Best episodes of The Simpsons in tribute to writer and producer Sam Simon

Best episodes of The Simpsons in tribute to writer and producer Sam Simon

Show's co-founder dies — The man responsible for developing 'The Simpsons' sensibility' has died aged 59. Here are some of his finest moments in Springfield.

Nine-time Emmy winner and co-founder of The Simpsons, the longest-running prime-time comedy series in US TV history, Sam Simon died on Sunday aged 59. He was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer in 2012, given only three-to-six months to live, and set about giving away his $100m fortune, mainly to animal rights charities including Peta.

Simon co-wrote almost a dozen episodes of The Simpsons, as well as working in a number of roles including co-showrunner and creative supervisor. He spent four seasons on the show before leaving in 1993, although he retained the title of executive producer.

He developed the show with Matt Groening and James L Brooks, who he had worked with on The Tracey Ullman Show – where Groening found inspiration for the animated family – in brief sketches either side of the commercial breaks.

In tribute to Simon, here are his top Simpsons moments:

The Telltale Head

A reference to the short story The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe, this Season 1 episode is the most ambitious episode of the show so far and is the first exploration of the residents of Springfield’s mob mentality.
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The Crepes of Wrath

Having been named one of the funniest episodes of any television show ever, “The Crepes of Wrath” sees Bart sent on a student exchange program to France after pulling yet more pranks, where he is forced to work as a slave by his evil hosts.

Some Enchanted Evening

Although it was the first episode ever produced, “Some Enchanted Evening” aired as the season finale due to significant animation problems. Homer and Marge decide to go on a date, but unwittingly hire The Babysitter Bandit, who tries to steal all the family’s valuables. Boy, did she underestimate those kids…

Treehouse of Horror

Originally known as The Simpsons Halloween Special, this episode is split into three segments ( a first for the show) – the first, parodying haunted house films such as The Amityville Horror and The Shining; the second, a reference to the 1962 The Twilight Zone episode “To Serve Man”; and the third reimagines Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven.

Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish

A satire on both American politics and environmentalism, Bart discovers a three-eyed fish named Blinky, which has since been mentioned several times in news reports discussing nuclear waste and mutation. In this episode, Mr Burns has dinner with the Simpsons as part of his campaign to become governor, but it all backfires terribly.

The Way We Was

Marge and Homer reminisce about how they first met. Model student Marge is sent to detention after burning her bra at a feminist rally, while Homer was caught smoking in the toilets. The two instantly fall for each other, but Homer being Homer, it isn’t without its hiccups.

Treehouse of Horror II

The second annual Halloween episode, this special takes the same format as the first, with three distinctive segments parodying horror stories – this time the first segment mocks The Monkey’s Paw; the second, The New Twilight Zone; for the third segment, the writers created their own story rather than sticking to the same formula.

Black Widower

Bart’s arch-enemy Sideshow Bob decides to date his aunt, Selma, which quickly descends into chaos after he proposes to her at a family dinner. The two marry, however Bob has been secretly planning to kill her using the gas fireplace in their room. Bart foils Bob’s plot, saving Selma, and is hailed as a hero.
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Stark Raving Dad

Guest-starring Michael Jackson, a sequel episode was also written which would’ve starred Prince, but he didn’t like the script, and it was shelved. Homer’s shirts are dyed pink when Bart puts his red hat in the wash with them, leading Mr Burns to believe he’s a “free-thinking anarchist” and as a result he is sent to a mental institution where he meets a man who claims he is Michael Jackson. Hilarity ensues.

Treehouse of Horror III

Like in “Treehouse of Horror II”, this episode parodies other stories for the first two segments, with the writers creating their own for the third. The first and second segments parody The Twilight Zone (a popular target for the writers) and King Kong respectively. At one point in “King Homer”, the second segment, Shirley Temple is seen singing on stage, before Homer eats her.