Stages of Grief

Homer the Vigilante7

We’ve now gotten through a little more than half of Season 11 on Crazy Noises, and it’s inspired quite a few comments along the lines of “this is when I knew the show was dead”.  Most notably, a couple of weeks ago commenter Dan S. just went ahead and asked:

I’m curious to know how all of you felt about season 10 and 11 when they first aired. Looking at them today it is unmistakable that the quality had declined horribly, but at the time of first airing when I was in eighth grade I don’t remember talking about how bad they were or even noticing until about season 12. I chalk most of that up to being relatively young, but I wouldn’t mind reading an article about a look back to how you felt about the show as it was in its decline.

There are a few interesting replies in that thread (and it’s fascinating to see how different episodes had similar effects on different people), but I was very far from the internet that weekend and couldn’t give it the attention it deserved.  However, that basic question, how you felt about the decline of the show as it was happening, is something that’s been on my mind since last summer when we were going through Season 10. 

What’s struck me about Seasons 10 and 11 is how little my opinions have changed since they were first broadcast.  With Season 7, and especially Season 8, my estimation of quite a few episodes went way up as I saw them more times.  For example, I really didn’t like “El Viaje de Nuestro Jomer” the first time it was broadcast.  I thought the whole dream sequence was dumb and I can remember saying that “Batman’s really let himself go” was the only genuinely excellent joke in the whole episode.  But as that one got to syndication, the shock of the initial zaniness wore off and I appreciated it more and more. 

So while I didn’t like a lot of Seasons 9 and 10 when they were new, I was willing to give them some time to change my mind.  The problem was that as Seasons 9 and 10 got dumped into the rerun pool, fewer and fewer episodes grew on me the way “El Viaje de Nuestro Jomer” had.  There are only a handful of episodes in Season 8 that I basically never watch, but in Season 9 it’s more like half, and Season 10 is even worse.   

It wasn’t until Season 11 was being aired that I finally started admitting in public that the show had gone massively downhill, and that was only because I couldn’t help but notice that the syndication runs now had quite a few episodes that I simply didn’t like to watch.  I wanted to like these episodes, and I was desperate for any sign that the show was returning to form, but too many of them weren’t merely weirdly surprising on a first viewing, they were just plain boring.  Until then I was still defending the show by saying something along the lines of, “wait until you’ve seen it a few times before passing judgment”, but that excuse ran dry when Season 10 started in reruns. 

Season 12 was the last full season I watched all the way through, and it contains “Simpson Safari”, the episode that broke my hopes that the show could ever again become what it had been.  In Season 13 I instituted a “first commercial” watching policy, where I’d give the new episodes until the first commercial break to make me laugh.  If I cracked up or sort of liked it, I kept going.  More often than not, though, I’d either turn it off after the first commercial or start doing something else and mostly ignore it.  After not watching very many whole episodes, I gave up entirely. 

With the benefit of hindsight, I’d say I stuck it out a bit too long.  If I’d known in 2000 that the show would still be on in 2012, I probably would’ve quit sooner.  But at the time, me and everyone I knew kept expecting to hear that the show was finally going to end, and I didn’t want to miss out on what I thought were its last seasons, however poor.

So, in answer to Dan’s question, that’s what I was thinking at the time.  Those of you old enough to remember the show’s decline as it happened, how did you feel?  Those of you too young for that, when did you figure it was lost? 

33 Responses to “Stages of Grief”

  1. 1 Chris
    7 August 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Season 12 was when I gave up on the show. I can remember specifically watching Homer vs. Dignity, being petrified by not just how bad that episode was but how unfunny it was, and not bothering to watch the show regularly ever again. Simpson Safari and Saddlesore Galactica were a couple of other episodes that I absolutely hated. There were still episodes in seasons 10 and 11 that I didn’t mind, so I kept watching, but season 12 is a hot mess.

  2. 2 derek
    7 August 2012 at 2:33 pm

    I remember watching season 12 as it aired and more or less enjoying it; however, season 13 (sophomore year in college) was the first season I didn’t religiously watch and I still don’t think I’ve seen them all. I’ve never really looked back either, I have no desire to see what I’ve missed as everything up through season 9 keeps me plenty entertained.

