May 14, 2010


Here's a completely random epiphany that I thought might be interesting...

I was in my doctor's waiting room yesterday (fun fact: my appointment was for 5:50, and I actually got in to see him around 7:20), and at one point, a newer episode of The Simpsons came on the TV.

As I watched the show, I noticed that it hasn't improved much on the utter mediocrity that made me stop watching it a few years ago, but it still has its occasional moments. At the same time, something was missing from what was once the funniest show on television.

I always attributed this to the writers deciding that "Homer gets a wacky new job" (which, incidentally, was the main plot of the episode I saw) is still a useful premise. And I stand by that to some extent. But a little while ago, I realized that the very feel of the show has changed, and not just the plotlines.

It's hard to explain, but when I go back and watch episodes from the first few seasons, I get the impression that the characters are talking to and interacting with one another, even though they're cartoons. In the new episodes, however, it seems like they're just putting on a show for the audience, and every line and plot point is there to get a particular reaction, rather than to tell a coherent and enjoyable story.

Of course, I realize that since The Simpsons was a huge part of my late childhood/early adolescence, I could be letting nostalgia get the best of me, but I find that unlikely. After all, I still laugh at the older episodes, because they're genuinely funny. On the other hand, when I laugh at a newer one (which is rare), it's usually preceded by a quick "oh, I guess that was the joke" moment. Again, hard to explain, but I never really thought of it this way before, so maybe I'll have a clearer understanding of it later.

This entire post is, of course, meaningless to people who haven't seen The Simpsons, but I needed to get this in writing before I forgot about it.

I thought about it a little more, and it occurred to me that The Simpsons is the Chris Chelios of TV shows. It was an all-star at one point, but it's clearly past its prime, and it's just kind of sad and pitiful to watch it attempting to relive its glory days.

Posted by CD on May 14, 2010 03:16 AM | TrackBack
Category: Random Thoughts
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