128th-Final, Round 5: The Homer They Fall vs. Lady Bouvier’s Lover

128th-final, round 5: 4F03 vs. 1F21.

4F03: “The Homer They Fall” (Season 8 / November 10, 1996)
Written by Jonathan Collier. Directed by Mark Kirkland
Showrunners: Bill Oakley & Josh Weinstein

"No running!"

“No running!”

I think if I had never started this tournament I’d happily file this one under “masterpiece” and move on, but since I’m comparing episodes I can’t help but note small things that, for lack of a better rationale, would seem out of place in what I’d picture as a “perfect” Simpsons episode. Tiny moments like Homer dragging Marge into the gadget store against her will (“Homer, please, you’re hurting my arm.”) just don’t sit right with me. And I already got into my problems with Homer being a human punching bag for most of the episode last time I watched it.

  • Janie saying “No running!” in the hallways is one of those things I probably missed the first 20 times I watched the episode but now think is one of the funniest things ever.
  • -Michael Buffer: “Due to popular demand, we will forego our national anthem.”

1F21: “Lady Bouvier’s Lover” (Season 5 / May 12, 1994)
Written by Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein
Directed by Wes Archer. Showrunner: David Mirkin

Grandpa Abe Simpson in 1F21 Lady Bouvier’s Lover

How good is this episode? I was so enthralled watching it that I completely forgot that I was supposed to take down notes or think about it critically in any capacity. I was just enjoying it from start to finish. And while I do like “The Homer They Fall” very much, the choice here is clear:

The winner: 1F21, “Lady Bouvier’s Lover.”

Round 10: Lady Bouvier’s Lover vs. There’s No Disgrace Like Home

Round 10: 1F21 vs. 7G04.

1F21: “Lady Bouvier’s Lover” (Season 5 / May 12, 1994)
Written by Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein
Directed by Wes Archer
Showrunner: David Mirkin

Monty Burns and Bart Simpson in a Mexican standoff.An all-around wonderful episode! I’ve scribbled down plenty of things I loved about it on my trusty piece of paper, but since I’ve got a hunch this won’t be the last time I’ll be talking about 1F21 in this tournament, I’ll only share a selected few with you at this time:

  • – “Homie, you know it’s funny, both my mother and your father seem pretty lonely.”
    – “Hee hee hee. That is funny.”
  • The whole “special delivery for Homer Simpson” run never fails to make me laugh out loud.
  • I still think of Bart’s Mary Worth phone as a Margaret Thatcher phone, because that’s what they’ve called it in the German dubbing, and I have no idea who or what Mary Worth is.
  • Another beautifully directed episode.

7G04: “There’s No Disgrace Like Home” (Season 1 / January 28, 1990)
Written by Al Jean & Mike Reiss
Directed by Gregg Vanzo and Kent Butterworth
Showrunners: James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon

The Simpson family hitting each other with foam bats.

Like “Eternal Moonshine,” this a great episode of TV, but if it weren’t for those yellow people that almost (but not quite) look like the family we know and love, you’d never guess this was an episode of “The Simpsons.” Here, Homer is concerned that the family will embarrass him, not the other way around.

So while the characters haven’t found their… characteristics, yet, the biting humor is all-present. One after one decades old tropes and traditions are subverted and turned on their head. You gotta respect that.

The winner: 1F21: “Lady Bouvier’s Lover.”