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Has The Simpsons gone totally rubbish now?

69% (9 votes)
31% (4 votes)
Total votes: 13


Jabberwocky's picture
Submitted by Jabberwocky on

There are some eps which I find incredibly uncreative and some which I think are still quite OK. To my mind, the problem with the Simpsons is that of most animated shows, but magnified by the fact that they've been running for over ten years now: the characters became stiff stereotypes and most episodes are merely about playing with those stereotypes or playing off one stereotypical character against another.
The show has undergone several "changes", like moving the focus away from Bart and towards Homer, but some worthwhile character elements didn't make it past the one episode in which they got introduced. Take that first Nelson episode, for example, in which he was a real bully with cowardly sidekicks. Now he's just the boy who goes "ha, ha" whenever someone goofs up. The last "groundbreaking" change they really made was turning Barney from an alcohol addict into a coffee addict for a time.
What I suppose they did was create a catalogue of things characters will do and say under certain circumstances to make it easier for the many writers working on The Simpsons to come up with scripts that stay true to the "spirit" of the original creations. As I see it, this led to a kind of creative vaccuum in which the only way of coming up with something novel was resort to the most unlikely pairings and incidents. Homer and family going to counseling just isn't over-the-top enough anymore.

evansvisualarts's picture

When the Simpson's first started it was on the crest of the wave. It was an animation series that both adult and children could enjoy, it was new and exciting. However, now shows like South Park and Family Guy are on the top of the wave, they themselves maynot also have great solid storylines but they are pushing the boundaries further and so are at the comedy edge. The Simpson's though are being left behind, they can't be as daring and risque as those other shows because their stuck with a limit of how far they can go. In fact now it seems they are just aiming more at the kids with their Saturday morning roadrunner antics. They are not fresh anymore and as you said they have stalled as sterotypes making every character predictable and hence boring.

Would it be TOO daring to perhaps stop the show for a few years then come back with the Simpson's at a new stage?

Make Bart and Lisa teenagers, this would open up a flood gate of new storylines to play with, you would av your pick of good solid stories and accounts to write about. It could even be more grown up humour still to run along or passed other animations of the day! Let the kids enjoy the re-runs who enjoy no brainers and let their more mature audiences enjoy a show which is growing up with them!

skinnylizard's picture

i think its run on too long regardless. there is always going to be off episodes but i think the run they have had has been too long.

Harvey Human's picture

You're asking two very different questions here:
"[b]Are the new Simpon's series getting worse?" and
"[/b]Has The Simpsons gone totally rubbish now?"

To the first, I answer "yes but by a small amount."

To the second, I respond "no."

(And I'm not taking your poll since you can't get your question straight.)

I was disappointed with The Simpsons until season 3, and then disappointed again after season 5 and ever since; but there are still occasional good episodes and it's usually pretty entertaining although not as fresh and hilarious as it was a decade ago.

Compared to other long-running series, it's done pretty well. You mentioned South Park. Well, that's a series that dried up after its 5th season. South Park is rarely fresh, funny, or even entertaining anymore although occasionally they have a good episode.

Thunderobot's picture

welll i still have to say for a show that has run for about 17 years the simpsons has been a great show. I will admit that most episodes now are worse and some are even just..bad but they still have some really really great ones every now and then.

But yeah i agree i think the show should be canned.(and futurama should come back)

blinkmetoys's picture

Last seasons Simpsons was awesome. the best one in a long time. i havnt watched much of this season though so i cant really say how it has gone......

"who wouldn't want to make stuff for me? I'm awesome." -Bloo

Harvey Human's picture

Yes, why can't all animation be about cutesy-wutesy, doe-eyed bunnies?

sajdera, you shouldn't use the word "shitting" in your posts.
It corrupts the moral fabric of society.

Ant-eater's picture
Submitted by Ant-eater on

I think it jumped the shark in and around that whole Homer goes to space episode. There were still a lot of good episodes back then, but after that it became harder for the Simpsons to be just the average family. By the late nineties they were mostly crap, and increasingly obnoxious. The art had become stiff and toned down from what you got in the earlier series. All those guest celebrities that made their way onto the show made for the most boring character designs, and the Simpsons entered their own Twilight Zone where anything could happen, but so what. It's very hard to get caught up in the bad Simpsons episodes, because why bother giving a damn about the characters. They're just going to hit the reset button at the end of the episode anyway. The whole postmodern self-referential humour thing is old.

The Simpsons used to be good though. Really good. Deftly observed satire with emotional resonance. It was a very careful balance between the wierd and the normal. It's very surprising that it was as good as it was for so long. It's equally surprising to me that it's been as bad as it has been for so long and is still around.

