning Nasa to complain about the space shuttle launches on TV, Homer is seen on a payphone at Moe's talking to the president about getting a hold of Tang, a drink made famous for being used on manned space missions. Also, this is a hilarious joke to play on fellow Simpsons fans: just pick up a phone and recite these short lines. Anyone who doesn't laugh gets kicked out of the house.

It features four of the best random "laugh out loud" moments of all time.
1) After Mr Burns announces the carbon rod as the winner of the Worker of the Week award, Homer growls and yells "Inanimate eh! I'll show him inanimate!" He then proceeds to stand perfectly still as the sun quickly goes down and his shadow lengthens.
2) Bart writes "insert brain here" on the back of Homer's head and, in an attempt to see what Bart has written, Homer ends up spinning around on the floor, a la Curly from the Three Stooges, as the family looks on and grows increasingly concerned.
3) During a press conference, Homer tells reporters that the only danger in the space mission is if Nasa sends them to the planet of the apes. He then realises what happened at the end of the movie The Planet of the Apes, and collapses on the floor, yelling the famous lines "Damn you! Damn you all to hell!"
4) A recurring gag in which Homer has trouble using a touch-tone phone and starts mashing buttons while having a serious, deep and meaningful conversation with Marge just before takeoff.

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It is the source of two of the most memorable Simpsons scenes ever.
1) After Homer opens a bag of potato chips in the space shuttle, he is forced to float around in zero gravity and munch random mouthfuls of chips in time to the tune of The Blue Danube - a scene which is a reference to Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.
2) After Homer accidentally smashes open the ant farm, Kent Brockman crosses to the in-shuttle camera just as an ant flies past the camera lens. He explains this by announcing that the space shuttle has been taken over by giant ants. Part of his report includes the classic line "... and I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords!" ... which spawned the "Overlord Meme", and is now used in discussion forums all over the internet.

It features two of the best celebrity cameos of all time.
1) Former astronaut, and second man to walk on the moon, Buzz Aldrin, who says the line "Second comes right after first!" soon after appearing on-screen.
2) Folk singer James Taylor, who recorded a special version of his song Fire and Rain for the episode and was named the 21st best guest star by IGN.com.

It boasts one of the most random facts of any TV episode, from any show, ever.
"Deep Space Homer" is available for astronauts to watch at the International Space Station. Take that, South Park!

When you put all these factors together, you've got the best Simpsons episode of all time.

So Deep Space Homer is my choice for the best. What's yours? What are some of your favourite scenes? If you're not a Simpsons fan, what do you hate about the show?

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