Disney+ is a treasure trove of classic movies, forgotten Pixar shorts, and revealing episodes of Star Wars cartoons. But if you’re anything like me, you’ve spent the last few weeks watching random episodes of The Simpsons for the one-millionth time.
Whether you’re new to the cartoon series or re-discovering it, the huge number of Simpsons episodes can be overwhelming — and that’s true even after you eliminate everything after Season 10 when the show took a sharp downturn it never recovered from.
If you’re struggling to decide which Simpsons episodes to watch on Disney+, allow Inverse to help. We’ve picked five classic episodes that inspired some of the most popular memes of all time. From “Stupid Sexy Flanders” to “Steamed Hams,” here are the stories behind some of your favorite Simpsons memes, and the episodes they came from.
5. “Stupid sexy Flanders!”
“Little Big Mom,” Season 11, Episode 10
Amid a rare feat of physical exercise, Homer encounters a buff dude on the ski slopes, clad in a skintight onesie and an intimidating helmet. Turns out, the stranger in the “revealing” suit is none other than squeaky-clean neighbor Ned Flanders. As Homer struggles down a super-advanced run, he can’t remember his instructor’s tips, only the sight of Ned’s coquettishly wiggling bottom.
This meme is for those times where you just can’t stop thinking about something that you normally wouldn’t like. It’s most often used in the context of physical attractiveness or sexual preference — and particularly conspicuously beautiful men. It’s a way of calling attention to Notable Asses in all forms of media, but it’s also evolved to become a catchall for virtually any situation in which a sudden shift in tastes comes as a startling surprise. — Jen Glennon
4. “Am I so out of touch? No, it’s the children who are wrong”
“The Boy Who Knew Too Much,” Season 5 Episode 20
When Bart skips school, Principal Seymour Skinner pursues him across Springfield like “some sort of none giving up school guy.” Bart temporarily evades detection when Skinner makes the mistake of assuming the first place any free-spirited truant would head directly for the Springfield Natural History Museum. “Am I so out of touch?” Seymour asks himself. “No, it’s the children who are wrong.”
Years later, those naive words have taken on a life of their own on the internet as the perfect way to mock an out of touch authority figure who totally fails to understand the audience they’re pandering too. It’s been used to mock everyone from video game executives to the Catholic Church. Use the meme the next time your boss refuses to admit they’re wrong, just make sure they don’t watch the Simpsons before you do it. — Jake Kleinman
3. Old man yells at cloud
“The Old Man and the Key,” Season 13, Episode 13
Grandpa Simpson goes to the DMV to renew his driver’s license, and as he’s sitting down to have his picture taken, he asks Patty if he can just use “this recent photo,” which he happens to keep in his wallet, because old people love keeping random scraps of paper in their wallets.
The gist of this visual gag, based on a newspaper article for the Springfield Shopper, is that the elderly complain a lot. If you’ve ever waited in line at a grocery store behind a granny demanding a refund for a half-eaten banana, you know what’s going on here. This one works for whenever someone gets a little too amped up about an issue that’s pretty unimportant in the grand scheme of things, like the proper use of Oxford commas or whether a hot dog technically counts as a sandwich. It’s a gentle way to remind your friends that they’re getting worked up over nothing. — Jen Glennon
2. Steamed Hams
“22 Short Films About Springfield,” Season 7, Episode 21
The Simpsons’ loving tribute to Pulp Fiction inadvertently helped launch one of the weirdest memes of all time. Couched amid a series of interlocking stories (Lisa gets gum in her hair, Nelson the bully finally meets his match, ‘Cletus the Slack-jawed Yokel’) we get a delightfully devilish vignette in which Principal Skinner invites his boss, Superintendent Chalmers, over for a meal and almost botches the entire thing.
The story itself is hilarious (if you’ve somehow never seen it I won’t ruin the joke, just watch it above), but the memes it inspired are truly next level, mashing up the “Steamed Hams” story with various genres that shouldn’t work but somehow do. Want to watch Steamed Hams as a silent film from the ‘20s? No problemo. As an early-internet meme? Done. In the style of the video game franchise Metal Gear Solid? Voila. I’m particularly partial to this meta version, which turns Steamed Hams into a Quentin Tarantino movie, bringing this entire saga full circle in perhaps the weirdest way possible.
1. “Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos”
“Treehouse of Horror VII,” Season 8, Episode VII
In the words of Homer Simpsons, “When are people going to learn? Democracy doesn’t work!” Perhaps no episode of The Simpsons skewers our democratic system better than “Citizen Kang,” a Halloween special short from Season 8. In it, two evil aliens named Kang and Kodos replace Bill Clinton and his Bob Dole to undermine the 1996 presidential election and take over the world.
In under ten minutes, “Citizen Kang” delivers multiple meme-worthy jokes. There’s “twirling towards freedom,” a parody of meaningless political speeches delivered by an alien impersonating Bill Clinton that still stings today, and when their plot is revealed just before election day, Kang and Kodos boast, “We are aliens, but what are you going to do about it? It’s a two party system, you have to vote for one of us.”
But the true kicker comes after election day when humanity has been enslaved and forced to build a raygun to attack some unnamed alien planet. As Marge grumbles, Homer retorts, “Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos.”
This Thanksgiving weekend, channel your inner Homer and proudly declare that you didn’t vote for Trump when the dinner conversation turns political.