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20. Bart the Mother — Bart has been an inconsistently written character in recent years. Sometimes he's just truly awful, but other times he has some heart. This is a very heart-filled episode, and it also has a great line from Mayor Quimby about Bart making Springfield "a less oppressive place to while away our worthless lives."
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19. The Ziff Who Came to Dinner — Artie Ziff is back. He's been living in the Simpsons' attic and playing Homer's Theremin, and that's, of course, where the humor kicks in.
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18. The Sweetest Apu — The most recent Swartzwelder episode on the list. Apu has an affair, and Homer finds out about it. There's a lot of great jokes, and of course a Civil War reenactment. There's also a great recurring bit about Homer walking backward in shock. A very strong outing from arguably the funniest writer to ever live.
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17. Papa Don't Leech — Lurleen Lumpkin returned. Maybe that didn't mean a lot to some people, but it was definitely cool for longtime Simpsons fans. There are plenty of great jokes, not to mention the return of Colonel Homer.
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16. The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace — After a midlife crisis, Homer decides to become an inventor (obviously). His crisis is hilarious, and his misadventures are amusing too, especially considering his first round of inventions, including a recliner with a built-in toilet.
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15. Homer Scissorhands — Homer becomes a hairdresser for women, because it turns out he's great at it. This may not sound like a good idea, but it works really well. They manage to wring every last ounce of humor out of it, and it turns out to be a great episode for Homer as well as Marge.
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14. C.E.D'oh — Homer takes a (very funny) course on finding success, and he ends up the C.E.O. of the Nuclear Power Plant, where the comedy just continues. They also don't take the obvious, wacky route with Homer as the boss, which was probably a good idea—or at least an interesting one.
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13. Pranksta Rap — This list may belie a preference for Milhouse and Kirk Van Houten, as this is an excellent episode for Kirk, and for Chief Wiggum, even though it's largely about Bart. His rap about Homer may be awkward, but the rest of this episode is great.
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12. Brick Like Me — For one episode, The Simpsons was rendered in Legos. It could have been so gimmicky, but instead it looked awesome, and they managed to use it to tell a real story with some depth about Homer and Lisa. A visual and comedic, treat.
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11. Homer the Father — This one is for the "Community" fans out there, and really all fans of pop culture that works as commentary on other pop culture. Homer starts watching one of those classic TV channels, and begins to model his fathering after a hokey old sitcom he's become fond of. It's tremendous, and also the Chinese government gets involved. Anybody who has ever watched sitcoms from the '80s and '90s will appreciate this episode.