Oh yeah, that's the episode that started the Mike Scully's era of really good Lisa stories. But, it's at least tied with Lisa's Substitute for best Lisa episode. I think we can agree, though, that both are better than Lisa the vegetarian. But Homer at Bat has to sit at the top of all time greats if only because it marks a lot of firsts: Overloaded with guest stars, significant surreal departures and gags, manufactured nostalgia, and 'Talkin' Softball.'
My only problem with Homer at the Bat is that it’s TOO guest star heavy; it marginalizes the whole Simpson family except for Homer. Otherwise it’s great, definitely top 10%. I’m tempted to grab Seasons 3-5 and watch them all in a marathon. I think you can make an argument for almost every episode in that span. I had actually forgotten about Lisa’s Substitute, but immediately upon thinking about it recalled how good it was. It also had that charm of figuring out Dustin Hoffman was there without being beaten over the head with it. They can’t pull that off with guests anymore, which is a turn that was taken around the time of Homer at the Bat. This is hard.
“You know who my gods are, who I believe in fervently? Herman Melville, Emily Dickinson — she’s probably the top — Mozart, Shakespeare, Keats. These are wonderful gods who have gotten me through the narrow straits of life.”—Maurice Sendak on religion and faith. [complete interviews here] (via nprfreshair)
“The lyrics of this particular song are so ethereal and multifaceted, and so clearly designed not to be interpreted one way, that unpacking them in relation to Mad Men would be foolish, and in any event, I seriously doubt that series creator Matthew Weiner and this episode’s principal crew intend us to. (It’s certainly not as simple as, ‘This song signaled the true beginning of the Sixties, and y’know, their next album was Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, which was all psychedelic!’) But some lyrics do jump out, particularly, ‘It is not dying, it is not dying’ and ‘surrender to the void.’ The first line resonates because it can be read as both truth and denial of truth: the abysses that the characters peer into in ‘Lady Lazarus’ (which is named after a Holocaust-, suicide- and death-laden poem by Sylvia Plath, who eventually took her own life) do not represent dying, and yet at the same time they do. They’re images of potential death, or little personal deaths, or unspecified oblivions, or the unknown — the void. You can’t fight the void, or even knowledge of the void. You must surrender to it, let it wash over your or flow into you, then get on with life.”—Matt Zoller Seitz on last night’s Mad Men. (via marathonpacks)