If You Were Introducing Someone to The Simpsons, What's the First Episode You Would Show Them?

Squall Hammer

Junior Camper
Jun 3, 2019
Oddly enough, my roommate has never seen an episode of The Simpsons (they never really watched TV in his house growing up). But I've told him about various jokes from The Simpsons and they've made him laugh, and he says he might be interested in watching it. But that raises the question: What's the best episode to show to someone who's never seen The Simpsons? Obviously you would want to choose a really good and funny episode, but you also want it to be accessible to someone who's unfamiliar with the show, and the episode you choose can set the tone for how they view the episodes to follow. What episode would you guys choose for this scenario?
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"Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" is a good episode to introduce your roommate to. It's got some really good jokes and it had an emotional plot. Funnily enough, this is the first ever episode of the show.

Or, if he just wants to watch a really funny episode of the show, I would recommend "Cape Feare", "King-Size Homer", "Deep Space Homer", "Bart the Daredevil", "Treehouse of Horror V" and the two-part episode, "Who Shot Mr. Burns?"... although I think "Bart the Daredevil" might be another good one to start with as it's got some great character development and it's got a really memorable ending.
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Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire did a great job introducing briefly some secondary characters: Moe, Barney, Milhouse, Ned Flanders, Mr. Burns, Patty & Selma, Skinner and obviously Santa's Little Helper. Also, wee knew Moe's, the Power Plant, the Springfield Mall and the Springfield Elementary School for first time. And the plot is touching and the jokes were pretty good for season 1's standards. So, I'd go with the easy choise: the first episode of the entire series.
Roasting is the de facto choice... but I think Itchy & Scratchy Land works well in terms of showcasing the family dynamic, offering a plethora of amusing gags that require no foreknowledge of Springfield, the show or its citizens to appreciate and boasts especially tight pacing so your captive audience isn't likely to find themselves bored or nodding off.
In my opinion, I'd pick "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" or "Bart the Daredevil"...
Cape feare requires that you already know Bob and how he framed krusty. My pick is Bart gets an f, it's funny, touching, and subverts expectations about Bart's test. Most shows would have him pass with a high grade, here he barely scrapes by. Mrs k and Martin shine in the episode too. I like it a lot.
Cape feare requires that you already know Bob and how he framed krusty.

I think if someone hasn't watched the series and they want to watch this episode, I'd recommend "Krusty Gets Busted" as it tells the story of how Sideshow Bob framed Krusty.
You can find some effective choices in the format-bender episodes. Treehouse of Horror (the first one, obviously), 22 Short Films About Springfield or Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind.

Altought, if this thread was made because you actually need an answer, I insist with Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire.
I really cannot think of a better one than 'Simpsons Roasting'. It's just such a good one to start off with, even if you don't show them all the newcomer all of the season 1 episodes (though there are some other must watch episodes like 'Bart The General', 'Moaning Lisa', 'Life On The Fast Lane' & 'Krusty Get's Busted' that a new viewer can't miss).

Then one could go from there and show some selected great episodes from each season going forward. Starting off with a later episode, such an an episode from season 4, 5 or 6 right off the bat doesn't feel quite right, though that can come in later.
I'm not sure I would recommend any of the 1st season episodes, some enchanted evening is probably one of my least favorite classic simpsons episode.
As some have pointed the episode we choose should be the one that lays the foundation for future episodes, I agree with that requirement, even if cape fear or any episode from season 5 to 7 would be a great choice, I think a proper introduction would serve a new viewer better.

In season 2 I am quite fond of Dead Putting Society, I like the dynamic between Homer and Flanders , Lisa's wisdom, Bart's pragmatism and Marge's good nature ( if somewhat fallible ). Unfortunately, nowadays the characters don't serve the same role but it's still in their DNA.
Let me amend the question slightly: what episode would you show someone who's never seen the show, and they're not committing to watching more than one episode? Meaning they won't choose to watch anymore Simpsons unless the episode you show them really wows them. Using that criteria, I don't think Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire would be the best choice.
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well.. then I nominate "22 Short Films About Springfield", if someone who has never watched the simpsons has been on the internet for a year they know about the steamed hams memes out there.
Agree on Bart Gets an F and 22 Short Films (forget the steamed hams meme, you get a good look at all the residents of Springfield). How about Last Exit to Springfield? Lots of great jokes that dont really require knowledge of the show.
roasting is ok but it's got that downbeat "season 1" feel to it that i like but it might turn people off; you could probably show them any of the go-to classic episodes like monorail, cape feare or rosebud, maybe even some season 2 stuff like two cars or blowfish
" Life on the Fast Lane " is a pretty good episode to show to your roommate. It is everything of what The Simpsons are: Emotional, satirical, hilarious!