  3. 3 Jeremiah
    7 August 2012 at 3:10 pm

    I was born in 1987, so I must have been about 10 years old when “The Principal and the Pauper” first aired, but even at that young age I still considered it to be a massive betrayal. It was around that time that I stopped watching new episodes, but that didn’t have as much to do with their quality as one might assume. My parents were rather strict about the number of hours I could spend watching tv during a given week, and a few weeks into Season 9 I just decided that I enjoyed the reruns of earlier seasons more. About a year after that, I caught the episode I now know to be called “Monty Can’t Buy Me Love” while on vacation with my family, which cemented my decision to avoid new episodes like the plague. By that point, I had pretty much all of seasons 1-8 on my own recorded VHS collection, so I stopped watching The Simpsons on TV entirely. Later, I bought the DVDs for seasons 1-8 and stopped after that, essentially isolating myself in a “classic era” Simpsons bubble.

    I don’t know why, but I broke that bubble a few years ago by buying Season 9 used for $10 at a local video store. I figured if nothing else it would allow me to enjoy that year’s Halloween episode, which I remember as one of the few episodes I really, really liked (especially since Vincent Price’s “The Fly” is one of my favorite movies ever). I hadn’t seen any of the episodes in more than a decade and some were entirely new. Most were definitely a step down from the seasons I already owned, but they still felt like The Simpsons that I knew and loved, and it was kind of nice to get 25 or so “new” episodes to (mostly) enjoy after so many years. So, on a lark, I decided to give seasons 10 and 11 the same treatment.

    Big mistake. Three episodes into season 10, “When You Dish Upon A Star”, I knew that there would be no more “new” seasons added to my collection. I finished both seasons, growing more angry with each passing episode (until “Alone Again” finally broke me), promptly sold them both back to the used video store and I’m firmly back in my bubble once again. But it is somewhat cathartic to read other people’s reactions to these episodes on this website. I’m definitely more forgiving of season 8, and probably a bit more of season 9. But that’s my limit.

  4. 4 Derp
    7 August 2012 at 3:27 pm

    I remember as a kid the Simpsons was the sort of show you’d watch then discuss in school the next day. The screamspillar episode is the first one I remember knowingly missing, not having been won over by the ads for it during the week. I guess I had been enjoying it a lot less by that point.

  5. 7 August 2012 at 4:14 pm

    I remember watching seasons 11 and 12 when they originally aired. I was only about 12 at the time, but I totally agree with how you feel about these seasons: they are simply boring. Looking back, I recall preferring to watch the reruns after school than waiting around for the new, crappy ones to air on Sundays.
    Even today, when I put in the DVD’s for season 11 and 12, I find myself searching around for the good episodes instead of viewing them in chronological order like I do for the earlier seasons. Too many of the episodes are boring, unfunny and nondescript.

  6. 6 Al Gore Doll
    7 August 2012 at 4:18 pm

    I remember after watching a classic episode with my family that we would quote the jokes to each other the following week because of how good they were. Around the time of Saddlesore Galactica and the Screamapillar, it got harder and harder to remember any quotes. I never bothered to ask my family but it must have been a shared sentiment because watching The Simpsons on Sunday nights slowly drifted out of our schedule. I dropped The Simpsons during my college years since half of them went without a TV, and returned to enjoy the Simpsons movie. It didn’t make me laugh, no matter how much I wanted to. I’ve watched a few episodes sporadically since then but they leave such a weird taste in my mouth its a deterrent. It’s actually depressing to not be able to enjoy that show with ones friends and family anymore, but I guess no show can stay good forever.

  7. 7 mike
    7 August 2012 at 4:27 pm

    While I knew Seasons 11-present were not nearly as good, I wouldn’t mind watching them even if they happened to be on. It was more of a matter of morbid curiosity of “Let’s see how far these have fallen.” And I’m sure there are a number of zombie episodes I enjoy despite the decline in quality.

    I’m currently re-watching the entire series since Fox no longer seems to run anything from the classics, and it’s amazing how much smoother the stories flow and how much content is packed into each episode (They feel like mini-movies). A lot of the themes and jokes were over my head when I originally watched the older stuff, and many of the episodes I didn’t like then I find hilarious now. I can’t remember laughing as hard as I did during Bart the Daredevil. That ambulance crash gets me every time. It was a different time when jokes were the result of the situation, and not the reason to create a situation.

