Ahoy-hoy there mateys! Fairly warned ye be says I. Yonder post be a matter of opinion and may put wind in yer sails and barnacles in yer treasure chest.
Channeling a little Horatio McCallister today I guess. Probably because I re-watched Season 8, Episode 9: El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Homer and laughed my pants off at the Sea Captain wrecking a cargo ship full of hot pants at the end.
I watched the episode just to hear Johnny Cash’s voice but the ending is really funny too. It’s often the little cameos that I love the most. Can’t shake a stick at Homer and Marge confirming their status as soulmates, right?
Anywho… that little bit of information actually segways into what I wanted to write about today. On Sunday, our open thread was great as usual. I love all the readers that show up just to comment about life, the universe and everything. One of the comments though really got my brain working.
Reader pkkao (welcome back btw) wrote this little snippet:
“…here’s a question for you guys. A lot of people on the Internet say The Simpsons have been declining in quality, and the newer episodes are “unwatchable,” “boring,” and “terrible.” I still think the new episodes are great. They’re not as amazing as some of the older episodes, but they’re really entertaining and anything but unwatchable. Have you guys seen a decline in the show, or is it as good as ever?”
Wow… isn’t that the age old question for any lover of The Simpsons? Oh, if I could count the times I’ve had this discussion with somebody you’d probably know how many nerdy friends I have that are Simpsons fans. It’s one of those “lightning rod” conversations that all fans of the Best. Show. Ever. eventually have.
Here’s my answer… NO!
To say that The Simpsons has declined in quality is to me like saying Chewbacca is not the most awesome character in the Star Wars universe. It’s simply “inconceivable” and yes that word means what I think it means in this context (some of the comment threads on this site are so much fun). I love the show. New, old, OG, HD, it rocks my socks off. Sure a lot of the older episodes are considered “classics” but so are a lot of old cars.
So allow me to ramble for a bit. My car is a 1985 Chrysler LeBaron. My talented and wonderful mama is the owner of it but for all extensive purposes, the car is mine. When “The Woody” (her name) rolled of the assembly line in 1984, it was a luxury sports car and also marked the return of the convertible. With its turbo engine and wood panels, she was a beauty and anyone who owned one was considered pretty cool. Almost 30 years have passed since my beautiful lady first debuted but today she’s still driving and IMHO, not any less awesome. Sure she looks different than the 80s and is probably driven a little differently. Sure her wood panels are a little faded and there’s a spot of rust on her hood but I wouldn’t change my gorgeous baby for the world. She’s a classic. There’s no point in talking about her glory days. She’s still here, she’s still kicking and no matter what anyone says, she’s cool even in her old age. If you don’t like her, oh well.
Make sense? You picking up what I’m throwing down? I could argue for the venerability of Seasons 1 thru 10 of the show. I could also pull episodes from Season 11 thru 25 I think are “must-sees”. At the risk of being publicly derided, I’m even honest enough to admit there are early episodes I think are just entertaining and not mind-blowing game changers. Most of my arguments for the “oldies” definitely stem from nostalgia for a youth well spent. I’ve grown up with The Simpsons and am so happy both of us are still around. I only wish I was as funny and topical as they continue to be.
Just for giggles, I asked the Little Ewok and my mudder about their opinions on this question. I thought it’d be interesting to get their viewpoints.
xaskingkazx aka my daughter: I prefer the new episodes because of the quality and I understand more of what they talk about because it’s “new-age”. The episodes done in the 80’s and 90’s often have references I don’t catch. I still love old episodes but if I had to choose between new and old, I’d pick the new ones. The Simpsons is probably like my second favorite show ever. Nothing beats Adventure Time. It’s pretty amazing that the show has lasted so long. 25 seasons is a long time. Like almost as old as my Dad. The animation is as good as other cartoons but I doubt any of those could last long as The Simpsons… except Adventure Time. NOTHING BEATS ADVENTURE TIME!
wookieemama: I don’t think they’ve declined in quality. Admittedly, I’m watching all the old and new ones now because I didn’t watch them before but I appreciate the humor of all the episodes. If it wasn’t for my son telling me what is a “classic” vs. new, many times I wouldn’t even know. Sometimes the references are dated enough that I get when it aired and any one can see the differences in animation quality, but I enjoy the satire of American society. That this show has survived in spite of parents like me who thought it should be cancelled is a tribute to the quality of the show and its writers.
