Big Picture: "The Simpsons Is Still Funny – Part I"

18 thoughts on “Big Picture: "The Simpsons Is Still Funny – Part I"

  1. john says:

    Actually, I checked out when I realized that yes, this was going to be an entire (multi-part) episode devoted to reminiscing about a show that I never understood the stupendous nerd-cultural obsession over, anyway.


  2. Sam Robards, Occasional Gamer says:

    I'm personally in the “No, it isn't” camp but I definitely agree with some of your premise, Bob.

    I just grew out of The Simpsons, really. I'm not saying that in a “The Simpsons is childish” way. I just mean it in a “I just don't care for it anymore” kind of way.

    I mean, the last time I really watched it and was invested in it was when Mr. Burns got shot. So I've been outta the game, so to speak, for a while now.

    That's not to say I dislike Groening (spelling?) altogether: I ADORE Futurama.

    So you could say that The Simpsons didn't change, I did.

    Along the same line, I used to think that Kevin Smith movies were hilarious, but now … not so much. In fact, I think his work kinda blows now.

    But that's just me.


  3. Tom says:

    While I'm willing to concede that some present episodes might be funny, the same way Family Guy can be funny without actually being good, the show in seasons 3-10ish (why you emphasized Season 1 in the video I don't really understand) had characters who were endearing, thoughtful, and were interesting in the small ways they suffered or triumphed. I've commented about this before on your blog, but my watermark of quality for the show is still season 6s “And Maggie Makes Three”, where the show stops being just about wacky/hilarious hijinks (though they have a place) and more a meditation on the human condition. (Pepsi Challenge: Find an episode you find equally compelling post season 13. I'll give it an honest shot.)

    I'm willing to admit to the rose-colored glasses, “things changed when I went to college” aspect of this to some extent, since the timing was fairly dead on (though I kept up with it until about season 14 when I just got sick of it; comparatively, South Park and The Justice League held up to much better scrutiny) but my father (now 55) and brothers didn't go to college when I did, and they generally agree the show suffered in quality from it's first decade (absolute nadir for us was “Homer The Moe” in Season 13).

    Is the show good now? Maybe. But it's not the same show I watched. The anti-continuity has stymied all character development for too long, and the revolving door of writers has worn off it's edges and eliminated any sense of consistency of personality.

    If you like it though, that's fine, I just think there are much funnier shows on television.

    Futurama is my current go-to for my Simpsons fix. (My dad says Fry is funny the way Homer used to be.)


  4. TheAlmightyNarf says:

    I'm more so in the “was never particularity good to begin with” camp. I had always followed the Warner Bros cartoons (Tiny Toons, Animaniacs, Pinkey & the Brain, Freakazoid, ect…) as a kid and had always thought they were more interesting and better written (and, frankly, have aged a hell'a'lot better), so I never really got into any of Groening's work until Futurama.


  5. Dav3 says:

    While I don't disagree with your logic in regards to “kids taking a second look, now as adults”, I don't think it really applies as much to The Simpsons, specifically.

    I'll wait to hear the rest of your assessment before I launch into a full rebuttal, but for now I'll just say this…

    When The Simpsons started out it was personified by Bart: A wisecracking newcomer out to shake up the establishment. Then it grew into it's own and became Homer:Stupid but lovable. A regular “Joe” sharing his unique views of everday life. Now the show is like Grampa: Old and senile, a shadow of it's former self, and nobody wants to listen anymore.

    (btw, my personal “this-isn't-the-best-show-on-TV-anymore” moment was the episode “Saddlesore Galactica” when Homer visits the land of the jockeys. Yes, there are jokes in that episode that make me laugh, but the ride was definitely over at that point.)


  6. TheDVDGrouch says:

    I've been waiting for you to tackle this topic for sometime now. Mainly because I always feel like the odd man out for saying The Simpsons is still funny.

    That being said the most recent seasons really rubbed me the wrong way. There was the Glee episode & the Bart sells out America to china episode just to highlight a few examples.


  7. BJames says:

    Its just not the same show anymore.

    Bart no longer says anything witty, Homer no longer goes to work, and characters don't seem to want to hold a conversation anymore, homers voice randomly sounds more like Mickey Mouse for some reason.

    Writers really show they're weaknesses when they talk about anything modern. Cell phones, ipads, facebook or anything else they add to try and make the show hip leaves me and probably others cringing.

    For me the Simpsons ended 14th season.


    While I'm typing this, deep space homer is playing the background. Great Episode.


  8. SatansBestBuddy says:

    You know, part way through this episode, I feel like saying this…

    Beast Wars was everything Transformer wanted to be, and everything Beast Wars did right was something Transformers did wrong.

    Yeah, I was a 90's kid, didn't catch much more than a few reruns of those 80's cartoons that people seem to keep finding fun, and I honestly didn't care cause looking back I was a kid watching the golden age of Saturday morning cartoons.

    Gargoyales, Tiny Toons, Animaniacs, Batman, Superman, ReBoot, Chip and Dale, Ducktales, Darkwing Duck, Pinky and the Brain, Shadow Raiders, Ren & Stimpy, and yes, The Simpsons… all kids shows that are fondly remembered today not because they were shows that we watched on Saturday morning, but because they were legitimately awesome, with great animation and sharp writing that no other decade of cartoons before had attempted.

