In the late eighties few families had personal computers. There was no Internet, no email and no cell phones (rich dick guy holding “the brick” doesn’t count). This was when The Simpsons first entered our living rooms. Since, there have been several acts of war, the Red Sox won a World Series and we have transformed into an age of digital society. Still, The Simpsons continues to put out new episodes. All good things must come to an end; it’s time to end The Simpsons.
The best part about ending the show will of course be how it ends. Maybe Fat Tony is involved and everything “goes black” scenario, or maybe there is finally that nuclear meltdown in Springfield we’ve been waiting for. Maybe the Simpsons go to East St. Louis and get murdered by a gang. See, the possibilities are endlessly fun.
No show has become as integrated in pop culture as The Simpsons. What started off as a few rude Bart Simpson catch phrases transformed into what we measure pop culture against. That’s impressive; however, no one denies the show peaked many years ago and has been on the decline. The good news is that The Simpsons is still regarded as one of the greatest shows of all time. In order to preserve that status they need to end the show now. Here are ten reasons The Simpsons should end.
10. Everyone Loves Everyone
When The Simpsons first started there was a cringe factor that existed. Bart was a little punk and Homer was the worst Dad ever displayed on the small screen. Moe was a major dick. We now know these characters so well we understand why they act the way they do. Moe is the lonely bartender who just wants to be loved and old man Mr. Burns just misses his teddy bear. No one would blink an eye if Side Show Bob and Bart teamed up to solve a Springfield mystery and we all feel for Nelson and his broken home. Maybe I have just gone soft. No, it’s definitely The Simpsons who have gone soft.
9. Same Old Storylines
How many different iterations of Lisa disappointed with her father or rough patches between Homer and Marge do we need to go through? Apparently that number is 100 episodes. Did you see the episode where Homer’s drinking gets him into a bad predicament? It’s hard to miss when each season has one to two storylines based on this premise. Did Bart get kicked out of school again? No way! Just kidding, of course he did, it happens each season. Don’t get me started on the “old” Bart, Lisa and Millhouse episodes. The first time we were introduced to future trailer trash Bart we all laughed, the second time it was more “they’re really doing this again?”
8. The Family Guy Crossover Episode
The term “jumped the shark” applied to The Simpsons many years ago, but the nail in the jump the shark coffin was the crossover episode with Family Guy. These two shows were supposed to hate each other, right? On one hand you had Family Guy, a show that took a lot of their core storyline from The Simpsons and then worse, they made it much better and funnier. Having these two shows come together was more about ratings than anything creative. They should have traded characters or at the very least traded the fighting chicken from Family Guy for the Springfield tire fire.
7. Treehouse of Horror
The first couple seasons this was great, but then they kept coming and also kept getting less and less fun. The recurring alien guys were enjoyable for the first 10 seasons, but at some point even aliens need to retire. What has really bugged me over the years is that these episodes often don’t air until well after Halloween, sometimes weeks after. This is very perplexing given there is usually one to two full weeks of sitcoms with Halloween-type themes leading up the holiday. It’s not like this is Easter, folks. Halloween is always October 31st, you would think they could have adjusted the timing.
6. Lazy Travel Episodes
I realize the writers of The Simpsons are a highly regarded group, but I also believe when they were hard up for ideas they would use the “The Simpsons are going to X” as a crutch. Hey, I get it. These episodes sort of write themselves. Go to New York and there are rude people and pizza, go to Paris and there is bread, go to Brazil and there is a kidnapping…okay, that wasn’t bad. About ten years ago I was looking to broaden my scope and wrote a couple of “spec” scripts which are sitcom episodes. I wrote an episode titled “The Simpsons Go to New Orleans.” Yes, Homer showed his breasts. In hindsight I probably should have taken on a more ambitious storyline.
5. There Are No Celebrities Left To Guest Star
I mean all the Presidents have appeared, just about any actor you’d want has guest starred and so many rock stars have appeared in The Simpsons, there is no one left. We’re not even accounting for the regular guest stars such Kelsey Grammar. Each new season they try to bring someone new in, but in the end it’s just another person similar to another guest or no surprise at this point. I guess they could bring in Charlie Sheen for a very special “The Simpsons Get Into P*rn” episode, but that probably…oh wait, did that already happen? I’m pretty sure in Sheen’s mind it has.
4. Sober Barney Stinks
Barney Gumble, the town drunk and Homer’s drinking buddy got sober and it wasn’t just for one episode, it was for several seasons. Barney was one of the original characters (appeared in the first episode) and really has ridden the bell curve of the series. First, the character was popular, then too mainstream, then too politically correct and then back to where he started except no longer funny. You can add Duff Man to the list of overused characters that ended up being clichés of their cliché characters. Supposedly he was named after Guns N’ Roses bass player Duff McKagan so that’s still pretty cool. Sober and unfunny Barney is not cool.
3. Nothing Left to Merchandise
All of those episodes making fun of Krusty the Clown’s endless fight to market and sell anything and everything with his name came to real life during peak times of The Simpsons. Today most of the merchandise is available as well as a major market for Simpsons collectibles. Second only to KISS (I don’t believe there is a Simpsons coffin), The Simpsons tried to get every last buck out of their brand; however, I feel like they left some money on the table. First, where were officially licensed “Mr. Plow” jackets? I would have bought two of those. How about Marge monorail t-shirts? Guaranteed best-sellers, I’m really surprised they missed out on these.
2. Looking Forward To Spin-off Failures
In 1997 there was an episode that covered this exact concept titled “Spin-off Showcase” where just about every main character had a show spun-off from their role with The Simpsons; think The Cleveland Brown Show, but successful (at least in this episode). The reality is that a lot of these characters could last a while just based on name alone. Let’s face it, how hard is it to compete with Bob’s Burgers, a show that should have been canceled after the pilot aired? Regardless, Comic Book Guy, Moe and Fat Tony are my votes for most likely candidates. It will probably be stupid Lisa, but I can still hope.
1. You Can’t Beat the Hank Scorpio Episode
Everyone has their favorite episode of The Simpsons. For me it was “You Only Move Twice.” After that the show got worse because there was no way they were going to top that episode. It featured Hank Scorpio of Globex Corporation, a world dominating CEO that convinces Homer to leave his company and move his family and go to work at Globex. Their new home is totally self-sufficient and leads to Marge drinking wine (cue dramatic music) during the day. This particular episode had so many good lines including where you go to buy a hammock (the hammock district of course). It was a perfect mix of jokes, pop culture and storyline. Something The Simpsons have lost over the years.