“The Simpsons,” as it happens, is a textbook-perfect example of postmodern entertainment. A pastiche of pop culture sources and meta-commentary, it was originally conceived as a satire about the American family’s relationship to their televisions. Of course, The Simpsons has outlived the phenomenon of “television addiction” (thanks to the internet), but it was still one of the most — if not the most — relevant comedy of the ‘90s (only “Seinfeld” can claim to be in that same league). It has also been the subject of several academic articles and papers. The show’s artistic techniques have become canonical examples of postmodern television production. The show’s thematic resonance even inspired a book on the series’ relationship to philosophy. In The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D’Oh! of Homer, several academics explored the show’s relation to classic and contemporary philosophy alike, proving the series’ lasting relevance Also, Mark Liberman, director of The Linguistic Data Consortium has stated that “The Simpsons has apparently taken over from Shakespeare and the Bible as our culture’s greatest source of idioms, catchphrases and sundry other textual allusions”. There are many other substantial reasons why The Simpsons will always be better, more important, and more iconic than Family Guy.
Now that Generation X is bringing evil post-Millennial spawn into the world, there are three generations that love The Simpsons. The kids that grew up watching it with their parents, and the children who grew up watching syndicated reruns on cable. The show is still airing, of course, but it’s those first 8-10 seasons that people adore, not the last 20. This is why many Gen X’ers just don’t understand the appeal and would rather claim that “Family Guy” is the better show. If only they grew up in the ‘90s, when there was absolutely NOTHING like The Simpsons on the air.
Variety is reporting that FBC and studio 20th Century Fox Television are near completion of a deal to renew “The Simpsons” for a 31st and 32nd season. The show just aired its 663rd episode, to which I say, give it a rest already. At this point I am numb to anything past season 12. Yes, there have been decent episodes here and there, and whenever one of those rare nuggets airs I am alerted by people who actually still watch the show, almost forcefully just to lie to themselves that there are shades of brilliance left in Matt Groening’s sitcom. However, none of those can equal the classic episodes of yore, such as “Lisa’s First Word,” “Who Shot Mr. Burns,” “Homer at Bat,” “Mr. Plow,” “Last Exit to Springfield,” and “Cape Fear,” which have had a profound effect on the way a comedy can bring social satire to the forefront of primetime TV.
It’s time to pull the plug, Mr. Groening.