I loved The Simpsons – but it’s time for it to die
Posted by  badge Boss on Dec 13, 2023 - 06:41PM
The Simpsons has been on our screens for over 30 years (Picture: Fox)

By now, there’s a decent chance you’ve seen a viral clip of The Simpsons doing the rounds online. 

Upon watching the video, shared by the animation’s account, showing Homer ranting about destination weddings, there’s a good chance you went through a similar thought process as me. 

It went: ‘Oh god, a clip from a recent episode. ! What’s happened to your voice? OK, so making a point, wow this is really bad. Like a rip-off of a Seinfeld joke if you asked an AI generator to come up with it. Wait, it’s still going. Oh, it’s done, thank God for that.’ 

And finally, the inevitable conclusion – that it is time to bid a final farewell to the family from

The reaction to that painful video confirmed as much for me, with comments like ‘let it die’ and ‘just end.’

Seeing one of the most beloved characters in TV history, perform a laboured rant about destination weddings, one that would probably be quickly dropped by a novice stand-up comedian workshopping new material, proves beyond doubt that not only is it time for the show to wrap up, but that the cartoon is actively trashing  

Like many, I loved The Simpsons. Every Halloween I binge-watch the first 10 Treehouse of Horror episodes, then inevitably wind up streaming the early seasons again as a result, despite the fact I’ve seen the episodes more than I care to admit.

The Simpsons has given us so many memes and jokes we still use (Picture Fox/Disney)

Episodes in the first 10 seasons, commonly known as the ‘golden age’, have more brilliantly crafted jokes in a single scene than many others can manage in an entire season. 

So many one-liners that you still see dotted around the internet as memes, gifs that I send in Teams chats, or phrases that have entered into common use, like ‘say the quiet part out loud’ and ‘old man yells at cloud.’

But even those happy memories are starting to be tainted by the new episodes, and while most of us look back with fondness, I know I’m not the only one who also remembers that moment when they had to simply draw the line and stop watching. 

To see a beloved character like Homer reduced to this rant is embarrassing (Picture: 20th Century television)

My personal breaking point was probably later than most. 

When Season 17 hit the UK 2006 – even though I was still young, I knew I had to give up the ghost. 

One particular episode stands out – The Bonfire of the Manatees when Homer rents out the home to a porn director, and is promptly dumped by Marge, who finds solace in a scientist with a herd of manatees. 

Watching it just made me sad for their relationship and the direction the iconic husband-and-wife had gone in, and I could barely finish the episode, let alone enjoy it.

That’s why clips like Homer’s destination wedding routine sting – they penetrate the bubble of our experience with early episodes – and taint those great memories in a very personal way. 

They sit in stark contrast to my favourite episodes, like the instantly quotable Bart of Darkness, where the family get a swimming pool; Lisa on Ice, where Bart and Lisa join rival hockey teams but instead find a sweet sibling bond; or my personal top choice, 22 Short Films about Springfield, which gave us the iconic ‘Steamed Hams’ sketch. 

Set alongside moments like this, the viral video serves as a painful reminder that the show didn’t end when you stopped watching, but is still lingering around, wrecking what should be an untouchable legacy. 

The Simpsons is record-breaking in lots of ways and prides itself on longevity records, but after over 750 episodes, any goodwill is squandered. 

Old Simpsons episodes would sharply mock the very tired, unfunny, desperate, thing it has become but now the showmakers are happily abandoning the values of what made it good in the first place.

Later episodes made me feel bad about Marge and Homer’s relationship (Picture: Fox)

I’m sure I’m not the first person to confront the uncomfortable truth that The Simpsons should have ended a long time ago – maybe even with the well-received movie in 2007.

But, here we are in late 2023, still being subjected to a show that started in 1989 and should have been wrapped up decades ago, like a marriage of inconvenience that just stays together for the kids and ends up doing more damage.

You don’t have to watch The Simpsons, of course you don’t, and most of us don’t any more, with the show shedding more than 25million average American viewers since its heyday. 

But social media means we can hardly avoid regular proof it’s a tired, jaded show that lacks the love that made it great. 

And that has a knock-on effect on the broader television landscape – it annoys me that The Simpsons has been renewed until 2025, not just because it is bad and sours my memories, but because it takes up space for something new and exciting to break its way into the public consciousness and carve a own place in popular culture.

In many ways, The Simpsons is a victim of its own success – proven as we hear actors straining their vocal chords to do that same impression for over three decades. 

It used to mean so much to people and it could mean something again – if it ends sooner rather than later, and with a little dignity. 

Take it from a former fan – it’s a perfectly cromulent approach.

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