Beginning today, FXX will air all 552 (!) episodes of The Simpsons in chronological order.
It'll be the longest such marathon in TV history, and while Simpsons fans are an obsessive lot, we doubt many will be up to the task of watching the entire 12-day stretch. (Though we wouldn't be surprised if some careers and marriages are sacrificed in the attempt.)
Pinning down the best episodes from the iconic series' 25-season run is a nigh impossible task, but here's a list of 17 indispensable installments. Use it as a guide, set your DVR, and hopefully maintain your employment:
Of course, no show can remain consistently brilliant for two-and-a-half decades, so naturally some days will require more of your time than others.
The marathon began at 10 this morning with the pilot/Christmas special "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire," and while that episode is rife with sentimental appeal for those of us old enough to remember its debut, the general consensus among fans is that Groening and company didn't really hit their stride until season 3.
The show's true glory days may have begun with the Conan O'Brien-penned "Marge Vs. the Monorail," but like all things Simpsons, that's a matter of tense debate amongst fans.
We combined our own opinions with a very informal survey to compile the list above, but feel free to bring the combined rage of Mr. Burns and a thwarted Sideshow Bob to the comments section to tell us all the classics we left out.
Regardless of your opinion on which episode reigns supreme, there are a few things upon which all fans should be able to agree:
1. The Justin Bieber cameo was not the show's high point.
2. The ability to watch The Simpsons online is on the short list of things that makes life worth living.
3. Overly fanatical devotion to one of TV's most brilliant comedies may well be (to paraphrase Homer) the cause of, and solution to...all of life's problems.