Read Part One here.
10. Boo-urnsThe Episode: A Star is Burns (Season 6)
The Setup: Mr. Burns' self-serving A Burns for All Seasons draws boos from the crowd at the inaugural Springfield Film Festival.
BURNS: Smithers, are they booing me?Notes: A wonderful play on the tired "Bruuuuuce" (not "boo") chant for Bruce Springsteen, this is joke is a classic and it wouldn't have worked with any character but Hans Moleman. Who else would have been saying "Boo-urns"? Only the man whose submission to the film festival was a short starring himself getting hit in the groin by a football.
SMITHERS: Uhh, no they're saying "Boo-urns, boo-urns."
BURNS: (to crowd) Are you saying "boo" or "Boo-urns"?
(crowd boos louder)
HANS MOLEMAN: I was saying "Boo-urns."
9. The College Application PhotoThe Episode: Homer Goes to College (Season 5)
The Setup: Homer must return to college to retain his job, and applies to Springfield University.
The Joke: (See above) Homer underestimates the importance a college applicant's picture plays in getting admitted, and the university officials don't even bother to look at his application after seeing this horrid picture.
Notes: The sight of this picture still makes me laugh, it's beyond perfect on every level. There are, of course, innumerable examples of Homer's gluttony -- but shoving a birthday cake (with candles) into your mouth ... and with the shamelessness to do it right in front of a camera? I love how he even has red eyes, and that his party hat is perched so precariously on his head.
8. Elvis Does Not ApproveThe Episode: The Front (Season 4)
The Setup: Bart and Lisa are bored over the declining quality of Itchy & Scratchy episodes, so they decide to write their own, set in a barber shop.
BART: Itchy takes out a bottle of barbecue sauce and pours it on Scratchy's head, then he takes out a box of flesh-eating ants, and the rest writes itself!Notes: When this episode first aired, I think this moment made me laugh harder than at any moment in my life. The sheer vulgarity and ridiculousness of the Elvis twist was too much for me to handle. It would be easy to say that the Elvis character is just some guy dressed up as Elvis, but I think this episode was made around the time rumors of Elvis still being alive were popular. Apparently he lives above a mouse-run barbershop, and he shoots his TV when he doesn't like the show. Fantastic.
(the ants reduce Scratchy's head to a skull, and Itchy raises the barber chair through the ceiling, putting Scratchy's skull inside the television of Elvis).
ELVIS: Eh, this show ain't no good (shoots Scratchy's skull inside television).
7. Vengeful Big BrotherThe Episode: Brother from the Same Planet (Season 4)
The Setup: To get back at Bart for having a big brother mentor, Homer sets out to become a big brother himself.
WOMAN: Why do you want to become a big brother?Notes: Revenge takes many forms, including the act of mentoring a disadvantaged child. Not only do we get the delicious insanity of Homer's "brain" getting the hell outta Dodge, but the amazing twist of "spite," "malice" and "boredom" also being acceptable reasons for a man wanting to be a big brother.
HOMER'S BRAIN: Don't say revenge, don't say revenge, don't say revenge...
HOMER: Uh, revenge?
HOMER'S BRAIN: That's it, I'm outta here (we hear the sound of a car driving away)
WOMAN: (scanning list that includes malice, spite and revenge) Welcome aboard!
6. Judge Snyder's Dog (son)The Episode: Marge in Chains (Season 4)
The Setup: After Marge is arrested for shoplifting, the Simpsons once again hire attorney Lionel Hutz, who is confident about the case until he sees what judge is assigned to it.
HUTZ: Oh no, we've drawn Judge Snyder.Notes: One of the hardest aspects of putting together this list was narrowing down the best Lionel Hutz moment, because you really can't go wrong with any of them. "Judge Snyder's Dog" ultimately won out because it sublimely combined Hutz's trademark lunacy with a surprising amount of heinous violence.
MARGE: Is that bad?
HUTZ: He's had it out for me ever since I kinda ran over his dog.
MARGE: Really? That's terrible.
HUTZ: Well, replace "kinda" with "repeatedly," and "dog" with "son."
5. Homer as Mr. BurnsThe Episode: Blood Feud (Season 2)
The Setup: Homer takes out his anger toward Mr. Burns by writing a hateful letter to his boss, but later decides not to mail it. Unfortunately, Bart has already put the letter in the mail, leading Homer to desperate attempts to intercept it.
