The Simpsons S2
In your head I know what you’re thinking; “The Simpsons started getting really good in season 3”. Nope. They started getting really good in season two but in season three they got to ‘all time greatest show’ levels. Season two has a lot of highs. Let’s delve into them shall we?
BART GETS AN F
Season two’s opening episode is “Bart Gets an F”. The one where he befriends Martin Prince and teaches him how to be cooler in exchange for getting tips on improving in class, lest he have to repeat the grade. It backfires with Martin becoming distracted by life and Bart is left to pray for a miracle. “Prayer, the last refuge of a scoundrel” – Lisa.
This is a great Bart episode. His Treasure Island book report is wonderful. “I give this a book a NINE”. It’s Big Gorilla Week too! Season two has a much higher hit rate for gags with improved and more consistent writing and animation. The standard is visibly higher from the opening scene. A lot of the characters are better rounded too and the likes of Edna Krabbappel and Otto the bus driver are as you know them.
The episode peaks with an epic Snow Day and Bart’s eventual subsequent failure before Edna gives him bonus points for using obscure knowledge he actually learned on his day off. This is also the debut episode for a series favourite; Major “Diamond” Joe Quimby, who announces this as “Snow Day”. Bart Gets an F is an early feelgood favourite with an emotional Bart scraping the test (“part of this D- belongs to God”). The step up to start season two overall is huge and this is an immediate hit. Best episode of the show so far. ****
SIMPSON AND DELILAH
Having kicked things off with Bart and the school, we switch gears to Homer and the nuclear plant. In this unforgettable episode Homer gets prescribed “demoxinil” and regrows his hair. He’s immediately promoted! He needs to hire an assistant and ends up with Karl, played by Harvey Fierstein. I love his voice. It’s luscious. With Karl’s help Homer becomes a go-getter, thus infuriating Waylon Smithers when Homer becomes a better bootlicker.
Of course Bart ruins everything by trying to grow a beard with the demoxinil and accidentally destroys Homer’s supply. This episode has some great stuff in it with Homer’s various hairstyles, Karl’s little touches improving Homer’s life at every level and the conclusion where an upbeat Homer tries to deliver a speech only to get shot down because “he doesn’t even have hair”. Smithers’ “dead man coming through” is kicking a man when he’s down. Mr Burns is quite considerate here, giving Homer his old job back instead of firing him for fraud. ***½
TREEHOUSE OF HORROR
The tradition of Treehouse of Horror starts here! Complete with Marge introduction where she warns everyone that the show is scary. The episode is actually called the “Simpsons Halloween Special” but was rebranded after it was a hit with the fans. In this opening Treehouse of Horror the kids are telling each other horror stories in the treehouse.
First up is “Bad Dream House”. This is a rushed tale about the Simpsons moving into a haunted house. It feels like one of the editions of the comic with inferior writing. They’d not really gotten the hang of the possibilities yet and this comes off like bad horror movie parody. *¼
The middle tale is “Hungry are the Damned”. This has the great Homer emptying a can of fuel onto the BBQ bit in it right at the start. That’s before the family are abducted by aliens. Hey, it’s Kang and Kodos! The lighting is a bit weird in this but the jokes are good. The “how to cook for forty humans” gag is particularly strong. If the lighting wasn’t so odd this would be a classic. ***¼
Finally we get a rehash of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven”. The only good thing about this is Bart playing the raven. The Simpsons early attempts to educate are at the forefront here but the balance is off and there’s too much Poe and not enough funny. *
Overall, the first Treehouse of Horror barely works. Faltering from one story to the next with a rough wraparound. It’s a rare bad episode in an otherwise superb season. Once they’d nailed down Kang and Kudos and the spirit and formula of the Treehouse of Horror episodes they’d get better in a hurry. **
TWO CARS IN EVERY GARAGE, THREE EYES ON EVERY FISH
Already Mr Burns is thrust into the limelight here with all the writer’s seeing potential in him. Here he wants to run for governor but is thrown off his pursuit by the poisoned water in the local lake. Bart catches a three headed fish (“Blinky”) and Marge serves it to Burns at dinner. Burns is brilliant here. His reactions to the safety inspection at the plant are perfect and his attempts to bribe the inspector and his relationship with Smithers are brought to the forefront. Mining Burns’ personality bears fruit immediately and this is the first of many great Burns-centric episodes. It’s also the first episode to stray from the Simpsons family for a lead star.
