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'The Simpsons' Wearing Out Its Welcome?

Simpsons_FamilyPicture  The Simpsons has been on the air for two thirds of my life. Damn.



And while it was ground-breaking and extremely funny for far longer than most series, live-action or animated, I contend that The Simpsons' run has been about 8-12 years longer than it should have been. Don't get me wrong, I tune in from time to time and occasionally chuckle, but if we're being honest about The Simpsons value to pop culture, we must admit that it stopped being truly great around the time Matt Groening developed Futurama, and it never really recovered. The Simpsons seems to continue its run for the sake of tradition, like 60 Minutes

Simpsons_FamilyPicture
 
Of course, even as I clamor for its cancellation, it would be difficult the imagine television without The Simpsons. While I have memories of life before it first aired, they are foggy at best. I remember far more vividly arguing with my mom who said I was not allowed to watch it because Bart said "crap." My mom didn't want me getting the idea from some damn cartoon that I was allowed to say "crap." If she could have heard then the potty mouth on my 29-year old adult self, she would have realized resistance was futile. The point is, I have few memories of a world without The Simpsons, and the show is a beloved favorite, but its prime was reached over a decade ago, and its continued existence is bordering on sad. Children coming of age now probably have no idea that The Simpsons used to be fucking hilarious and, at times, poignant, sophisticated and complex. 

Even if Groening did decide to mercifully pull the plug on The Simpsons (which he won't), its influence on television and pop culture would still be palpable. The first "adult," primetime cartoon, The Simpsons proved that animation was not just for children, and spawned series such as South Park, Family Guy and Groening's own Futurama. While those shows exhibit varying degrees of awesome, The Simpsons in its heyday was superior to any of its successors.The fact that The Simpsons is no longer all that funny isn't even really the fault of the show creators and writers— it was so incredible in its first 8-10 years that, at a certain point, it really could only go downhill or repeat itself. There is even an episode of South Park called "Simpsons Already Did It" that demonstrates how all the truly good story ideas have already been done before by The Simpsons.

So, rather than watching and celebrating its 450th episode and 21st season, I would rather remember The Simpsons when it was truly great by reflecting upon my favorite episode ever, "El Viaje de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer)." In that episode, Homer eats some chili made by Chief Wiggum that has been spiced by Guatemalan Insanity Peppers. The peppers send Homer on a psychedelic vision quest with his spirit guide, a coyote voiced by Johnny Cash. This episode, which first aired 12 years ago, was truly the peak of The Simpsons' brilliance:







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Comments

Renee

You said it all.

You know those people who quote The Simpsons, because everything in The Simpsons is quotable and relates somehow to everyday life? Yeah, me neither anymore, because it's just not the same show. God help me, I MISS the days when The Simpsons was quotable, and I HATED that Simpsons-quoting guy.

Now I'm depressed. Off to watch Homer's vision quest (which by the way, helped me explain to my husband what Locke was trying to do in that one episode of Lost... "It's like in the Simpsons episode with Homer and the coyoye." "OH!!! Okay, now I get it." Oh Simpsons........)

thepsychobabble

I still tune in on a regular basis. And, #badmommy confession, my 4yr old loves the older episodes. (We don't watch new ones with her, b/c 1)past bedtime, and 2)I like to screen 'em first, lol)

Part of it is that, for me, The Simpsons is like comfort food. It's always there for me, it's usually going to elicit a few laughs, no matter how down I am....

I'd be sad to see them go.

Ed

The Flintstones originally aired in prime time, and I'm pretty sure it was originally aimed at an adult audience. (Its original sponsor was Winston cigarettes.) Its cultural references would definitely pass over the heads of most kids at the time.

I'm old.

BHJ

Let's never discuss this.

Jessi

My mom wouldn't let me or my brother watch The Simpsons because the parents are dumber than the kids. She wanted to make sure we didn't ever think we were smart enough to overthrow the parental regime.

Becca

RE: The Flintstones - Yeah, but they were just a Honeymooners ripoff.




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