zom·bie adj. remaining animate despite lack of thought or consciousness

Simp·sons n. an American television program

By almost any measurement, The Simpsons is the most influential television comedy ever created.  It has been translated into every major language on Earth and dozens of minor ones; it has spawned entire genres of animation, and had more books written about it than all but a handful of American Presidents.  Even its minor characters have become iconic, and the titular family is recognizable in almost every corner of the planet.  It is a definitive and truly global cultural phenomenon, perhaps the biggest of the television age.

As of this writing, if you flip on FOX at 8pm on Sundays, you will see a program that bills itself as The Simpsons.  It is not The Simpsons.  That show, the landmark piece of American culture that debuted on 17 December 1989, went off the air more than a decade ago.  The replacement is a hopelessly mediocre imitation that bears only a superficial resemblance to the original.  It is the unwanted sequel, the stale spinoff, the creative dry hole that is kept pumping in the endless search for more money.  It is Zombie Simpsons.

“Zombie Simpsons: How the Best Show Ever Became the Broadcasting Undead” is a 22,000 word mini-book that attempts to explain two things:

  1. How The Simpsons became the unprecedentedly awesome show it was.
  2. Why it declined into the bland and formulaic thing that still airs on Sundays at 8pm on FOX.

Table of contents:

Part I – Putting the Spring in Springfield
1 – What Is Zombie Simpsons? (<- Click this to start reading the book.)
2 – The Terrible World of 1980s Television
3 – The Most Anti-Authority Show Ever
4 – You’re Watching FOX, Shame on You

Part II – Show Business Is a Hideous Bitch Goddess
5 – The Retirements
6 – The Deaths

Part III – Stories of Degradation and Humiliation
Season 7 – A Very Special Episode
Season 8 – Frank Grimes and the Phony Kidnapping
Season 9 – Armin Tamzarian and the Death of Story
Season 10 – Jerkass Homer Gets a Job
Season 11 – The Destruction of Springfield
Season 12 and Beyond – Zombie Simpsons

Appendices
Appendix A – A Note on the Term “Zombie Simpsons”
Appendix B – Episode Numbers vs. Production Numbers
Appendix C – December 17th: Simpsons Day
Appendix D – A Defense of Mike Scully
Appendix E – Yeah, It Was That Good (1,000,000 A.D.)

A brief note on footnotes and citations: Footnotes with Arabic numerals (3, 5, etc.) are asides or further explanations that are meant to be read with the text. Notes with Roman numerals (iv, ix, etc.) are citations of individual source data intended for reference purposes.  You should be able to click either kind, read it, and then get back to your place in the text with your “back” button. My apologies for not having a better way to do this, but this is very simple HTML.

The entire book is available for free on the linked pages above.  However, if you enjoy it or feel like supporting this site, you can purchase a DRM-free copy for your Kindle or Kindle enabled device for $2.99 at Amazon.  Why $2.99?  Because that’s the minimum price Amazon demands for only taking 30% of the gross instead of 65%.

Purchase from Amazon

The book is available both for free and for a minimal price on the theory that some people (especially the kind of people with the disposable income to own Kindles, iPads, and the like) are willing and able to pay for words if the price is reasonable and the payment is easy to make.  At the same time, restricting the book to only those people would be self defeating and stupid.  Many fewer people would read it, and trying to use digital rights management and other convoluted anti-“piracy” measures to police the internet is a fool’s errand.  Therefore, the only sensible thing to do is make it easy for people to purchase and easy to get for free.

One final note, I am not the least bit above making revisions should any of you fine Simpsons fans out there discover that I’ve made any factual errors.  My sources are all stated plainly, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t made an unfounded assumption somewhere or screwed up some part of the history of the show.  If you (yes, you!) come across something where I’m just flat out wrong and you can point me to some credible evidence of my wrongness, please tell me.  It’s the only way I’ll learn.

People Whose Time and Labor Are Non-Monetarily Appreciated

“It’s a little thin, but that’s okay.  It could be a check.  Alright, there’s no check, just a card.  But don’t panic, I’m sure it tells us what we’re getting and where we can pick it up.” – Homer Simpson

Thanks go first and foremost to my blogging partners Dave and Mad Jon. Jebus only knows how many hours you two put into our site, but it was a lot. And without the site, this little mini-book would never have existed.

For indispensable help in keeping my grammatical embarrassments to a minimum, I am deeply grateful to my Dad and my friend Liz. Thank you for paying attention in English class.

Enormous thanks are also due to anyone who ever started or maintained a Simpsons website. Dead Homer Society would never have gotten anywhere if sites like snpp.com, nohomers.net, and all the rest hadn’t endured years of sub-par episodes and countless attacks from the legal locusts at News Corp’s command.

Finally, thanks to everyone who has ever landed at Dead Homer Society (especially those of you who pointed out errors in this book). Whether you’re a regular commenter or one of the vastly more numerous people who just read the site, your continuing interest in The Simpsons, even after all these years, is a testament to how good it was. Thank you.