This scenario is more worrying now with the advent of Trump. Simpsons predicting the future? I’m as shocked as you. Burns use of language puts him above any terrible politician though. His old timey use of slang especially. “Eddie Punchclock” makes me laugh. The only part of this episode that really comes up short is the assortment of supporting characters that don’t quite hit. Most of them are one-offs like Burns’ media team and incumbent governor Mary Bailey. As an assessment of American politics it is spot on though. ***¾
The Simpsons had, to this point, avoided a lot of the elements of American culture like sport. It doesn’t get more American than baseball and here Homer becomes the mascot for the local baseball team; the Springfield Isotopes. Mr Burns, after promising to ruin Homer in the last episode, has already forgotten who he is. “I think I can actually hear the air being torn sir” – Waylon Smithers’ levels of sucking up have hit another level already (he was describing Burns’ feeble pitching). Mr Burns’ old timeyisms are perfect for baseball. I’m not sure I agree with him being so chummy with Homer here but it would become a running gag that Burns doesn’t know who Homer is.
After a successful stint as the ‘Topes mascot Homer gets a call up to the major leagues. The family move to Capital City and Homer is a back up for the Capital City Goofball. If you watch baseball there’s a lot of great stuff in here but you don’t need to understand the sport to get the episode. Going to Capital City is a big step for the Simpsons as they’ve never left Springfield as a group before. Capital City is supposed to be “New York” but creative put Springfield into the real world later in the series so this feels like an odd choice retrospectively. As are the running mentions of Capital City throughout the season alongside the odd real world place.
Homer’s big league failure is remarkably short and the wrap around in Moe’s has Homer waxing lyrical about his failure making him more popular. Another nudge at that fourth wall. ***½
DEAD PUTTING SOCIETY
Homer’s rivalry with Ned Flanders has been a one way street to this point with Flanders barely aware of it and Ned himself relatively untouched as a character. The only trait Flanders has is that he’s just better than Homer. Here Ned invites Homer over for the first time to show him his “rumpus room” where he gives Homer a draft beer. This is the introduction of Ned as a churchgoer and his late night phone call to Reverend Lovejoy is the first of many.
Their rivalry comes to a head at a mini-golf course, “Sir Putt-A-Lots”, where Homer and Ned pitch their kids against each other in competition. This is where the wheels come off a bit. Although Bart being trained by Lisa and her book-knowledge is effective, Ned yelling “mercy is for the weak Tod” is off brand. ***½
BART VS. THANKSGIVING
One week on from Bart and Lisa being really close friends Bart is back to his destructive best, ruining Lisa’s Thanksgiving centrepiece. The fourth wall is gone again here with a Bart Simpson balloon appearing in the Macy’s Day Parade. The extended family is all here for Thanksgiving, including Marge’s mom who sounds like Marge only older.
Bart runs away with Santa’s Little Helper and his transition to the “wrong side of the tracks” into downtown Springfield is a great visual. Springfield appears to have a major homeless problem. Homer is especially dim here with a meandering prayer and of course; “Operator, give me the number for 9-1-1″. Bart’s imagination runs wild on his return home and Maggie gets a line in there; “it’s your fault I can’t talk”. The episode has a delightful conclusion with Bart and Lisa making amends. A lot of early Simpsons had more heart than gags and this is one of those. ***½
BART THE DAREDEVIL
This is the debut of Truckasaurus. Sadly, he’s not yet voiced by Marlon Brando. Homer’s lack of patience is at the forefront here as he has to go to Lisa’s recital before they head across town to the monster truck rally. The family accidentally become part of the show and thusly the family’s pink station wagon is wrecked for the first time. Bart gets especially drawn in by Captain Lance Murdock and decides to become a daredevil.
I love Lance Murdock. “I’m glad so many of you, especially little children, are here potentially see my grisly death”. Bart going to see Lance in hospital is fantastic. “Good for you, son…bones heal, chicks dig scars”. I’m also thrilled to see an early speaking role for Dr Hibbert who talks us through the ward of children injured imitating TV. “I won’t subject to the horrors of the Three Stooges Ward”. “It’s a small price to pay for countless hours of quality television”.