HOMER: Hello, I'm Mr. Burns, I believe you have a letter for me.Notes: If you know this gag, then you know this print representation of it does it no justice. This is all about Homer's delivery, as he uses quite possibly the worst fake voice ever to impresonate Mr. Burns. But what kills me about this gag is the timing of the final line, Homer never even stops to think what Mr. Burns' first name is.
POSTAL WORKER: Okay, Mr. Burns, what's your first name?
HOMER: I don't know.
4. Message from VeraThe Episode: $pringfield (Or how I learned to stop worrying and love legalized gambling) (Season 5)
The Setup: After being turned away for a job at Mr. Burns' casino, Bart vows to open his own casino. Things at Bart's casino go swimmingly, especially since he can attract top talent like Robert Goulet (via intercepting him at the airport).
GOULET: This is the casino? I think I should call my manager.Notes: The final four entries on this list can all make a case for being No. 1, and for a long time I considered this my favorite Simpsons joke. I love Nelson's line, does he say that just because he's being Nelson, or does he have a genuine interest in seeing Goulet perform at Bart's tree house casino? Goulet's delivery is also great, he's actually wondering if Vera called and told him to "shut up."
NELSON: Your manager says for you to shut up!
GOULET: Vera said that?
3. Bare Cupboard PieThe Episode: $pringfield (Or how I learned to stop worrying and love legalized gambling) (Season 5)
The Setup: Marge becomes addicted to gambling, leaving Homer and the kids to cook and clean for themselves while she feeds her new habit.
LISA: There's nothing to eat for breakfast.Notes: This joke still makes me laugh out loud. It's so impossibly ridiculous that on the occasion it pops into my head I just start laughing (my wife has learned to stop asking). Cloves!? It's also amusing that the Simpsons even have Tom Collins mix in their house, how did that get in there?
HOMER: You gotta improvise, Lisa: [mixing ingredients] cloves ... Tom Collins mix ... frozen pie crust ...
LISA: Maybe mom just doesn't realize we miss her. We could go down to the casino and let her know ...
HOMER: Oh come on, Lisa, there's no reason to [takes bite] ... let's go see mom.
2. Evil FrogurtThe Episode: Treehouse of Horror III (Season 4)
The Setup: At Bart's birthday party, Homer realizes he forgot to buy a present. Slyly escaping, Homer stops at the aptly-named House of Evil to seek out a gift.
HOMER: Do you sell toys here?Notes: This one briefly flirted with being No. 1, it's just the epitome of a perfect Simpsons gag: taking a routine joke to another plane of surreal hilarity, with flawless timing and delivery. And admit it: have you really looked at frozen yogurt toppings the same way since this episode?
SHOPKEEPER: We sell forbidden objects from places men fear to tread. We also sell frozen yogurt, which I like to call 'frogurt'!
HOMER: I'm looking for a present for my son.
SHOPKEEPER: (holding Krusty doll) Take this, but beware it carries a terrible curse!
HOMER: Ooooh, that's bad.
SHOPKEEPER: But it also comes with a free frogurt!
HOMER: That's good!
SHOPKEEPER: The frogurt is also cursed.
HOMER: That's bad.
SHOPKEEPER: But you get your choice of topping!
HOMER: That's good!
SHOPKEEPER: The toppings contain potassium-benzoit.
SHOPKEEPER: That's bad!
HOMER: Can I go now?
1. Buying Illegal FireworksThe Episode: Summer of 4 ft. 2 (Season 7)
The Setup: On vacation at Flanders' beach home, Homer is intent on celebrating the Fourth of July with illegal fireworks.
HOMER: Hmm, I bet this place sells illegal fireworks ... just act casual, like you buy them all the time.Notes: There was really never any doubt with me about where this one would land. At the conception stage of this project, I immediately had three gags in my head that I knew would be somewhere in the top 5, but this one would definitely be at the top. Where else would you find a gag of this caliber? It cannot be charted. This joke has taken on a life of its own within my family, sometimes adding "two disposable enemas" at the end of a grocery list. I think the most brilliant part is Marge's reaction, which happens a couple scenes later.
Yeah, uh, why don't you give me that porno mag ... bottle of Old Harper ... box of condoms ... some panty shields ... illegal fireworks -- and a disposable enema. Meh, make that two!
EMPLOYEE: Sorry sir but the sale of illegal fireworks is strictly forbi -- (notices customer leaving) come with me.
MARGE: (later, seeing what Homer bought) Hmmm, I don't know what you have planned for tonight, Homer, but you can count me out.