The Simpsons is an animated sitcom about the antics of a dysfunctional family called the Simpsons (surprise surprise). Homer is the oafish unhealthy beer loving father, Marge is the hardworking homemaker wife, Bart is the ten year old underachiever (and proud of it), Lisa is the unappreciated eight year old genius, and Maggie is the cute, pacifier loving silent infant. Written by
The current voice actor of Professor Frink, tried out and then stuttered a "MoHOiVin" sound and has caught on to how his character acts. See more »
Fat Tony's real name changes from episode to episode, but this is probably intentional because it is common for Mafia hit men (in popular culture, and possibly in reality as well) to have many different identities. See more »
The annual Halloween specials are generally the only Simpsons shows to actually display the episode title on screen. The opening credits for these specials are usually altered or completely substituted with something else in keeping with the theme. See more »
Blind loyalty and network greed has ruined what used to be an animated masterpiece
Network: Fox; Genre: Animated Comedy, Parody, Satire; Content Rating:
TV-PG (language, adult contend and animated nudity); Available: DVD and
syndication everywhere; Perspective: Classic (star range: 1 - 5);
Seasons Reviewed: Season 12+
If someone had told me 10 years ago that I would one day be bored by
'The Simpsons', I would have called them crazy. But here we are and
while 'The Simpsons' has become the longest running show on TV at the
cost of its core integrity. "Simpsons" in its prime was the best things
to grace the small screen. A funny, ground-breaking animated comedy
with lightening-quick wit, insightful social and brilliantly integrated
parody. It created its own universe with an entire town of original
characters. Most importantly, it actually helped shape the sense of
humor of an entire generation. That generation which has now grown up
and is now creating animated shows in direct competition.
"Simpsons" is a pale shadow of its former greatness. It gradually
slipping this way for several years, but it wasn't until the 2002 and
2003 seasons that the show really smashed up against the rocks for
good. I used to delight in each new episode of "Simpsons". But now the
show clunks along each week in what appears to be filling time. The
free-wheeling gags it used to deliver with such ease are now weighted
down by an unnecessary over importance on story. The show at its best
may get off a funny, sharp one-liner every now and then. It's biggest
asset currently is it's willingness and given latitude to slam its own
network. I do delight in their "Joe Millionaire" on-air promo parodies
or a recent episode where Homer calls to give the network an idea and
the recording says something like "If you know of another network's
reality show we can rip off, press 2..."
So what happened? There really is no one thing that can easily be
pointed out to all the late-commers and say "this is what happened" -
you have to have traced the history. The 'jump the shark' moment could
have come as early as the infamous Frank Grimes episode where our
vision of The Simpson family was suddenly turned into something to
aspire to instead of parody. It could be the legion of big name
celebrities forced into every episode. To bring down a show as great as
this, it was a slow convergence of several things.
Watching it, 3 differences are evident on-screen at any given time:
First, the stripping down most of the characters to 1-note cartoons.
Notably, British favorite Homer Simpson going from child-like,
hard-luck father to a rag-doll for wild animals to rip apart as each
episode closes. I'm particularly appalled at its attempts to use Homer
as a political mouthpiece. Did you know that a guy who once lit a Q-tip
so he could see inside his brain has an active concern for global
politics? Yeah, I didn't either.
Secondly, the classic Baby Boomer voice of the series has evaporated
and was replaced with contemporary generation X and Y jokes. Now, it's
the internet and Tony Hawke. The voice of the series used to be one of
creator Matt Groening's, seen through the eyes of Homer and Marge. That
voice has been lost as the show has turned into an assembly line
institution, repackaged and been homogenized for the masses and a new
generation of writers lead by Ian Maxton-Graham has come in to "keep it
Thirdly, it has run out of creative juice. Anyone who has stuck with
the show long enough can see it literally re-telling jokes and recycle
previous story lines. When the recycling becomes too obvious or the
episode makes no sense, they merely double back and declare it all a
big self-parody. Not even Al Jean (architect of the show in its prime
and the Larry David of "The Simpsons") can save it now.
Since the talented voice cast has remained the same low these many
years, I put all the blame on this squarely with the Fox network who
refused to let this show go out gracefully when Groening siphoned off
his role to work on his dream project, the now far superior 'Futurama'.
In Fox's race to claim this endurance record they have turned a once
edgy and visionary show into an institution with an assembly line
production and revolving door of writers to match any of the other lame
shows on TV. Behind the scenes, maybe the condescending
we-can-do-no-wrong attitude of Maxton-Graham has dealt the show its
biggest death blow, while producer Mike Scully sat back and ineptly let
Maxton-Graham run it into the ground.
In the end, the biggest blame may actually land with the "die-hard
fans" that embolden the show by letting it get away with this junk.
Yes, "The Simpsons" was ground-breaking and every adult animation in
the future owns it a bit of gratitude, but blind loyalty to a show only
for how it performed in the past isn't healthy.
Since it has hit long-running status the critical bandwagon jumping has
begun and "Simpsons" is more popular than ever amongst critics that
want to be on the inside of history. We've now reached a point where
the bad episodes and bad entire seasons outweigh the good and that, I'm
afraid, is going to be the sad legacy of "Simpsons" . A train-wreck of
crass, childish humor, grainy animation, oddly misplaced satire and
forced parodies of only the most obvious pop culture targets.
10 years ago I didn't know what I would do without "The Simpsons" but
now, particularly with the emergence of satisfying new adult animated
shows ('Futurama', 'Family Guy' and 'South Park'), living without it
might be pretty good.
* * / 5
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