Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

The 10 best Simpsons episodes of all time, ranked

These early episodes of the Simpsons are all the proof you need that the show deserves its extended run

Wherever you look in the streaming ear, you’re likely to find a great animated series to watch. Some of those series are serious, while others are basically sitcoms with animated characters. That latter category is entirely indebted to The Simpsons, the longest-running scripted series in TV history.

The difference between The Simpsons and many of the other great comedies in TV history (animated or no) is that The Simpsons at its best was always pushing its own limits. Although the show has famously had its ups and downs over the years, few shows in TV history can stand up against what The Simpsons was doing when the show was at its best. Generations of viewers grew up with Homer, Marge and their family, and they grew to love the characters, even if they didn’t reliably tune in every week. In its way, the show has become an institution.

Given the enormous back catalog of episodes, though, it can be hugely intimidating to try to start the show today if you’ve never seen an episode. Thankfully, we’ve got you covered with this rundown of the very best stories that Springfield has to offer. On a show as great as The Simpsons, narrowing a list down to just 10 titles is almost impossible. These episodes are great, but there are certainly others that are just as worthy of inclusion. With that said, here are the best Simpsons episodes that you can stream online.

If you’re looking for other great TV episodes to watch, you can check out the Christmas episodes of all time, or our lists of the best shows on Netflix or the best shows on Hulu.

10. Homer Goes to College

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Conan O’Brien wrote a relatively small number of Simpsons episodes, but they’re all universally fantastic. “Homer Goes to College” is his best and his last, full of one-liners and collegiate tomfoolery. The references are subtle and smart, with shout-outs to movies like Animal House and shows like Star Trek.

9. Itchy & Scratchy Land

Image used with permission by copyright holder

This episode from the stellar season 6 sees the Simpson clan head to a theme park named after the two brutally violent characters featured on Bart and Lisa’s favorite TV show, hosted by Krusty the Clown. It’s a spoof on Disneyland, with the park’s animatronic hosts ultimately turning on their guests. It also offers one of the funniest scenes in the show’s history.

8. Lisa Gets an A

Image used with permission by copyright holder

The two major plotlines in this amazing episode involve Lisa cheating on a test and Homer raising a pet lobster named Pinchy. Lisa learns some humility and becomes briefly addicted to video games while Homer becomes so close to his crustacean that it becomes a member of the family. This episode was so hilarious and off the wall that it even managed to piss off the Catholic church.

7. You Only Move Twice

Image used with permission by copyright holder

A thoughtful parody of James Bond culture, “You Only Move Twice” sees the Simpson family pack up for Cypress Creek, a seemingly perfect development where Homer takes his dream job. Alas, it doesn’t go according to plan, with Marge taking to day drinking while living in a self-cleaning house and Homer realizing his new boss, the unrivaled Hank Scorpio, is a supervillain. There’s even an ongoing reference to HAL 9000 from Kubrick’s genius 2001: A Space Odyssey.

6. Marge vs. the Monorail

Image used with permission by copyright holder

A major highlight of season 4, this episode functions like a musical. Homer somehow lands a job as a monorail conductor, clad in a cape no less.  Phil Hartman’s hilarious con-man Lyle Lanley is one of the main reasons this episode has stood the test of time. Another Conan O’Brien joint, “Marge vs. the Monorail” even features a pop-in by Leonard Nimoy.

5. Homer at the Bat

Image used with permission by copyright holder

One of the first episodes to pack in a full serving of celebrity cameos, Homer at the Bat sees the nuclear power plant’s recreational softball team injected with a much of ringers from the big leagues. Featuring Ken Griffey Jr., Jose Canseco, Darryl Strawberry, and more, it’s entertaining from start to end and showcases Mr. Burns as a hilariously antiquated baseball coach.

4. El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer

Image used with permission by copyright holder

You may be catching on to the theme here that if Homer is at the forefront of an episode, it tends to be among the funnier installments. This trip-y chapter sees Mr. Simpson eat a mysterious pepper in a local chili cook-off before hallucinating and hanging out with the likes of dessert turtles and a coyote voiced by Johnny Cash. Homer’s gut-first approach to life is on full display here, and the results have rarely been funnier.

