January 11th, 2010
08:45 AM ET

'Simpsons' marks 20 years on a high note

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Four hundred and fifty (that's right - four, five, zero) episodes in, "The Simpsons" is still capable of being truly great television. It's also still better than a lot of comedies out there. But let's be honest, it's been all downhill for this show ever since the fourth or fifth season.

There have been some gems in the past decade, like the VH-1 parody "Behind the Laughter" and "E. Pluribus Wiggum," where Springfield holds a presidential primary, but it's mostly been sub-par stuff for a long time.

Thankfully, the 20th-anniversary episode was one of those gems, focusing mostly on Krusty the Clown's new sidekick Princess Penelope (voiced with a New York accent by Anne Hathaway), and their surprising love affair. If not for the romantic twist, this might have been yet another "Krusty-on-the-verge-of-being-washed-up" episode. Instead, it was surprisingly sweet to see the old Clown find love - though admittedly it wasn't as successful as episodes involving Moe's dating life.

The subplot, with Homer and his pals being wooed by another nuclear power plant, didn't work quite as well, until Mr. Burns successfully won them back through the power of doughnuts.

Other high notes included cameos by "The Far Side" cartoonist Gary Larson and the late Eartha Kitt, the latter as one of Krusty's ex-wives.

Meanwhile, the long-awaited "Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special – In 3-D! On Ice!" was quite a treat. Directed by "Super Size Me's" Morgan Spurlock, it was a fascinating examination of what the show has meant to pop culture worldwide over the years. Such a documentary just wouldn't work without featuring some "Simpsons" super-fans, and Spurlock's visit to the man whose home was filled with "Simpsons" merchandise was well worth it.

Many denizens of Springfield, such as Apu and Groundskeeper Willie, got their chance to shine on the special, but it was amazing to see the likes of Dan Rather discuss Kent Brockman and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom give his take on Mayor Quimby. All of that paled, however, to finally meeting "Rusty Nails," the inspiration for Krusty.

"South Park's" Trey Parker and Matt Stone, "King of the Hill's" Mike Judge and "Family Guy's" Seth MacFarlane got in on the special as well, theorizing on what they might be doing if not for "The Simpsons." MacFarlane noted that "The Simpsons" was a major inspiration, which may be the understatement of the century. (Story: "The Simpsons" comedy tree)

Spurlock deserves kudos for giving the show's critics, such as Catholic League president Bill Donohue and the residents of Brazil, their due. However, complaints that the show's quality isn't what it used to be were dismissed a little too much for my taste.

As noted on the special, "The Simpsons" has now outlasted "Gunsmoke," "M*A*S*H" and "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet," and it was nice to see the show's extraordinary impact acknowledged in such a way. Will we see episode 500? As Bart wrote on the chalkboard, "The world may end in 2012 but this show won't." The only reason I would look forward to the 500th episode would be if it was the last.

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soundoff (101 Responses)
  1. Crystal

    I grew up with the Simpsons, and enjoy them to this day. Even the movie was hilarious. The show helped pave the way for other animated greats (Family Guy, Beavis and Butthead, South Park) and for that, at least, people should be thankful... you don't have to like the Simpsons to know what the show has done for others.

    January 13, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jessica*

    I love the Simpsons! I own all of the seasons of the show and my boyfriend and I always watch them instead of whatever's on TV. My favorites are the Tree House of Horrors! They are the best! We just bought The Simpsons Scene It. It's so funny.

    And to say that it stopped being good at the 4th or 5th season is totally wrong. The first season I bought was the 5th season and then the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th then went back and bought the 4th, 3rd, 2nd and 1st.

    Some people just can't understand how truly awesome The Simpsons are!

    January 13, 2010 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
  3. Karen

    I was a teacher for high school students with mild learning disabilities. Every Monday, we would discuss the Simpsons episode from the night before. Every now and then, the episode was relevent to what we were doing in class. The students would get really into the lesson and were proud that they could understand many of the references in the plot from the Holocaust to literary figures!!!!

    January 12, 2010 at 7:01 am | Report abuse |
  4. buef

    Troll Article. Successful too it seems.

    January 12, 2010 at 3:14 am | Report abuse |
  5. Geoff

    To whomever penned this....

