This might be a recurring theme if I feel like doing more list-worthy things for The Simpsons.
Although its humour is what lured most of us into the show, it is the genuine emotion of the characters that made us keep watching. So many episodes have great moments of emotion, that if I were to do a top 10 like many other blogs have done, some underrated moments might not be seen. This won’t be a feature where it will always be a top 10: some days it might be a lot, some it might be a few – it depends on the theme. Just consider this a list of the greatest moments in The Simpsons that made you teary-eyed before, and will likely do so again. So without further ado, here is the list:
25. Lisa’s Sax (season 9)
The story of Lisa’s saxophone has an amazing ending, with Lisa playing the sax solo from Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty as a montage of her saxophone performances through the years plays on the screen. Included in the montage is her playing in Moaning Lisa, Lisa’s Pony, Homer’s Triple Bypass (?), and Separate Vocations. The video is poorly recorded and in another language, but hopefully if you haven’t seen the episode before the theme is still clear.
24. Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily (season 7)
This episode has so many great moments, including the scenes where Homer and Marge go to all of their kids’ empty rooms, Homer playing Lisa’s saxomaphone, and the newspaper headline “Simpson Kids Miss Mom and Dad”. But this one is the clincher: Homer has just saved Bart from being baptized as a Flanders, and Maggie is torn between going into the swamp with the Simpsons or the pleasant field of the Flanders. Like all babies, she finds her answer when she sees Marge emerge from the hills.
23. Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield (season 7)
Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield shows how much Marge wants to fit in, even at the expense of her family’s happiness. But it’s Homer who manages to show Marge the light, with his amazing quote: “You kids should thank your mother. Now that she’s a better person we can how awful we really are.”
22. Bart’s Comet (season 6)
This is a brief emotional moment, but it really sums up Springfield in a nutshell. After kicking out Ned from his own bunker as a comet approaches, Homer, followed by the rest of the town leaves the bunker to join Ned, regardless of their fate. The townsfolk join Ned on the hill and sing Que Sera, Sera as the comet comes down to Earth and is reduced to a small stone.
21. Lisa on Ice (season 6)
Although Lisa and Bart are siblings that have more than their fair share of differences, the two love each other above all else. Lisa on Ice displays that perfectly; in the last second opportunity for Bart to win the game for his team against Lisa’s team, the two recount their childhood memories. Throwing their equipment to the ice, the two hug each other and the game is a tie. Although Homer says that they’re both losers, Marge couldn’t be more proud. And hey, that’s what matters, right?
20. Dog of Death (season 3)
After feeling that his family no longer loves him after an expensive operation, Santa’s Little Helper goes to the streets where he is taken by Mr. Burns and groomed into one of the hounds. Bart, after realizing that he’s gone missing, decides to go looking for him. After finding him at Mr. Burns’ mansion – being chased by Santa’s Little Helper – Bart tells him that he loves him, and Santa’s Little Helper goes from being a killer dog to a loving one. Man’s best friend indeed.
19. Bart Sells His Soul (season 7)
The famous boat scene from Bart Sells His Soul is really something to behold. The emotional depth from seeing Bart all by himself, while everyone else has their soul helping them paddle to the shining paradise. It definitely is one of those scenes that makes you really feel sad for Bart.
18. The Last Temptation of Homer (season 5)
The episode, and this scene in particular, really shows how Homer is as a person. Sure he may have his faults, but in the end, he loves Marge more than anyone else in the world. The emotion takes over when Mindy tells Homer that it’s up to him and to look into his heart. There’s a little cheat when we see Homer drooling over a woman in a red dress, who is later revealed to be Marge. “Hey, there’s a turkey behind the bed.” “Mmmmmmm. Marge.”
17. I Love Lisa (season 4)
The greatest thing about this scene is that Ralph has been shown to be…intellectually lacking. So after Lisa rejects him in front of a television audience on Krusty’s special, we would assume that it would roll off him. But Ralph turns that idea on its head, by being the leading role in the play as George Washington and tearfully throwing Lisa’s I choo-choo-choose you card into the fire. We see for the first and only time that Ralph is just like everybody else: a person with emotions.
16. Bart the Lover (season 3)
As kids, we often didn’t see our teachers as real people. Bart feels the same way and he only realizes he is wrong when he sees Edna sitting alone at a table, waiting for her date, Woodrow, a man Bart made up to get revenge on her for taking his yo-yo. Many people said that Marcia Wallace deserved an Emmy for her voice acting in this episode, and if you saw the scene, you would agree.
15. Homer Defined (season 3)
The great thing about this moment is that, like others, it portrays the characters as real people with real emotions. Milhouse’s mom refuses to allow her son to play with Bart, and it is only resolved when Marge steps in, as any mother would. When Bart discovers that he and Milhouse can be friends again, it produces some great lines between Bart and Marge. “Well I knew his mother would come to her senses.” “Thanks for sticking up for me.” “What makes you think you think I did it?” “Who else would?”