Well, that’s me and my family’s two cents. Special thanks to pkkao for the idea. TTFN… Wookiee out!
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Thanks for the welcome back. Recently I began a complete Simpsons re-watch, but also in a weird format. Because there are a lot of more recent episodes I missed, I started from Season 19 episode 1 (He Loves to Fly and He D’ohs) and am working my way up from there. I haven’t decided where I’ll go after that but the overall goal is to watch every episode over the next year or so. Am around halfway through Season 20 right now, the going is steady but slow. Oh did I mention I’m also writing reviews for every episode too? Yeah one hell of a Word document.
Because of that I’ve been spending less time here and on Tapped Out, but can’t really complain because playing the game was always the next best thing to watching the show itself. So I’m still here, but less so than before because of all my re-watching and reviewing.
And in case you’re curious, my Season 19 rewatch yielded some mixed results. There were a lot of great episodes (The Debarted, Little Orphan Millie, Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind) mixed in with what I feel to be one of the worst episodes of the series (Husbands and Knives), along with some other not-the-best episodes (The Homer of Seville, E Pluribus Wiggum, That 90s Show). Quite the variety in quality of episodes here. Overall the average grade for this season was a 6.75/10, it’s not my favorite season but it’s pretty good regardless. Season 20 is faring better right now, it’s got some really good episodes (MyPods and Boomsticks, Sex, Pies, and Idiot Scrapes, Homer and Lisa Exchange Cross Words), a near-perfect episode (Gone Maggie Gone), and some mediocre episodes (Double, Double, Boy in Trouble, No Loan Again, Naturally). Nothing really terrible, though.
Re-watching the episodes has really given me a new appreciation of the show, for a while I was so into Tapped Out I kind of forgot about the show that it came from, I think I’ve found a good balance between the two now, while still juggling the rest of my life. Anyway expect to see me a little less often here now because of the Simpsons re-watches.
I’ve been saying for years that The Simpsons has changed from plot-driven gags to gag-driven plots. I don’t find the show be be anywhere near as good as they used to be. I pretty much stopped watching regularly after “YVAN EHT NIOJ”.
There are 2 types of Simpson episodes, those that make me laugh and those where I end up pmsl.
Honestly, I stopped watching around 2004 (except for Halloween and XMAS and the occasional guest star episode)… my main reason for stopping was that I got sick and tired of the NFL overrun and having to program my VCR for extra time to catch the full episode (and then the XMAS episodes had a strange run of Moe always being suicidal/making suicidal jokes in them which turned me off further)–the game has made me slightly more likely to tune in on Sundays (especially during non NFL season when I don’t have to deal with tv schedules)
I have been a Simpson’s fan since the very first episode they aired. Contrary to the internet, it was not “live” (that’s too hard on the animators!!!!).
The first ten seasons had about a 95% rate of being hilarious. There were a few dogs. I was one of the few programs I went out of my way to be home to watch on Sunday nights.
Last 10 seasons have mostly been “misses”. I blame it on the quality of the writing. (Miss you big time Conan !)
When they did the parody and satire and biting social commentary, they were spot on. Now they are just trying to be funny for the sake of being funny. (Think of the moronic writing on the last 25 years of SNL).
I usually only watch reruns and rarely see new episode.
They’re kinda like SNL in a way. Some seasons are considerably better on a whole but not everyone agrees which seasons are better. I think I’ll always have some nostalgic preference to the early years because those episodes remind me of significant events in my childhood. That’s not to say the quality was better. I still enjoy The Simpsons new stuff as well.
(Oh, “Life in Hell” was my gateway to The Simpson.)
I discovered Life in Hell around Season 2 or 3. Those are amazing as well.
I was just going to say it’s like snl. even when it’s bad it’s still good.
Oh Wookiee…the little Wood that Could…lol
She’s a lot faster than she looks.
I think the older Episodes had a lot more of that rough and evil Humor (Like in the Episodes written by John Swartzfelder for Example)
Newer Episodes tend to go for the “All-Family”-Laugh, holding back
something.. Its just my overall feeling of it and there are a lot of newer Episodes which are great.. Man i really cant type anything negative 😀
Its The Simpsons, after all
It is so hard for me to type negative because I love them so much. I also don’t feel like it’s my place to criticize, kind of like arm chair quarterbacking. Are some episodes better than others, absolutely. As for an episode I just hate… it’d be hard to find one really. If it’s got Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa or Maggie in it, I’m probably gonna enjoy watching it. Plus all the ancillary characters I love so much. I think that’s the beauty of the show. I can’t say the same thing for other cartoons really.
