Author Topic: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?  (Read 201375 times)

George Oscar Bluth II

  • Karma: +69 / -420
Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #60 on: June 24, 2013, 03:06:11 PM »
There's an online archive of the Simpsons usenet discussion page/forum/whatever where there's people laying into season 4 classics while they were being broadcast saying they don't live up to the show's past etc etc.

The powers that be tend to use this as evidence that fans have always moaned about the show.

Replies From View

  • Rubbing linseed oil into the school cormorant.
  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • Gargoyles have milk bags.
Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #61 on: June 24, 2013, 03:23:54 PM »
There's a certain truth that people will reflect negatively on the newest series of something because they tend to know the earlier ones quite intimately and have their own ideas about what characters would and wouldn't do, and what suits the comedy of the series and so on.  But all they need to do is become as intimate with the newest series as they are with the older ones. 

This is quite different to pointing to a series that's already ten years old, and with a bit of historical perspective saying "this is where the show changed irrevocably for the worse".  It's disingenuous of producers to blend these phenomena and say that a show isn't deteriorating in quality.

Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #62 on: June 24, 2013, 03:26:12 PM »
There's an online archive of the Simpsons usenet discussion page/forum/whatever where there's people laying into season 4 classics while they were being broadcast saying they don't live up to the show's past etc etc.

The powers that be tend to use this as evidence that fans have always moaned about the show.

When I started high school I remember me and my new best mate agreeing the Simpsons was past it and should end. This was 95. I don't think we were too far off.

Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #63 on: June 24, 2013, 03:32:09 PM »
In fairness to people complaining during season 4, things were getting insane at that point - monorail episode, things exploding all the time, more and more guest stars. It was a very different show even compared to season 3. It's just that the changes they didn't like were actually good.

Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #64 on: June 24, 2013, 03:35:34 PM »
the Simpsons was past it and should end. This was 95. I don't think we were too far off.

Aye sir, there's the rub. I think you are about 4 seasons early, someone else will say you are a season too late. And the whole sorry process kicks off again like a wheel within a wheel, never ending or beginning on an ever spinning reel.

Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #65 on: June 24, 2013, 03:50:18 PM »
The writers may have a point that people misjudged season 4 on it's first airing, but using that as proof that the show still 'has it' fails on many counts. Chiefly, that within a couple of years of first broadcast seasons 4-8 were being rightly hailed as classics. I have yet to see anyone, for instance, during the airing of Season 21 suddenly heap praise on Seasons 18-20.

Perhaps the genius of these later seasons takes longer to crystallise, but given we're talking about episodes with plots such as 'Burns becomes a superhero called Fruitbat Man', I have serious doubts.

General consensus here seems to be that the decline began around season 8. I think the latest anyone has said is Season 12. Even by the (in my opinion, extremely generous) second number, that still means that the show has been trash now for longer than it was ever good, which is a sad state of affairs indeed.

McFlymo

  • Pre-"Post Reply" Anxiety
Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #66 on: June 24, 2013, 04:12:38 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.

This episode was very good! Plenty of great moments.

It's just a shame episodes like the Sigor Rus one, are soooooooo, so, so bad: such fluctuating quality levels make me reluctant to delve into much recent Simpsons. But I'm curious now, maybe I need to go back to some of those older seasons.

Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #67 on: June 24, 2013, 05:55:59 PM »
The first episode I can remember actually hating was the one where Bart forms a boyband, which was in season 12. I think the standard had been steadily dropping since 9 though. I've never had Sky so I'm pretty out of step with the last few years. I got this book: and I reckon it pretty much covers any Simpsons episodes that I'd consider 'essential'. Anything beyond that is more miss than hit.

I will say my favourite character is arguably Gil, who doesn't make an appearance until season 9. And I'll go on record as saying I absolutely loved The Simpsons Movie.

Edit: I should mention that the book covers seasons 1-8. It's a good little read, too.

Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #68 on: June 24, 2013, 06:11:11 PM »
And I'll go on record as saying I absolutely loved The Simpsons Movie.