    Having read blogs like this that break down the actual problems with Season 11+, I’m finding myself even less entertained with the newer stuff than before. Ignorance was bliss and this place had to ruin it! :P
    Unfortunately, now that the show seems keen on copying the Seth Macfarlane show template of non sequitur punchlines and quick takes built upon thin plots, the chance of going back to more fleshed out episodes are long gone.

  8. 7 August 2012 at 4:56 pm

    “Behind the Laughter” was what really did it for me. Ironically, it’s not a half-bad episode, but it proved to me that the show had basically eaten itself. It’s like the writers were telling us: “Yep, we know we’ve sucked for years and we don’t care. We’re gonna keep going.”

    • 9 abra cadaver
      16 August 2012 at 3:41 am

      That episode is brilliant, imo.. while watching when it aired, I honestly thought it would be the last episode of the show. Little did I know……….

  9. 10 Mr. Incognito
    7 August 2012 at 5:07 pm

    I’d say it was about Season 9-11 period that things started to fall. It’s odd, but I initially (I was ~12-14) credited the fall to having too many Lisa-based episodes, as they appeared to be the most boring. (In hindsight, it may have been part of Lisa’s zombification, which was described so excellently by a Reader’s Digest post, I believe.)

    This was also the time when Futurama came out, then I blamed that, for creatively stretching Matt Greoning thin. I wasn’t until I was a bit older and wiser that I discovered that no show will stay good forever and that Greoning started Futurama to be more hands-on than he was (or rather Fox would let him be) with The Simpsons. Stupid teenage self.

    Looking at the modern Fox Sunday Night lineup of [MacFarlane Show], [MacFarlane Show], Zombie Simpsons, [MacFarlane Show], and Bob’s Burgers* (and another MacFarlane Show coming in 2013!), I sorely regret wanting Futurama off the air for that reason. Two Groening shows (so long as he’s in charge) is much, much better.

    *Which is easily the most deserving of all of the Fox Sunday Night lineup, which likely means that it’s first to get axed.

    I tried to defend the show into Season 12, but stopped after the Screamapiller episode–it was something too dumb, too cartoony for something like The Simpsons to consider, and the show wasn’t coming back. This, while, as it seemed, Fox was doing everything it could to sabotage Futurama. I stayed watching from time to time, but things just got stagnant, and I just gave up; that was around Seasons 13-14.

    I was stoked for the movie, and it was the best Simpsons-related thing I saw since quitting the show, but it could’ve been better but wasn’t. Why? Because Fox was just trying to milk more money from a dead yet still fat cash cow.

    I used to think that the Seasons 10-12 period was the absolute worst, but since reading this blog and finding what good bits are in there (and not to mention the wretchedly horrible quality of Seasons 20+), my view has improved dramatically–well on Season 10, anyways. Nowadays, I still consider Season 8 the last “good” season, while 9 is “decent;” there are some real stinkers in S9 that I thought came in 10 or 11. Season 10 is more “meh,” while 11 is the first definite “bad” season.

    I’m even beginning to notice differences in quality from 10 to 11, and much of 10 looks great compared to 11.

  10. 11 Dan S.
    7 August 2012 at 6:33 pm

    Its probably indicative of how lame I am, but as soon as I saw the mention I excitedly called my girlfriend to go check out the site.

    • 12 Dan S.
      7 August 2012 at 6:50 pm

      Also I was in China for a bit and there is this site Youku.com that has many seasons of the Simpsons. Its a good way to view the later seasons without buying a DVD set. As far as I know it pays for all of its content and is a legitimate site.

  11. 13 colonelcoward
    7 August 2012 at 7:19 pm

    Like I said before, it was really heartbreaking. I could see the cracks forming in Seasons 7 and 8, and much more so by 9 and 10, but at the same time there was still too much good stuff to stop watching. SO I had to watch the painful process of its decline, step by step.

