Author Topic: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?  (Read 194279 times)

Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #30 on: June 23, 2013, 11:32:43 PM »
I think wacky plots can be a useful indicator of the show's decline, but it's the drop in quality of jokes that really shows. There are about 5,000 Twitter accounts with quotes from classic Simpsons, and it's striking how many brilliant, iconic, offbeat, unique jokes there are of all types. This is what they've lost, to be replaced with hackery - dull cliches, topical jokes about reality TV stars that are already stale by the time the credits come up, making every character a witty smart-ass instead of getting jokes from character situation, and undermining characters' - and the show's - history and development for the sake of a cheap joke. There's much less inspiration, and seemingly much less care taken.

Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #31 on: June 23, 2013, 11:33:51 PM »
I don't quite get why The Simpsons at its most wholesome, in those first few series, is such a mirth-killer to so many people. Some of the most touching episodes are also the funniest. Such blatant disregard for 2-4 is madness, not the other way round. JeffreyHunter is as unfeeling a killing machine as Marge in that gif.

Are there actually other people who subscribe to this insane thesis?

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Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #32 on: June 23, 2013, 11:44:05 PM »
Are there actually other people who subscribe to this insane thesis?

I've heard it before, along with those who feel the show stopped being any good from season 5 onwards, and countless others. But it doesn't make sense to me at all, along with others already mentioned from those seasons, "Homer at the Bat", "Colonel Homer", "Black Widower", "Mr Plow", "I Love Lisa" and "Krusty Gets Kancelled" (along with a good few others) are examples of the series at it's very best, for me at least.

I still watch it because, well, I don't know, it's kind of comfort tv for me. And it has improved over the last couple of years, at least until this most recent season which was quite substandard. But every so often they do manage to create an episode which is surprisingly sweet and fun, though admittedly you have to watch a fair bit of nonsense to get to them. And there's been nothing as bad as the panda rape and elf-jockeys shite recently, which is something.

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Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #33 on: June 24, 2013, 01:08:38 AM »
People rightfully point to Mike Scully's tenure as when the quality sank, but those years at least display a level of competency in joke construction and execution that's absent in the show's current stasis of mediocrity.  Plot coherency and characterisation were largely awful, especially in comparison to what came before, but the writers were still capable of crafting some very funny gags and memorable lines, and the voice actors didn't sound completely disinterested in delivering them.  Case in point: Behind the Laughter, an entirely joke based non canon episode with no plot, and its funnier than any episode that followed it.  Nowadays the humour is nothing but weak, even if there are less jarring elements like Ned Flanders deciding Homer should teach him how to live up his life in Vegas or Jockey Elves.  Arguably the jarringness stems from the shock caused when they first aired, being a couple years after the classic era, and there's probably been worst examples since, but the episodes are so unmemorable now no one cares.

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Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #35 on: June 24, 2013, 01:49:13 AM »
An impressively deranged comment derail even by YouTube standards on that one.

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Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #36 on: June 24, 2013, 02:03:09 AM »
An impressively deranged comment derail even by YouTube standards on that one.

Ha, I thought that, it's truly disturbing and odd.

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Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #37 on: June 24, 2013, 10:39:31 AM »
I guess they weren't kidding way back in 1992.

There was a similar line in The Big Bang Theory the other day (girlfriend's sister was watching it, don't blame me), about TV shows lowering the quality over time so that fans don't care when they're cancelled.

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Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #38 on: June 24, 2013, 11:40:15 AM »
I just spent an hour or so looking at the episode / season list for The Simpsons. I definitely preferred the more sentimental earlier episodes, often there were 2 or 3 interesting plots that twisted around each other. Or nice setups that didn't lead you too obviously to where the episode was going. The characters seemed more likeable and believable too. By Season 8 there was a distinct smell of cynicism pouring through and characters becoming parodies of themselves, while at first injecting a bit of freshness into things, quickly became the downfall of the show.

We had Sky in 1990. I'm not sure how we afforded it and I remember having mixed feelings of pride and regret, because I got bullied for it (being called a yuppie or whatever and kids making comments on the dish on the side of the house) and I had no one to talk to at school about all the cool things I could watch on Sky One and MTV. But I remember making Simpsons compilation tapes and being popular bringing them to friends' houses.

The Simpsons was the only show my family watched together. All 6 of us (two younger brothers, older sister, mum and dad) would make time for it every Sunday.

Hearing my dad laugh hysterically at this:
http://youtu.be/nCbwKGAzOo0?t=5s

will always be a special moment of my childhood.