    Let's be really honest...this show has been a cash cow since the beginning and all this talk about it going downhill after the 4th or 5th season is BS! I love the Simpsons...always have and always will. There has not been one episode where I didnt laugh. What do you expect? Top notch jokes episode after episode for 20 flippin years!? You're the one (and anyone else who thinks the same) that needs to get real. The Simpsons is a gem of a show and NO ONE can claim 20 years on the air as a prime time series...BEST....SHOW....EVER!

    January 11, 2010 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Home

    I have to be honest, I still love the Simpsons. Every year I look forward to the Haloween specials, because Haloween wouldn't be Haloween without a Simpsons special, or all of them for that matter. In some manor the jokes and gags have gone a bit down hill, but then again, they've done so much, how can they still be fresh? They have to try new things all the time and some are a hit and some are a miss. If they have 450 episodes and 50% of them are a miss, do you consider it a bad series or a good series overall? (glass half full or half empty).... Either way i would take this show over most tv shows now a days, especially Family Guy. At least the Simpsons can handle a plot if they need to.

    January 11, 2010 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. candy

    I love The Simpsons and hope they go on forever. At least my kids can watch The Simpsons which is more than I can say for Family Guy. Family Guy is all about the shock factor and in my opinion they've gone to far a few times. The Simpsons parody's real life, and shows good ethics in the end. They're witty, they're reliable, they're all encompassing and they're just plain funny. I always enjoy the show, without fail. That being said, the sour grapes in this article is harboured by someone who's obviously not a fan, and never was.

    Long live The Simpsons!

    January 11, 2010 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dan

    ...oh, and while I enjoy South Park, I feel it lacks the one thing (and this is true of Family Guy as well) that really sets the Simpsons apart from the also-ran animated shows – HEART. The Simpsons had it in spades and afaic its what made the show great. The characters are ridiculous and hilarious, but you watch the show and you actually start to feel like you know them.

    January 11, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dan

    just had to step back in and respond to some of the more recent posts. First of all, to the fellow who thinks MASH went out when it was still at the top of its game, lol. You have GOT to be kidding. MASH hadn't been at the top of its game since before Burns left. The show was nothing but the St. Hawkeye Parade from about season 3 on.

    As to the point that anyone who has watched the show from the 80's on (the simpsons that is) has to agree its gotten completely lacklustre, well, I've been a fan since day one and while I do agree its lost some shine, its still got legs. And its STILL better than Family Guy.

    January 11, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Barton

    My name is Barton. I love that little bas***d Bart, but my true hero has been Homer since about year three. I choose to ignore the HATERS and just enjoy this wonderful ride. Comparing this show to it's earlier self is one thing but as many have said, it is superior to most everything else on the tube. And as far as I can tell no one is trying to get those other shows to quit the air. Anyway, I love this show as much today as I did ten or twenty years ago. It's not only socially and politically revelant but also filled with characters that remind us all of family members at a family picnic or even ourselves at our less than perfect moments.
    Remember the bowling team 'The Sterotypes'? Absolutely no one is safe with these writers. Reminds me of old National Lampoon. Back in college my sister said that if it wasn't for bad taste I'd have no taste at all. I think Homer, Bart and the rest would like that. I hope they keep on baring our warts-and-all and dissapointing the HATERS of great, great TV. Obviously after 20 years we the Simpson world do not need them. One more thing, "BEST SHOW EVER"!

    January 11, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Joe H

    Every weekend I tune in to the Simpsons for one reason...to laugh. All you critics bitching and moaning about how good it was drive me nuts. Accept it for what it is, fun. Opinions are like belly buttons...everyone has one.

    January 11, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. MEEEE

    I think that the Simpsons is as good as ever. The show has evoloved. I mean come on if it was the exact same style of jokes as it was 15 years ago, we all would've quit watching a LONG time ago.

    Like the other poster said ^^ ... even the Simpsons' WORST episode is 10000x the calibur of all the other shows out there.

    The 20th season special was SPECTACULAR and appreciated by all the fans out there!!!! THANK YOU FOX FOR ALL THE LAUGHS!

    CNN was better in it's first 5 years of existance and has gone down tremendously in quality since then too, however this is just my biast opinion as a CNN hater, much like the subjective viewpoint of this article is presenting.

