As television milestones go, it’s tough to top being on the air not just for a period of years but a period of decades. On December 17, Matt Groening’s deathless satirical masterpiece will achieve the remarkable feat of being on the air for three decades. Three decades! Thirty years! That’s real good.The Simpsons has helped define the comic sensibility of multiple generations of irreverent, pop-culture savvy smart-asses. Its run was first ground-breaking in its eviscerating and dark yet emotionally grounded look at the greed and cynicism at the heart of American society, and then record-breaking in the show’s unprecedented commercial success and staggering longevity.These 30 essential episodes of the preeminent American pop-culture institution illustrate the comedic perfection of the show during its glorious, radiant prime, and then the long, slow, inevitable slide in quality and relevance that followed. But it s worth noting that while we may not be in the Golden Age, the series still does hit hard – and funny – on occasion, so you will find some more recent eps in this list.Let us know your favorite Simpsons episodes in the comments.1. Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire in The Simpsons: Season 1 (1989) 100%You never forget your first time! Accordingly, The Simpsons opened on a painfully relatable note of paralyzing Yuletide economic uncertainty with a special Christmas episode that finds Homer desperate to provide a merry Christmas for his family after being denied a holiday bonus. “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” goes to audaciously dark places for the introductory episode of a cartoon pitched at families. It climaxes with Homer going with his son and alcoholic friend Barney to the racetrack, where he gambles away his money, yet still manages to deliver the requisite happy, or at least bittersweet, ending. From the very beginning, The Simpsons wasn’t just very funny. It was also emotionally real and grounded.2. Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish in The Simpsons: Season 2 (1990) 100%Classic episodes like “Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish” helped establish sinister arch-capitalist and power plant owner Montgomery Burns as a standout supporting player of tremendous depth and surprising complexity. He’s a figure of biblical, almost Satanic evil but also an oddly sympathetic figure when his God-like status is threatened. Burns is poignantly, unexpectedly human here after the discovery of a three-eyed mutated fish causes a government crackdown on the power plant and inspires the evil mogul to run for governor to protect his interests.3. Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington in The Simpsons: Season 3 (1991) 100%(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp.)“Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington” adroitly typecasts Lisa as its pure-hearted Mr. Smith surrogate in a savagely satirical evisceration of political corruption, patriotic hokum, and the terminally mild song stylings of Mark Russell. As the show’s unyielding paragon of integrity, Lisa is a natural choice to earnestly inhabit the well-worn archetype of the idealistic innocent who uncovers the seedy underbelly of American politics. Lisa is an inherently political little muckraker and “Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington” ranks amongst her finest half hours.4. Homer at the Bat in The Simpsons: Season 3 (1991) 100%If you were a sports fan at the time, “Homer at the Bat” was no mere television episode: It was a seismic cultural event that brought together the best in entertainment and sports in a riotous riff on The Natural. In “Homer at the Bat,” a magic bat transforms Homer into a dinger-smacking dynamo before Mr. Burns hires a team of major league ringers to help him win a million-dollar bet on a company softball game with a fellow mogul. You don’t need to be a baseball fan to find “Homer at the Bat” hilarious, but it does help.5. A Streetcar Named Marge in The Simpsons: Season 4 (1992) 100%The perpetually long-suffering Marge gets an opportunity to not only express but sing her pain when she’s cast as Blanche Du Bois opposite a disconcertingly shredded Ned Flanders in a musical version of A Streetcar Named Desire that replaces the tragic melodrama of the original with something peppier and more upbeat. Marge’s onstage drama mirrors her offstage frustrations, which lends the episode surprising emotional weight.6. Marge vs. The Monorail in The Simpsons: Season 4 (1992) 100%(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp.)Before he rose to talk show fame, Conan O’Brien wrote his way into The Simpsons history with “Marge Vs. The Monorail.” It’s an instant classic parody of The Music Man with Phil Hartman perfectly cast as its Harold Hill figure, a charismatic flim-flam man with a song on his lips and a scam in his heart who bamboozles the gullible people of Springfield into buying a monorail that causes the problems he promises it will solve.7. I Love Lisa in The Simpsons: Season 4 (1992) 100%It’s impossible not to feel poor Ralph Wiggum’s precocious romantic heartbreak when Lisa Simpson humiliates him after he publicly professes his love for her in this