Whenever I explain my affinity for The Simpsons to someone, he or she will typically ask me, “Which episode is your favorite?” In my previous blog post, I explained why season four was my favorite season. As a collection, season four has the best sampling of episodes. Choosing one episode, one twenty-two minute snapshot into the world of Springfield is, as one blogger put it, is like “asking a parent to pick a favorite child!”
After much deliberation, I have come to my final decision. My favorite episode of The Simpsons is season seven’s “22 Short Films About Springfield.”
I like several different aspects of this episode. First of all, eleven different contributors wrote this episode, including the creator of the show, Matt Groening. Collaborative writing leads to a more well rounded piece of writing in any genre, but it is especially effective for comedy shows. I also love the different perspectives shown from local Springfieldians. The constant point of view switches works well in this episode. The viewer gets a more introspective look into each character’s lives.
In order to explain the final reason why I love this episode, I’m going to flash back to 1999. Remember the days of dial-up Internet connection, slow downloads, and constantly frozen computers? My parents had an ancient computer with all three of these problems. However, my oldest brother barred my other brother and I from using the computer because we would just mess it up. He was probably right. But when he let his guard down, the first thing my brother and I did was search for “22 Short Films About Springfield” to download. We opened up Napster and got to downloading. As the download began, we left the computer alone to let the download finish uninterrupted. Four hours later, the download was complete, and we watched the episode and laughed together. I’ve been sneaking around people’s backs to watch The Simpsons for over half my life.
Without a further ado, I will introduce the episode synopsis. A blogger from the Daily Kos provides an excellent recap. He states:
An episodic show with no real plot, “22 Short Films” pushed the envelope of what an episode of “The Simpsons” should be, while at the same time containing everything that makes the show great. Virtually every ancillary character in the show has a moment: Bumblebee Man, Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel, Apu, Professor Frink, Burns and Smithers, and most hilariously of all, Principal Skinner and Superintendent Chalmers. A new character, the Very Tall Man, is also introduced — and I love that guy. I love this show because it expands the show to include the entire city of Springfield rather than just limiting it to Bart, Homer, Lisa, Marge and Maggie.
I like this blogger’s interpretation because 22 Short Films does shed light on the complexities that occur in the town of Springfield. The Simpsons isn’t just about one family; it is about an entire community. This episode shows sides of periphery characters and that establishes their role in the Simpson family’s lives.
Dale Abersold, a contributor for The Simpsons Archive, reviewed the episode as well. Abersold states:
An instant classic! Here’s to our favorite writers for giving us this wonderfully kinetic portrait of our favorite city. The great moments are too numerous to mention, but the Van Houtens in Herman’s store, Lisa’s new hairstyle, and Nelson’s comeuppance were highlights. Grade A+. Best of the season.
Abersold, D. (June 10, 1996). Reviews. Message posted to http://www.snpp.com
Droogie 6655321. (June 26, 2009). My Top Ten Episodes of ‘The Simpsons’ (Now with No.6!). Message posted to http://www.dailykos.com