Oh Me Oh My

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Why The Simpsons Needs to be Cancelled


I never thought I would utter those words, but after Sunday’s episode I realize more than ever that the show has been over for years, and what remains is a sad shell of its former glory.

In an episode of Buffy (wow Simpsons & Buffy in one post—nerd fanboy alert!) Buffy’s sister misses their recently deceased mother so much that she conjures a spell to bring her back to life. It is understood that this is a mistake as the resurrected creature will be soulless, but a mourning Dawn completes the spell anyway. As we see the shadow of their mother approach the door Buffy and Dawn tearfully accept that they will never see their true mother again and tear up the picture of her used in the spell; the shadow disappears and they weep.

It’s time The Simpsons’ picture was ripped up (arguably it was time like 7 seasons ago). The problem is the same. The show that appears Sundays at 8:00 p.m. is like the shadow outside the door; lacking a soul it’s just a random string of poorly written jokes joined by a barely coherent storyline. We watch because it looks so much like the show that was once so sharp and witty—a biting satire so subtle it could take aim at major targets like religion or the government, or even the very network it was on and get away with it. The Simpsons felt realer than any lame sitcom family because the characters made you care. Now it’s painfully clear they’re just caricatures—cartoons; flat pictures with missing dimensions.

This Sunday I barely smiled during The Simpsons but found myself laughing throughout Family Guy. Nothing against FG, but even its funniest gags can’t hold a candle to The Simpsons in its prime. If you watch FG in repeats you’ll see what I mean. A pop culture joke or an “I can’t believe they went there” gag, both funny at the time, grow a bit stale on repeat viewings. Fans of The Simpsons not only reference the show but it becomes part of their vernacular; they refer to it without even knowing they are, in that way it sorta permeated popular culture and worked its way into our everyday. The fact that books have been written using The Simpsons to debate theology, philosophy and politics speaks volumes about its ability to cross cultural lines.

Today The Simpsons runs on implausible side stories, minor character histories, and thin predictable archetypes. For years I have watched and waited, hoping that The Simpsons of old would return—and though for a while there were smatterings of laughter I think I have finally come to terms with the death of what I consider the greatest comedy in television history. I will watch until the bitter end because much like a children’s recital, you go not because it’s good, but because you love the people performing, even if they’re not very good.

Simpsons of old, thanks for teaching us that comedy is nothing more than an incisive observation humorously phrased and delivered with impeccable timing. Simpsons of new, here’s hoping this is your last season.


At 9:14 a.m., Blogger Earl Falco said...

That's DEEP like the hole in my heart :'(...NERD!!! ya it sucks i watched the same episode. too bad soo sad :P

At 10:57 a.m., Blogger -loo-bot- said...

The past few seasons' episodes are ones I don't mind missing on a Sunday night...and if there was a good episode I missed, I'm sure it'll turn up in the reruns but along with the bad ones...sigh.


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