    I used to say that part of the reason that The Simpsons’ decline is so sad is that it was so gradual–there was no “jump the shark moment” where you can say all the episodes after that one were bad. But then, most of the time the “jump the shark” point is mostly symbolical, and if anything they only represent a tipping point that creates enough cognitive dissonance to make you see the changes that have already been happening. And anyway most shows have multiple points where they go down a notch, and people might react to different points. “The Principal and the Pauper” and “Saddlesore Galactica” work well enough as points for the audience in general.

    Still, it took a longer time than most shows. But maybe it wasn’t that The Simpsons declined gradually, so much as they had such a long way to fall. The 7th season, I consider to be a significant drop in quality from the 6th. But it is still some of the best stuff ever compared to the rest of TV, and even the worst parts of Season 11 are better than 90% of what’s on TV, but that’s because as we all know TV in general is terrible. And as bad as Zombie Simpsons is, there are still far worse things out there. I say this not to make Zombie Simpsons sound better, but only to drive home just how much room The Simpsons had to fall–that even with the drop between Classic Simpsons and now, they still could be a lot worse.

  12. 14 Disco Stud
    7 August 2012 at 10:02 pm

    Because I was born in the early 90s and only started watching when I was 8, I never experienced the days when the Sunday episodes were groundbreaking stuff. But I remember watching the reruns every night and quoting them incessantly with my friends the next day at school.

    I watched the Sunday episodes out of habit for a long time, but around season 11 or 12 the new episodes started leaving me cold and unhappy. I eventually resorted to just watching the reruns, usually checking the TV guide in the afternoon to see if they would be airing classic episodes.

    But they began airing the classics less and less, and eventually I just stopped watching the show entirely. What a shame.

  13. 15 Anony-mouse.
    7 August 2012 at 11:41 pm

    I was in college when I was hired at a local Fox TV station to work in the control room. Since my schedule required me to work early Saturday mornings, the shift was very light and I was always looking for something to do. One fateful morning I noticed on the encrypted network satellite feeds that they would run the Simpsons episode that was to air the following Sunday evening. I presume they did this for affiliates that were in Canada, or for those wanting to air the show later in the evening; who knows. The point was, I was not only able to see the show a full day and a half before everyone else, but I was able to inconspicuously make a copy on tape for myself without any network bug or commercials. It was the perfect setup…

    …at least unitl I started watching the shows. As timing was, I was hired right during season 10. Watching these shows like this struck me: Was I watching some heavily edited version of it? Apparently not, as I would catch the actual Sunday night version (like everyone else) and nope, the same episode I saw the day before was there. Was I just not up for watching the Simpsons at 8:00am on a Saturday morning? No, that wasn’t it; I’d pull some of the old episodes from the station’s tape library and watch them afterwards and they were as good as ever. So, what was it?

    Obviously, my posting here on this site confirms what I suspected all along: That these season 10 episodes were banal when they first aired, and for the most part haven’t gotten any better with age. I dutifully recorded most of the episodes from seasons 10 and 11, and I was mildly amused at best by most of them, and by the end of season 11, I knew the quality of the show had taken a nosedive. “Kill The Alligator And Run” was the episode that killed it for me. I had finished watching it and mused aloud, “What the hell did I just watch?” I still have those tapes somewhere, but I’ll be damned if I ever watched them again (and not just because the episodes are now on DVD).

    For the record, I stuck it out until the middle of season 12, and just gave up. By then, I knew the show was just abysmal, and it was never going to be as good as what most of us now define as “classic Simpsons”.

  14. 8 August 2012 at 12:05 am

    Two words ruined The Simpsons for me forever. Mel. Gibson. Even though I was 16 at the time “Beyond Blunderdome” aired, I wondered why anyone in Hollywood would take the advice of Homer Simpson. But there it was complete with an insulting “parody(?)” of a Jimmy Stewart classic.

    I continued watching The Simpsons all the way through it’s most recent season and have called it quits. I have seasons 1-11 on DVD but have no plans on buying any more of them. To me, “Behind the Laughter” was their final episode.

  15. 17 Thrillho
    8 August 2012 at 1:21 am

    I might have mentioned this in another thread, but I’ll go into further detail.