I bloody hated that. I felt that it lacked the charm and humour of the original series and was something of a cash in. What do you see in it?

syntaxerror

  • A friend in need is a friend in debt
Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #69 on: June 24, 2013, 06:11:36 PM »
The first episode I can remember actually hating was the one where Bart forms a boyband, which was in season 12. I think the standard had been steadily dropping since 9 though. I've never had Sky so I'm pretty out of step with the last few years. I got this book: and I reckon it pretty much covers any Simpsons episodes that I'd consider 'essential'. Anything beyond that is more miss than hit.

I will say my favourite character is arguably Gil, who doesn't make an appearance until season 9. And I'll go on record as saying I absolutely loved The Simpsons Movie.

Edit: I should mention that the book covers seasons 1-8. It's a good little read, too.

I used to have that book, but I appear to have lost it:- you must have my copy. Can I have it back please.

Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #70 on: June 24, 2013, 06:12:53 PM »
I bloody hated that. I felt that it lacked the charm and humour of the original series and was something of a cash in. What do you see in it?

I had a bleak day once and it pulled me back from the abyss. True story, but I'll say no more.

syntaxerror

  • A friend in need is a friend in debt
Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #71 on: June 24, 2013, 06:12:55 PM »
I bloody hated that. I felt that it lacked the charm and humour of the original series and was something of a cash in. What do you see in it?

The worst thing about the Simpsons movie film was all the jokes that had been recycled from the series but slightly altered to give them more contemporary references.

Replies From View

  • Rubbing linseed oil into the school cormorant.
  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • Gargoyles have milk bags.
Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #72 on: June 24, 2013, 06:19:58 PM »
The Simpsons Movie was the first new Simpsons I'd seen for years.  I was aware that the series had dropped in quality by then, and gathered that against the current standard the movie was excellent.  Not having that benchmark comparison I wasn't impressed by it - far too wacky and random for my tastes, and I didn't understand the whole motorbike physics they'd built the climax around - but I was touched by the scene of Homer sitting cross-legged on the floor watching the video of Marge saying she'd recorded her message over their wedding video.  I thought that was heartbreaking actually.

Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #73 on: June 24, 2013, 06:28:48 PM »
The first episode I can remember actually hating was the one where Bart forms a boyband, which was in season 12.

yeah i remember watching this as well and just gave up on the show.

Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #74 on: June 24, 2013, 06:48:05 PM »
I had a bleak day once and it pulled me back from the abyss. True story, but I'll say no more.

I can appreciate that.

But in contrast, I wasn't in a good frame of mind when I saw it, and even taking that into account I still thought it was pissing on the ashes of the original episodes. And as others have said, it didn't bring anything new to the table; all the subplots of the film had been tackled before with considerably more charm and wit. I just felt it was a massively cynical way of milking the original excellent series.

Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #75 on: June 24, 2013, 06:50:52 PM »
I always was slightly baffled that people cited Season 9 as the turning point, but I've come to realise since that there's quite a few episodes in it I've never really enjoyed (Bart Star, Bart Carny, Natural Born Kissers). Having said that there's also a fair few in it I'd consider classics, and I'm not sure it averages out that much worse than Season 7 which starts out excellently, but has quite a few rather dull episodes in its second half (and Homerpalooza is an early example of obnoxious use of celebrity voices; whatever the Smashing Pumpkins may be, they ain't funny)

I remember watching the Jerry Springer Halloween episode captured on the first page when it premiered on Sky (yes, I am another one) when I was 11 going on 12, and thinking "this just aint right". That was the I saw with the then-new animation style, and I've always personally associated that with the end of the "golden era".

BTW the Lady Gaga episode was the (or certainly a) weak point of a season of forgettable but entertaining telly. The latest season has been pretty weak.

Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #76 on: June 24, 2013, 07:08:26 PM »
So you prefer season 12 to the season that has Marge vs the monorail, Last Exit to Springfield? It's obviously a ludicrously subjective thing but this is genuinely an opinion I've never seen before let alone stated so strongly!