Jabberwocky's picture

The Garfield-Simpsons comparison isn't bad, but Matt Groening started out as a cartoonist doing strips for indie magazines, slowly working his way up to newspapers which eventually led to him being asked to develop animated segments for the Tracy Ullman show, whereas Jim Davis began as an assistant to Tom K. Ryan and meticulously planned Garfield to become a merchandise vehicle.
America already had its top dog (Snoopy) so Davis came up with a cat character in direct competition. Many readers could (and still can) relate to the problems of obesity which is why Garfield became fat - and didn't care about it. In fact, Garfield opposes all and everything trying to make him feel bad about his faults and habits and thus has the advantage of not making his readers think too hard about the disadvantages of their own way of life. Consequently, you'll find very little social commentary or references to prevailing political and/or social problems. In short, Garfield is a no-brainer which in his case is a key selling point.

victorialatham's picture

im just happy to see an episode that isnt a repeat!

Daniel Poeira's picture

I think they should dump all the main characters and stick to the only one that really matters: Lenny!!! :D

ewomack's picture
Submitted by ewomack on

That's the problem with bigtime mainstream success - you start making too many people too much money and no one will allow it to quit when it's time. When the advertising revenues dry up then it will disappear.

The comic "Calvin & Hobbes" represents a good example of quitting before the material goes stale. And it will remain all the better for it.

Ant-eater's picture
Submitted by Ant-eater on

So there's the confession. Yes, I have enjoyed the Simpsons. No, I'm not Tipper Gore out to spoil your day, but seriously, anything else relating to the Simpsons is soul-draining poison.

Why is the Simpsons animated anyway? What if Seinfeld or Cheers had been animated? Would they have run for over 10 years? Maybe. But that's the only reason it's being discussed here, and why it's popular. Work like The Secret of NIMH inspired me to want to animate, like Les Claypool inspired me to pick up the bass. The Simpsons puts me to sleep.

Oh come on. "Soul draining poison"? "Toxic junk"? I know it sounds cool to put it down in such dramatic fashion, but it's just a cartoon, and as cartoons go, it used to be pretty good. Compared to what was available at the time, it was a revelation. It has probably reached the point now where the good is outweighed by the bad, but there's no reason to chuck the baby out with the bathwater. Many of the old episodes are still gems. Of course there's only so many times you can rewatch them, and it probably is time to move on.

Comparing the Simpsons to Secret of Nimh is bizarre. As feature animation, it is a lot more elaborate than what can be done for tv. So what. It doesn't have the sacrasm or cynicism of the Simpsons, that's certainly refreshing these days, but the pixie dust inspirational approach to animation can also get stale and insincere when overused. I like Secret of Nimh, it has a lot of heart and it certainly looks nice, but it's no masterpiece either.

What happened to the Simpsons happened to Popeye, Looney Tunes, Scooby Doo, lots of cartoons and characters. They become so successful that they just keep on making them untill no one is interested anymore. It gets so a lot of people's livelyhoods depend on them continuing. The people making the big money stick around, because they want to keep up their own lifestyles. Anyone who was talented and ambitious always seems to move on. But you can't let the ensuing mediocrity obscure the good work done by these people in the begining.

Ant-eater's picture
Submitted by Ant-eater on

Just what is the redeeming factor of Homer? That he's the "average guy?"

I agree with you there. They really went a bit too far with Homer. But Homer was never supposed to be an aspirational character. That type of heroic character has it's place, but Homer was always supposed to be more of an everyman. He's flawed like most of us, selfish even. But he cares about his family, and has good intentions. Well you get that in the older episodes anyway. Look at the Simpsons Christmas special. He used to redeem himself. But when they realised they were getting big laughs out of his stupidity and selfishness, they started to play it up more and more. Eventually they went too far, and he became an unsympathetic buffoon.

Besides, how patronising would it be if they were constantly condemning Homer for his behaviour? Oh well, at least they haven't made him as unlikable as his alter ego in Family Guy.

Anyway I still maintain that they used to do some fantastic satire. Look at some of the stuff they did with Krusty, or Mayor Quimby. They took a lot of shots at the crassness of popular culture. The trouble is, they became as commercialised as anything they were satirizing. Then they started satirizing themselves, as though this made them immune to criticism. They even satirised what they had done with Homer in the Frank Grimes episode.

So are you just hating The Simpsons to balance out all the love it gets? By all means, 'don't believe the hype', but don't kneejerk against it either. Now I happen to really like all the examples you gave, but it's not neccessary to tear down the Simpsons to demonstrate how good they are. If you're going to use the Simpsons as a measuring pole, and then say they're better than it, well that's not saying much, since you're already saying the Simpsons is basically rubbish.

Okay that's enough out of me. Don't think you're impressing anyone with your ability to dismiss something as 'total crap'. That might be dramatic, but it's not true, and you even acknowledge that it's not all crap. I can respect your right to like one thing over another.