    I was born in 1990, so I didn’t watch the show first run during its classic seasons (I know. You can weep for me.) I caught the show sporadically as a kid, but I think it was around Season 9 when I started watching regularly. Sometime around 2000 was when I would rush to my local FOX affiliate at 6:30 to catch the syndicated repeats. Seasons 7-11 made up the bulk of syndication at that point, but they were kind enough to run the first six seasons more often than not. At the same time, I was watching Season 12 first run, and me just being a young’un, I liked them equally. I didn’t recognize the dumb storylines or lame jokes, but I was just a kid and I found it all funny. This would continue for the next few seasons. I heard people talk about how the show wasn’t as good as it was in the ’90s, but I didn’t care. It was still The Simpsons to me.

    I think it was Season 14’s “Moe Baby Blues” that broke my spirit. That was the first episode that I thought was bad at the time. I was still in defender mode for the next few seasons, but as the episodes from Seasons 12 through 14 started popping up in syndication more and more, I started to wonder why I liked them in the first place. The first 8 seasons got better when I watched them at an older age, but I noticed the flaws in the single digit seasons more. I don’t recall when exactly I stopped defending the show’s new episodes, but after the monstrosity that was Season 23, I think I’m going to be checking out the show even less now.

    The important thing was I had an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time.

  16. 18 ecco6t9
    8 August 2012 at 2:18 am

    I’d think I would say Season 12. There’s more than a few misses in Season 11 but I look past those for some reasons. Part of the reason I kept watching was “Well it might get canceled next year….”

    • 19 abra cadaver
      16 August 2012 at 3:44 am

      Yeah, I agree with this. Season 12, aside from HOMR, Hungry Hungry Homer, and the interesting Trilogy of Error… well, it didn’t have much to reccomend beyond that. As for the 220 (!) or so episodes since then, I really only liek ETERNAL MOONSHINE (though the ending is fucking stupid) and Weekend AT Burnsies (though the ending is fuc.. wait…) and I kinda like the prison snitch one (he had Adebese from Oz’s hat on! … ) and the one with the Raising Arizona parody sequence.

      So, like, 3 or 4 watchable episodes in the past 12-ish years. Wow.

  17. 20 Anonymous
    8 August 2012 at 5:08 am

    “If I’d known in 2000 that the show would still be on in 2012, I probably would’ve quit sooner. But at the time, me and everyone I knew kept expecting to hear that the show was finally going to end, and I didn’t want to miss out on what I thought were its last seasons, however poor.”

    This is exactly why I stuck it out as long as I did. I think it was in 2002 (when they debuted yet another unfunny season premiere) that it occurred to me “Fuck, this show hasn’t made me laugh in at least two years, and isn’t ever going to end, is it? What the hell am I still watching this for?”

    I’d still check out an ep every half a year or so, just in case it started being funny again. Gave up on bothering with that 2005-ish, I think. After reading through this blog, I decided to check a new ep, just to see how bad it had got-which was the talking rag ep, as it happened. Tried, but couldn’t even make it to the first commercial break before turning it off.

  18. 21 Dr Nguyen Van Phuoc
    8 August 2012 at 12:05 pm

    “For example, I really didn’t like “El Viaje de Nuestro Jomer” the first time it was broadcast. I thought the whole dream sequence was dumb and I can remember saying that “Batman’s really let himself go” was the only genuinely excellent joke in the whole episode. But as that one got to syndication, the shock of the initial zaniness wore off and I appreciated it more and more.”

    Funnily enough, the first time I saw this it aired at 6:30pm on Sunday, which at the time was when New Simpsons aired here in the UK, and I actually thought it was a stupid later-season episode (it was 2002 or 3, so season 14 was new at the time). Much like you, it’s grown on me since.

    I was shocked to learn it was season 8 once I got home internet though.

  19. 22 Jonah
    8 August 2012 at 2:20 pm

    HI, long time reader first time poster. I learned that the Simpsons were unwatchable after the Simpsons movie, but to be fair I was born in 95.

    I remember first watching new episodes during season 13 and I ate it up. Moments like Bart ordering a “shark butt, with butt sauce”, and a caterpillar that does nothing but scream were hysterical to me, but I was just an innocent 6 year old.