Over 100 episodes of the Simpsons later, we still watched it, albeit not as frequently or as faithfully. The fact the show made it that far and managed to still bang out some decent episodes and raise chuckles deserves mention.

But by 1997 I'd mostly grown out of it. Partly the quality had diminished a bit, partly the format just wasn't that interesting anymore. Partly we were growing up and finding other things to do with our time. Becoming horrible teenagers who thought it was totally uncool to watch the Simpsons with our mum and dad. ETC...

In the last 10 years or so, I've watched maybe 5 or 6 "new" episodes and quickly forgot them, probably in an attempt to protect my precious childhood memories of the show.

I watched the Sigur Ros episode the other day... Fuck it was terrible. A real depressing reflection of how shit the show is now. 

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Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #39 on: June 24, 2013, 12:04:36 PM »
I'm going to watch a 'new' episode. Wish me luck.

Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #40 on: June 24, 2013, 12:31:57 PM »
I caught a half decent episode from a recent season - the dog becomes a cop.

Only a crazy person would disagree with the consensus that seasons 2  - 8 were almost all full of gold. The first episode for me that gave me alarm bells was the Mary Poppins one from season 8.

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Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #41 on: June 24, 2013, 12:37:58 PM »
http://morpheus306.deviantart.com/journal/Simpsons-now-in-HD-update-233741679

Interesting read.  What does he mean by 1's and 2's in sentences like this?

Quote
It's a little strobey because I had origianlly did it on 1's because they wanted fast wing flaps but it looks like they put it on 2's.

And has he gone on to post his original rejected "passes" of animation?  I don't seem to be easily able to search that blog.

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Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #42 on: June 24, 2013, 12:45:27 PM »
well that was shit. case closed.

Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #43 on: June 24, 2013, 12:48:40 PM »
I'm just looking through the list to see if I can point to a particularly portentious episode.

Conversely, what would people call the first truly great episode? I watched a lot of these recently and I found The Call of the Simpsons from the first series hilarious from virtually start to finish. The RV salesman is especially a standout.

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Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #44 on: June 24, 2013, 01:03:00 PM »
Interesting read.  What does he mean by 1's and 2's in sentences like this?

Never mind; I've googled.

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Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #45 on: June 24, 2013, 01:06:40 PM »
I have also Googled. Very interesting.

Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #46 on: June 24, 2013, 01:14:31 PM »
There's obviously no definitive answer as to when it jumped the shark because it's just a case of a little of what you fancy and all that but for me the shark jump was Season 11. Season 2 right the way up to Season 10 are solid gold and full of good gags. You could argue that Season 10 is worse than Hitler because of silly Homer and over the top premises and all the rest but I love nearly every episode in that season. Season 11 is when it just fell off a cliff quality wise and probably never really recovered although I have a lot of affection for Season 14.

Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #47 on: June 24, 2013, 01:33:35 PM »
There's obviously no definitive answer as to when it jumped the shark because it's just a case of a little of what you fancy and all that but for me the shark jump was Season 11. Season 2 right the way up to Season 10 are solid gold and full of good gags. You could argue that Season 10 is worse than Hitler because of silly Homer and over the top premises and all the rest but I love nearly every episode in that season. Season 11 is when it just fell off a cliff quality wise and probably never really recovered although I have a lot of affection for Season 14.

I was about to say pretty much that. I've noticed quite a few posts on this thread which say that the rot started to set in after season 8, but I don't really see it. Do people think less of season 10 because the plots were a little more off the wall than those in previous seasons? Having looked through the list of episodes from S10 I think I found them as funny as those that came before.

I agree with checkoutgirl, S11 is when the show really started to decline; not only did I find it less funny (though on the whole it's considerably more so than the seasons which followed), but I felt as though a lot of the show's previous charm had been lost - though I think I'd have to rewatch it to put my finger on why.

Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #48 on: June 24, 2013, 01:34:35 PM »
The other day they had Lisa vs. Malibu Stacey followed by the Lady Gaga episode. Christ, what a horrible juxtaposition it was.


Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #49 on: June 24, 2013, 01:37:45 PM »
I just had a quick look through the season 10 episode list and there are some absolute stinkers in there. 'Viva Ned Flanders', 'Wild Barts Can't Be Broken', 'Homer To The Max' 'Marge Simpson In Screaming Yellow Honkers' 'Maximum Homerdrive' 'Monty Can't Buy Me Love' 'Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo' are all horrible episodes. It's when I stopped watching religiously.

Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #50 on: June 24, 2013, 01:38:13 PM »
I'm just looking through the list to see if I can point to a particularly portentious episode.


Gotta be this one http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bart_on_the_Road

From waaaaaayy back in the seventh series but features four 10 year olds renting a car and driving it to Knoxville, and is packed with fairly lame gags.

