Damn you, random number generator! Two great episodes face off in this round:
3F18 vs. 5F12
3F18: “22 Short Films About Springfield” (Season 7 / April 14, 1996)
Written by Richard Appel, David S. Cohen, Jonathan Collier, Jennifer Crittenden, Greg Daniels, Brent Forrester, Rachel Pulido, Steve Tompkins, Bill Oakley, Josh Weinstein and Matt Groening
Directed by Jim Reardon
Showrunners: Bill Oakley & Josh Weinstein
Here’s the thing about “22 Short Films About Springfield”: It’s memorable, it’s interesting, it’s got a great script and of course my all-time favorite Skinner/Chalmers scene. At the same time, though, it’s not, as Josh Weinstein would say, a jokey, jokey, jokey, jokenheimer episode (meaning there are not a lot of jokey jokes made by jokey jokenheimers, obviously). That doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but I did make note of it after watching the episode today.
- I had forgotten just how much “Pulp Fiction” was in this. And how graphic some of the scenes (especially in Herman’s shop) are.
- Again: Skinner and Chalmers. Harry and Hank at their very best. (“Aurora Borealis?”)
- Wikipedia (and apparently one of the official episode guides, as well) says Phil Hartman voices the hospital board chairman, but it’s very clearly Harry Shearer.
- Never liked the bit with Smithers getting stung by the bee.
- Always loved the bit with Bumblebee-Man.
- Favorite piece of animation: Homer juggling Maggie, Santa’s Little Helper and his groceries in order to get the newspaper. (Laid out by Paul Wee.)
- “Some folk’ll never eat a skunk, but then again, some folk’ll… like Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel.” That rhyme gets me every time. The song was written by Steve Tompkins.
- Random trivia: This is Jimmy Carr’s favorite episode of “The Simpsons.” (Watch “QI,” everyone! It’s a great show!)
5F12: “Dumbbell Indemnity” (Season 9 / March 1, 1998)
Written by Ron Hauge
Directed by Dominic Polcino
Showrunner: Mike Scully
“Stealing, stealing, stealing a car for Moe!”
I laughed a lot during this one. I even laughed just thinking about it before I watched it. (Homer rolling out of the car and rolling right back in again, that’s just wonderful.) Not a big fan of Helen Hunt’s guest star performance, and the story is a bit too outlandish for my taste. But there are just so many good jokes in here!
- Happy Homer! Happy Homer Dancing! Happy Homer stealing a car! What’s not to love?
- Funny montage of Moe and Renee falling in love.
- Speaking of Moe and Renee: Hank Azaria and Helen Hunt were dating when they recorded this episode, and even got married later. (That one didn’t last too long, though.)
- – Moe: “Bring us the finest food you got, stuffed with the second finest.”
– Waiter: “Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos.”
- – Marge: “Why all the black?”
– Homer: “Why all the pearls? Why all the hair? Why anything?”
- It’s things like this that set “The Simpsons” apart from other sitcoms. Try finding that on “Cheers.”
The winner: 3F18, “22 Short Films About Springfield,” by a hair. This has been the toughest decision yet for me in this tournament. I love both episodes, even though they do have their flaws, but in the end, I like the things I like in 3F18 more than the things I like in 5F12.