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Disney’s huge new streaming service, Disney+ launches in the UK on 24 March.
Of course, we’re excited to finally be able to watch The Mandalorian and stream the back catalogue of classic Disney animations. But really, it’s the inclusion of The Simpsons we can’t wait to binge. 30 seasons of The Simpsons will be available at launch, which seems like good reason enough alone, to sign up to the streaming service.
Read more: Disney+ launch line up
Here are our picks of the best classic The Simpsons episodes to stream when Disney+ launches on 24 March…
Season 4, episode 12
This classic Conan O’Brien-written episode, where, goaded on to one-up Shelbyville, Springfield buys a dodgy monorail from snake oil salesman, Lyle Lanley, and Marge fights to save the town from destruction as a result, is one of the most memorable ever. Not least because of ‘The Monorail Song’, one of the most catchy in the entire Simpsons oeuvre.
Despite its fan-favourite status, though, Yeardley Smith, the voice of Lisa Simpson, once described the episode as “truly one of our worst". Reevaluate for yourself.
Season 5, episode 15
When it comes to the best movie parodies in The Simpsons, there’s a lot of competition – but this episode’s 2001: A Space Odyssey-aping scene, where a zero-gravity Homer hoovers up mid-air crisps, to the tune of Johann Strauss II's waltz ‘The Blue Danube’, might be the show’s greatest ever.
Originally, writers of the episode, which sees Homer sent into space as part of a NASA plan to send an Average Joe up in order to renew public interest in the programme, were concerned the idea was too big, with creator Matt Groening saying it left the series with "nowhere to go". They got around this problem by focussing on Homer’s attempts to gain his family’s respect, resulting in one of the show’s most memorable eps.
Season 4, episode 15
Pause this episode, and you can actually pin-point the second when Ralph Wiggum's heart rips in half. It’s excruciating, tender, and funny. In fact, there are so many moments to pin-point in this episode, you’ll be playing and pausing a lot: the moment Lisa feels sorry for Valentine-less Ralph and gives him his only Valentine’s card, the iconic “I Choo-Choo-Choose You” train; Ralph’s triumphant, heart-broken George Washington performance in their school play. Not only is it seriously sweet, but it’s a Ralph Wiggum one-liner goldmine.
Season 7, episode 8
Sometimes, The Simpsons is nothing short of heartbreaking - and when it focuses on family is when it’s at its very best. When Homer (via faking his own death to get out of a tedious work day) reunites with his mum, Mona, he finds out she didn’t actually die when he was little, like he always thought. Instead, she had to leave him and Abe to go on the run after being wanted by the police (she had joined a hippy group in the ‘60s and detonated an “antibiotic bomb" in Mr Burns’ lab to stop him poisoning the town).
Her reunion with Homer is emotional, as is Lisa’s bonding with her newly-discovered paternal grandmother. The closing moments, when Homer is left looking up at the stars after saying goodbye, perhaps forever, to Mona, is one of the most beautiful in the show, ever.
Season 6, episode 25 & season 7, episode 1
Has there ever been a more talked-about episode of TV than Season 6’s ‘Who shot Mr Burns?’ mystery? The whodunnit has it all: credible motives, shocking twists, and a nail-biting cliffhanger. And when the assailant is finally revealed in Part 2, it also has a resolution that no one saw coming - even though, if you watch the first part back now, there are enough clues in for the mystery to be solvable.
Season 8, episode 23
One of the most controversial Simpsons episodes of all time, ‘Homer’s Enemy’ showed us what would happen if a regular, hard-working person actually came into contact with - and to his detriment, acted like - Homer Simpson.
Homer’s co-worker, Frank Grimes, gets frustrated with Homer’s buffoonery so much that in making a point of acting like Homer to try and expose how useless he is, he accidentally kills himself. It’s one of the darkest episodes ever. Executive producer Josh Weinstein, defending the choice to give him such a bleak end, said in an interview, “We like the lesson of ‘sometimes, you just can't win’”. Sorry, Grimey.
Season 7, episode 7
For absolute classic Homer, look no further than ‘King-size Homer’, in which he gains weight to become 300 pounds and technically obese in order to claim disability and work from home instead of the power plant.
There’s so much to love, literally, about this episode: Homer’s muumuu and “fat guy hat”, his dream sequence in which tuxedo-clad pig cheers him towards his gargantuan goal weight (only to be eaten by Homer), and the telephone voice telling Homer, “The fingers you have used to dial are too fat,” to name just a few. A perfect mixture of hilarious gags and heartwarming plot.
Season 2, episode 3
The first of the annual Simpsons Halloween tradition came in Season 2 - and it’s arguably still the spookiest instalment. Within the three short anthology stories told by Bart and Lisa to each other in their treehouse, it gives us ‘The Raven’, narrated by James Earl Jones, which masterfully barely changes a word from Edgar Allen Poe’s poem, and plays on excellent voice acting and a Bart-faced Raven.
It also marks the first appearance of Kang and Kodos, when the Simpsons family are abducted by aliens in the Twilight Zone spoof ‘Hungry Are The Damned’ - and discover their cookbook, ‘How To Cook For Forty Humans’ in one of the series’ greatest sight gags.
Season 8, episode 14
Going full-on self-referential, Bart and Lisa’s favourite horrifically violent cartoon, ‘The Itchy and Scratchy Show’ introduces a new god-awful dog character, Poochie, voiced by Homer, in a down-with-the-kids attempt to stay relevant.
It’s a perfect skewering of TV writing, the entertainment industry, and nerdy fans, and Poochie’s backwards cap-wearing, wrapping surfer is excruciating in the best way.
Season 8, episode 5
Referenced constantly thanks to Abe Simpson’s meme-creating seamless entrance, spin round and exit, of Springfield’s premiere burlesque club, once he sees Bart working the front desk, this episode also introduces us to the best-named joint in Springfield: the Maison Derrière.
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When Bart starts working in what he is surprised to discover is a burlesque club, after accidentally smashing a Gargoyle on the building and being putting to work there to repay his debt, Marge is outraged and attempts to take down the Maison. It also won a well-deserved Emmy for its musical number, “We Put the Spring in Springfield" which you’ll be humming long after watching.
Disney+ is set to debut in the UK on 24 March.
Disney+ subscription | £49.99 a year for a limited time only
Fans can currently subscribe to Disney+ for the introductory price of £49.99. This pre-launch offer for the annual subscription is only available until 23 March 2020, and is equivalent to £4.17 per month.
Full details and information on how to subscribe are available on Disneyplus.com. Standard pricing at launch is confirmed at £5.99 per month, or £59.99 for an annual subscription.