Thursday morning at 10am, FXX will kick off the longest marathon in television history, running all 25 existing seasons of The Simpsons in their entirety. The event will run for 12 days, through Labor Day at midnight, and by the time it's over, the network will've re-aired every single one of the series' 552 episodes. I've already emptied my DVR in an anticipation, and now I need your help—in the form of your recommendations for which episodes not to miss.
It feels like kind of an odd question to ask, because I've literally grown up with the show. I mean, get a load of this little nerd:
That four-eyed kid in head-to-toe Simpsons gear is me in 1990, right before I started second grade. According to my dad's meticulously handwritten caption, this photo was taken on August 27—just shy of exactly 24 years ago—and this was my first-day-of-school outfit. The Simpsons had premiered less than one year prior, in December of 1989, and I remember being flat-out obsessed with the bookish, goody-goody Lisa and the rest of her wacky yellow family (but mostly Lisa). What I don't remember is actually watching the show—a painful irony, given all the money I probably convinced my parents to sink into the tie-in merchandise (I also recall a catchphrase-spouting Bart doll). Or maybe I did tune in weekly, but have simply forgotten every aspect of my childhood fandom but the material one (I shudder to imagine what Matt Groening would have to say about that).
The point is, The Simpsons has existed nearly as long as I've been alive, and yet I feel like I'm relatively unfamiliar with series. Even though I'm well aware of Homer's donut addiction and many other Simpsons truths that've made their way into the pop culture pantheon over the years, I honestly couldn't tell you the plot of a single episode. So I'm looking at this marathon as an opportunity—not just to experience The Simpsons for the first time, so to speak, but to watch the show as an adult. Yes, of course I know I could've picked up the DVDs ages ago and staged my own personal marathon. But since I didn't—and because I only have so much time and I know that all you diehards out there will have plenty of opinions to share—I would love to hear your recommendations. Which episodes of The Simpsons do you consider the series' best? Which ones are wholly skippable? Which ones would make your personal top 10, regardless of their critical reception? I thank you in advance for your help!