There’s some great character stuff in this one although the Bart and Homer conclusion is more famous for its repeated use in clip shows. Homer’s secondary fall down Springfield Gorge after the ambulance hilariously crashes into a tree is done in more detail in the clip shows but is still a great sight gag. ****
ITCHY & SCRATCHY & MARGE
Maggie puts Homer in hospital after imitating something she saw on Itchy & Scratchy, which is a logical follow on from the visit to the hospital in the previous episode. Homer getting bashed in the head, complete with dead-on Psycho spoof, is sensational stuff. Especially as Homer was admiring his rickety home-made spice rack. Marge’s letter writing assault on television is a stark contrast to her laid-back demeanour during “There’s No Disgrace Like Home” where it was clear Homer was the instigator of anti-TV thought.
This is an introduction to Itchy & Scratchy honcho Rogers Meyers who calls Marge a “screwball” and tells her she won’t get anything done. She fights back by starting a Mary Whitehouse-esque housewives’ campaign, which is hugely successful and Meyers has to back down. “Porch Pals” the Marge approved version of Itchy & Scratchy is fantastically bad and it drives all the kids to play outdoors. The world without cartoon violence is a nice bit but this joyousness comes to an end when the campaigners turn their attacks to Michaelangelo’s David.
Marge can’t get behind an assault on art and soon realises that censorship can go too far and relents. Censorship is a tough line to walk. Everyone has a different line that they won’t cross. Therefore it should be up to parents to make those decisions and have those conversations with their children. Itchy & Scratchy & Marge tackles some genuine real world problems and has a few laughs doing it. This episode does peak early though. Homer’s Psycho demise is the highlight. ***¼
BART GETS HIT BY A CAR
Bart dying briefly here is interesting. Phil Hartman voices an angel that gives him a guide to the afterlife, and he’s kicked into hell for spitting off the escalator. Hartman also voices Lionel Hutz, attorney at law. “Here’s my card, it turns into a sponge when you put it in water”. Hutz makes a point of exploiting Bart’s injuries in court and Bart is happy to go along with it for the financial gain. Mr Burns physical shortcomings are highlighted for the first time here as he struggles to crush a paper cup. He’s well on his way to being an instrument of pure evil. His imagining the headlines bit is wonderful. “I should be allowed to run over as many kids as I want!”
This episode also sees the debut of Dr Nick Riviera. A crooked doctor who would, like Hutz, be a regular top-notch character over the course of the series. As is Burns’ lawyer, who would become the nasal high-pitched lawyer used after Hartman’s death. Burns’ evil in the court room frees him up to offer the Simpsons $500,000 as a settlement, which Homer rejects out of pure greed. Marge is called as a witness and promptly tanks the entire case. It causes some serious issues between Homer and Marge and Homer is so upset about it, he utters the sentence “I’m not sure I love you anymore”. It gets resolved but once again it’s the Simpsons being real with us. If your wife cost you $1M would you react that way? I don’t think I would but it is a reminder that decisions made in our lives have real consequences. Something the poor as dirt Simpsons struggled with in the early seasons.
Burns, Hutz and Dr Nick almost put this in Hall of Fame territory. ***¾
ONE FISH, TWO FISH, BLOWFISH, BLUE FISH
Lisa convinces the family to go to the Happy Sumo, the town’s new sushi restaurant. Homer soon becomes a fan while the kids enjoy the karaoke; singing the theme to Shaft. Homer eats fugu, blowfish, which is potentially lethal if cut wrong. “Poison, poison, tasty fish”. On eating the poison Homer is left with 24 hours to live and draws up a list of things he wants to do in his last day on earth.
Marge letting him sleep until 11.30am because “he looks so peaceful” is genuinely heartbreaking and we’re on an emotional rollercoaster as Homer spends time with his kids before his dad monopolises the rest of his time. There’s only one great gag, which is Homer agreeing to go to Flanders’ BBQ the next day. “Jokes on you, I’ll be dead by then”. He ends up listening to a book on tape and falls asleep. Having Homer say his goodbyes is upsetting, especially to Marge. The first time I watched this I got a little choked up. ****
THE WAY WE WAS
While this is a sentimental look back at how Marge and Homer met, it starts with the first McBain movie until the TV breaks. Seeing Homer and Marge in school is a gentle episode telling about early love. It’s 1974: Marge Bouvier gets detention for burning her bra and Homer is in there anyway for general misbehaviour and smoking in the boy’s room. Homer’s love rival for Marge’s attention is Artie Ziff, voiced by Jon Lovitz.
