One of the most debated topics in the cartoon world is whether The simpsons should keep releasing new seasons or stop. In the 90s, you couldn’t turn on your TV without getting sucked into “Simpsons mania”, but those days are long gone. And although each irreducible The Simpsons fan will tell you that the golden age is long gone, many don’t know why.
But there are a number of reasons we’re about to cover that may make you look at the show in a different light and give you a new appreciation for some of the later seasons. At the very least, we hope highlighting why the show has aged will give you some closure if you’re not one to dare to look past Season 10.
6 Golden Era’s writing staff was largely gone from season seven
An unfortunate reality that long-running shows will have to deal with is that their writing staff won’t stick around forever. At the end of season seven, The simpsons lost the writing talent of Conan O’Brien, Bill Oakley, Josh Weinstein, Greg Daniels and Dan McGrath. And though we love what they contributed The simpsons during this time, they just wanted to pursue different projects. And although Conan O’Brien still speaks fondly of his run with The simpsons to this day, we can’t blame him for wanting to diversify at this stage of his career.
5 Matt Groening moves on to different projects
Although Matt Groening is still involved in The simpsonsthe late 90s saw him working on other projects like Futurama. But that’s only a small part of the equation, considering Groening was only show runner alongside James L. Brooks and Sam Simon for the show’s first two seasons. But the show was still in good hands by season seven when Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein, who wrote for the show, became showrunners as the Golden Age ended.
4 Death of Phil Hartman
Perhaps the biggest blow to The simpsons was the untimely death of the legendary Phil Hartman. Hartman voiced two notable recurring characters who gave the Golden Age its charm: failed Hollywood actor Troy McClure and sleazy lawyer Lionel Hutz. While these two characters are ancillary at best, they have made dozens of appearances on the show, and Hartman would also do voice acting for a number of unique additional characters with his signature voice and delivery.
When we lost Phil Hartman in 1998, so did The simpsons, and the show was never the same after that.
3 The new generation of writers grew up watching The Simpsons
When The simpsons was first conceptualized, it was an unprecedented shake-up of the traditional family sitcom. In other words, there was no frame of reference to go back to. The closest thing we could think of is The Flintstones, but even that is exaggerated. Matt Groening, James L. Brooks and Sam Simon worked tirelessly to create an animated family sitcom deeply rooted in satire and anti-authoritarian sentiment, and they paved the way for subsequent series to do the same.
But we’re in a new generation, with new writers who grew up watching The simpsons, and we can’t really fault them for making the show feel a bit self-referential. When you grow up loving a series and you’re tasked with writing for it when you reach adulthood, you have the context to look back on, and that context just didn’t exist at the start of The simpsons.
2 Play with long-standing stories
One of the most egregious instances of the beginning of the end occurred when Principal Skinner’s backstory was altered to ridiculous proportions. In the season nine episode, “The Principal and the Pauper”, we learn that Skinner was actually an impostor named Armin Tamzarian and that the real Principal Skinner never returned from the Vietnam War. But given Skinner’s backstory over the previous eight seasons, it just didn’t make sense. Skinner lived in fear of his overbearing and overbearing mother, and that dynamic only makes sense when you consider his upbringing, which has been established throughout the show up to this point.
Needless to say, this episode received quite a bit of backlash and is considered by many to be the end of the Golden Age. In classic sitcom fashion, everything was back to normal at the end of the episode, but die-hard fans will never forget what happened.
1 Compete with shows like Family Guy and South Park
As the new millennium approaches, The simpsons wasn’t the only animated family sitcom. But The simpsons was a legendary proof of concept that changed the way we view anime, they weren’t without competition in the late 90s. Shows like South Park, king of the hillAnd family guy quickly became forces to be reckoned with. And besides, these shows have made The simpsons looking tame in many ways; The family guy Peter Griffin made Homer Simpson look like a saint, and King of the Hill tongue-in-cheek satire gave The simpsons a race for their money.
We would need to write an entirely different article to point out how South Park was able to stay relevant with the daunting six-day deadline it needed to produce an episode. And although it is worth mentioning The simpsons still has its charm in the later seasons, there’s a much more robust playing field to compete on than when the show was originally conceived in 1989.
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