    P.S. This article suck-diddly-ucked. OK Henry Hanks, you find better jokes for the Simpsons, and in the mean time I'll be scouting for a new news site to read with better writers. I think I'd even rather listen to SARAH FREAKIN PALIN report the news on FOX NEWS than ever watch/read crap by CNN again ALL THANKS TO THIS ARTICLE. I now see how low expectations are when hiring columnists at CNN's company. Whoever gave Mr. Hanks a job and the ok to write this article should be getting an employee review right now because it was a faulty decision. WORST ARTICLE EVER!!!! ALSO please"Mr." Hanks, be more original in a review. I doubt you did more than search Wikipedia for the Simpsons and then summarize those findings.

    January 11, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. The Truth

    True the Simpsons have declined through the years but some of it is not due to the show. When it first came out it was fresh, edgy and never been seen before. Since then other cartoons have come out that push the limits even futher than the Simpsons could go even if they wanted to. Also 450 episodes means 450 plots that have been used. While other shows can get inspiration from those plots the Simpsons can't go back on use them again.

    Basically the new car smell is long gone and the newer models have flashier gadgets, but you know what its still good and reliable. I will miss the Simpsons when it finally ends its run. I don't see another show, sitcom or cartoon, matching the Simpsons longevity on primtime network tv. South Park may only because of the advantages it has being on cable.

    January 11, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rich Johns

    Shouldn't Bart be like in Graduate School by now?

    January 11, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. I love Sandra

    I love the Simpsons! That's OK if Henry Hanks – the author – doesn't, but his review does a great disservice – especially the way he ended it. But that's his opinion and he's entitled to it – even if he's wrong.

    January 11, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Patrick

    I'm sorry, anyone who's been watching the Simpsons since the 80s can't argue that the show hasn't gotten completely lackluster. Perhaps if you spent the last 15 years in a complete haze, then you may have a reason to think otherwise. The only animated show on television (network or not) that has any relevance anymore is South Park. Family Guy was even good at one point. I mean.... until they really just..... went completely random. Does Family Guy even have a plot anymore? The Adult Swim-RandomISfunneh mindset has ruined so many good shows. In order to keep up with the times, of course the Simpsons crew have had to add their share of pointless random humor. But there was a point in time, when the Simpsons actually represented a good side of American primetime television. There was a point that the Simpsons were actually comparable to powerhouses like The Cosby Show and Roseanne (both which also fizzled and died, but MUCH quicker... they went from great to terrible between their last seasons and then just ceased to be... if only we were that lucky with the Simpsons). Now I'd rather watch a meatball, a bag of fries and a milkshake say stupid crap to their bald neighbor with a combover. Oh wait, I don't like that show either. What to do, what to do!?

    January 11, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  17. J E art lover

    I loved the Simpsons, but IMHO, well, it has lost a lot of funny (Still has it's moments) and just got the silly edge.
    Nothing lasts forever and it takes a lot of guts to know when to quit before it entirely tanks.
    MASH ended while it was still great. They knew when to quit.
    Debating who is wrong or right here is absurd. This is of course MY opinion. I am as entitled to it as you are. You all are right and no one is wrong.
    That is what opinions are....YOURS.

    January 11, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Michael

    Family Guy got cancelled, any of you yahoos who claim that show holds a candle to the simpsons remember that? Didn't think so.

    Henry, find yourself a new job. Just keep in mind that the world needs ditch diggers too.

    January 11, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Ed

    I've been watching "The Simpsons" since they were Tracey Ullman bumpers. Sometimes their anti-US bent gets up my nose (being a vet and all) but I enjoy the show mostly.

    I hope they close shop before one of the voice artists dies and they try to sneak in a sub hoping no one will notice.

    January 11, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Nicky Coleman

    I love the Simpsons Halloween specials.

    January 11, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Cambob

    Worst Review...Ever!

    January 11, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  22. John Berggren

    I'm astounded that as big an event as this is, that didn't stop an NFL over-run that delayed it. You'd think they'd take better care – since 20th anniversaries don't come around every day.

    January 11, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Matt

    Henry, you have already drank the Kool-Aid dispensed by pessimists and nay-sayers. I'm tired of everyone saying "the show has gone down hill since seasons 4 and 5" (to paraphrase you). This is not journalism. This is pandering to the ignorant masses. Anyone with half a brain could see that The Simpsons is, has always been, and probably will always be, the best show in television history. I can't believe you get paid to spew forth this biased crap!

