TV / Marge… Change the channel!


In honour of the truly atrocious Irish episode of The Simpsons, Paul Fennessy revisits the series’ worst ever moments.
5. In the Name of the Grandfather – Season 20
The one where they visit Ireland

THIS EPISODE WAS symptomatic of the steady decline of the series in recent years. Carefully avoiding stereotypical jokes about the Irish, the episode instead sought to demonstrate how the country has changed in recent years and is now a politically progressive and economically stable nation. While this educational approach was very noble, the sad fact of the matter is that it also came at the expense of any hint of wit.


Laziest attempt at humour: The billboard advertising a U2 moving company. The Slogan? “We Move in Mysterious Ways”

4. Homer Simpson, This Is Your Wife – Season 17
The one with Ricky Gervais

The episode is an attempted parody of reality TV shows and in particular, Wife Swap. Marge is paired off with Ricky Gervais’ character – basically, a rehash of David Brent, except not nearly as funny. Whereas one of the original strengths of the series was its refusal to pander to guest stars who simply served as footnotes to the main plot, in this episode Gervais is given free reign to indulge in the exact same jokes which he already used in The Office.

Laziest attempt at humour: Gervais’ character explains that he wants to tell his wife, “You’re fired!” Geddit? It’s like The Apprentice.

3. Homer vs. Dignity – Season 12
The one where Homer gets raped by a Panda


Laziest attempt at humour: see above

2. Homer’s Odyssey – Season 1
The one where Homer is proactive and intelligent

Before The Simpsons was bad, it was good; but before it was good, it wasn’t that great. This dud of an episode (only the third one ever) focused on Homer, as he bafflingly sheds his idiotic persona and suddenly becomes a staunch idealist. He launches a campaign against Mr Burns’ nuclear power plant due to its lack of safety measures. Homer is eventually rewarded for his sheer competence, nobility and ambition by being promoted to the position of Nuclear Safety Inspector. Wtf?

Laziest attempt at humour: Ms Krabappel is angry with Bart. She forces him to sing in front of everyone. Thankfully, this was not the apex of the show’s cutting edge humour.

1. The Principal and The Pauper – Season 9
The one with the ‘real’ Seymour Skinner

It’s fitting that a show from the ninth series tops the list, as this season constituted the beginning of the end for The Simpsons, creatively speaking. The episode epitomised The Simpsons dwindling relevance and the words ‘writers block’ spring to mind, as Principal Skinner is revealed as an impostor. So bad even The Simpsons creator Matt Groening admitted to disliking it.

Laziest attempt at humour: Skinner: “From now on, we’ll see a new Seymour Skinner, Agnes: “No, we won’t.” Skinner: “Yes Mother”.