Whoa, Mama Wookiee was stylin’ in the day. You go girl. Lucky for you, Wookiee Man. You got a convertible. My folks had one of those land tanks…
She actually was bequeathed it in her latter years by my sister’s Grandpa. He was the styling chiropractor in Palm Springs. I love the car. Not a day goes by that somebody doesn’t dig on my Woody lol.
lol @ “gateway” Simpsons…
First and foremost, I miss my Chevelle. I had 1972 Chevelle with a 350 and a 4 speed, all souped up and lovely. To this day I can’t hear a classic V8 without a painful longing for that car.
But, when gasoline hit 4$+ a gallon, and my 25 gallon tank cost me 100$ to fill, and my car got 12mpg… I couldn’t afford her any more. /cry
Wish I had had the means to put her in storage.
As for the question, don’t be ridiculous… they’re all awesome. I never once asked myself if the quality was changing. Sure there are specific ones I like more or less than others. But… well I don’t care. I love them all. As long as they keep making them I’ll keep watching them.
I hate most of the newer “similar” type shows, Family guy, so horrible… American Dad… really? REALLY??? So gross.
Nope, you can’t beat a classic. For me there will never be another car as awesome as a 72 Chevelle, or a show as awesome as the Simpsons. Of course, when my Grandmother gave me her 1989 Caprice Classic it was pretty sweet…. but that’s another story. …about crushed velvet and spoked wheels… /sigh
Mmmmmmm classic cars. ***drool***
I want a 1935 style Chevy. Very gangster style looking. Suicide doors. But then again, I want a Shelby. I love classic muscle cars. I did used to drag race on the streets. I mean…ummm…I was always a stand up citizen. ALWAYS!! Lol 😉
Oh OK FINE… (toothpaste is excellent for removing tarnish)
If you want to go to car-lovin’-nerd-chick fantasy land… I always wanted a 1940 Merc to chop and drop. But I could definitely go with a ’36 Chevy coupe. Of course living in New England is a big NO for dropped cars, have to go opposite and get the monster truck chassis. lol
I turned some heads in my day with my leather boots sticking out from under the Chevelle, darn shifter insisted on coming lose on me all the time. And YES I used a lock nut/washer. If it wasn’t that then it was the headers cooking my starter… so worth it!
MMmmmm you are talking my language. 😉
Let’s see, I heard about that race…the turtle won…lol
🙂 🙂 🙂
Well…I did drive a lil green souped up Subaru a few times…so I guess you could say the green won. But NONE of the cars I drove went slow…per say…not with NOS in them. 😉
My dream car is a 1956 Ford Fairlane. It’s just a work of art and so cool.
I am rather partial to the 1930s style cars, I really like those big wings on them even though driving those things is actually hard work compared to modern cars. And with my meagre income I am never going to own one anyway. Luckily, both Porsche and Daimler have big museums where I am from, so at least there are lots of classic cars to ogle 😉
I can look from afar…but never own. Sigh. Lol 😉
Ooooh now that’s a pretty car. I’d take a 56 Thunderbird as well… So much pretty metal. They REALLY don’t make em like they used to!
It is so gorgeous. So crazy that it looked so much plainer just the next year. It’s nice to know the ladies appreciate the great cars. I actually don’t think of my car as a classic but my Pops does and he’s definitely old enough to know lol
I recently watched every Simpsons episode again, but I did it in reverse order. Whereas beforehand I perceived a dropoff in quality after about season 9, this time I perceived a dropoff when I got to season 12.
I’ve come to the conclusion that seasons 9-12 were pretty terrible, but the rest is great. Others have said much the same, but I never really noticed it until I watched them backwards.
That’s such a cool way to watch them. You know the first thing I though was to ask if when you watched “New Kid on the Blecch” in Season 12 if the “Yvan eht nioj” song sounded the normal way. The best part about opinions is we’re all entitled to them. I’m guilty of just loving the family so much I even love the ugly cousins lol.
i think it took a bit of a dip a couple of years ago but the few new episodes I’ve seen are amazing. I work Sunday nights so it’s rare I see one but I still love it. Just have to wait 10 years until they release the DVD
Do you count the Original Simpsons shorts before it was it’s own series and was still part of the Tracy Ulman Show, as Classic must watch too?
It’s been a long time since I truly watched any of those but they were my gateway to the show so yes.