    January 11, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Steve

    Certainly, after 20 years of programming, not all of The Simpsons episodes are gems nor should we expect them to be. However, I tend to agree with a number of the comments above regarding its superior value as compared with most of the other programs now running on Network and cable stations.

    I don't spend a lot of time watching television programming. But, times that I do manage to catch an episode of The Simpsons, I do not consider it time ill spent. For the sake of light-hearted entertainment, I, for one, would hate to see it go off the air.

    January 11, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Outverb

    Tintin sitting at the sidewalk cafe at the end... priceless! One of the best and brightest shows on TV... with something to appeal to everyone, at every age.

    January 11, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Big Bob

    Best season are 4-14 you dummy. The show as just starting to get legs after season 4. Man I wish the journaism field would hire more people because its obvious they are running short of good journalist.

    January 11, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  27. TV viewer from the Midwest

    I really enjoyed the Simpsons shows that were on last night. I thought it was interesting to hear how it all began, and to see a few of the people who do the voices too. I thought Anne Hathaway did a great job in the guest star part, too! and by the way, I also enjoyed the brand new episode of the Cleveland Show that came on afterwards. that was a lot of fun too!

    January 11, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  28. justin

    I feel that Domino's new and improved pizza is still not that good. I think the sauce could use some more oregano.

    January 11, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Escroft

    My top 5 favorite Simpsons episodes:

    1 – Cape Fear – where sideshow Bob tries to murder Bart on the houseboat.

    2 – Girlie Edition – where Bart and Lisa anchor a kids news show.

    3 – Brother from the Same Planet – where Bart gets mad and claims to a corporation that he has no father, then Homer to get back at him takes part in it as well.

    4 – The City of New York vs Homer Simpson – Homer's car is parked between the World Trade Centers and the Simpsons must go to New York to get it back. (( One of the funniest episodes made, but was banned after 9/11 ))

    5 – The Springfield Files – Skully and Moulder guest star in this episode where Homer thinks he spots a UFO in the woods.
    [[Moe: "Who are you guys?" Moulder: "Agents Moulder and Skully.... F... BI." Picture shows him laying only in his underwear]]

    January 11, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  30. awesomeness

    Simpsons rock best show ever!!!!!

    January 11, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Dusty Bottoms

    The reviewer sucks – sad attitude

    January 11, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Vickster

    I have been watching the Simpsons since it first aired. What bobble head did they get to write this commentary? The Simpsons was not as fresh (but not downhill) WAY after 4 or 5 and even then it still makes me laugh EVERY SUNDAY. That's more than I can say for the other crap on TV. Just when I think it lost it's touch I get the latest season on DVD and quickly remind myself why it is the greatest TV show on earth (Season 12 so far and still laughing). DON'T EVER get this BOOB to write about the Simpson's again!

    January 11, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  33. SoIndianaGuy

    Oh, yeah, another professional critic. Have you ever done anything creative, Mr. Associate Flunky? I doubt it.

    January 11, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Chickpea

    There is not a single aspect of life that has not been addressed and made fun of by the Simpsons. I base my entire life now on the teachings of Homer Simpson.

    January 11, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  35. shawn

    the simpsons hasn't been funny in awhile. show should have ended 10 years ago when it was still humerous. thankfully we still have family guy. at least that show still makes me laugh.

    January 11, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Jim of Phoenix

    Not one mention of Tracey Ullman, the person responsible for giving The Simpsons their break as the first adult-cartoon on tv. That really stunk, and spending all that time on ugly tatoos really grossed my kids out. I think that ended any interest they had left in the show.

    January 11, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  37. jam

    I loved j's post. It cracked me up. And I still love the Simpsons.

    January 11, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Anand

    I grew up on this show. The decline was way after the 4th or 5th season. And for anyone to say they would only look forward to the last episode, they don't care for the Simpsons. This is probably a relative of the lady who wanted Married with Children off the air.

    January 11, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  39. PT

    I agree with much of what has been stated already. Who the heck is Henry Hanks and what qualifies him to decide when the show should call it quits? TV critics constant calls for an end to the show are getting old, frankly.

