Everyone knows the Simpsons as the show consisting of a dysfunctional family, obnoxious characters, and a script that pokes fun of pop culture. But nearly every episode wraps up with a moral lesson that we can all benefit from in some sort. As someone who is binging on the Simpsons again (I'm on Season 6), here are some of my favorite heartfelt moments up to this season thus far.
1) Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire - When Homer gambles the last of his money away at the track on Santa's Little Helper to try to get money for the family at Christmas, he hangs his head in shame, but when Santa's owner drove him away from the track and into the arms of the Simpson family in the parking lot, the family realized they didn't need money to make them happy that year. It was one of the most heartfelt moments of the series, and showed us that even through the hardest of times, light can still shine through.
2) Bart gets an F - When Bart realizes that he might need to repeat the fourth grade if he doesn't get his grades up, he studies like he never studied before. We begin to feel sorry for him as he misses out on a fun snow day, seeks help from an indifferent Martin, and finally, cries when he gets another F after all his hard work. But when he cites some information he learned to Mrs. Krabappel, she takes pity on him and turns his F into a D-. He posts the test on the fridge and says that he owes some of his accomplishment to God. The episode not only makes us empathize with an otherwise hellraiser Bart Simpson, but shows us that with hard work, your grade and your confidence can change.
3) The Way We Was - This episode tells of how Homer and Marge met and fell in love. Marge went to prom with Artie Ziff, but after he tried to put the moves on her after prom, she was less than impressed. She caught Homer walking home, and by the end of the flashback, she knew she loved him. It paid tribute to true love and caught the high school experience fairly well.
4) The Substitute - Like most Simpsons episodes, this one is loaded with pop culture references. The sub was played by Dustin Hoffman, and there is the famous recreated scene where Mrs. Krabappel lifts her leg on a desk and the sub, Mr. Bergstrom, says "Mrs. Krabappel, are you trying to seduce me?" References aside, this is perhaps a lesser-known but great moral-lesson episode. Lisa develops a teacher-crush on Mr. Bergstrom due to his unorthodox teaching methods and friendly nature and looks up to him as a role model. She even invites him over to dinner. But when he leaves to take a job in Capitol City, she is devastated. She catches him before he leaves, leaving on a train out of Springfield when he gives her a note. When she reads it, all it says is, "You are Lisa Simpson." As a teacher myself, those are some of the strongest words I think he could have told a girl with shaky confidence in herself.
5) Like Father, Like Clown - When Bart and Lisa attempt to unite Krusty with his estranged father, Rabbi Hyman Krustofsky, things don't go very well. He initially answers the door by saying,"I have no son."He hated that his son went into comedy, but Bart and Lisa try tirelessly to sway him that he should forgive him. Yet he always quotes something back from scripture that refutes their claims. Finally, when Bart quotes Sammy Davis Junior, and Krustofsky is taken away by his wisdom, he agrees to forgive his son once and for all. He appears on Krusty's show by surprise and Krusty balls up with tears and they embrace each other with hugs. If there is a lesson to be had here, it is that forgiveness is divine.
6) Homer Loves Flanders - This is one of my favorite Simpsons episodes. After Ned gets Homer the game ball at a local football game, Homer annoyingly befriends Ned. He crashes in on their dinner and eats their food, he sneaks up on them out of the bushes (one of the most famous Simpson memes), he crashes his car with Ned's boat. But the one thing we learn from this episode is that Homer does stand up for Flanders when no one else does. When the town gossips about Ned being arrested, and puts him down in church, Homer berates the rest of the parishioners, saying, "If everyone were more like Ned Flanders, there would be no need for heaven, we would already be there." In many episodes Homer stands up for Ned in the end even though he has a hysterical hatred of him. Another instance was when he gathered the town together to save his left-handed store.
7) Lisa v.s. Malibu Stacy - When Lisa was disappointed from hearing the airhead speech that the new talking Malibu Stacy churned out such as, "Let's forget our troubles with a big bowl of strawberry ice scream," she eventually turned to Malibu Stacy creator Stacy Lovell to make a new-age doll that would empower girls. The doll, Lisa Lionheart, promoted wisdom and encouragement to little girls and gained in huge popularity until the Stacy line turned out a new Stacy doll with a new hat. The lesson learned here was to never give up against all odds, but also that it's difficult to compete against big business.
8) Lisa on Ice - This episode takes a real look at how some parents can turn into real monsters when it comes to their kids' competitive sports. When Lisa joins an ice hockey team, Homer throws all his love into Lisa's goaltending skills and ignores Bart. This angers Bart and makes him want to prove his worth to the family once again. But when it comes down to a last-second penalty shot between him and his sister in a big game, he remembers everything she did for him growing up, and so does Lisa. They decide to throw their gloves off and hug it out - the only mature ones in the entire stadium.
9) Grandpa versus Sexual Inadequacy - When Grandpa's sex tonic business forces a relationship between he and Homer, they grow close once again. But when an argument ensues after a failed sell, Grandpa says that Homer was an accident. Homer drops Grandpa off at the side of the road and refuses to speak to him. When Homer revisits the house he grew up in, he notices a picture of his dad dressed up as Santa to give him gifts on Christmas. He feels terrible for ignoring his dad, but then burns down the house by accident. His dad was in the same house in another room, and also burns it down by throwing the tonic in the fireplace. They run out together and hug it out. While this was a humorous ending, it also showed that the past should be in the past, both literally and figuratively, and that it is never too late to apologize.
10) And Maggie Makes Three - I couldn't stop from laughing when Homer couldn't figure out that Marge was pregnant in this episode. When he had to leave his dream job at the bowling alley and crawl back to ask for his job at the plant again, it was heartbreaking. When Maggie held his finger, it was heartwarming. And when the kids asked why there were no pictures of Maggie, he said he kept them at the place where he needed them most. The camera flashed to his workstation and showed all the pictures of Maggie at the front of his desk. It showed us that while Homer is definitely not the brightest, he has a huge heart.