14. Bart vs. Thanksgiving (season 2)
It’s amazing that The Simpsons can turn clichéd television ideas into something genuine. This is a prime example. After Bart wrecks Lisa’s centerpiece for Thanksgiving, he initially feels no guilt in doing it until the end of the episode, when he hears Lisa crying. After Lisa convinces the Bart to look in his heart, Bart finally sees that he did wrong. The highlight of this though comes afterwards, when we see Homer overhearing the conversation and telling Marge, “you know what Marge, we’re great parents”.
13. Moaning Lisa (season 1)
In an episode filled with so much emotion, it’s hard to pick one moment. But for me, that moment is in the Simpson car, when Marge tells Lisa that she’ll “do the smiling for both of us”. Goosebumps.
12. Marge Be Not Proud (season 7)
Marge Be Not Proud has a lot of these moments, but the best is when Bart tries to make up from his mistake of shoplifting. Marge thinks he has stolen again, only to discover that he got his picture taken, normally for once, in an attempt to normalize their often-zany holiday.
11. Duffless (season 4)
Duffless is an episode that is regularly on people’s Best of… lists. Although the humour throughout is excellent, it is the emotion within the final scene that hammers this one in as one of the best. “Put it in the fridge Moe, I’ve got a date with my wife!”
10. ‘Round Springfield (season 6)
Audio sums up the emotion in this one better than a picutre, in my opinion. Lisa sees Bleedin’ Gums Murphy at the hospital while visiting Bart there, and the two start jazzing it up by singing the above song. Bleedin’ Gums gives Lisa his sax for her upcoming recital, in which she steals the show with a solo, and she returns to the hospital to thank him. But when she arrives, the nurse tells her he has passed away and Lisa vows to make everyone know who he was. She eventually gets his song on the radio, and as she leaves the studio, a cloud of Murphy appears, and the two sing one last time.
9. I Married Marge (season 3)
The story of Homer and Marge’s marriage is an emotional one. This particular scene is great as it shows the unending love that the two have for each other. “Any ring is fine as long as it’s from you.” “Marge, pour vous.” Words do not do justice for the great voice acting in this scene.
8. Life on the Fast Lane (season 1)
A reference to the film An Officer and a Gentleman, this scene captures the characters, emotions, and marriage of Homer and Marge in a way that few other scenes can. The scene prior, where Marge is at a crossroads between Homer and Jacques, really helps drive the emotion home in this one.
7. The Way We Was (season 2)
Most people remember The Way We Was for its other famous moment when Homer dejectedly walks on the side of the road, but this one stands out to me as it really shows how much Homer loves Marge. The voice acting by Dan and Julie in this scene is really amazing as well.
6. Lisa’s Substitute (season 2)
One of the greatest episodes of all time produced some of the most emotional moments the show has ever seen. After Lisa discovers that her substitute, Mr. Bergstrom, has left, she rushes to his apartment and then to the train station where she sees him on the platform. The line itself should give shivers: “Whenever you feel that you’re alone and there’s nobody you can rely on, this is all you need to know.” You are Lisa Simpson.
5. One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish (season 2)
Although most people would assume that Homer would survive his poisoning (it would make no sense killing off the main character in its second season) One Fish amazingly manages to make the audience connect to Homer’s emotions. From Homer saying goodbye to all of his family members who are sleeping to sitting on the couch listening to Larry King read the Bible, the scene is so raw and dark that it really succeeds in capturing the moment in a way that no other show can.
4. Lisa’s First Word (season 4)
The scene itself is moving enough, but the context of it really puts it over the top. Recounting the stories of Bart and Lisa’s first words, the viewer sees that neither of them calls Homer “daddy” as he would like to be called. Cue the play button. Amazing stuff.
3. And Maggie Makes Three (season 6)
Undoubtedly one of the most magical moments that The Simpsons has ever created, the above picture speaks volumes for any Simpsons fan. In this flashback episode that begins by looking back at baby pictures, Homer quits his job at the Plant after being cleared of his debts to work at the bowling alley – his dream job – only to come crawling back after he discovers that Marge is pregnant with another child. Mr. Burns gives Homer a plaque that reads “Don’t forget: You’re here forever”. When Bart asks Homer where Maggie’s pictures are, Homer tells him that they’re where he needs them the most. A great tribute to the relationship between Homer and Maggie – who is often cast as the forgotten Simpson.
2. Bart Gets an F (season 2)
One of the most known episodes features some of the best emotions ever seen on The Simpsons. It reaches its climax when Bart breaks down after getting another F, knowing that even his best wasn’t good enough.
1. Mother Simpson (season 7)
This is a scene that works best with no additional descriptions, but if you don’t know the context, I suggest you view this episode and you will see why this is the undisputed number one emotional moment.