    Hanks' throw a way line at the end of the first paragraph, 'we all agree that the show has gone down hill since the fourth year' I found particularly annoying.

    B.S. We don't all agree. Some of my favorites are mixed in the later 90s and the 2000s. He just sounds so arrogant, that I could barely finish the story. And I should have quit before I got to the last line.

    January 11, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Dan

    Pretty lame review. As has been noted, The Simpsons is still good TV – better than much of what is on the idiot box. And I completely disagree that the show has been in decline since "the 4th or 5th season." Many of the best episodes are from seasons 6 -10 or 11. Season 8 is possibly the best season overall afaic. The show is still good and by all means totally deserves the accolades heaped upon it. It is one of the best shows in TV history...

    January 11, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Carl

    Obviously, any long-running TV show is going to have some prime years where it was at its best. The Simpsons are long past their best years, but I'd rather watch sub-par Simpsons than just about anything else on TV. If you don't like The Simpsons any more, shut up and quit watching. I'm really tired of hearing how it hasn't been any good for the last __ years.

    January 11, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Claudia

    At least the Simpson's give me a laugh or two.
    Watch Saturday Night Live and get bored to death and not even snicker.
    No matter how the Simpson's has changed, still the better of the 2.

    January 11, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Eric J

    One of the greatest things about the Simpsons is that I really feel like it's written for the fans – rather than the network I as fan appreciate smart comedy mixed with some low brow jokes. After reading some of these comments, I'm proud to be a fan. Some of these comments are hilarious.

    January 11, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  44. RROD

    The Simpsons = BOO-urns.

    Completely agree with article. I used to love the Simpsons. Then it just got less and less funny. I quit watching it years ago.

    January 11, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  45. anne

    Back off the Simpsons Buddy!! I bet you're not as fresh as you were twenty years ago either!!

    January 11, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  46. John

    If you don't like it, don't watch it. Maybe it's funny for the next generation. So what? I hope they last for another twenty years.

    January 11, 2010 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Henry Hanks

    For the record, I am a fan of animation (the animated films this past year blew away almost everything else), and have seen the overwhelming majority of "Simpsons" episodes since the beginning. By no means is the show bad, it's just not what it used to be, and last night was one of the better episodes so far this season. And, all good things do come to an end: I think 500 is a nice, round number.

    January 11, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  48. robbi

    My grandson and i do imitations of homer and bart and have a blast doing it. I yell "why you little" and grab him by the throat and he does the choking sounds perfectly. We have loved watching that show together.I will never forget my grandson at the age of four at the breakfast table repeating the word basterd basterd basterd and me grabbing him up before his mom could pop him upside the head. We still crack up remembering that. So thanks for the memories, Springfield, and to many many more.

    January 11, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Armen Tamzarian

    The Simpsons is the most innovative show ever. The depth is unmatched by anything on television. You can take each episode apart to find so many more veiled references and deep meanings or you can watch it for the slap stick laughs. Why did this guy bother to write the article? I don't care for your opinion and I'm sure other true fans don't either. Up yours children!

    January 11, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  50. simpsons fan

    i thinkthe simpsons own all you haters get lost! if u dont like them dont put ur opinion on here

    January 11, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Scott R

    Long live The Simpsons! I love The Simpsons! I especially enjoyed the episode that was inspired by "Run Lola Run." Beautifully done! And all the Kubrick-inspired references in The Simpsons! Love it when Bart has to get two cupcakes from the kitchen! Pure genius. Congratulations to The Simpsons on their 20th Anniversary. That is a great achievement.
    Now CNN associate producer Henry Hanks... based on his poison pen, it is easy to see while he is an associate producer and not a real producer. I will bet it's the 10th anniversary of when Henry Hanks last had sex. Henry...loosen up! Try to enjoy Life!

    January 11, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Big Bob

    Who ever wrote this obviously is not a true fan of the show. If anything the show starts to pick up steam after the 4/5th season. The golden years are seasons 4-14. When I think of golden years I think of Troy McClure, Moes Tavern (pranks calls and of course Barney), Krusty Show with Itchy & Scratchy, Skinner and Crabople, Burns and SMither, Duff man, Mole man, The Bovea Sister and McGiver, Lionel Hutz, and so on ans so on. When Phil Hartman dies the Simpons had to adjust because he played a few well loved characters. If anything that is when the show starts to lose it, but just a bit. It really starts to lose seem around year 15 and rightfully so. Love it, but please dont wright artciles about htings you dont know about.

