The 5 Moe’st (And Least) Spectacular Moe Episodes Of ‘The Simpsons’
Of all the popular The Simpsons characters you don’t want to see too much of, Moe Szyslak would be an obvious choice on ugliness alone. Yet, he’s probably one of the most fleshed out of the entire roster of Springfieldians outside of the five members of the titular family. But that’s not necessarily a good thing. While he’s certainly had his share of laugh-out-loud moments, Moe is a character best served in small doses. That’s why, along with counting down his five greatest episodes, we’ve included his five worst, too, so that perhaps one day the show will tone him down to the bare essentials.
Note: Moe has starred in 15 Moe-centric episodes, meaning those where he is not only driving the A story, but the title of the episode directly relates to his arc. Therefore, segments such as “The Love-Matic Grampa” from Season 8’s “The Simpsons Spin-off Showcase” and his Uncle Moe’s Family Feedbag B plot from Season 7’s “Bart Sells His Soul” could not be included. Gotta draw the line somewhere, people.
The Moe’st (And Least) Spectacular Moe Episodes Of The Simpsons
BEST MOE EPISODES
#5 – Season 13, Episode 3: “Homer the Moe”
Homer Simpson has held several dozen occupations over the past 27 seasons, but you’d be surprised how many different jobs Moe has had, as well. Of course, he’s usually still a bartender in most of these scenarios but has just shuffled things around at Moe’s Tavern to make it seem like it’s a new, exciting place. Once such instance came when he turned his bar into a trendy nightclub at the behest of his dead mentor. As the phonies flocked in, though, his regulars filtered out and he noticed the error of his ways. If only every Moe episode painted him in this light instead of the creepy, self-centered jerk he usually comes off as.
#4 – Season 3, Episode 10: “Flaming Moe’s”
Don’t let your nostalgia fool you into thinking that this is the greatest Moe episode of The Simpsons just because it’s well known. While it does contain many classic moments, that doesn’t necessarily mean it was the funniest 22 minutes of all time. Also, as we just mentioned, this is the first of many episodes to paint Moe as a genuine slimeball, only “learning his lesson” after things have already fallen apart. This is a sad and familiar trend when it comes to some of the worst episodes Moe has starred in, so stick around for more on that later. All that aside, this is still among the greatest he’s ever starred in. Let’s not sell it short. Speaking of which…
#3 – Season 20, Episode 16: “Eeny Teeny Maya Moe”
When Moe isn’t dissatisfied with his job, he’s desperately lonely. Those are about his only plot lines, and they’ve been used to death. That said, it was very refreshing to see a love story episode so late in the game that was actually well-written, funny and—while still ending with Moe messing everything up—heartfelt. Oh, and let’s not forget that it was full of vintage Moe moments, making it a hidden gem among the newer “Simpsons” episodes.
#2 – Season 9, Episode 16: “Dumbbell Indemnity”
Moe just can’t catch a break, but at least in this episode, neither his sad-sack side nor his bitter jerk side is played too prominently. In fact, right up until the end of the episode where he pretty much loses his mind, he actually seems like a pretty sweet guy with good intentions. The fact that Hank Azaria (the voice of Moe) and Helen Hunt (the voice of his girlfriend Renee in this episode) were dating at the time they recorded the dialogue for this episode only added to the chemistry here, making the romance seem much more real and engaging on top of the plot hitting on all cylinders.
#1 – Season 11, Episode 16: “Pygmoelian”
What would a hideous person do if they were gifted with good looks? Why, take their revenge on everyone who’s wronged them, of course! An angry Moe is a hilarious Moe, and no episode better illustrates that fact than this one. While the lesson learned segment at the end is totally rushed, it’s done so intentionally for laughs, putting the perfect end note on as close to a perfect Moe episode as we’ll likely ever get.
WORST MOE EPISODES
#5 – Season 18, Episode 6: “Moe’N’a Lisa”
The very worst Moe episodes are the ones where he comes off like a huge prick who only cares about himself. Oh, and when he’s painted as so desperate, pathetic and suicidal that it’s not even funny (but more on that with our “worst place” winner). Basically, in this episode, Lisa discovers that Moe is actually a very talented poet and makes him famous for it. All he then has to do is give her the slightest credit for believing in him, but he doesn’t. This is after not being able to come to terms with why no one seems to like him or remember him on special occasions such as his birthday. As you can probably tell, those are two themes that don’t really work well together.
#4 – Season 16, Episode 07: “Mommie Beerest”
Moe has always had a thing for Marge Simpson, but it’s usually only played for laughs. Not in this case, however. When his bar is about to go under, Moe turns to loyal pal Homer for money, which he gets by signing a new second mortgage on his house. Marge becomes so upset with Homer that she decides she now owns part of Moe’s Tavern and begins chumming around with him as a means of getting his business back on track. Of course, Moe sees this as an opportunity to steal Marge from Homer. He doesn’t succeed and comes off looking like a major scumbag in the process. Yet, not only is this glossed over, but Homer and Marge barely bat an eye and just move on. In real life, they would likely have stopped being friends altogether. But since it’s a cartoon with no ongoing plot, we’re just expected to move on and let it go, too.
#3 – Season 21, Episdoe 23: “Judge Me Tender”
The Simpsons sold out years ago, but this episode existed for no other reason than to pander to the lowest common denominator: American Idol fans. Really, there’s not much more too it. Moe starts insulting people, and for whatever reason, even though no one has liked him for it before, everyone embraces him completely and he becomes the latest snarky judge. Once he notices that people are actually starting not to like him, though, he has a change of heart. Because, you know, that all makes sense if you don’t think about it. The title of this episode should have been “Shameless American Idol Plug + Moe.”
#2 – Season 23, Episode 12: “Moe Goes From Rags to Riches”
This episode detailed the history of Moe’s bar rag, narrated by the bar rag (voiced by Jeremy Irons). You read that correctly. Also, it revealed that Moe is a yeti. Seriously, does any of that sound like a good idea? There is a B story involving Bart and Milhouse fighting over Bart treating Milhouse like crap. It’s very run-of-the-mill, and yet it’s leaps and bounds more interesting than the absurd premise of the main premise. By this point, the show was just out of ideas for a Moe plot, and it was blatantly obvious. Hence…
#1 – Season 24, Episode 19: “Whiskey Business”
Remember this clip from the end of the Season 13 episode “Gump Roast” where the show joked using very lame fake plots that they have stories for years? In “Whiskey Business,” Moe’s friends catch him trying to hang himself (hilarious, right?), so they buy him a new suit. All you can think while watching it is, “Maybe Moe gets a cell phone; has Bart ever owned a bear or how ’bout a crazy wedding?” All the Moe jokes are recycled and unfunny by this point (this is as least the third time they’ve done the “Moe tries to smile but looks hideous” gag), the new characters who take an interest in Moe’s homemade whiskey are as bland as possible, and the rest of the plot escapes you because it’s that unmemorable. But then again, so is the show these days, so it’s to be expected.
See, this is why we started with the good ones first.
Season 8, Episode 3: “The Homer They Fall”
Season 14, Episode 22: “Moe Baby Blues”
Season 21, Episode 21: “Moe Letter Blues”
Season 22, Episode 11: “Flaming Moe”
Season 26, Episode 15: “The Princess Guide”