TV Club: The great “Simpson Tide” may be the most ’90s episode of The Simpsons

As American television’s sharpest comedy of the ’90s, The Simpsons understandably bears the marks of the decade that surrounded its most popular and celebrated run. “Simpson Tide” reflects its time more strikingly than most. The references come quickly: Crimson Tide, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the Clapper, the Bartman, Cindy Crawford, Starbucks, David Schwimmer, the Tailhook scandal, Rodney King, and an indirect reference to the era’s lack of U.S. military entanglements.

On a commentary track notable for its long stretches of silence, executive producers Al Jean and Mike Reiss mention that, at the time of this episode, they’d worked on four episodes together. The other three had more sentimentality—they don’t name the other three episodes specifically, and IMDB offers little insight—and “Simpson Tide” was more of a silly lark. But people liked and remembered “Simpson Tide” more than the others.

That could …

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