Words: Katie Gartland
From Biblical stories, to Greek Gods, classic films and epic poetry, The Simpsons truly stood in as a teacher for most our childhoods.
The Simpsons taught us about David and Goliath, Homer’s Odyssey, the work of Shakespeare and the career trajectory of The Beatles through the characters of Springfield.
Everyday at 6pm on Sky One, just after having fish fingers, chip and beans for dinner and finishing up your sums at the kitchen table, The Simpsons graced Ireland’s front rooms. Through mindless hours of sitting in front of the telly everyday, some classic stories and songs slowing began to seep into our little minds- whether we liked it or not. Only through adulthood have we realised the true impact that The Simpsons have had on us.
From a young age, most Irish children could sing the refrain of Gilbert and Sullivan’s ‘Three Little Maids’ after watching Sideshow Bob’s beautiful rendition in the episode ‘Cape Feare’. 9-year-olds could quote ‘Street Car Named Desire’, recite Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Raven’ and recall the storyline of ‘Citizen Cane’.
Through some sort of subliminal messaging, The Simpsons have educated us against our will. Yva neht nioj?
We’ve put together our very favourite episodes of The Simpsons pop culture gems for you to enjoy.
I have to admit that this episode taught me more about the original Epic than the Greek Classics module I studied in first year of college did. This episode not only tells us the story of the Odyssey, it also explores the world of Shakespeare in Hamlet and the adventures of Joan of Ark. All of history in a 23-minute episode? We sure think so.
‘Tales From The Public Domain’- Season 13, Episode 14
Stellaaaaaaaa. This episode saw an absolutely ripped Ned Flanders play Marlon Brando’s character. Stupid sexy Flanders. God knows The Simpsons didn’t portray the storyline of ‘Streetcar Named Desire’ perfectly in this episode- but at least it added catchy music.
‘Streetcar Named Marge’- Season 2, Episode 4
Best Treehouse of Horror ever, we think? No beer and no TV make Homer go crazy. A classic. I sure as heck didn’t know The Shining existed until about 10 years after seeing The Simpsons’ rendition.
On a side note, the Treehouse of Horror episodes were amazing. Absolutely jam packed full of pop culture references. Remember Willy’s rendition of Freddy Krueger from ‘Nightmare on Elm Street Street’? Or when a Gremlin torments Bart on the school bus? Genius.
‘Treehouse of Horror 5’- Season 6, Episode 6 (satanic episode?)
This episode told the story of the Hitchcock 1954 classic. Bart takes up the role of James Stewart after breaking his leg. He’s confined to his bedroom with a new telescope while the other kids of Springfield get to hang out at the Simpsons’ new swimming pool. Bart soon begins to suspect Flanders of murdering his wife after seeing some suspicious activity next door.
‘Bart of Darkness’- Season 6, Episode 1
It’s a bizarre feeling when you already know the storyline to a film but you aren’t sure why. I watched Thelma and Louise for the first time last Summer, Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis were weirdly familiar. Of course, the characters were actually Marge Simpson and her neighbour Ruth Powers. The amazing episode saw Marge rebelling against her housewife life with the help of her neighbour Ruth.
‘Marge on the Lam’- Season 5, Episode 6
It’s safe to say the majority of Irish kids attended Catholic Primary schools. Hands down this episode of the Simpsons taught me more about the Bible than my teachers ever did. From Adam and Eve, David and Goliath, the story of Moses and King Soloman, The Simpsons truly stepped in as priest and educator.
‘Simpsons Bible Stories’- Season 10, Episode 18
This stunning episode sees Homer join NASA to become an astronaut. The piece de resistance of this episode is when Homer opens a packet of crisps in space. The familiar waltzing strings of Strauss’ ‘Blue Danube’ accompany Homer as he floats around the spaceship catching his rippled crisps (which I have wanted to eat since the age of 5- they look delicious).
‘Deep Space Homer’- Season 5, Episode 15