'The Simpsons' Best Episodes: No. 20 - 16
Original Air Date: April 29, 2001
'The Smurfs,' burning books, 'Cannonball Run II,' the Blue Man Group, Harry Potter and Thelonious Monk get pop culture nods in this simple, but clever 'Go'-meets'-'Run Lola Run' spin on how Homer's kitchen knife accident effects Lisa's science fair entry and leads Bart to Fat Tony's fireworks ring.
From his 'See My Vest' tune to his insistence that the puppies looked like actor Rory Calhoun, Mr. Burns was the star of this '101 Dalmatians' parody. And in true hilarious, cynical 'Simpsons' fashion, the rich Burns got richer, while Homer just lost out on millions from the puppies' racing wins.
18. 'HOMR'Original Air Date: Jan. 7, 2001
Á la 'Flowers for Algernon,' Homer became a smart guy when a crayon lodged in his brain since childhood was removed. Sadly, only Lisa liked the new and improved Homer, but it did give her the chance to bond with her dad before he ultimately decided to have Moe shove another crayon in his brain.
This Christmas special, the series premiere, found the Simpsons sans holiday gift money thanks to Bart's tattoo and Homer's MIA bonus. Barney persuades Homer that gambling at the dog track is the answer, and, in a sweet, warped way, it is, as Homer surprises the family with Santa's Little Helper.
In a recurring scenario, the younger Simpsons proved to be savvier than their dad. Bart and Lisa were home alone with Ms. Botz, a thief posing as a babysitter. They figured out what she was up to, but when Homer found her tied up, he assumed the kids were being ornery and set her free. D'oh, indeed.