What are the most quoted episodes of the Simpsons?

Most submissions to the /r/TheSimpsons subreddit are quotes from the Simpsons. (Example.) Users can tag or “flair” a submission with the relevant episode.

This project uses the BigQuery Reddit Posts dataset to scrape all 62,279 submissions to /r/TheSimpsons between December 2015 and February 2019. After cleaning the data, I was left with 31,625 submissions that had reasonable episode flairs, which allowed me to rank every Simpsons episode by (1) the number of submissions to the subreddit, and (2) total karma earned portioned out by the cosmos.

The data can be found here.

The most quoted episode is …

By both number of submissions as well as total karma, the number one episode is Season 6 Episode 21, The PTA Disbands, the one where the teachers go on strike purple monkey dishwasher. It was submitted 281 times and earned 69,710 karma. If you didn’t think this episode was that good … ooh, that’s a paddlin’.

Number two by number of submissions is Season 4 Episode 17, Last Exit to Springfield, the one where Homer leads the nuclear power plant strike after a (eventual) revelation regarding Lisa’s orthodontic needs. It is classically acclaimed as the Best Episode Ever.

But number two by total karma is Season 8 Episode 8, Hurricane Neddy, the one where Springfield is hit by its first-ever hurricane, according to the records that only date back to 1978 when the Hall of Records was mysteriously blown away. It has the highest karma-to-submission ratio of any episode with at least 100 submissions, suggesting that if you want karma, but have tried nothin’ and are all out of ideas, this episode is a pretty good place to start.

Here’s the top ten episodes by number of submissions:

Rank Season Episode Title Submissions Karma Ratio
1 6 21 The PTA Disbands 281 69710 248.08
2 4 17 Last Exit to Springfield 267 55580 208.16
3 6 18 A Star Is Burns 255 54890 215.25
4 7 21 22 Short Films About Springfield 247 54075 218.93
5 5 10 $pringfield (or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling) 244 38238 156.71
6 5 3 Homer Goes to College 241 32499 134.85
7 4 12 Marge vs. the Monorail 241 20286 84.17
8 5 2 Cape Feare 237 54988 232.02
9 6 9 Homer Badman 229 21555 94.13
10 6 1 Bart of Darkness 225 36909 164.04

And by total karma:

Rank Season Episode Title Submissions Karma Ratio
1 6 21 The PTA Disbands 281 69710 248.08
2 8 8 Hurricane Neddy 194 65467 337.46
3 8 10 The Springfield Files 205 58433 285.04
4 8 6 A Milhouse Divided 199 57362 288.25
5 7 5 Lisa the Vegetarian 217 56767 261.60
6 4 17 Last Exit to Springfield 267 55580 208.16
7 5 2 Cape Feare 237 54988 232.02
8 6 18 A Star Is Burns 255 54890 215.25
9 7 21 22 Short Films About Springfield 247 54075 218.93
10 5 4 Rosebud 182 54052 296.99

You can see the full ranking here.

The conventional wisdom regarding the Simpsons’ Golden Age is reflected in Reddit submissions. There is a clear dropoff between Seasons 4-9 and the rest:

Those six seasons not only make up 67% of all submissions, but they also earned 75% of all karma:1

What’s even more interesting about the graph is that it also neatly reflects the dispute as to what the last season of the Golden Age was - some say Season 10, but some purists say Season 8 while insisting that the American flag doesn’t contain the word “Jordache”. This data seems to split the difference by suggesting that the right answer is Seasons 4-9, but with Season 9 hanging on by a thread. Of course, this is just Reddit’s opinion, which is not legally binding … unless Proposition 304 passes, and we all pray it will.


  • All flairs are user-submitted; many users don’t flair their posts, and the ones that do, don’t do it systematically. (Like the guy who flaired his post with “the one with the bear”.) Despite the cleaning I did on the data, it’s obviously still imperfect.
  • There’s a feedback loop in play: the kind of person that subscribes to a subreddit to see the same Simpsons quotes over and over again is of course going to be biased towards Seasons 4-9, even though there’s a lot of good material from later seasons.2
  • Although the data ranges from December 2015 to February 2018, the total karma earned rankings are heavily skewed towards recent submissions because of karma inflation, caused by the fact that Reddit and the Simpsons subreddit grow over time.

  1. There’s two interesting spikes in the karma graph. The Season 11 spike is almost entirely attributable to reposts of this one quote - perhaps the ultimate example of Simpsons Already Did It. And the Season 16 spike is attributable to this frequent repost each year on June 4. [return]
  2. There’s a surprising amount of “classic” Simpsons moments that actually postdate Season 9: “Stupid sexy Flanders!”, “Le Grille? What the hell is that?!”, and “Save me Jeebus!”, as well as the Trilogy of Error and Behind the Laughter episodes. [return]