I was perhaps exaggerating a littttttlle bit, but I stand by what I say (mostly). Although season four is actually pretty solidly good. And a lot of season twelve - and episodes around that era - is shit. But, as I say, unless they're implausible to a disrespectful-to-The-Simpsons'-audience degree, quite ridiculous plots don't bother me. I don't dislike pre-season five Simpsons, I just feel it's frequently marred by sentimentality. And when you have a bash at being 'touching' in every single episode, it rarely works (for me, at least). Something like Duffless works, but repetition really diminishes it.

Basically, I don't go to The Simpsons to be taught a lesson about family life or whatever. When the plots get crazier, the joke gets a bit crazier (for example, in Homer Vs. Dignity - which I understand people hate a bit - the joke about everybody being surprisingly affectionate towards Carl, which always make me laugh). I know they're different shows, but if Seinfeld had something intended to be emotional in every single episode, it would not be as good as it is. And that's why I find up to around season twelve (but that's the brink; absolutely no further) more enjoyable than the earlier seasons.

(Also, I'd say the ever-expanding number of Simpsons anthology episodes was an indication of The Simpsons' shark-jumping).

Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #77 on: June 24, 2013, 07:55:53 PM »
I used to have that book, but I appear to have lost it:- you must have my copy. Can I have it back please.

I was going to post that I had this book but your post beat me to it and showed that, quite clearly, you had my copy which he now has. I'll thank you to return it to me once he's returned it to you.

MojoJojo

  • Member
  • **
  • Between a cow college and a MetaLab.
Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #78 on: June 24, 2013, 08:07:45 PM »
pre-season five Simpsons, I just feel it's frequently marred by sentimentality. And when you have a bash at being 'touching' in every single episode, it rarely works (for me, at least). Something like Duffless works, but repetition really diminishes it.

Basically, I don't go to The Simpsons to be taught a lesson about family life or whatever.

But there really isn't much of that past season one. And even then the moments are always mocked, and that's part of why the Simpsons was so refreshing- every US family sitcom before it was full of tedious moralising, and the Simpsons took the piss out of them.

Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #79 on: June 24, 2013, 08:25:19 PM »

Basically, I don't go to The Simpsons to be taught a lesson about family life or whatever.


To be honest, I think a lot of early era Simpsons fans, myself included, actually do. (not taught a lesson persay, but enjoying the emotional and mental nourishment that comes with the parallels between the Simpsons characters in those days and real life).

This combined with the obscenely creative humour made it the best show on television. The current Simpsons, or even the Simpsons of ten years ago, wouldn't be in the top 20.

George Oscar Bluth II

  • Karma: +69 / -420
Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #80 on: June 24, 2013, 08:49:31 PM »
Looking at this episodes list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_The_Simpsons_episodes

It's not been consistently any good for sixteen years.

The last great episode (Behind the Laughter) initially aired in May 2000.

Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #81 on: June 24, 2013, 08:53:09 PM »
To be honest, I think a lot of early era Simpsons fans, myself included, actually do. (not taught a lesson persay, but enjoying the emotional and mental nourishment that comes with the parallels between the Simpsons characters in those days and real life).

This combined with the obscenely creative humour made it the best show on television. The current Simpsons, or even the Simpsons of ten years ago, wouldn't be in the top 20.

I'm not saying that I find it objectionably bad in any way at all. I just don't care for it that much, personally. And I don't think all of The Simpsons poignant (successful or merely attempted) moment are bad. The end of Mother Simpson is really quite moving.

And that's in the seventh season. God, I've gotten myself confused...

Now that I think about it, season seven is probably my favourite season. That season better than any other seems to balance comedy and sentimentality.

Perhaps I'll be a conservative COWARD and reduce my idea of The Simpsons' golden age from seasons five to twelve, down to seasons five to ten.

up_the_hampipe

  • Crowd appeaser
Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #82 on: June 24, 2013, 09:02:24 PM »
All I know is when I see the new HD Simpsons intro, I feel a little bit sick.