Homer’s attempts to get Marge to like him are beautiful, albeit dim-witted, and it’s nice to see a young Barney Gumble. After conning Marge into giving him French lessons she agrees to go to the Prom. However, she gets angry with Homer for wasting her time with fake French lessons. Marge ends up going to Prom with Artie Ziff but his wandering hands earn him a big old slap. Ziff’s debating approach to asking Marge out is a solid gag but his appeal to Marge not to speak afterwards is even better. “It would damage the town to hear it”.
Musically this episode is a winner with Steve Miller Band’s “Joker”, the Carpenters and Barry White all featuring. It also dates the Simpsons’ parents as being born somewhere around 1956. If they’d stuck to the timeline and had the characters age, they’d be retired now. Marge going back out to pick up Homer, who she noticed was walking home alone, is a lovely moment. Homer’s dedication to Marge is admirable and his love remains strong. Also, Dan Castelleneta sings the Joker over the credits. To this point it’s my favourite episode and I have a huge soft spot for it. ****¼
HOMER VS. LISA & THE EIGHTH COMMANDMENT
This starts out with a sensational biblical bit with “Homer the Thief” losing his income thanks to the Ten Commandments. In modern times Homer steals cable TV and it upsets Lisa. The episode has a few jollies at how bad cable TV is with Homer watching garbage excessively. With the wacky world of cable open we get a show with Troy McClure!
The episode is somewhat derailed by Lisa’s persistent goody-two-shoes approach. She’s the conscience of the show and the only person alive who’d never consider streaming something illegally. Not that I would ever consider it, naturally. There are two subplots. One with Drederick Tatum, appearing for the first time also, and his big rematch with “Watson”. The other with Bart getting kids to pay entry to watch porno.
Homer eventually decides to do the right thing, in case he gets arrested and goes to jail like Drederick Tatum. This is a bit slight and lacking in good gags. Tatum would get better service when boxing Homer. Troy McClure is a gift from the gods though and just having him in the show is a bonus. ***1/4
Season 2 continues to work on its expanded universe. Patty and Selma are brought into sharp focus. We see their job at the DMV, where Hans Moleman loses his licence. We also see their ongoing romantic issues. While they live together Selma dreams of a husband while Patty has lived a life of celibacy and is happy with the sisters life as it is. Homer has a Terminator-esque assessment of potential mates for Selma after being asked to help. Karl is “too good looking”. “Cons: just a sign” is one of my favourite gags in there, describing the Laramie Man.
The flipside of this tale is Principal Skinner, and we get a look at his school and his behaviour. Skinner is a hopeless loner. Homer dubs him a “possible homer sexual” in his analysis. We also get a look at Groundskeeper Willie for the first time as Bart has to repair the lawn, which he destroyed with sodium tetrasulfate. At least he was paying attention in chemistry!
Sadly, for Selma, Skinner inexplicably falls for Patty. They basically look the same and Patty hates him so it’s a bit strange. After a date Patty warms to Skinner because they “hate the same things”. Patty ends up shooting Skinner down after he realises the bond between twin sisters is unbreakable, just like Bruce Willis in the movie of the same name. I guess he could have drowned Selma? ***½.
OH BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?
McBain II is the introduction to this episode, showing that the writers loved the first one so much they wanted it to be a running gag. This one causes Grandpa to have a heart attack and, on what he assumes is his death bed, he confesses to Homer that he’s got a brother. One of the biggest guest voice actors in S2 is Danny Devito, playing Homer’s long lost brother Herb Powell. It turns out Abe nailed a carnie whore while courting Homer’s mom. Wow, he’s a bad person. The TV show world is full of ‘long lost relatives’.
Herb lives in Detroit, which is the Simpsons admitting that existing in a partially fictional world probably wasn’t for them. Herb has done well for himself and is a millionaire car manufacturer. Herb, not realising how dumb Homer is, asks him to design a car for the average “schmo”. Homer’s string of idiotic ideas creates a super expensive car that no one wants and Herb is bankrupted. Devito does a solid job of playing a loveable uncle and cutthroat businessman. He’s always been adept at playing assholes who have a heart. Devito’s departing line of “you sponge head, as far as I’m concerned, I have no brother”. ***¾
BART’S DOG GETS AN F
Already playing around with episode titles from earlier in the season, the Simpsons was on a creative roll. In this episode Santa’s Little Helper develops a destructive streak so Bart has to get him trained or Homer is going to give him away. In a subplot Lisa gets the mumps. In another subplot Homer becomes obsessed with Ned Flanders’ “Assassin” training shoes. This all leads to more SLH destruction.
