The Simpsons. Who hasn’t seen at least a dozen episodes of these love-’em-or-hate-’em denizens of mainstream TV? Over the years, The Simpsons have taken elements of their shows, or at time, the entire premise, from various sources of inspiration throughout the media world, parodying almost all of them. Of that vast list, here are my favourite. Here are my Top Ten.
The list includes parody songs, plots and individual scenes. Enjoy!
10: Siskel & Ebert: The Movie
As many of our more regular readers will know, Siskel and Ebert are a big inspiration to us at TGTRS, and so it is only fitting that they feature on this oh-so-relevant Top Ten. Whilst there are a few occurrences that would apply, particularly examples of their arguing, which are quite enjoyable to watch on YouTube,, my favourite is the briefly shown movie title, “Siskel & Ebert : The Movie”, with the tag line “Two Thumbs Up – Siskel & Ebert”. As well as an homage to the men themselves, it serves as an indicator to how they would score movies, as well as serving as a simple joke.
9. The Springfield Files
Whilst serving as a parody of the X Files, that classic sci-fi TV show, The Springfield Files features both Mulder and Scully, as well as the score that made The X Files stand out so well. Here’s the clip that makes it, for me.
There is, of course, always more to it than that – it’s also got a Leonard Nimoy appearance, there’s enough stupid humour in the build up from the start of the video above, and the rest of the episode to make the whole thing worth a watch.
8: Terminator 2 : Judgement Day
The T-1000 from Terminator 2, as well as the T-800 from the original film, have to appear on pretty much every “bad guys” list, and in fact, take this as notice that I will at some point write that list. In this episode whose name I can’t be bother to look up, Homer properly befriends Ned Flanders, and when Ned gets wary of their friendship, hilarity ensues, with Homer acting as the T-1000. Roll VT.
There’s other occasions where The Terminator is invoked – various POV scenes with analysis text appearing, the scene with Mr Burns’ “Shake Shake Shake” robot… In fact, here’s that clip too.
7 : The Flintstones Theme Song
One of the long-running jokes of The Simpsons is that Homer is a complete and utter moron, as can be seen with the scene where Homer takes the place of Barney Rubble, whilst singing a parody version of The Flintstones theme song. Whilst being a fantastic throw-back to a much-loved TV show (and lesser-loved movie franchise), it also serves as a point of hilarity itself. Watch.
6 : Planet Of The Apes, The Musical
Everybody’s favourite actor within The Simpsons universe is Rainier Wolfcastle. Then, it’s Troy McClure, right? You may remember Troy McClure from educational films such as “Lead Paint: Delicious But Deadly,” and “Here Comes the Metric System!” I remember him from Planet Of The Apes, The Musical, which has got to be the number one musical nobody wanted, right? Whilst throwing in enough references to make it a satisfactory parody of not only The Planet Of The Apes, but also Rock Me Amadeus, the song by Falco. It also has enough laughs to make the ordeal worth watching. Observe.
5 : Indiana Jones : Raiders Of The Lost Ark
Few films have as memorable an introduction to both the theme and the main character as the first Indiana Jones film, Raiders Of The Lost Ark. Within it, Indiana visits a temple, bypasses it’s traps, takes a treasure and then has to escape when all hell breaks loose. The Simpsons’ take on this feature Bart in Indiana’s shoes, with Homer taking the part he was born to play – a giant boulder. Throw in the signature “hat on other side of closing doorway, grabbed just in time” segment, and this is a fantastic homage to the classic archaeologist themed movie.
4 : The Shining
The Simpsons have parodied an almost immeasurable number of films within their Treehouse of Horror episodes, but the stand out one to me is their version of The Shining. Whilst Homer and Marge don’t quite manage to bring about the same level of feared and fearful as Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall, the attention to detail with concept, location design and the jokes they throw into the mix, really make this a fantastic parody.
We even get to see Willie get axed in the back – who doesn’t enjoy that, eh?
3 : Who Shot JR / Who Shot Mr Burns
Although Dallas was a bit before my time, The Simpsons’ version of this, Who Shot Mr Burns, is a fantastic two-part episode with a shock reveal you’d never have seen coming. With the same level of devotion as the original, The Simpsons’ creators created an attempted-murder mystery for the world to try to solve, and whilst Dallas had at least some worthwhile clues to help people, The Simpsons took the plot on the way to bizarre when they revealed the shooter. Throw in the Basic Instinct reference with Willie and his kilt (you know the scene I mean!), and you’ve got a pair of must-see parody episodes.
The video, thankfully, is a piss-take. I do wonder, though, how many people fell for it.
2 : Pulp Fiction / 22 Short Films About Springfield
Now, this is actually my all-time favourite episode of The Simpsons, with the entire episode appearing as a Pulp Fiction reference, as well as having various scenes within that truly imitate the film. For example, as well as the more subtle imitation of the black and white title cards, you also get the Hamburger conversation between the cops, regarding how McDonalds is so different from Krusty Burger, leading directly into the S&M scene imitated by the original, even referencing Zed from the movie.
This is also the episode that gave us the internet phenomenon that is “Steamed Hams”, if that’s your cup of tea.
1 : See My Vest
Now, I’m not one for musicals, but I’m rather fond of a number of songs from the early days of The Simpsons – Monorail, The Spring In Springfield, and See My Vest being my top three. See My Vest just pips the top of those three because of two reasons.
- It’s a very simple parody of both 101 Dalmations (the entire plot of the episode), and Be Our Guest from Beauty and the Beast. While I didn’t really grow up as much of a Disney fan, as a father, I get the joys of witnessing a child getting a chance to grow up with Disney and the magic that entails.
- Oh, and because it’s a delightfully stupid and macabre song.
And yes, I know all the words. So should you!
So they’re my Top Ten Simpsons Parodies. What are yours? As always, comment on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and the comments section below to get involved with the writing team. Heck, maybe one day we’ll share our Discord server with you too!