The Golden Age ‘Simpsons’ Episodes That Are Unwatchable

The worst episodes of ‘The Simpsons’ best years
The Golden Age ‘Simpsons’ Episodes That Are Unwatchable

Even when discussing the early seasons of The Simpsons that die-hards consider to be the “golden years” of the show, those same fans will admit that they never liked the Lisa episodes.

The steady decline in the quality of The Simpsons is comparable to the historic fall of Rome in that it’s hard to get a firm answer as to when the problems started, but certain incidents indicated to those paying attention that the writing was on the wall and the end had begun. Many Simpsons fans say that the show jumped the shark between the two parts of “Who Shot Mr. Burns?” while others claim that the strength of the series continued into its 10th season before sputtering out. However, every serious Simpsons fan will argue that, before the moment they deemed to be the end of “the good stuff,” The Simpsons was the closest you could get to televised comedy perfection.

Well, except for “those” episodes. Over in the Simpsons subreddit, some superfans recently gave their answers to the question of, “What Golden Age episode of The Simpsons can you not stand?” Here are the top picks…

“Bart’s Inner Child,” Season 5, Episode 7

Despite an always welcome appearance from Albert Brooks and a performance from the incomparable James Brown, “Bart’s Inner Child” featured one of the more convoluted plotlines of the early seasons and offered one of many tepid answers to the most annoying question The Simpsons ever asks: “Is Marge too much of a nag?”

After a free trampoline enters and leaves the Simpsons’ lives with predictable mischief from Bart, Marge enlists the services of a self-help guru to help with Bart’s behavioral problems, only for him to declare that everyone should behave just like Bart. After Springfield nearly destroys itself following that advice, the family decides that everyone is fine the way they are and sits down to watch TV.

“Burns, Baby, Burns,” Season 8, Episode 4

There’s only so many times a show can play the “long-lost father/brother/mother/son” card and have it work out. Of all the familial figures that are picked up and abandoned during the Simpsons tenuous relationship with its own canon, Mr. Burns’ illegitimate son Larry is at least one of the more entertaining side characters to share his genes and the screen with a show staple before leaving Springfield for good.

Though mostly forgettable, this episode did introduce Rodney Dangerfield to the Simpsons family, and that’s gotta be worth at least a little respect.

“My Sister, My Sitter,” Season 8, Episode 17

In Lisa’s defense, not every “Lisa Episode” deserves the derision that many of the die-hards fling at the Simpsons’ precocious middle child. This one, however, deserves no flowers — though that’s not entirely Lisa’s fault. The set-up of the sibling dynamic being disrupted when Lisa becomes an adept babysitter and is tasked with watching over her big brother starts with promise, but the writers make the bizarre decision to abandon the back-and-forth between Bart and Lisa by knocking Bart unconscious halfway through the episode, leaving Lisa to drag his lifeless body around town in an unfunny and genuinely unsettling dredge toward the end credits.

“The Principal and the Pauper,” Season 9, Episode 2

The biggest argument against “The Principal and the Pauper” deserving the top spot as the worst Golden Age Simpsons episode ever is that “The Principal and the Pauper” is, itself, the end of the Simpsons Golden Age, and is thus disqualified from the contest. However, in my opinion, later Season Nine episodes like “The Cartridge Family” and “Lisa the Skeptic” (yes, a Lisa episode) redeem the season as one of the last great ones — and dooms “The Principal and the Pauper” to be the biggest piece of shit that otherwise exceptionally talented people put out since The Beatles recorded “Revolution 9.”

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