All Downhill

Chalkboard - The Fool Monty

“Gimme your fortune or I’ll pound your withered old face in!” – Nelson Muntz
“Oh, I like his energy.  Put him on the callback list.” – C.M. Burns

Once the overwrought couch gag finally ended, and I think it may have been longer than Avatar itself, Zombie Simpsons had a secret media conspiracy inside the Statue of Liberty.  To my astonishment, it was actually funny.  To no astonishment whatsoever, the rest of the episode was not.  Even by the filler-rific standards of Zombie Simpsons, the last, oh, seventeen minutes or so of this episode were filler-rific.  Burns’ odd suicide alone took nearly a minute, and that was before the usual round of poorly executed slapstick, long form exposition, and about three different endings, each one longer than the last. 

The numbers are in and they are worse than ever.  Last night’s self referential crapfest was suffered through by a mere 6.63 million viewers.  That’s half a million people lower than any fall episode from last year and the second lowest fall number ever.  That record, 6.19 million viewers, is held by Season 20’s “The Burns and the Bees”, and I have great hope it will not hold that title much longer.  There is only one Sunday left in November, and Zombie Simpsons typically only has one or two new episodes in December before going dark for the oddball weeks around Christmas and New Year’s, so there are two or three chances. 

Last week’s number, by the way, was revised down from 8.97 million to 8.83 million.  Through six episodes, Season 22 is averaging a mere 7.79 million viewers.  The first six episodes of Season 20 averaged 9.19 million, and Season 21’s number was 8.29 million.  Notice a trend?  I sure do. 

4 Responses to “All Downhill”

  1. 1 Stan
    22 November 2010 at 5:18 pm

    What’s funny is that the show’s rating is still above that of its concurrency, notably Family Guy and stuff. Which means that people who get sick of watching The Simpsons get sick of watching sitcom cartoons in general and just go for Undercover Boss or something. Family Guy’s a bloodfest and Cleveland Show’s a little bit too “brown”, ahem, but Amercian Dad… Come on, it’s a great 20 min hitch full of actually funny shit… And you still better watch The Simpsons instead? WTF is up with you people?!?

    • 2 Charlie Sweatpants
      22 November 2010 at 5:54 pm

      Truth be told, I don’t think the ratings really reflect much. Nobody even knows how accurate they are, and a lot of the time it’s just people leaving the teevee on. I’m only interested in seeing the numbers for Zombie Simpsons go down because the idea that the show isn’t nearly as good as it once was is pretty well established in the culture, but that it hasn’t been a truly hit show in more than a decade still hasn’t sunk in. I want that to happen because I’ve convinced myself that if the numbers become embarrassing they’ll end the show to protect the brand and all the merchandising money that comes with it.

      This is 100% pure speculation, but it wouldn’t surprise me if FOX drops the whole Sunday animation thing in the next couple of years. Zombie Simpsons speaks for itself, but it sure looks like Family Guy and American Dad are getting towards the end of their lifespans. Seth MacFarlane has said that he doesn’t want to do Family Guy forever, and he didn’t get that massive development deal from FOX to keep cranking out Family Guy seasons and spin-offs. Add in the fact that The Cleveland Show has always underperformed in a very cushy timeslot and that’s a lot of scripted programming to replace, even if Zombie Simpsons doesn’t end in the next couple of years.

      I’m curious to see what happens to this “Bob’s Burgers” show. If it flops, which it probably will simply because most shows flop, that will mean it’s been a very long time since FOX Animation produced a genuine hit show. Of course, since these shows are animated they can be kept on basically indefinitely, but networks have always had blocs of programming that come and go. “Animation Domination” just sort of feels like something that’s coming to the end of its life cycle.

      • 3 Stan
        22 November 2010 at 6:25 pm

        Well I think that ratings do actually speak for shows themselves, with ZS’s being higher because of, as you say it, merchandising efforts. This in turns goes to show how stupid everyday couch potatoes are to simply tune in to something then have a general acknowledgment of being considered as “funny”.

        But ratings, surveys, statistics… opium for the masses =) So yeah.

  2. 4 Anonymous
    24 November 2010 at 8:38 pm

    People care about television enough to not watch dumb things.

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