In order to understand the gravitas of just how big The Simpsons was in its Golden Age, let's do a little Q&A.
Has any TV show in history had a perfect run? No, but this one came pretty close if you discount the 25 seasons that came after the end of the Golden Age.
Debuting in their own series in late-1989, The Simpsons was not only the pinnacle of adult animation during its heyday. This was the entire medium of adult animation, as no others yet existed. This doesn't mean the quality of the vastly remembered seasons have diminished over time; quite the opposite, as they're now widely considered to be some of the best episodic episodes in Television history, with nothing from season 9 onwards able to hold a torch near them.
Has any TV show been an unprecedented hit that's amassed fans from generations before and after its release? Absolutely. Multiple. This one in particular transcends pop-culture, as even if you refer to them through vague colloquialisms such as the yellow family or George Bush's only non-terroristic enemies, it's highly likely someone will instantly understand the subject of conversation.
Is The Simpsons ever going to end? Probably not.
Although the series' finale is potentially never going to exist - despite some alleging that about three or four episodes already aired are in fact the swansong - what can't be denied is the impact that it has had on TV history.
15. Mother Simpson
Not many episodes of The Simpsons tend to end with a still frame of reflection, and that piece of iconic imagery alone supersedes a lot of other extravagant, exceptional and evocative episodes, but the twenty-something minutes that precede it are sheer heart-wrenching magnificence, as Homer meets his long lost, estranged mother in a masterclass of storytelling.
Glenn Close takes up the mantle of Mona Simpson for the first time in the series - which she would go on to reprise a handful of times until the character's death - imbuing professionalism in droves as she does so. Mona appears to Homer after he fakes his own death, which leads to an ironic reflection of what he was told to believe about his mother growing up.
Once she comes back into the fray, Homer is elated at the prospect of having a relationship with the mother that left him - for extremely selfish reasons - back in the 1960s, until a local old foe (guess who) happens to recognise her from all those years before.
Mona is forced to leave her family once again to evade arrest, leaving Homer pondering an existential crisis as a moment he didn't know he spent his life waiting for had hastily materialised.
All of this makes Mother Simpson a really emotional episode that stands out on multiple merits.