The Simpsons have been around for, what, over 25 years? That’s a long time for a cartoon. Due to my age being close to that same number, you bet your sweet ass that I quote The Simpsons like Christians quote the Bible. I go to Simpsons trivia nights, attend conventions, and own way too much merchandise, and I’m proud of every bit of that. But I haven’t even watched a new Simpsons episode in over three years. Do I want it to end? Absolutely not. Do I think it will end sooner rather than later? Sadly, yes. Here are six reasons why.
The audience is getting older.
I remember watching the Simpsons every Sunday with my family when I was a fat kid. My Portuguese mother would tell me that “Bart Simpson” was on (she never referred to the show as “The Simpsons,” but rather “Bart Simpson” or “the yellows” — she also referred to Full House as “Michelle”). I’d make sure my fat ass was on the couch, ready to watch. Dads in the hospital? Move outta the way, Simpsons time. Dog’s hungry? You eat in half an hour! But now I’m an adult(ish). I have a kid. I have things to do. I have, sadly, a life now. Putting aside 30 minutes to watch The Simpsons is no longer my priority, but hey, at least I can always watch the DVDS, right?
DVDS are dead.
I own every season of the Simpsons on DVD, and even purchased them on BluRay (and on VHS before that). Sure, it’s bothering me a bit that they don’t line up nicely like they used to, but… actually, it bothers me a lot that they don’t line up. I used to look forward to buying the sets, listening to commentaries, and examining the very crappy “special” features. Sadly, they announced that they are no longer making DVDS of the Simpsons. This pretty much means that if The Simpsons were to get cancelled, there would be no recovering it with DVD sales like Family Guy did. But at least they’re on TV!
Streaming is killing TV.
Do you have cable? May I ask why? Remember when I said I haven’t watched a new episode of the Simpsons in three years? That’s also about the same amount of time I haven’t had cable. Coincidence? I think not! Without cable, I actually don’t watch much TV at all, and I’m not the only one. I’ll watch a stream of an episode I really care about, but other than that, I stream everything — something Fox might be aware of, since it’s almost impossible to see a high quality clip of The Simpsons on YouTube. Cable use is declining, and there’s a stat out there somewhere to prove my point.
The stories are getting weaker.
I know this isn’t a new thought, but the story lines in The Simpsons have been rather nutty lately. I
hate despise the episode of Moe’s titled “Moe Goes from Rags to Riches.” That was the one where I thought to myself, “there’s nothing here in this shell.” And I’ve read Zombie Simpsons. These recent episodes aren’t for me: they’re (sadly) for the Family Guy fans (Homer farting to communicate with Lisa, really?). The Simpsons used to have heart. I cared when Bart was being bullied; I cared when Marge left Homer — the first time. My heart even squeezed when Maggie said, “night, dada”. Now I don’t even know if Homer has a job, if Bart is rebellious or corny, or if Lisa is still a vegetarian. I do know that they all really like Lady Gaga, apparently.
Voice actors are dying.
Remember when Phil Hartman died, and we lost Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz? That was in 1998, and it was a big loss then. Recently, we lost Marcia Wallace, the voice of Edna Krabappel, in 2013. Then we lost Jan Hooks, the voice of Manjula Nahasapeemapetilon, in 2014. Hell, I was sad when Sam Simon died, and he wasn’t even a voice actor. Thankfully, The Simpsons crew is respectful and retires the characters rather than replace them with another voice actor, but when key cast members start disappearing, the show has to end. And it’s happening.
Harry Shearer left.
Harry Shearer did not re-up for The Simpsons, despite the show being renewed for another two years. This isn’t like if Yeardley Smith leaving: although it would suck to lose a character, she only provides one voice. Harry, however, is Springfield: Ned Flanders, Kent Brockman, Principle Skinner, Mr. Burns, Otto, Lenny (not Lenny!), Judge Snyder, Scratchy, Jasper, Smithers, Wolfcastle, Kang, Dr.Hibbert, God, and Satan.
And he’s leaving The Simpsons. You might have other voice actors take on his roles, but they might want a pay increase for it. Never mind that the fans would be upset too, because we are losers that way. Harry shearer leaving The Simpsons may truly be the beginning of the end.
Article by contributor Kevin Sousa.