Strokes of ‘Simpsons’ genius

Seven classics from the past 200 episodes

‘When You Dish Upon a Star’

Nov. 8, 1998

The bizarre movie Homer tries to pitch to Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger (after he becomes their personal assistant) gets stolen by Ron Howard, who successfully sells it to Brian Grazer. “Howard, you’ve done it again!” Grazer exclaims while handing over sacks of money for Homer’s tale of a time-traveling killer-robot driving instructor.

‘Viva Ned Flanders’

Jan. 10, 1999

After Ned foolishly grants Homer power of attorney in an effort to spice up his life, the pair end up in Las Vegas married to two sleazy cocktail waitresses. The boys get run out of Vegas by, among others, magicians Siegfried and Roy and heavyweight boxer Dredrick Tatum.

‘Guess Who’s Coming to Criticize Dinner’

Oct. 24, 1999

Homer becomes the Springfield Shopper food critic — and then a target of an assassination plot at the Taste of Springfield Festival.

‘Insane Clown Poppy’

Nov. 12, 2000

The family attends a book fair where Christopher Walken (brilliantly impersonated by Jay Mohr) is reading “Goodnight Moon” to some creeped-out children before Krusty meets his illegitimate daughter, Sophie, voiced by Drew Barrymore.

‘Trilogy of Error’

April 29, 2001

The same story told from three different points of view introduces us to Lisa’s newest nerd-heavy creation — Linguo, the grammar robot — and introduces Lisa to her brainy equal at West Springfield Elementary.

‘A Star Is Born-Again’

March 2, 2003

Recently widowed Ned falls in love with a visiting Hollywood movie star (voiced by Marisa Tomei), but his beliefs clash with her free-and-easy lifestyle (and her comfort doing onscreen nudity). After she asks him to move to Hollywood, he imagines a future there for his sons Rod and Todd. “We’re movie producers now!” they yell from the back of a convertible filled with blonde starlets, “and we’re Jewish!” This is a future the conservative Christian Flanders simply can’t take.

‘Marge vs. Singles, Seniors, Childless Couples and Teens, and Gays’

Jan. 4, 2004

When toddler favorite Roofi’s concert out on Cletus’ farm (think Yanni at Woodstock) causes a giant mess and a huge tax bill, all the childless citizens of Springfield rally to get an antichildren law passed. Luckily, those without kids are vulnerable to the simple, everyday diseases tykes carry and are unable to vote. “For all their disposable income, for all their leisure time, they had no immunity against God’s lowliest creatures: children,” Lisa says.

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