The greatest sitcom, if not the greatest TV show in general, of all-time is still on, and people rarely talk about it. The Simpsons has been on for so long, has aired so many episodes, has blown through so many guest stars that it’s easy to forget, oh yeah, the program that gave us “Secrets of a Successful Marriage” is still around. I’d say it’s a shame, that a decade of occasionally great, sometimes bad, usually fine seasons has hurt The Simpsons‘ legacy, but it hasn’t: season 2-8 (or thereabout) are still as widely praised as any run a TV show has ever gone on, and even if it runs for 15 more years, at least we’ve still got “Homie the Clown” and “Marge vs. the Monorail.”
This past Sunday was the beginning of The Simpsons‘ 25th season, so because I was feeling nostalgic, and wanted a reason to talk about “You Only Move Twice,” I’ve ranked all of them, from least to most essential.
#25. Season 24 (2012–2013)
Every Guest Star: Ken Burns, Zooey Deschanel, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Anne Hathaway, Don Pardo, Natalie Portman, Al Roker, Sarah Silverman, Jon Lovitz, Jeff Gordon, Jennifer Tilly, Anika Noni Rose, Marvin Hamlisch, Steve Carell, Alex Trebek, Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, Patton Oswalt, The Decemberists, Tom Waits, Valerie Harper, Danny DeVito, Rashida Jones, Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Caro, Max Weinberg, Richard Dawkins, Tina Fey, Janet Reno, Wanda Sykes, George Takei, Edward Norton, Tony Bennett, Sonny Rollins, Ron Taylor, Justin Bieber, Bill Hader, Jane Krakowski, Patrick Stewart, Sigur Rós, Lisa Lampanelli, and Seth MacFarlane.
Best Episode: “The Day the Earth Stood Cool”
Most Emblematic Episode of the Season As a Whole: “Moonshine River,” because it brought back characters from post-golden era seasons that even hardcore fans would have trouble recalling. Remember when Anne Hathaway played Jenny in season 20’s “The Good, the Sad and the Drugly,” or Sarah Silverman as Nikki in season 21’s “Stealing First Base”? Me neither, and yet, they, along with two more former-love interests of Bart’s, returned in “Moonshine River,” a sort-of sequel to the far superior “The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson.”
#24. Season 25 (2013–2014)
Every Guest Star (So Far): Kristen Wiig
Best Episode: “Homerland”
Most Emblematic Episode of the Season As a Whole: “Homerland,” because season 24 was THAT bad.
#23. Season 20 (2008–2009)
Every Guest Star: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Robert Forster, Denis Leary, Brian Grazer, Joe Montana, Will Shortz, Merl Reagle, Scott Thompson, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Mark Cuban, Jeff Bezos, Marv Albert, Emily Blunt, Fall Out Boy, Ed Begley, Jr., Colm Meaney, Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová, Anne Hathaway, and Ellen Page.