    January 11, 2010 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  53. austin

    the simpsons is a great show and they should air for another 20 years to see the 900th episode.(though the world might not exist)

    January 11, 2010 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  54. Bill B

    I only make a point to watch two shows on network television – The Simpsons and Lost.
    I find The Simpsons to be one of the smartest/clever shows on television ever. There have been episodes I have watched many times and still not gotten all the jokes. Then I'll watch a documentary on the History Channel about ??? and the next time I see that Simpson episode I get the joke that went over my head the previous ten times I saw it. Not many shows that have such depth in their writing.

    January 11, 2010 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  55. BBIE

    Good article. Maybe it would have been even better if an actual fan of the show wrote it as opposed to someone wishing for the last episode.

    January 11, 2010 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  56. Yu Suk

    Hey, guess what? CNN.com isn't nearly as good as it used to be, either!! Every time the site gets a "makeover," it gets worse! Congratulations on YOUR continued sucktitude!

    January 11, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  57. JimmyZappa

    I think the Simpsons Finale will be bigger than the Sienfield one.

    January 11, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Bud

    Your review was craptacular.

    January 11, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  59. Travis

    This is a good article because it was obviously written by a person who isn't a fan of animated sitcoms. The author is able to give a viewpoint from the other angle instead of someone who loves the Simpsons so much they never give any criticism or someone who is a hater of the Simpsons and just gives bad feedback. This author gives a fair account of the show. To me, the author is someone who doesn't enjoy absurdity as entertainment so he won't enjoy all the little nuances of shows like the Simpsons and Family Guy, but he at least knows what makes quality entertainment and can see the finer points of the better episodes.

    January 11, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  60. Comic Book Guy

    Worst Review Ever

    January 11, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  61. J

    The Simpsons as a show is at the point where it does not matter how sub-par they are...it is the Simpsons! The characters are still as fresh as they were 20 years ago. But the real kicker is that it's writers tend to address on going issues in society, which keeps the show alive and well.

    One could say the same thing about "Law and Order" which has been on just about as long...people still watch it cause it has a niche, being able to represent real cases and real life!

    January 11, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  62. citizenUSA

    Like Southpark, many people won't admit to watching The Simpsons although they do. I always hear it's lowbrow humor, tasteless, bad for the kids to watch. I agree to that one. Hey, The Flintstones was introduced as an adult, evening primetime, show. The kids took that over in a second. To me, The Flintstones should have been a kids show right off. As others have noted not all have been good but that can be said for any other series. I like The Simpsons and always have. I think it's gotten better over the years. I watch Southpark too.

    January 11, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  63. Mike

    ths show hasn't been funny or original in YEARS... its ridiculous that THIS show outlasted so many great others.

    January 11, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  64. Wilson

    Downhill since the 5th season? If that were true we wouldn't be at 20 my good man,.

    January 11, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  65. drew

    Would have been nice to read an article by someone ELSE other than this loaf. This last episode was fantastic and even though I don't watch the Simpsons as religiously as I used to ten years ago is still the best feeling to know they will be there at 7 on Sundays. Its nice to know there are still people out there writing shows rather than all this reality TV crap. Im sure an article about Jersey Shore would get better reviews from this guy than what he wrote about the Simpsons.

    January 11, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  66. Jimmy

    I wouldn't say the show has gone down hill, its just that there are many other shows like it now whether it be animation or not. The Simpsons has always been witty with current events and even old events. The show lost some of its great characters when Phil Hartman died and still has not replaced them or added others that appear regularly. Guest stars are the only new characters that really appear.

    This review is strange. Its like they fell in love with the Simpsons when Homer became an extreme dumb*** but got numbed by it over the years. I DOUBT this reviewer has seen all the episodes since the 4th or 5th year. Even the early years had clunkers for episodes.

    I however do not look at the simpsons as episodes. I really like the characters and one liners that appear in the episodes. I believe the storylines are secondary.

