Sports On TV: The Simpsons’ 20 Greatest Golden Age Sports Moments

4 Soap Box Derby

What Happens: Homer takes a fatherhood quiz and realizes he knows next to nothing about Bart, so, with a little help from Bill Cosby’s Fatherhood, he builds a soapbox racer with his son. During a qualifying race, Bart becomes intimidated by Nelson’s vehicle, the Roadkill 2000 (“It took me months to steal that bumper”), and joins forces with Martin, whose racer…actually works. Sort of. Martin wins the race, but injures himself in the process, due to a malfunctioning parachute.

While recovering in the hospital, Martin asks Bart to drive his racer for him, which he agrees to, choosing the new ride over the one he made with “Team Simpsons.” Homer pouts, Mayor Quimby stares at the boobs of the lady in the fourth row, and Springfield is treated to a race “the world has not seen the likes of … since the French carried Lucky Lindy off on their shoulders from Le Bourget Field”.

Key line: “Okay, Bart, we’ve got a lot of work to do on the car, so I’m going to pull you out of school for the next couple of weeks.”

“Saturdays of Thunder” is an episode that feels out of place. It originally aired November 14, 1991, during season three, right when The Simpsons was evolving from a great sitcom to the greatest sitcom of all-time. In fact, it’s bookended by “Lisa’s Pony” and “Flaming Moe’s,” two classics, and has always reminded of season two’s “Dead Putting Society” to me. That’s not to say it’s a bad episode — there are no bad episodes of The Simpsons between seasons 2-13, especially when McBain’s involved — but not unlike the soapbox derby plot, it hasn’t aged well, either.

Except for the line, “The compound fracture, truly one of football’s greatest injuries.” That one’s as brilliant now as it was then.