It has a nice Homer & Lisa sub-plot but there's something slightly off about the characterisation of both.

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Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #51 on: June 24, 2013, 01:41:22 PM »
I really like that episode! Bearing in mind I haven't seen it for a while but the grim reality of the place they're visiting, the dialogue between the boys in the car, Moon River, the shot of them with the wigs - all great sources of mirth! Yes, the plot is fairly ridiculous but it's got a nice adventure feel in a similar vein to Lemon Of Troy. Just remembered another funny bit on the road, when Nelson slaps the back of the angry paternal driver's head. Oh, and another one, the line used by Nelson (it's all bloody Nelson and he's not a character I would rate generally) when they come out of seeing Naked Lunch is a gag I often recall. Yes, it's all very silly - especially the end - but I do regard it highly.

Personally, I think the season with Grimey was the last good one.


Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #53 on: June 24, 2013, 01:49:32 PM »
Gotta be this one http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bart_on_the_Road

From waaaaaayy back in the seventh series but features four 10 year olds renting a car and driving it to Knoxville, and is packed with fairly lame gags.

It has a nice Homer & Lisa sub-plot but there's something slightly off about the characterisation of both.

I agree that there's something slightly off, but I wouldn't call it an out-and-out bad episode. That said, I haven't seen it for a few years.

On skimming, I think the irreverent, nonsensical or just flat-out fucking stupid endings used to cause the most discomfort, watching these around age 10. And they get more and more frequent and more and more egregious as the show progresses.

I was reading the synopses of the highly controversial ninth series when I saw the horrible words 'Bart Carny'. I barely remember smiling at that as a kid. The closing scene of Homer wriggling on the couch is recalled only with considerable pain.

Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #54 on: June 24, 2013, 01:55:33 PM »
The Simpsons as a consistently brilliant show is obviously well behind us but occasionally you get a little nugget in there that shines out like a beacon and reminds you of why you love the best episodes. One such episode for me is Season 21 Episode 20 To Surveil with Love. Broadcast 2 May 2010 and featuring a nice guest performance from Eddie Izzard as Nigel Bakerbutcher. It's got a nice, believable story and is gag heavy, this episode is pure fun from start to finish.

http://www.wtsof.com/watch/S21E20-to-surveil-with-love

The highlight for me was Bart putting the tape down for the camera blind spot zone. Brilliant.

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Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #55 on: June 24, 2013, 02:03:05 PM »
Season 9 had some good ones (This Little Wiggy, Last Temptation of Krust, Dumbbell Indemnity) but things were becoming very tiresome (the New York episode is very divisive but also King Of The Hill, Simpson Tide, Das Bus, Lisa The Skeptic and Bart Carny - lifeless, straining episodes that bored me to tears and yet I still immortalised on VHS when I was transferring from joyous fan to jealous widow). Season 10 really is stink-o, and while I still like the one where Homer has his mid-life crisis and becomes an inventor or indeed the one where Bart ruins Christmas with a theft... they just don't have the same style as earlier episodes.

Others have elucidated on this better than I can at present but for every six or seven awful episodes of the latest season you still get one Holidays Of Futures Passed or, err, that one where Moe dates a midget. Edit: or the above.

Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #56 on: June 24, 2013, 02:12:06 PM »
I just had a quick look through the season 10 episode list and there are some absolute stinkers in there. 'Viva Ned Flanders', 'Wild Barts Can't Be Broken', 'Homer To The Max' 'Marge Simpson In Screaming Yellow Honkers' 'Maximum Homerdrive' 'Monty Can't Buy Me Love' 'Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo' are all horrible episodes. It's when I stopped watching religiously.

Whilst I'd agree that those are the weaker episodes of that season, I think they're far from horrible. It has occurred to me though that maybe I'm looking back at Season 10 with rose tinted spectacles, having witnessed the crapness of subsequent seasons.

Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #57 on: June 24, 2013, 02:13:40 PM »
Gotta be this one http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bart_on_the_Road

From waaaaaayy back in the seventh series but features four 10 year olds renting a car and driving it to Knoxville, and is packed with fairly lame gags.

It has a nice Homer & Lisa sub-plot but there's something slightly off about the characterisation of both.

Madness, it's a fantastic episode.

Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #58 on: June 24, 2013, 02:18:53 PM »
Madness, it's a fantastic episode.

This is mad because you're going to get people coming on here slagging off some of the best Simpsons ever, calling them 'lame' when clearly the opposite is true.

Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #59 on: June 24, 2013, 02:49:38 PM »
When Troy McClure died.