39 Responses to “Zombie Simpsons: How the Best Show Ever Became the Broadcasting Undead”


  1. 1 Lord Widebottom
    24 May 2012 at 9:13 am

    Ah, Finally A Little Quiet Time To Read Some Of My Old Favorites.

  2. 28 January 2013 at 5:18 am

    At last the truth can be told. Thank you for this resource. I can’t understand how more people can’t face the truth. For me it ended somewhere between season 8 & 9. How did it happen? It’s like being in love with someone who totally gets you and shares your sensibilities and humour only to return one day and find them replaced with a complete stranger. So sad.

  3. 8 February 2013 at 3:13 pm

    sorry, I accidentally pingbacked your comment on my Homers when I meant to reply! lol, thanks for the visit!

  4. 4 Edward
    27 June 2013 at 11:31 am

    For several years, I always considered season 15 to be the last good one before becoming a mess. That’s because I’m an Argie, and like everyone who speaks Spanish in Latin America, I was terribly upset when the dubbing actors changed in season 16. However, with time I realised that by season 15 the show was quite weak too, with plots becoming stupider every time. Most Latin American fans consider the episode when Mr. Burns buys all the media of Springfield to be the real “last episode” of the show, however I think the newest episode who made me laugh like hell was Behind the Laughter. I love when that particular episode gets repeated on TV.
    Nowadays, over here I can get Simpsons daily on three different channels: terrestrially Channel 11 of Buenos Aires and on cable, over FOX and the Channel 4 of Asunción (Paraguay). However, weekdays showing on Channel 11 are of the latest seasons, same for the Paraguayan channel. And FOX mostly shows the last seasons too, with the occasional showing of a season 13 or 14 episode. So the only way I have of catching a good repeat is watching Channel 11 on weekends, when they show 6 continuous hours of Simpsons, with all the credits cut (including the opening credits, so the show starts without any kind of presentation whatsoever…) so they’re able to cram 13 or 14 episodes on the slot. At least it’s something, and it’s better than watching old movies on all the other channels.
    Anyways, I loved the book, I thought I was the only one who hates the episode where Bart steals XD

  5. 5 Billymcgilly
    18 January 2014 at 5:53 pm

    actually, and this is the consensus by those of us whom atre considered the mensa of simpsons knowledge, the show turned to shit around season 8. With the glory days being seasons 4-7. This was brought on by the departure of people like Brad Bird as consultants. Others like John Schwartzwelder (who’s book is probably one of the funniest things i’ve ever read) started scaling back how much input they had.

    as such, you started getting younger writers with less exposure to “life”. At this point you also had the onset of ever more ridiculous salaries for cast members. It wasn’t the Simppsons that started this rot, it was shows like Friends and Seinfeld. The crux of the point being that if you only have the crumbs left with which to pay writers, well, you get what you pay for.

    It was very poor until they brought back Jim Reardon to give Al Jean a kick in the ass. This was circa season 18. From 18-present, the show has been much better, but it is nowhere near the glory days.

    But with all due respect you only got 7 seasons of Family Guy before it became garbage. What do you want? Louis CK style humor writing in a 22 minute animated show? Intuitive societal observation in a world that has not changed the base level of pop culture for 15 years? the reality is that this planet has not advanced since the show got stale. an i.Phone here, a starbucks there – but nothing is actually different. just the implementation of it.

    the show was massive for most of its first decade because it was basically a societal commentary and satirical vehicle that could draw on holding a mirror up to everything that had occurred over 3 generations (Baby Boomers, Gen X, GenY). This has now all been done, so all that’s left is to look forward for satirical elements of parody. Hence why it is so hit and miss.

    Long story short, yeah it’s stale, but if it still moves enough commodity to make $, why shouldn’t it remain on air? Is a bad episode of The Simpsons really worse than 2 Broke Girls or a re-run of Two and a half Men? Wanting it to end in order to “die with dignity” is an argument made out of idealistic nonsense. You can’t announce how pleased you are with capitalism and then treat it like a buffet and pick and choose which parts to eat. capitalism is a 7 course meal, and you are not entitled to an opinion unless you eat it all.

    • 6 Victor Dang
      24 May 2014 at 11:24 pm

      Your warped view of reality is interesting, and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter and borrow your beer goggles. Same one that Bart’s wearing.

  6. 7 Steve Burstein
    27 January 2014 at 3:43 pm

    Maybe I wasn’t paying attention, but the first episode I really hated was “Bart-Mangled Banner”. South Park’s takeoffs on pretentious liberalism are far funnier than the liberal self-victimization one gets in this Zombie entry.





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Even though it’s obvious to anyone with a functional frontal lobe and a shred of morality, we feel the need to include this disclaimer. This website (which openly advocates for the cancellation of a beloved television series) is in no way, shape or form affiliated with the FOX Network, the News Corporation, subsidiaries thereof, or any of Rupert Murdoch’s wives or children. “The Simpsons” is (unfortunately) the intellectual property of FOX. We and our crack team of one (1) lawyer believe that everything on this site falls under the definition of Fair Use and is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. No revenue is generated from this endeavor; we’re here because we love “The Simpsons”. And besides, you can’t like, own a potato, man, it’s one of Mother Earth’s creatures.

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