Or how I learned to stop worrying and enjoy The Simpsons later seasons.
I’ve reconnected with The Simpsons lately. Work, University and a general lack of attention span has meant that when I come in of an evening, I’ve been looking for something not-too-demanding and brief before I fall asleep or get lured onto the ‘Book of Face’ by some inane minutiae. It started with the Futurama crossover episode ‘Simpsorama’ and the curiosity of seeing a show cut short in its prime teaming up with a show past its prime. But that’s the thing, I found myself enjoying late period Simpsons and there is nothing wrong with that, heck I’m proud of it even.
Mathematically the general consensus on the supposed decline of America’s First Family™ was inevitable, anything that receives the across the board critical praise as the first eight or so seasons of The Simpsons is likely to come a cropper if continues its presence on the airwaves. They’re competing with themselves. Critics and audiences love that narrative, it adds drama and gives us a declarative to make in drinking establishments before we get wistful for the good ‘ol days.
That’s not to say that people are wrong when proclaiming the early years were the best/funniest/emotional/heart-warming, I’d wager 2-9 are some of the greatest television ever made but that’s no reason not to enjoy what the later seasons have to offer. It all depends on what you want from sitcoms or how you view it. If you view The Simpsons as high art, some perfect shrink wrapped testament to the greatness of television then yes its continued presence on the airwaves may be troubling and continues to dilute perfection. But if, like most of us if we care to admit it, we just want something to make us laugh and have a good time then join me on the Season Twenty-Whatever Party Bus! You haven’t seen these ones a thousand times. Is it awful or just not as good? And bear in mind those early years were exceptional. And how does it stack up against the rest of the televisual landscape? I’d still take The Simpsons over Blue Mountain State…
“What? Can’t we sit on the couch without something happening?” – Lisa
The British sitcom Last of The Summer Wine ran for 31 series. I was no great fan because I’m not a pensioner, but the programme routinely pulled in strong audiences in a Sunday night slot before it was cancelled by the BBC because it didn’t fit into the Beeb’s view of the kind of “boundary pushing” television it should be making. Now the audience of old folks at home, tuning in before the Antiques Roadshow, probably weren’t concerned with the consistency of Last of The Summer Wine or how it measured up to the quality of the early years, they just fancied a giggle with familiar televisual friends. That’s okay.
Now if you genuinely have been an early Simpsons fan and genuinely can hand-on-heart state that the series as is doesn’t illicit any laughs from you…then I don’t believe you but you have every right to sound the series’ death knell, go with God.