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Classicalite's Five Best: The Simpsons Music Episodes

By Maria Jean Sullivan m.sullivan@classicalite.com on Sep 06, 2014 02:38 PM EDT

These past twelve days seem like a yellow smear as all 552 episodes of animated culture criticism The Simpsons aired on FXX.

Through the past 25 years, we have seen Matt Groening critique Edgar Allen Poe, former president Bill Clinton, Larry King and Sonic Youth.

More musically, Groening tantalized with cartoon characterized Dolly Parton, Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett. The late literati David Foster Wallace received his own well-written reference in episode, “A Supposedly Fun Thing Bart Will Never Do Again” to the tune of Hot Chip’s "Boy from School" and Animal Collective’s "Winter's Love.” The episode also featured "Enjoy It While You Can" which was co-written and produced for the episode by Broadway composer Robert Lopez.

With all of these sonically prominent references, it seems only natural to churn out our picks for the Classicalite’s Five Best series.

Without further ado, here are Classicalite’s Five Best: Simpsons Music Episodes

1) "The Seven-Beer Snitch," first aired in 2005. 

Marge decides Springfield needs a Frank Gehry designed concert hall after a mocking from neighboring town Shelbyville. Flanders joins her insisting, “We could use a new HQ for the Springfield Philharmonic. They're playing Gustav Mahler in abject squalor!" Marge writes a letter to Gehry who tosses it aside. Gehry then realizes the crumpled paper is the perfect design for the new hall and agrees. The Springfield Philharmonic plays Beethoven’s Fifth to a fleeting crowd. Marge tries to save the night by announcing the next concert: a Phillip Glass atonal medley.

2) "The Italian Bob,” originally aired in 2005.

Simpsons villain/Krusty The Clown co-star Sideshow Bob Terwilliger (Kelsey Grammer) becomes the lead role in Simpsons remake of Dr. Seuss cult film The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. The episode features a Mr. Burns song, "See My Vest," a blend of "Be Our Guest" from the Disney Beauty and the Beast and "Dressing Song: Do-Mi-Do Duds" from Dr. T. The Simpsons are in Rome to see Krusty appear in Leoncavallo's Pagliacci at the Coliseum.

3) "The Homer of Seville,” originally aired in 2007.

Homer crashed a wake and falls into an open grave, turning into a singer. But, he can only when lying down. Burns hires Homer to perform the leading role in Puccini's La bohème. Backstage, a shirtless Placido Domingo swipes Homer with a towel and says, "Nice set, Homer. That was a hot one." "Thanks," Homer replies. "You know, of The Three Tenors, you're my second favorite. No, wait, I forgot about that other guy. Sorry, you're third,” he continues.

4) "Homerpalooza,” originally aired in 1996.

Springfield hosts their own indie music festival where the London Symphony Orchestra stops by, only to find out who ever hired them can’t remember doing it. It was Peter Frampton. Sonic Youth, the Smashing Pumpkins and Courtnet Love are all in tow. Eventually, Cypress Hill claims the London Symphony Orchestra for a classical version of “Insane in the Brain.”

5) "The Kid Is All Right,” originally aired in 2013.

A celebration of Walt Disney's Depression-era output comes to life via the infamous Simpsons episode intro. All of the characters of Springfield turn into instruments for couch gag "Music Ville,” based on "Music Land," from Disney's "Silly Symphonies." Hipster character Disco Stu’s head turns into a synth and Mr. Burns is fittingly a bassoon.

Check out the MusicVille reel below.

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TagsClassicalite's Five Best, The Simpson's, Gustav Mahler, Beethoven, Leoncavallo, Placido Domingo, London Symphony Orchestra