    During 2007 I forget which season it was (nor do I care) I was forcing myself to laugh at stuff I knew weren’t funny. This was around the time my parent bought me the season 1-8 DVD’S and I noticed that these episodes were extremely funny and quotable. Even if i didn’t understand the references to “Citizen Kane” or “A Streetcar Named Desire” I still laughed because the writers knew what was funny, and could care less if the average audience didn’t understand. I began to realize the differences between 2007 episodes and 1992 episodes. I even realized that Seasons 10-15 wasn’t as funny as I first remembered. However I could never admit that “The Simpsons” became zombiefied, after all I laughed once during a new episode it’s still good, it’s still good.

    When I first watched “The Simpsons Movie” I decided that my favourite show of all time was broken beyond repair. References to “Cap Anson” were replaced by Homer singing Spider Pig (get it the pig is dressed in a Spiderman costume). For the whole movie I sat there staring at the screen not laughing, not angry, just waiting for the inevitable Homer and Marge reconciliation so I could leave.

    Once in a blue moon I watch “Zombie Simpsons” but it’s for few minutes before I give up and change the channel. I still find it sad that when I was born everyone was searching for the shooter of Mr. Burns. Now I’m starting Grade 12 and The Simpsons are refusing to die.

    • 23 Patrick
      14 August 2012 at 7:42 am

      Oh yes born in ’93 and when i started watching the show in ’98 i ended up in that boat too as a kid finding the now cringey writing funny and such and well i so agree with the whole ‘spider pig’ and why on earth is the design of all the pigs in the show now look like fucking spider pig….?

  20. 8 August 2012 at 4:03 pm

    My mother actually forbid me to watch The Simpsons when I was a kid, and only lifted the ban when I turned 13. Unfortunately, that happened in 1999, smack in the middle of Season 11. I caught up with the classic episodes pretty quick, but I still stuck by the new ones too, because I wanted to give them a chance. I guess I didn’t want to kid myself into thinking I’d waited thirteen years to watch the show everybody had been talking about, only to get there and find out the new episodes sucked.

    After slogging through the end of Mike Scully’s tenure, I was all enthusiastic about Al Jean taking over, because I knew he was a classic-era writer and I assumed he would wave some sort of magic wand and make everything all better. And throughout Seasons 13 and 14, I kept telling myself that. (I probably said something to the effect of “It’s just a little zany! It’s still good, it’s still good! It’s just a little boring! It’s still good, it’s still good!”) Amazingly, it took me until Season 17 to finally throw up my hands and admit that the emperor no longer had clothes.

    I do occasionally poke my head in to see how Zombie Simpsons is doing. I’m never pleased with what I see. Last time I tried that, I got “Replaceable You”, “Them, Robot”, and “Lisa Goes Gaga” all over me. Blech.

  21. 25 Anonymous
    8 August 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Behind the Laughter episode, that was probably the turning point for me. There was a couple episodes that were alright after it, but I remember watching that one and just thinking to myself “Did the quality go down, or am I just getting to old for this show now.”

  22. 26 SharoKham
    8 August 2012 at 6:26 pm

    One of the reasons I started reading this blog is because I identified with it so closely: Something about Marge Be Not Proud and The Principal And The Pauper never really set well with me, and Simpson Safari was when I knew the party was over (like a “somebody stabbed the host” party was over). It didn’t help that me and another long time Simpsons fan were watching with someone who never really liked the Simpsons and strongly preferred South Park. She won that round!

    One thing I want to add: The Old Man And The Key. This is kind of a generational thing, so if any other millennials want to weigh in on this, please do. At the end, where they’re doing a parade of has-been celebrities, they put Mr. T on the same level as Charro, Charlie Callas, Ray Jay Johnson, and Yakov Smirnoff. That just doesn’t work. People who grew up with Mr. T don’t forget him like that, and I dare anybody to say that about the other celebrities in that sentence. For a baby boomer, it’s like if I went “Doodles Weaver, Jack Gilford, Dean Jagger…And Walter Brennan!” I’m not explaining it very well, but at the time it was the first time I really felt The Simpsons just didn’t get it, which was worse than not being funny anymore.

