The longest running animated show is a staple of television. I grew up on this show. I’ve watched the Simpsons when there were still on the Tracy Ullman Show. I watched them loyally every week in elementary school, middle school, high school, college and beyond. I remember when the show went from Thursday night to Sunday night. Thanks to syndication, DVRs, and the internet I have seen every single episode.
This is really dense show. It rewards the loyal viewer with tons of inside jokes and references to earlier events. Over 23+ seasons means the writers have explored the family’s dynamics extensively, and they’ve started writing about hundreds of other Springfield residents and their adventures with the Simpsons. There have been hundreds of guest stars too. There are thousands of characters in this extensive universe, each of them crazy, zany and memorable.
Seasons 5-8 were the best years with the best episodes. Lots of episodes with heart and humor and great writing. The quality declined for a few years, but each episode was still funny and had a few truly laugh-out-loud moments. In recent years, the show has been produced in HD, and with that upgrade it seems like the show has caught it second (or even third or fourth) wind. The animation is now truly pleasant to look at, very rich and dense (yet still cartoony) artwork. The writing and jokes have gotten a little sharper too.
There is no real continuity to the show. There are no real ongoing story arcs. Each episode pretty much stands alone, and so you can watch an episode from season 4 and another from season 22 and not get confused. That is not set in stone though. Lisa is still a vegetarian and Maude Flanders is still dead, so there is a little continuity. But each time there is a birthday, they stay the same age; each time they go back to school they reenter the same grade; each lesson Homer learns he forgets by the time next week’s episode airs.
I can’t imagine TV without the Simpsons. No other show can jump the shark 3 times a season and still hold my attention and respect. A bad episode is still better than 97% of the shit on TV these days.
Critically Rated at 15/17.