Famous Mortimer

  • War - it's fantastic!
    • International Syndicate of Cult Film Critics
Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #83 on: June 24, 2013, 09:05:47 PM »
2-9 were the great seasons, I think. I wasn't reading about the behind-the-scenes stuff at the time, and obviously stuff from after there was good, but it just got...too silly? I don't know.

DeadBishop

  • The only thing to fear is ghosts themselves.
Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #84 on: June 24, 2013, 09:23:01 PM »
Looking at this episodes list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_The_Simpsons_episodes

It's not been consistently any good for sixteen years.

The last great episode (Behind the Laughter) initially aired in May 2000.

I don't know about when it jumped the shark, but I always felt Behind the Laughter would have been the perfect series finale, giving the show the nice arc of your typical big american sitcom: starts with potential, takes a season or 2 to find its voice, becomes very funny and very popular, gets a bit silly, ends. It's what your Seinfelds and your Frasiers and your Cheerseses did and if The Simpsons hadn't been such a merchandising powerhouse it would have followed the same trajectory instead of lingering around in the corner of your living room like an oedipal taxidermist's deceased mother.

Replies From View

  • Rubbing linseed oil into the school cormorant.
  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • Gargoyles have milk bags.
Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #85 on: June 24, 2013, 09:56:26 PM »
but it just got...too silly? I don't know.

It turned Noel Fielding, basically.

Replies From View

  • Rubbing linseed oil into the school cormorant.
  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • Gargoyles have milk bags.
Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #86 on: June 24, 2013, 09:59:24 PM »
I don't know about when it jumped the shark, but I always felt Behind the Laughter would have been the perfect series finale, giving the show the nice arc of your typical big american sitcom: starts with potential, takes a season or 2 to find its voice, becomes very funny and very popular, gets a bit silly, ends. It's what your Seinfelds and your Frasiers and your Cheerseses did and if The Simpsons hadn't been such a merchandising powerhouse it would have followed the same trajectory instead of lingering around in the corner of your living room like an oedipal taxidermist's deceased mother.

The good thing is that it's possible to only go that far with it, and stop.  What bothers me more is shows with promise getting cancelled before they hit their stride, due to not making the correctly populist gestures.

DeadBishop

  • The only thing to fear is ghosts themselves.
Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #87 on: June 24, 2013, 10:42:13 PM »
Yeah, I'm happy enough to own the first 11 seasons on DVD and ignore the rest apart from the occasional new one I catch on TV or check out online out of curiosity. And it doesn't really bother me that it's still on but it is weird isn't it? I must have seen the earlier seasons about a million times, I loved and grew up with them and now sometimes I end up watching this weird, dead-eyed facsimile of one of the greatest comedies of all time; all dull, digital animation and slightly off voice acting. And it's still on! It's older than me for christ's sake!

The only thing that annoys me is that the point has long gone where they had the writing talent to make a satisfying finale, which would have been nice, all things considered.

Replies From View

  • Rubbing linseed oil into the school cormorant.
  • Golden Member
  • *****
  • Gargoyles have milk bags.
Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #88 on: June 24, 2013, 10:44:47 PM »
"Finales" are a bit unnecessary really though.  They're just a final episode.  Pick one.


Somewhere in my heap of DVDs I have all three Matrix films in a box set.  As far as I'm concerned the second two films and all the documentaries/commentaries around them are bizarrely excessive DVD extras.

Re: When did The Simpsons jump the shark?
« Reply #89 on: June 24, 2013, 10:45:25 PM »
It should have ended with the initial pay dispute in 1998 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_The_Simpsons#Labor_difficulties

or at least have limped along with new actors and then inevitably been cancelled after everyone switched off. It would still have a great legacy then. It saddens me to think anyone under a certain age will probably view the Simpsons as something a bit like a shinier/less controversial Family Guy because that's what it has been for almost all of the 21st Century.