I’ll be blunt: the fourth season of The Simpsons is the best season of the show ever produced. Period.
The Simpsons may be in their twenty-first season, but the heart and soul of the show died years ago. My boys over at Dead Homers Society will wholeheartedly agree with that statement. Lucky for me, I have access to seasons one through ten of The Simpsons, so I can watch the golden years whenever I want. Whenever plagued with the “Hmm…which season to watch?” question, I always lean toward season four. I never quite knew why. In this post, I hope to show you why I feel this fondly about every episode in this season.
David Medster, a contributor for Bullz-Eye.com, wrote a intriguing review of season four. He states:
They picked a good episode to start with, too: “Kamp Krusty” has Bart and Lisa going off to a summer camp (as the bus pulls away, Lisa says, “If the pets die, don’t replace them, I’ll know.”) that’s supposedly run by Krusty the Klown. But Krusty being Krusty, he just sold his name to some goon who’s in fact running a sweatshop. Bart and Lisa mutiny, they make national news, and eventually Krusty does the right thing: he takes the kids to Tijuana.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. The Simpson children were allowed to attend camp if both Bart and Lisa earned C averages in school. Before receiving their grades, Lisa states, “with no false modesty, you’re looking at one happy camper.” However, Bart isn’t as lucky: he gets all D’s on his report card. After some minor alterations, Bart presents his report card to Homer.
Bart Simpson: Well Dad, here’s my report card. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Homer Simpson: (incredulously) A plus?!? You don’t think much of me, do you boy?
Bart Simpson: (almost proudly) No sir!
Homer Simpson: You know a D turns into a B so easily. You just got greedy.
George Meyer penned the classic episode “Homer the Heretic.” In this episode, Homer decides to skip church on an especially frigid day. Homer proceeds to have the greatest morning ever. He cranks up the heat; dances around in his underwear; makes his patented “space-age out-of-this-world moon waffles”; and gets to watch a football game with a Duff in hand. When his family returns from a less than stellar morning, he decides that he is never going to church again. The episode comes full circle when Homer accidentally burns down his home on Evergreen Terrace and the local firefighters come to save him. Each firefighter is representative of different religions in town: Ned Flanders, Christian; Krusty the Klown, Jew; and Apu, Hindu. This episode is so effective because the plot is well thought out. Homer has a religious epiphany and makes his way back into church, asleep in the front pew.
If I had it my way, I’d ramble on about how “A Streetcar Named Marge” made Tennessee Williams’ play accessible to a new generation; how “Itchy and Scratchy: The Movie” shows that Homer wants to be a strong, disciplined parent toward Bart; or how “Lisa the Beauty Queen” provides integral character development for Homer. This last statement is worth elaborating on. While at the town fair, Lisa feels ugly after an artist draws an unflattering picture of her. At the same fair, Homer wins a ride on the Duff blimp. He sells his beloved ride in order to enter Lisa into the Little Miss Springfield pageant. Marge questions Homer’s motives for entering Lisa into a pageant without her consent:
Homer Simpson: Hey, nobody’s prettier than my little girl!
Marge Simpson: Mmmm, you’re looking at her through a father’s eyes.
Homer Simpson: Well if I could gouge out somebody else’s eyes and shove them into my eye sockets I would; but to me she’s beautiful!
Marge Simpson: (moved) That is so sweet.
David Medsker recaps season four with extreme accuracy. He states:
And then there is the 1992-1993 season. To paraphrase Matt Johnson and The The [sic], “The Simpsons: The Complete Fourth Season” is when things fall into place. Each episode in this four-disc set is not only good, it’s spectacular, jam packed with physical humor, social commentary, massive character development, the best animation yet (a slightly larger budget will do that), and some of the most unforgettable lines in TV history (“Uh, Amanda Hugginkiss? I’m looking for Amanda Hugginkiss? Why can’t I find Amanda Hugginkiss?!”). There were episodes in the years down the road that rivaled the ones here, but in terms of one season’s worth of work, it doesn’t get any better than this.
Medsker, D. The Simpsons: The Complete Fourth Season. Posted to http://www.bullz-eye.com.
Holtz, M. (1994). Homer the Heretic. Posted to http://www.snpp.com