10 “Simpsons” Episodes That Profoundly Influenced Your Life

We asked around the office at BuzzFeed and came up with this list of Simpsons episodes that could change your life. That’s if they haven’t already.

Foreword by Mark Frackt

Fox

“I owe much of my pop culture knowledge to The Simpsons. Definitely
pops up at weird times. Whether its watching the Kentucky Derby and
hearing them sing “My Old Kentucky Home” and thinking about a young
George Burns singing it (Bobo episode) to somehow knowing the lyrics
to the Gilbert and Sullivan musical “HMS Pinafore” without having ever
seen it, only by listening to Sideshow Bob sing it me so many times. I
also find myself meeting people named Steve from New York City and
thinking, ‘I heard some guy got killed in New York City and they never
solved the case. But you wouldn’t know anything about that now, would
you, Steve?’ (Baseball Episode).”

1. “Lisa’s Wedding” - suggested by Julia Pugachevsky

Fox

“She rejects the love of her life because he won’t accept her family. Because I used to be insecure about my family and cared what dumb people thought of my parents.”

Memorable quotes:

Lisa: “I can’t believe I’m hearing this. I don’t want to cut my family out of my life.”
Hugh: “Really? But Lisa, you’re better than this place: you’re like a flower that grew out of a pot of dirt.”
Lisa: “That’s a horrible thing to say!”
Hugh: “Well, come on, you complain about them more than anyone.”
Lisa: “Maybe, but I still love them! And I don’t think you understand that.”

2. “Bart’s Inner Child” - suggested by Brad Esposito

Fox

“Bart’s Inner Child,” and more specifically the character of Brad Goodman, had a big influence on my life I didn’t realize until recently. I had used mantras and phrases from that episode for a large portion of my life (most of that time probably not realizing what it meant, if anything).

Memorable quotes:

Brad Goodman: “I DO what I FEEL like.”
Crowd: “Be like the boy!”

3. “Boy Scouts ‘n the Hood” - suggested by Justin Dailey

Fox

“The episode where Bart and Milhouse find a $20 bill and drink an epic slurpy that leads them on a night on the town. I learned that just a little thing can go a long way as long as you’re positive about the situation. Words I live by now.”

Memorable quotes:

Homer: “Twenty dollars can buy many peanuts.”
Apu: “All done! If you survive, please come again.”

4. “Lisa’s Substitute” - suggested by Julia Furlan, Dan Oshinsky and Kevin McShane

Fox

“Mr. Bergstrom’s letter is the best piece of encouragement ever. I’ve given a version of it to multiple friends over the years (…only with their name instead of Lisa’s, obviously).”

Memorable quotes:
Lisa: “Life is worth living!”
Mr. Bergstrom: “I’m sorry, Lisa. It’s the life of the substitute teacher. He’s a fraud. Today he wears gym shorts, tomorrow he speaks French or runs a band saw or God knows what.”

5. “Lisa the Vegetarian” - suggested by Michelle Broder Van Dyke

Fox

“I became a vegetarian when I was young, and it was cool to see someone on TV who embodied a lot of other characteristics I already admire go through a similar epiphany.”

Memorable quotes:

Lisa: “What’s the difference between this lamb and the one that kissed me?”

Apu: “Yes, indeed, I do think that. But I learned long ago, Lisa, to tolerate others rather than forcing my beliefs on them. You know you can influence people without badgering them always.’”

6. “The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show” - suggested by Jeff Rubin

Fox

“I love bad movies/TV shows, possibly more than I like good movies/TV shows. Everything you need to know about bad movies/TV shows is in the Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie episode of “The Simpsons.” I say “When are they gonna get to the fireworks factory?” and “I’m sorry now, my home planet needs me” all the time as if that’s a thing that makes sense out of context.”

Memorable quotes:

Producer: “Please refrain from tasting the knob.”

Lisa: “Umm…excuse me, there is nothing wrong with “Itchy & Scratchy,” but after so many years, the characters lose something of their impact.”

7. “Lisa vs Malibu Stacy” - suggested by Jenna Guillaume

Fox

“Probably my first introduction to feminism, it taught me the importance of questioning the representation of girls in pop culture. And taking action to achieve something you believe in. And dealing with disappointment when something you love or admire lets you down. Also that it’s possible to collect dolls.”

Memorable quotes:

Lisa: “I can’t believe you’re just going to stand by as your daughters grow up in a world where this, this, is their role model.”

Lisa: “She’ll have the wisdom of Gertrude Stein and the wit of Cathy Guisewite, the tenacity of Nina Totenberg, and the common sense of Elizabeth Cady Stanton! And to top it off, the down-to-earth good looks of Eleanor Roosevelt.”

8. “El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer” - suggested by Rossalyn Warren

Fox

“Homer promises he’ll stop drinking for Marge, he doesn’t, hallucinates and disappears into desert. There is something so tragic but lovely about Homer’s recovery in this episode.”

Memorable quotes:

Marge: “Homer, I happen to like handicrafts much more than stuffing my face.”

Homer: “Hey, Soul mate! Let me buy you a beer.”

9. “Hurricane Neddy” - suggested by Rossalyn Warren

Fox

“Lesson: good shit happens to bad people. Then when he gets crazy mad about it? It’s okay to not be perfect and put on a smile all of the time. Sometimes you can just let loose and lose your shit. ”

Memorable quotes:

Ned: “Why me, Lord? Where have I gone wrong? I’ve always been nice to people. I don’t drink or dance or swear. I’ve even kept Kosher just to be on the safe side. I’ve done everything the bible says, even the stuff that contradicts the other stuff. What more could I do? I feel like I’m coming apart here. I want to yell out, but I just can’t dang-diddily-do-dang, do-dang-diddily-darn do it!”

Ned’s beatnik parents: “You gotta help us, Doc. We’ve tried nothin’ and we’re all out of ideas.”

10. “Homer’s Phobia” - suggested by Declan Cashin

Fox

“I think “Homer’s Phobia” was a brilliant representation of common prejudices that existed about and towards gay people in the late 90s and early 00s. It demolished the notion that a child could “catch gay” or be influenced to be gay by exposure to an older gay person. It also was fearless in exposing the stupidity and hypocrisy and lack of self-awareness of Homer’s stance - as Bart says: “Something about a bunch of guys alone in the woods…seems kind of gay”. Homer: “That’s a very immature attitude young man!” There’s also a lovely message in there about accepting your kids for who they are and not trying to mould them to suit your fears/prejudices.”

Memorable quotes:

John: “Zzzzzzap!”

Gay steel worker: “Hot stuff comin’ through!”

correction

An earlier version of this post attributed “Hot stuff comin’ through!” to John.

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