    January 11, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  67. Frank

    Wow, way to be a jerk on the last line.....

    January 11, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  68. piehead

    People have been saying "The Simpsons isn't as good as it used to be" ever since the second joke they told. People whining about how it's gone downhill is a lot more tiresome than the show.

    January 11, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  69. Ley

    Yeah its gotten worse u try to cum up wit new ideas. I enjoy it still its not as funny but its always entertainment. TV aint good anyway except (24-sons of anarchy-family guy ahh'ummm'ahh) ummmmmmmmm

    January 11, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  70. Jon Audette

    The only way I'd read another "entertainment article" written by anyone who makes it obvious in the first sentence that they watched enough of the show to write an article, and not truly comment on the TWENTY YEARS it's been on............

    .....will be if it's the last one.

    January 11, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  71. Michael

    Wow, downhill since season 4 or 5. If I only had seasons 6-8 to watch for the rest of my life they would be sufficient. This guy is obviously the "worst writer ever". He probably thinks "According to Jim" is comedic genius.

    January 11, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  72. Moe Sizlak

    The author of this article is a chump. If you don't want to watch the Simpson's anymore than just don't. You have no right to sit back and spit venom about a show people care more about than any other show in history of television. The Simpson's is the best show ever and continues to be the best show on TV. Even though it may not be up to the amazing standards of the earlier years (5th and 6th are best for me) still compared to all the reality garbage and poorly written sitcoms available these days, its a breath of fresh air. Simpson's are and will always be my "desert island" show, if I had to pick one show to watch from the past, or in the future, its the Simpson's. I hope the writer of this article gets stuck with "Meghan wants a millionaire".

    January 11, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  73. Don

    The documentary asked why the show is still a hit after 20 years. The most likely reason is, after 20 years, Bart and Lisa aren't 30 and 28. (Television history is riddled with shows where characters – especially children – got older, and the show was no longer what got people to enjoy it in the first place.)

    January 11, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  74. Diva

    I do think The Simpsons is outdated with shows like American Dad and Family Guy out there. But the thing about The Simpsons is it still brings in the star voices! Remember when they were just shorts on the Tracy Ullman show? Wow! -- http://hdiv.typepad.com/blog/

    January 11, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  75. chris

    Wow, if this counts as journalism, then journalism has really jumped the shark. I hope that this editor never writes another opinion piece again. I'd rather read something written by Bill O'Rielly then this person.

    January 11, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  76. rs1981

    I still love the Simpsons after 20 years (I use to watch them when they were on the Tracey Ullman show). Even the movie was funny and campy, which made me enjoy it all the more. My parents also get a big kick out of it. My dad is a Homer fan, and still quotes Homer about being "s-m-r-t" And I think it's cool that Seth McFarlane weighed in on the Simpsons. I'd like to see Family Guy get that far, because I think the show is friggin' hilarious. Here's to the Simpsons ! May you continue to run, and have some more fun as time wears on.

    January 11, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  77. Jacob

    I agree with the writer here, I LOVED the simpsons as a kid, but the quality of the show has not matched its original greatness in a long time. If you truly love something, sometimes you have to let it go.

    January 11, 2010 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  78. steve daley

    Little as boring or repetitive as critics mewling about how "The Simpsons" isn't nearly as good as it used to be.

    Enjoying the latest comedy from Jenna Elfman?

    January 11, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  79. Woolhouse

    What a terrible way to end a mediocre review about a great TV show.

    January 11, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  80. Lee

    The new episode was very good. I liked the ending where Crusty goes against his character and is happy. Bart's chalkboard and the couch sequence were funny. And how can you dismiss a show that gives you donuts fried in the lard of three different animals, two of which are extinct? The only show that The Simpsons can be compared to is... The Simpsons. It is amazing that is has been so consistently above average to excellent.

    January 11, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  81. Tusk

    Only complaint I have about the 20th anniversary Simpsons episode was that it wasn't about the Simpsons. It was about Krusty mainly, Homer secondarily. I'll take the Simpsons over any Dance, Glee, Survivor, Idol, Bachelor, Housewives, Intervention, faux reality and all their clones out there. With all the truly awful TV out there, why target the Simpsons?