There’s some good stuff at Miss Winthropp’s Canine Academy (featuring former Simpsons ‘host’ Tracey Ullman) including a montage of dogs learning tricks while Santa’s Little Helper learns nothing at all. He eventually gets it prompting a “you son of a bitch” from our Tracey. The end credits start with updates on what happened to each dog from the class like Animal House. Decent episode. The animation from SLH’s perspective is a little shaky though. ***½
Fancy a trip to the Discount Lion Safari? Yeah, Grandpa Simpson doesn’t either. You see, the old fella has developed a crush on Beatrice Simmons, another resident at the Springfield Retirement Castle. The erotic pill eating is…disturbing. Anyway, Grandpa’s girlfriend dies and leaves him $106k. Lionel Hutz makes an appearance here and it’s a nice cameo. The first thing Grandpa buys is a fez!
Grandpa isn’t as rambling or senile as he’d become in later episodes and Old Money doesn’t land like it could have done. Instead, his ‘big cash giveaway’ bit is a chance for others to shine in begging for money. Otto’s rocking school bus looks great, Moe wants to go after buried treasure and Professor Frink debuts! He wants to develop a death ray! “The ray only has evil applications”. Abe decides he needs more than $106k to help all the people in need and heads to the casino. The casino bit is way underdone and Abe ends up spending the cash on the retirement home. It’s a cute episode at times but the rapid rate of gags in that one ‘cash giveaway’ scene isn’t repeated throughout. ***
BRUSH WITH GREATNESS
This is the episode that opens with Krusty urging his fans to go to Mount Splashmore. “Will you take me to Mount Splashmore, will you take me to Mount Splashmore, will you take me to Mount Splashmore”. Homer gets stuck on H2Whoaaaa and pledges to lose weight. When he goes to look for his work out equipment, he finds an old painting of Ringo Starr that Marge did.
The episode splits between Homer trying to lose weight and Marge going to art class. Marge’s tutor Professor Leonardo (“there couldn’t be a class without you”, “and yes, even a rhombus”, “another triumph”) is voiced brilliantly by Jon Lovitz. He steals the episode with his wacky art professor. There are a lot of little throwaway gags in here with Lisa referring to milk as “moo juice” and Waylon Smithers getting in a “someone down here likes you too, sir” at Mr Burns. Showing his previously hidden affections towards his boss.
Mr Burns wants Marge to paint his portrait. Marge decides to try and find Burns’ inner beauty, which becomes trickier as he yells at Marge, Smithers and everyone else. Marge ends up being inspired by a letter from Ringo Starr as he catches up on his fan mail. The Ringo bits are funny and Marge’s eventual portrait of Burns; nude, shows a more fragile side of the boss. “Thanks for not making fun of my genitalia” is great closing line too. ****
Ms Hoover has Lyme Disease and is replaced by a substitute; Mr Bergstrom, played in sensational fashion by Dustin Hoffman. He goes under the pseudonym “Sam Etic”. Lisa finds a connection to Bergstrom that she’s never felt before as he creates a relaxed atmosphere in his classroom but also brings with him a powerful weight of worldly wisdom.
Meanwhile Bart is campaigning for class president in a race against Martin Prince. Bart’s political campaign is a sly dig at politics in America as Bart takes the low road. However, Bart goes to celebrate his victory, and no one votes. Another sly dig at American politics.
The Lisa half of the episode is a beautiful essay on young people struggling to connect to their parents and vice versa. Especially as Homer is such an ignoramus. Lisa discovering that Ms Hoover has returned, and Mr Bergstrom has moved on, causes her genuine trauma. Lisa racing to the railway station to catch Mr Bergstrom before he leaves is a genuinely emotional moment. The “you are Lisa Simpson” note is the kind of punch to the tear ducts that you rarely get in any form of entertainment, let alone a cartoon for children. Hoffman added the necessary weight to the role and this is a wonderfully touching episode. The second of the season. ****¼
WAR OF THE SIMPSONS
The Simpsons throw a party…and Homer makes an ass of himself. The episode has a fine time lampooning house parties and how badly various friend groups interact. Homer getting steaming drunk and asking Bart to “do that funny thing you do” feels very real. Homer ogling Maude Flanders tits is what pushes Marge over the edge but Homer is passed out long before the party ends. “If you want him to live through the night roll him onto his stomach…remember I said ‘if’” – Dr Hibbert.
