The Simpsons: Your favorite post-Season 10 eps?

I stopped watching The Simpsons back in late season 10. Not sure why, I just wasn’t digging the humor as much as I used to. I know opinions on this vary very widely, and I’d love to have more Simpsons goodies to enjoy, so I have an open mind.

So, those who either still watch or watched past s10: which episodes from the later seasons stand up alongside – or close to – the classics?

My own favorites are usually eps where there’s some heartfelt moments, i.e. not all wackiness. Lisa’s Substitute, Bart Sells His Soul, Marge Be Not Proud, that sorta thing. But if an episode is really funny, I don’t have to have the mushy stuff. So sock it to me, fellow Simpsons fans. Even if you agree that the seasons have gone downhill, there must be some eps that were standouts. What do you recommend I watch?

The links here to go Wikipedia summaries.

She of Little Faith
Lisa the Tree Hugger
The Heartbroke Kid
The Seemingly Never-Ending Story
The Mook, the Chef, the Wife and Her Homer
The Haw-Hawed Couple
Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind
The Debarted
Dial ‘N’ for Nerder

Cool, thanks for the tips, Marley23. I’m pleased (but not surprised) that there’s a preponderence of eps focusing on Bart and Lisa; I’ve noticed, as I’m watchng through the seasons again, that most of my favorites feature the kids rather than Homer/Marge. Not that I don’t love lots of Homer-heavy episodes, of course. I just think the writers have done some of their most touching work when they remember Bart and Lisa are children.

Hope it’s okay to bump after having seen several of the eps Marley23 recommended.

Some of these were good, though they still felt … I dunno, off. It could totally be my own expectations here. I just notice a difference in storytelling; some twists used in these episodes wouldn’t have been used in the classic seasons I’ve grown so used to.

F’rex… Eternal Moonshine… was clever, but it felt more like a gimmick that would’ve been saved for a Halloween episode, or even a Futurama episode. I don’t remember outrageous sci-fi being used in earlier episodes. As cartoony as the show is (literally and figuratively), I always think of it as based in a recognizable reality, albeit one where people have yellow skin, four fingers, and an ability to recover from dropping off cliffs. OTOH, I know Frink’s been used for oddities like his flying motorcycle in Lemon of Troy, so maybe I’m misremembering. Still, Patty and Selma being willing to murder Homer? Again, I know I’m thinking waaay too much about a cartoon, but … part of what’s special about The Simpsons to me was its relatability. Having regular characters turn from “regular” meanspirited jerks into homicidal nutjobs doesn’t seem Simpsonsy to me.

Similarly, using Martin’s ‘death’ as a gag didn’t work so hot for me either in Dial N for Nerder, maybe 'cause I don’t buy that Lisa would be so quick to turn hard-hearted … or maybe 'cause I remember that we’ve seen Martin’s parents, and the idea that they apparently thought their kid was dead for about three days doesn’t amuse me much. Though props to continuity for Lisa remembering that she went out with Nelson and using that to “seduce” the pseudo-Columbo. (Though I think Milhouse might’ve been a better choice, since I don’t buy Nelson as giving a rat’s patoot about Martin.) And even huger props for the parody of the CBS Mystery Wheel (or whatever it was called). My, that brought back good memories of watching MacMillan and Wife et al. with my parents! Younger folks must’ve been wondering what the hell that was all about!

IMHO, of the ones I’ve seen, The Debarted was the one that would’ve fit most closely in with earlier seasons. But I haven’t seen The Cook…, Heartbroke Kid or Lisa the Tree-Hugger.

Yipe: again, this is probably way more analysis than I probably should be giving to the show. Sorry. Anyway, there were some good laughs here so again, thanks very much for the recs!