  23. 27 KMD
    9 August 2012 at 7:16 am

    My memories of the Simpsons are mostly from the first 2-4 seasons. Classics like Simpson and Delilah, Brush With Greatness, Lisa’s Pony, Bart Gets An Elephant and so on. However I still watched the show on Sky One whenever I had the chance and, being a kid with not very high standards, accepted it. I had no major qualms with Homer going to Vegas with Flanders and getting married while drunk. I enjoyed Rodney Dangerfield as Burns’ son enough to not really register the lunacy of the third act. Even Homer becoming best buddies with Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin didn’t bother me. I still found the show enjoyable enough to keep watching and not question it, and these rather bizarre episodes were often interspersed between many classics from later “still considered decent” seasons like 7 and 8.

    Then I stopped keeping up to date with the Simpsons and mostly watched older ones on rerun or on video, largely because we no longer had satellite TV. I heard a lot of talk about the Simpsons being long past its prime on the internet, but I also kept hearing people lavish praise on it on TV. It came first in a “top 100 cartoon countdown” AND a “top 100 kids shows” programme, both of which I highly disputed (the former being extremely vague, being about animated films and series, and the latter being just ridiculous since the Simpsons is rarely ever thought of as a “kids show” nowadays). Everyone on TV acted as if the show was still going strong, but the internet said otherwise. So when I saw the Simpsons was on terrestrial television again, I gave it a watch.

    I forget what the first episode I saw that made me truly think “okay, it’s done” was. One that always comes back to me is the walking episode, which had Steve Buscemi literally appear for no reason and say “Hi, I’m Steve Buscemi”. I had heard of and seen gratuitous celebrity cameos on the show before, but this one really went too far. At that point, every new episode of the Simpsons I saw was one disappointment after another: the horrible Homer roast clip show; the Simpsons going to the UK and being greeted by an unrecognizable Tony Blair; the return of Homer and Ned’s Vegas wives that is preceded by a story that has no bearing on the plot whatsoever, which was probably two episodes smooshed together to fill running time; Frank Grimes Jr.; Selma and Grandpa Simpson get together, a stupid plot that takes about 15 minutes into the episode to actually get started; and of course, Jockey Elves. Those goddamn Jockey Elves.

    The last new episode I watched was the Lady Gaga one, simply out of morbid curiosity when I heard it was the worst episode in recent memory. I was not disappointed. I truly don’t see how the show can get any worse, or indeed how it can get any better short of firing everyone and starting from scratch.

  24. 28 Pepito! The Biggest Cat In The Whole Wide World!
    9 August 2012 at 4:34 pm

    I would argue that Comic Book Guy breaking the 4th Wall to criticize the fans in Saddlesore as akin to the moment Odacer kicked down the gates of Rome.

    Like Rome in 4th and 5th century, the show was in steady decline but still held its regality. After 476, business continued like usual in Rome but the downward spiral continued. After The Jockey Elves, Season 11 still had its moments and the power of Simpsons, but the downward spiral continued.

    yes this is the greatest analogy.

  25. 10 August 2012 at 1:05 pm

    I remember when Season 13 aired (when I was 12), thinking that that was the first “bad” season, and Season 12 was the last “good” season. I especially remember the Vegas Wives Return and Bart Becomes Interested in the Wild West episodes as just being gratingly bad… now that I’m looking at the episode list on Wikipedia, repulsive emotions are coming to mind just looking at the episode descriptions. It was really hard to NOT watch the Simpsons in syndication if these episodes were on.

    I actually do remember liking some of the episodes in Season 12, when they aired: Bart and Friends Form a Boy Band, Homer Becomes Mr. X, Marge Tries to Rehabilitate an Artistic Convict. I haven’t watched them in years, so I’m obviously clouded by hazy nostalgia. These days, of course, the border between “good” and “bad” seasons has been moved earlier and is more fuzzy.

    • 32 abra cadaver
      16 August 2012 at 3:47 am

      Haha, yeah, COMPUTER WORE MENACE SHOES is not too bad, I should add that to my list above.. it has a dumb ending, but the first 10 minutes or so actually has a few classic moments.

      The thing is, even though most of season 10 and 11 sucked, there were still some good jokes and lines. The show lately is too boring and unmemorable and cold and… draining… difficult to watch. Honestly, some episodes are jjust painful to watch. I’ve never felt like that about a show before, but it gives me kind of a migraine.. yeah.

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