    I mean, sure, we had our equivalent poorly animated shlock that's fondly remembered because it was on when we were kids, (Xmen and Spiderman spring to mind) but on the whole, the 90's was the decade to be a kid in because hot day, there was some good cartoons on every weekend.

    Dunno why I felt like saying that, must have been the idea that Transformers never met it's ambitions when it's follow up Beast Wars did exactly that and more… oh no wait yeah, that was what got me typing this up…

    Hey, Bob, you ever watch cartoons during the 90's?


  9. Unknown says:

    It's not that the show isn't any good anymore, Bob. It's that it is not compelling in the way that it used to be.

    The show used to piss people off. It used to be too violent, to crass, and too vulgar. What's more, it reveled in that fact.

    The Simpsons no longer has the controversial bravado it used to have, and in a show who's main character is supposed to buck authority, that makes it fall flat.


  10. smile says:

    You've gone mad, Bob! Plain stinking mad!

    Mike Scully ruined the show.

    Albeit, it's probably better now under the helm of Al Jean. However, it's lost its original impact.


  11. David (The Pants) says:

    I'm in the “still like it” camp. I do agree it's great through seasons 11-12 but then it becomes too recent for me so I remember actually seeing those episodes air (11-12 were the least seen by me.) I don't watch it all the time now but I catch it when I can, and it's still pretty funny even though there are some glaring continuity flaws…I'm a Simpsons nerd.


  12. Anonymous says:

    I live in Europe (don't ask why I'm up at 5am) and had no real chance to see it on TV simultaneously when it aired in the US, and actually I only sort of “caught up” with earlier seasons recently, I've downloaded first twelve seasons and absolutely loved the show until somewhere during 10th season when (not even knowing about the golden age thing) I've began to notice that it's quality decreased by a huge amount and ultimately stopped watching. While a couple random episodes I've seen from the later seasons were rather decent and “watchable”, I find most recent episodes really, really awful and I can't see how someone intelligent can laugh at such poor jokes.


  13. Anonymous says:

    Wow Bob, you really missed the mark on this one. Alright so I am 24, I have an older brother who turned 33. I did not come to love The Simpsons by watching it every Sunday night. I came to watch The Simpsons at 5:00 every day after school, right around the time my older brother came home from football practice and needed some time to relax before dinner.

    You see, he is the person you're referring to here. He is the one who grew up and identified with (or at least admired) the smart-mouthed bad-boy skateboarded and carried a slingshot. My friends and I grew up watching a different kind of Simpsons. Bart Simpson was never our character, his turn in the sun was muddled between reruns of Homer's Enemy and Lemon of Troy. So while you grew up and realized what used to be great was still great but in a totally different way, we grew up seeing parodies of movies we were too young to see turn into vehicles to promote Boy Bands.

    Here's the issue, if you don't think that The Simpsons has suffered a dramatic decrease in quality, New Kids on the Blecch or Home Away from Homer ought to have the same effect on us as Lisa's Sax or Homer's Phobia had on you… that is to say you realise that lurking just around the corner of the jokes for kids, there was some heart and plenty of jokes your grown up and refined self could appreciate.

    But here's the thing, that shit never happened to me. I discovered that The Simpsons had heart by watching reruns, not new episodes. Suddenly Brother From Another Series made a lot more sense to me when I watched it at 16 as compared to when I watched it at 12. This is true even after I started watching the new episodes halfway through high school. The Simpsons was just something that was on while I waited for Family Guy.

    My whole issue is that your argument doesn't make any sense from anyone's perspective but your own. You still like The Simpsons and that's fine (although at the very least it calls your taste into question), but when you remove the bias you claim some others have (that “the golden age” is just something that coincides with a time period of personal growth and the realization that The Simpsons is still with you through that growth) the general complaint (around season 10 The Simpsons went to shit) is still there. The Simpsons I grew up with was a decaying Goldelicious Apple, it wasn't a candy bar.

    Moreover, I have a number of friends my age that are hardcore golden age fans who unanimously think it went to shit at that time period. I also have a few friends a solid decade older than you who think The Simpsons was fantastic until around, you guessed it, season 10. This is all anecdotal, sure, but I think it may just be the general consensus of anyone who's every invested some time liking The Simpsons, as it certainly appears to be based on the fact that, you know, it is the general consensus that it went to shit around that time period.

    In sum, I think you're using a shoddy premise to reach your conclusion that The Simpsons is any good nowadays. It's not just people roughly 30 who think it went to shit at a generally agreeable time period. Everyone who's ever really taken the time to appreciate what it is and what it has done for Pop Culture think it went to shit. And so your made-up reason that late Gen Xers grew too old just doesn't seem relevant.


  14. Anonymous says:

    You have some problems if that your true opinion.
    Your arguments its like… well isnt a argument.
    I from Mexico and here the simpson episodes are playing randomly since ever and they put one from monday to friday and you dont have to be a genius to get that some episode its shitty, then u search it in internet and u look that its from recent seasons.

    So weak(null) argument its weak.


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