The Simpsons, “How the Test Was Won”

Normally I don’t comment on The Simpsons so much as occasionally incorporate a random quote or reference into a post. But I just watched last night’s episode, “How the Test Was Won,” here at Hulu, and they really embiggened the show with these cromulent 22 minutes.

The plots were character-based, the concept was satirical without being heavy-handed or leaning on parodies as a crutch, and also there were lots of funny jokes.  It reminded me a lot of Season 8 or 9 Simpsons, the waning years of the show’s prime when the comedy was still top-notch but the average episode was becoming less tightly plotted than it used to be. In “How the Test Was Won,” although Lisa’s plotline is pretty thin in the second half, none of the stories feeels gimmicky, and near the beginning of the episode there is a great highlight montage of Homer-centric cartoon violence that definitely establishes the episode as being in tune to the show’s classic period as well as the modern “crappy” one.

I definitely think the show has seen an uptick in quality the past couple of years, but I happened to catch the episode previous to this one on TV a couple weeks ago when the new credits premiered, and it sucked. A lot.  So maybe my enthusiasm for how good this latest outing was is rooted in recently lowered expectations. Either way, click the Hulu link above if you’re bored a Simpsons fan, and definitely read this story from The Onion.

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