    January 11, 2010 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  82. Gail

    250th episode? Meh....ok, nothing special. But I did enjoy the 20 year episode, and remembering the past glory of the show. Sure it's gone downhill, and that's not surprising. But nothing can withstand time- not even the Simpsons. Let them keep trying, and we'll tune in now and again to catch even a glimpse of their best.

    January 11, 2010 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  83. shredder

    You normally comment on Reality shows – stick to that.

    January 11, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  84. Michelle K

    I love the Simpsons. I do not love this review. Its title says "on a high note" but this article seems to only want to bash the show.....lame!

    January 11, 2010 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  85. Crazy Cat Lady

    I will admit that within the 450 episodes lie a few clunkers, but I think the show is still great after all these years. ESPECIALLY when compared to most of the other garbage that is on tv. At least the Simpsons still provides a lot of great social and political satire and witty humor. I have been watching the show for fully 2/3 of my entire life, and I can hardly imagine life without it. Not because I couldn't go on without it, but because it has so invaded my lexicon and my sense of humor. I've been living with it for so long, I can't imagine it ever fading away. Rest assured, if the show does make it to 500 episodes, I will tune in, and I know I won't be the only one!

    January 11, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  86. Anita

    "The Simpsons" has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Granted, some episodes are worse than others, but it is still 1000x better than every "reality" show on any network. The reviewer can suck eggs. I will watch "The Simpsons" as long as it's on; can't imagine what TV would be like without them.

    January 11, 2010 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  87. tommy jonq

    that's the problem with setting the bar higher than anyone else does—you create outlandish expectations. the WORST episode of the Simpsons is still better than 99 percent of all the "entertainment" ever broadcast on television, and that includes the BEST episodes of Family Guy and South Park.

    January 11, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  88. mike

    Simpsons has gone down hill. Very sad. 20th anniversary episode was absolutely terrible. Simpsons – I think its time you went off the air.

    January 11, 2010 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  89. Tina

    I LOVE the Simpson's and I have every since day one that it aired as a show :)...hope it's around another 20...Makes me feel like a kid again watching the cartoons 🙂

    January 11, 2010 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  90. j

    booooooo. You suck. I wish I hadn't read this article.

    January 11, 2010 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  91. john below

    obviously a bad review. obviously not a fan. too bad you could have joined the billions of us that love this show. be careful bart is looking for an idiot to star in next show. sounds like the writer of this review qualifies.

    January 11, 2010 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  92. Brian Will

    What's with all the hate. Yeah, "The Simpsons" isn't what it used to be, but it is still better than 90% of the garbage that's playing on the networks right now. It's also much more family friendly than "South Park" or "Family Guy". If you really want a show to go away, look at "American Idol", "So You Think You Can Dance", "Survivor", etc. They also are not nearly as good as they used to be.

    January 11, 2010 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  93. P Didd

    Love the simpsons always have always will!

    January 11, 2010 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  94. allison

    I love The Simpsons!!

    January 11, 2010 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  95. Dan

    You know, no one is forcing you to watch what you believe is a sub-par show. Long live The Simpsons.

    January 11, 2010 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  96. george watson

    The Krusty-finds-love episode was one of the worst *ever* to come from the producers. It goes entirely against the character so carefully created by the producers over the years and wasn't even funny. This reviewer stinks. In fact, it's not even ascribed.

    January 11, 2010 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  97. Steve

    Good but dishonest take on the whole thing.

    Nothing is ever as good as it was when you started it. Are you as good as you were 20 years ago?...doubt it.

    Every weekend the Simpsons makes me laugh. Sometimes more than others, I can be honest about it, but still funny...and relevant most of the time.

    As far as your last statement goes, "The only reason I would look forward to the 500th episode would be if it was the last.", just goes to show you really arent a fan of the Simpsons. If you were, you would realize that even as it declines over the years it is still funnier, wittier, and better written than 90% of the tripe you watch on TV.

    If that alone isnt a reason to keep the Simpsons around for a loooong time, I dont know what is.

    January 11, 2010 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
  98. amanda

    wow. that last sentence was kind of harsh!

    January 11, 2010 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  99. Debra R

    Thank you for all the laughs!

    January 11, 2010 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  100. SUe

    Love The Simpsons! I grew up on them and still watch them whenever they are on. It would be sad to see this show go.

    January 11, 2010 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |

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