When it comes to The Simpsons, there are two things that fans, by and large, love to do: Talk about their favorite classic episodes, and talk about how all the “non-classic” seasons suck. People divide the show’s history in different places. The usual demarcation point is somewhere after season eight and before season 12. What remains true, in almost all instances, is that they dismiss the “non-classic” episodes out of hand. With tremendous laziness and inanity, fans throw out hundreds of episodes of television, as being completely, without redeeming quality. And then of course, there are those of us who are a bit more rational. Look, has The Simpsons gotten worse since its apex? Sure. Have there been bad episodes? Several. However, even beyond the “classic” seasons, there are plenty of very good episodes of The Simpsons. This ranking is dedicated to them. Here are the 100 best non-classic (defines as post-season nine) Simpsons episodes.
Chris Morgan is not the author of THE book on Mystery Science Theater 3000, but he is the author of A book on Mystery Science Theater 3000. He’s also on Twitter.
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100. Take My Life, Please — In Season 19, The Simpsons retconned itself with "That 90's Show." A lot of people complained about that, although the issue with that episode had less to do with the retconning (which made sense by this point), and more to do with the fact it wasn't funny. "Take My Life, Please" basically put the characters back in their old reality, and it's also a strong episode with some amusing flashbacks. This episode is also notable because it was the first to air in HD, with the new opening.
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99. The Princess Guide — This episode does a nice job of mixing Moe's angry misanthropy with his gentler side, thanks to his friendship with a Nigerian Princess. It's also a good episode for Smithers, as he dreams of a romantic life with Mr. Burns.
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98. The Good, the Sad, and the Drugly — This marks the first (but not the best) time Anne Hathaway voiced an episode of The Simpsons. However, it's Lisa's adventures on anti-anxiety medication that make up the funnier portion of this episode.
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97. The Saga of Carl — One time, The Simpsons made an offhand joke about Carl Carlson's Icelandic boyhood, and years later we got an actual episode about the gang from Moe's Tavern (Moe, Homer, Carl, and Lenny) going to Iceland. And we found out that Carl, or at least Lenny and Carl, could carry a good episode.
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96. Beyond Blunderdome — In "Beyond Blunderdome," Mel Gibson is a major superstar and a charming rogue, and there's a great joke about Robert Downey Jr. being in trouble with the law. My, how times have changed. It's still a funny episode, though.
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95. Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind — As this episode is influenced by Charlie Kaufman's "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," it's not surprising that it is ambitious from a storytelling and visual, perspective. It's not one of the funniest episodes ever, but for what it's trying to accomplish, it works.
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94. Homer Simpson, This is Your Wife — Written by Ricky Gervais, this episode feels, unsurprisingly, slightly different stylistically from others. Fortunately, Gervais is still able to make good use of the world of The Simpsons, and also manages to include a character for himself that fits in well and is pretty amusing.
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93. Rednecks and Broomsticks — Homer befriends some hillbilly moonshine runners. Lisa befriends some Wiccan girls. Both of these storylines seemed inevitable, but they both work, and they meld together well.
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92. G.I. (Annoyed Grunt) — This episode is jokier than others, and even has a Looney Tunes-style set piece with Homer and a drone. But it's very funny, and there are some good jokes at the expense of the military industrial complex.
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91. Regarding Margie — Yeah, Marge gets amnesia. Yeah, that's kind of a hacky plot. However, they rise above this, by using the episode to examine Homer and Marge's relationship. There are some really memorable lines, including Homer's, "Oh no, he's Marge's, and my, dream man!"