Everyone's got favorite things — movies, books, TV shows, comics, albums, games — but they weren't always their favorites. Love at first sight isn't necessarily rare when it comes to really good stuff, but in some cases it takes an extra reading, viewing, or listening, or a specific episode or instance for the most-favored status to really crystallize. So what are your favorite things (genre or otherwise), and when did you realize you really, really liked them?
One of my favorite shows of all time is The Simpsons, or at least the majority of the episodes from the '90s. I thought the show was brilliant and funny and subversive when it first came out, but the first couple of years were kind of scattershot — too much Bart, weird voices, occasionally jerky animation. For me, the really big epiphanic moment was the third season episode "Burns Verkaufen Der Kraftwerk," in which Homer hears the phrase "Land of Chocolate" and fantasizes rapturously about a land made entirely of chocolate. It was a totally random moment with nothing to do with the main plot, and it went on forever, exploring the full implications of Homer's dream world. (I'm pretty sure this was around the time Conan O'Brien had joined the writing staff, and the show had begun to embrace random absurdity and weirdness over more realistic stories.) I think it was at that point that I realized the show could be about anything, and more importantly, Homer evolved from being a parody of a dimwit '50s dad to a holy fool. Up until then I'd been a fan of the show, but from that moment on, it was in my mind.