What happened to the Simpsons?
Have you watched the latest episode of the Simpsons? They are currently up to their 28th season and are worth over a billion dollars thanks to merchandise.
It also sucks!
Ok that was an opinion and is completely subjective, but even if you still enjoy watching the Simpsons you must admit there was been a decline in quality and story arcs for a while now. But the question is why? Did the writers run out of steam? Were all the good stories told and so all that was left were zany antics and celebrity cameos? SOMETHING must have happened!
Firstly lets set up a timeline of when things started going downhill? Again this is very subjective as everyone has their own opinion as when they feel the show stopped being good, however most tend to agree somewhere between season 8 and season 12 is where quality stopped.
For me personally, Season 8 had some great episodes and some ok episodes but season 9 is where the show started to go downhill- and downhill fast it went.
But WHY? Well for me there are three easily identifiable reasons why the show started to suck:
- There were no morals to the stories
- There was no reason to feel emotionally invested in what the characters were doing
- And there was no consistent story
In Season 2, “Bart The Daredevil”. Bart sees a Daredevil at a show and attempts to become one himself. To find a worthy challenge he decides to jump Springfield Gorge. Homer tries everything to stop him but instead does it himself (if not accidentally), not because it is a wacky thing to do, but to stop his son from doing something stupid.
There was a start, there was an investment, and there was a conclusion. A good solid story. Maybe not one of the best but it least it was a story!
Now compare that to something recent in Season 26 “Opposites A Frack”. The story starts with Patty and Selma inviting themselves to stay and Homer in an effort to stop them says they have to give up smoking, through them trying to smoke in the bathroom the water catches fire. This then leads to them discovering a Fracking operation by Mr Burns. They get Democratic Assemblywoman Maxine Lombard to stop it. Mr Burns and Maxine start an affair which ends badly while Homer is trying to convince everyone Fracking is great because it will give them cash. Homer and Marge are on opposite ends, have a fight and then make up, causing Mr Burns and Maxine to also get back together.
Did that seem convoluted? Pointless? Starting off at Point A and then deciding to take a detour into the Gamma quadrant instead of Point B? That’s because it was. And this is the very essence that makes up most Simpsons episodes now. You start at one point but end nowhere near where you should. Morals and emotional investment is shoved aside to have the next wacky thing happen.
Now occasionally you do get some OK episodes in later seasons…”Yolo” in Season 25 is a good example (the one with Homer’s Pen Pal Eduardo). It has a good message, a fun story, and the ending is very sweet. Does it make up for the rest of the garbage in season 25? No! But it just goes to prove is you go through enough shit you will eventually find a gold filling someone swallowed.
Rather than end this on a “everything suck” note, here are my absolute favorite Simpsons Episodes which always get me smiling if not laughing out loud.
Last Exit to Springfield (Dental Plan) [Season 4, Ep 17]
There are just so many great lines and scenes from this episode. It is by far the funnest episode they ever did! From the Dentist..
“Why must you turn my office into a house of lies”
“DENTAL PLAN! Lisa needs braces. DENTAL PLAN”
To the bit of Mr Burns going through all that security to turn off the power.
It is just a solid episode and my absolute favorite.
You only move twice (Scorpio) [Season 8, Ep 2]
Scorpio is by far one of the best characters the Simpsons ever created. A literal James Bond..I mean…James Blarn villain, Homer has no idea he is working for an evil genius which makes all his interactions that much funnier. The scene where Scorpio is fighting the troops with a flame thrower and laughing manically always cracks me up!
Bart Vs Australia [Season 6, Ep 16]
This was one of the first times the Simpsons went anywhere and it was to Australia, where we live. The crazy way they stereotyped us Australians is by far the funniest interpretation I have seen in media without it being offensive. And just because we will happily give you guys a boot up the arse and it is that easy for us to call our local representatives has nothing to do with anything!
Mother Simpson [Season 7, Ep 8]
This episode might not be laughs a minute but it certainly is a favorite. Having Homer reconnect with his mother only to lose her was heartbreaking but hopeful. It was a touching ending…and Mr Burns wanting to smash into the house to Ride of the Valkyries only to come barging into Xanadu was hilarious.
The Springfield Files (Homer and the alien) [Season 8,Ep 10]
Anything with Richard Nemoy is always a win. Telling an X-filesesque story with Agent Mullder and Skully appearing, Moe and his Seaworld racket and ‘Homer is a Dope’ shirts, it is just a very funny and solid episode.
What about you? Tell us what your favorite Simpsons Episode is and you could win this month’s FANDOM CARD OF THE MONTH (for full details click here)