painfully hilarious and just plain painful exploration of puppy love gone awry. Watch closely and you can pinpoint the exact moment “I Love Lisa” rips the audience’s heart in half. Who knew Lisa could be such a heartbreaker and Ralph such a convincing tragic romantic hero?8. Last Exit to Springfield in The Simpsons: Season 4 (1992) 100%To fans of classic The Simpsons, the words “Lisa needs braces” must always be answered with “Dental plan?” and vice versa thanks to “Last Exit to Springfield. The episode pitted a deeply overmatched Homer against Mr. Burns in a labor-versus-owner skirmish that develops unexpectedly high, personal stakes that sees Homer’s dim-wittedness facing off against his family and co-workers’ needs.9. Krusty Gets Kancelled in The Simpsons: Season 4 (1992) 100%The stars REALLY come for poor Krusty after his place in children’s hearts is taken by sadistic dummy Gabbo. “Krusty Gets Kancelled” would make it into the pantheon of all-time great episodes on the basis of a guest voice roster that includes Johnny Carson, Elizabeth Taylor, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers alone, but it offers an embarrassment of riches even without a ridiculously stacked guest lineup.10. Cape Feare in The Simpsons: Season 5 (1993) 100%(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp.)Kelsey Grammer’s sonorously duplicitous sidekick-turned-serial attempted murderer, Sideshow Bob, proved himself a worthy antagonist to Bart Simpson by slipping into the role of a vengeance-crazed ex-con in a Cape Fear spoof that contains the legendary sequence where the frustrated clown steps on a rake nine times – a gag that’s funny, then unfunny, then brutal, then hilarious all over again.11. Rosebud in The Simpsons: Season 5 (1993) 100%The Simpsons’ famous love for Citizen Kane, and pop culture pastiche in general. reaches a glorious crescendo with “Rosebud, which re-imagines Charles Foster Kane’s iconic nostalgia for the sled of his youth as miserly Mr. Burns similarly pining for a clumsily symbolic totem of childhood innocence, a ratty teddy bear that Maggie comes to own. “Rosebud” humanized a monster by exposing the child within.12. Itchy and Scratchy Land in The Simpsons: Season 6 (1994) 100%When FOX tried to appease censors by eliminating Itchy Scratchy, a duo that exists for the sake of gratuitous violence, The Simpsons impishly protested with the most uncompromisingly brutal Itchy Scratchy episode of all time. “Itchy and Scratchy Land” ratcheted the bloodshed up to hyperbolic and hilarious levels in a gut-buster that riffs merrily on Disney Land, Westworld, and Jurassic Park.13. Treehouse of Horror V in The Simpsons: Season 6 (1994) 100%(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp.)The Treehouse of Horror, The Simpsons’ beloved annual Halloween ramble through treasured terror tales past, was never darker or more hilarious than in this fifth entry that focused on adults murderously terrorizing children. First Homer convincingly inhabits the murderous mind of Jack Torrance in a non legally-actionable parody of The Shining called “The Shinning.” Then Homer ruins things for civilization by futzing around with the timeline before a final segment finds teachers and lunch ladies enjoying a new “miracle meat” made of students that gives a deliciously literal meaning to “Eat my shorts.”14. Who Shot Mr Burns? Parts 1 and 2 in The Simpsons: Season 6 (1994) 100% and The Simpsons: Season 7 (1995) 100%The Simpsons delved into the pulse-pounding world of cliffhangers with “Who Shot Mr. Burns?”, a high-profile, much buzzed-about two-part parody of Dallas’ 1980 ratings bonanza “Who Shot J.R?”. Like the earlier pop-culture phenomenon, “Who Shot Mr. Burns?” focused on the shooting of a mogul so cartoonishly evil that just about anyone with a pulse who has interacted with them has reason to wish them dead.
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019) 67% Fans of the Fast Furious franchise are likely aware of the off-screen feud between stars Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson, but Universal found a way to have its cake and eat it, too. Though Johnson won t appear in the forthcoming Fast Furious 9, he and former series villain Jason Statham headline this week s Hobbs Shaw, the first spinoff of the franchise, which hopes to deliver the same kinds of high-octane thrills that have characterized the past few films. Vanessa Kirby joins the gang as a rogue MI6 agent on the run from a genetically cyber-enhanced would-be supervillain in the form of Idris Elba, and it s up to Johnson s Luke Hobbs and Statham s Deckard Shaw to put their differences aside in order to save the agent and neutralize the threat. It s pretty standard stuff, as far as globetrotting action blockbusters go, but critics say Hobbs Shaw benefits from the easy chemistry between its leads, who play off each other with fairly effective comedic timing, and a strong turn from Kirby, who gets plenty of her own chances to shine. All that said, the film is patently ridiculous, and some critics found elements of it a bit too far over-the-top, even for a Fast Furious movie. But when you come to one of these, you know what you re in for, and Hobbs Shaw more or less delivers exactly that.