The Simpsons is one of the longest running television shows in TV history, and you might think this means that it is as awesome now as it was 28 years ago when it started. But most viewers and critics agree that’s not the case. The Simpsons now is simply not the same show anymore. The characters, the writing, and other aspects of the The Simpsons have changed drastically – and not for the better.
How The Simpsons Started
As noted by Today, The Simpsons started as a series of shorts on the Tracy Ullman Show for three years, after which it graduated to the big time with its own show on Fox. Most people think that the first 10 years of The Simpsons were the show’s Golden Age. The characters were at their best and the stories were more than just a series of gags.
the old seasons of the simpsons were so good pic.twitter.com/S7yvsTE0Dr— Lana Del Raytheon???? (@LanaDelRaytheon) March 30, 2017
For instance, we had a story where Homer helped out Ned Flanders – his archenemy/best friend — when Ned’s Leftorium Store was failing. In another one, we find out that the reason Homer has no pictures of baby Maggie at the house is that he has them at work to keep his spirits up.
Then there was the extremely bittersweet episode where Homer found his long lost mother and tried to get back some of the childhood he missed out on. The poignant ending where she had to leave again shows that The Simpsons used to be more than just laughs.
None of these episodes would have been written in the more recent seasons of the series. The Simpsons has in the last few seasons come to resemble Family Guy, with the same type of humor and situations. But why has this happened?
Increasing Meanness in Society?
Is this change in The Simpsons simply a reflection of the changes that have taken place in our real life world over the last three decades? Most people recognize that the world is getting to be a much harsher, more jaded, and less sentimental place.
Kindly shows about families that actually care about each other are no longer “in.” So, if The Simpsons has changed from what it once was, maybe it’s really our own fault for letting our society become so relentlessly cynical. After all, TV executives pay very close attention to what we watch and plan future shows and episodes accordingly.
In short, if the ratings for The Simpsons had vanished in response to the changes the show had gradually introduced to the characters and writing, the executives at Fox and the showrunners on the series might have steered a different course.
But although viewership has certainly fallen from the early days of The Simpsons to roughly half of what it once was, it is still one of Fox’s flagship shows.
Another change that took place following the early successful years of The Simpsons was that the early showrunners moved on to other projects or simply handed over the leadership role. The first showrunners were Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, and Sam Simon. They were followed in the Golden Age by people like Al Jean, Mike Reiss, Bill Oakley, and Josh Weinstein.
But these days, most of these originals are long gone – except for Groening himself. As a result, it’s fairly clear that the writing on the show has shifted its tone to match a different direction laid out by the new showrunners and a Matt Groening who seems to have lost his connection to the characters. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely we will ever get The Simpsons as they once were again.
[Featured Image by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]