3. Summer of 4 Ft. 2

Image used with permission by copyright holder

In the last episode of season 7, the Simpsons decided to make a trek to the beach. Always eager to exploit the generosity of neighbor Ned Flanders, the family uses his house on the coast for a getaway. There, Lisa aims for a new, cooler persona while Bart gets envious. Ever sharp, the episode features nods to classic films like American Graffiti and Adventures in Wonderland, among others.

2. Cape Feare

Image used with permission by copyright holder

This episode puts the Bart vs. Sideshow Bob feud on a pedestal. It’s a parody of the movie it’s named after and includes some great homages to Alfred Hitchcock. The densely packed episode features everything from electric eels and a witness protection program to sex changes and Kelsey Grammer’s theatrical prowess as the voice of Bob. And it all somehow works perfectly together.

1. Homer’s Barbershop Quartet

Image used with permission by copyright holder

If you only watch a single season, season 5 might be it. This feel-good episode comes from that storied year, with guest appearances by David Crosby and George Harrison on top of a remarkably good Springfield quartet led by Homer called the Be Sharps. The episode has it all, from incredible performances by the likes of Kwik-E-Mart owner Apu to a hysterical scene at Moe’s Tavern featuring Yoko Ono.

Editors' Recommendations

Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
What UFC champions Sean O’Malley and Aljamain Sterling eat while cutting weight in fight week
Spoiler alert: There's a lot of protein
Chicken breast and broccoli

Whether you're a fan of mixed martial arts (MMA) or just curious about the behind-the-scenes routines of professional fighters, you might be wondering how UFC champions "Suga" Sean O'Malley and Aljamain "Funkmaster" Sterling get ready for fight week.

One slightly controversial part of their prep is cutting weight up to the fight. Weight cutting is a common practice in most combat sports and refers to dropping weight before a competition to compete in a specific weight class.

Read more
Disney Plus, Hulu are getting major price hikes (because Disney really wants you to try the new Disney Plus bundle)
Disney Plus and Hulu are about to get even more expensive
The Disney Plus sign-up menu is displayed

Disney Plus and Hulu have been the homes of some of the best programs on TV for years now. Disney Plus's best shows include Star Wars hits like The Mandalorian and Ahsoka, while Hulu has allowed their creators to flourish with creative endeavors like The Bear and Steve Martin's mystery comedy Only Murders in the Building. Out of fear of missing out, many TV fans are signed up for both services so they can watch the entirety of these programming slates.

Unfortunately, Disney has decided to increase the price of both of these streamers. The Disney Plus bundle is designed to give fans a discounted price if they want both channels for their viewing pleasure. Let's start with the non-bundle basics, though. The Disney Plus price without commercials was $10.99 per month, but is increasing to $13.99 per month starting on October 12, 2023. The Hulu price without commercials used to be $14.99 and will now be $17.99. This is where the Hulu Disney bundle will really help out. If you want both of these services from the media empire, you can get them without commercials for $19.99 per month.

Read more
Podcasts every outdoors enthusiast will enjoy: The Crux, Dirtbag Diaries, and more
Year-round outdoors podcasts everyone will love
Man walking with hiking poles

For the true outdoors person, nothing stops the relentless quest for adventure. You scour the internet for tips and trails, you watch docuseries about travel and epic feats of endurance, and if you’re not already, you should have a favorite podcast or five continually feeding information into your ears. 

Podcasts are one of the most outdoor-appropriate mediums to keep on hand. They are packed full of game-changing information and inspirational guest interviews, and you can listen to them while enjoying your activity. OK, no one wants to be that guy with the Bluetooth speaker on the trail — or more precisely, no one wants to be near that guy — and there are situations where you might not want to have noise-canceling headphones in, but if you’re out on a solo trail hike, cruising through the woods on your mountain bike, or just hitting the gym to train for your next outing, then get one of these podcasts in your earholes and make the outdoors part of everything you do.

Read more