Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Still Divorced

Five years ago, on the occasion of Fox's The Simpsons hitting its landmark 400th episode, I posted this treatise from my friend and fellow disgruntled Simpsons fans Brian Hall, wherein he likened his frustration with the state of Springfield to a spouse finally walking away from a longterm relationship. Here's a piece of what he said back then:
I can’t believe I have stuck around for 400 episodes but I think it was necessary for me to see that it is time for us to part ways. I can never discredit you for all the good you’ve done for me and will always visit reruns to remember the good times. Scratch that, the great times. 
 I will miss you and truly do wish you the best of luck.
Unlike Brian, I've kept the series a part of my DVR rotation even though it's been mediocre-to-bad for even longer than it was good. But with The Simpsons' 500th ep airing this past Sunday, I reached out to Brian once more to see if his thoughts about his ex have changed or softened in the interim. Here's what he had to say:
Wow. That was five years ago! It's funny rereading that because despite the fact that I'd reword it slightly, it still sums up what I can no longer stomach about the show's current run. It really does feel like a very meaningful relationship gone sour. 
I will say though that I also recognize that 20+ years is a long time to consistently produce content, and the content I was in love with came from people who haven't been with the show for over ten years or more. These are a new crop of writers and a new crop of audience makes sense. And I'm okay with that. 
The only people I won't indulge however, are the people who say that the first 8 or 9 seasons are only touted and claimed as everyones' favorites because of nostalgia. Simply not true. I re-watched them recently on a DVD bender and they are just as sharp, sweet, profoundly quotable and genuinely hysterical as they were when they first aired. More than several of them are masterpieces. 
So I will walk away with my DVDs (or "photo albums" if you will) and let The Simpsons go in her respective direction, as I go -- sadly, and always hoping she's going to be all right -- in mine.
Before posting this, I did make sure to watch last weekend's episode, and it admittedly wasn't as terrible as many of the last decade's worth of episodes (I certainly chuckled far more than I did with #400's 24 parody). However, having watched for as long as I have, I can't help but be reminded again and again just how much of a treasure the show was in its prime, and how far from that prime it is now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was a major fan when the series began, but by year nine or so, it all started falling apart. My divorce from The Simpsons occurred not long thereafter, and has remained a constant ever since. I can't believe this series is still on the air.

--Rich Handley