Homer’s recollection of how witty he was the night before is sensational. “I pronounce it to be the most whimsical jape of the season!” Marge is so irritated she signs them up for marriage counselling at Reverend Lovejoy’s retreat. Homer, once again, lets himself down and becomes obsessed with trying to catch General Sherman, the massive catfish residing in the lake by the retreat.
The episode has a subplot with Bart and Lisa taking advantage of their babysitter; Grandpa Simpson. While it’s decent (Bart smokes a cigar in the supermarket, McBain’s “bye book” line, Snake’s debut) it can’t compare to the main plot. The bait shop owner’s description of “The General” (and later Homer; “a great shock of red hair”), Flanders’ bible issues, Marge listing off Homer’s faults for an exhaustingly long period of time, “Queen of the Harpies!!” There’s a lot of great stuff. The resolution is a little wonky with Homer throwing General Sherman back. He never really makes amends for his actions. ****
THREE MEN AND A COMIC BOOK
This is the first real Radioactive Man episode. The nostalgia and comic book convention stuff is all great. Radioactive Man has a similar broadcast history to Superman/Batman so the 50s TV show, starring Dirk Richter, is referenced here. It’s similar to early Superman TV shows. They’d later retcon the history to be more like the campy Batman TV show of the 60s. We discover Richter died in a hail of bullets outside a bordello here.
We get the debut of Comic Book Guy, and the Android’s Dungeon, as he sells the boys, Bart, Millhouse and Martin Prince a copy of Radioactive Man #1. There’s some great stuff in here like the Wonder Years style voice over for Bart when Marge tells him to get a job. Bart tries selling beer and manages to bribe the police. He ends up working for Mrs Glick, a weird old woman who calls him “Burt”. She calls Radioactive Man “Nazi Smasher” and offers up ‘ribbon candy’.
The third act, after the boys pool their resources, is a tremendous tale of how sharing is difficult, especially for children. It’s an important lesson but it’s done Simpsons-style with Martin being tied to a chair and Homer neglecting to check on the boys during a lightning storm. ****¼
The second season had really caught fire after a hit and miss start. In the conclusion to S2 Mr Burns falls deadly ill thanks to a lack of blood. It turns out the only person in town who has the same blood type as Burns is Bart. The blood infusion works and Burns has his pep back (“how about that local sports team?”) However, all the Simpsons get in thanks is a card.
This leads to an enraged Homer writing Burns an insulting response. Homer’s “world of make believe” speech is in here. The “bony girl arms” insult in Homer’s letter still makes me laugh. It’s just so childish. Homer’s attempts to break into the mailbox are also good for a laugh. This is all topped by Homer trying to reclaim the letter. “My name is Mr Burns, I believe you have a letter for me” all in a silly faux voice. The delivery on this made me laugh out loud.
Homer’s conversations with his brain are stunning and Homer’s general stupidity in this episode is a marker for future episodes. Unfortunately, the wheels come off in the third act after Homer has been fired. A subplot has Burns writing his memoirs, “Will There Ever Be a Rainbow?”, which could have raised more laughs. “The sober yin to my raging yang” is Burns in a moment of calm. Burns buys the family Xtapolapocetl, a giant Olmec carved head, which can be seen in the Simpsons basement going forward. This would be an all-timer if they’d not lost the pacing. ****¼
Season 2 is a big improvement over S1. There are more high quality episodes and memorable moments. The supporting cast is fleshed out. The second half of S2 is hit after hit after hit. It’s a season with the emotional highs of Homer nearly dying from poisoned fish to Lisa’s substitute teacher. It has Mount Splashmore, Captain Lance Murdoch, General Sherman and Radioactive Man #1. It has Marge and Homer meeting in high school, Bart trying to jump Springfield Gorge on a skateboard, Burns’ failed election campaign, Homer stealing cable and Homer’s long lost brother Herb.
While not every episode lands perfectly, for every “Three Men and a Comic Book” there’s an “Old Money” or “Dead Putting Society” but even the lesser episodes are still good. The only real failure is the first “Treehouse of Horror” that tries to be different and comes up short. I rated nine episodes at **** or higher and every other episode (bar Halloween) hit ***. I always used to say “Simpsons is great from S3” when they nailed down the formula but there are so many good episodes in S2 you’d be mad to skip it.
Best Episode: The Way We Was, Lisa’s Substitute and Three Men and a Comic Book all hit strong.
Worst Episode: Simpsons Halloween Special