I grew up with The Simpsons. But it’s not as good as it used to be. Here are some of the reasons why new Simpsons suck (at least compared to The Simpsons of old).
Those little yellow characters were the highlight of my Saturday mornings for so many years; I would wake up at 8am, watch episode after episode on Fox 8, and then, once finished at around 1pm, I’d sit there and enjoy the replays just as much, if not more, than the earlier screening. In those days, it was original, contextually relevant, hilarious, witty and packed with refreshing tales that often came to heartfelt endings. Now, well, things just aren’t the same. I hate to say it, but new Simpsons suck.
If you ask anyone who grew up in the 90’s and the early 2000’s, they’ll proudly tell you that ‘their’ Simpsons was the best. Honestly, it’s actually very hard to argue with that, and such mainly refers to seasons 1-8. While there are a myriad of reasons which can help explain the downfall of such a beloved gem, I have narrowed it down to five.
A lot can be said for hand drawn animation. My favourite pieces of animation, Cowboy Bebop and The Castle of Cagliostro are both hand drawn. When watching animation of this style, there is a sense of awe, a marveling at the fluidity and transition between shots, and a burning desire to know how someone, essentially with just a pad of paper and a pen, could create this wonderful, lively and brimming fantasy environment.
The Simpsons used to incorporate this method, adding a welcome feeling of quality animation. Characters, buildings, backdrops, and the complete setting was grainy yet clear, rough on the edges yet just how I liked it.
Now, sadly, things seem too good to be true. Back then you knew this was a cartoon at heart. When watching anything from the recent seasons, it has veered away from any and all hand drawn animation, and gone down the route of computer animation. The colour palette seems washed out and the movement on screen is unappealing; the personality that once protruded through the screen has gone.
Marge, is that you? While things are still more or less the same with Marge being a housewife, cooking, cleaning and looking after the kids, she has lost her touch and I am no longer interested in her. She is dry and never really adds anything to the progression of the story. I don’t mean to bully you Marge, it isn’t your fault.
To all fans’ dismay, the writers have allowed this to happen to most characters, even the main ones. An episode entirely focused on Lisa? Please, just no. Unless you’re interested in watching a girl who is wallowing in the mire of unfortunate and unrelatable intelligence and nerdy-ness, with a voice that, despite still being supplied Yeardley Smith, doesn’t really sound like Lisa in the earlier episodes. Yo Lisa – it’s your birthday. Happy birthday Lisa.
The best features of minor characters have been identified and subsequently weeded out, either never being taken advantage of and used, or used in a way that causes you to despise them.
One more thing: seeing all of these characters with smartphones and smartwatches is a huge turnoff for me.
Hey, even the couch gags aren’t amusing, and that says something. Something big. It seems as though the writers of the show take us, the audience, to be rather stupid. Any attempt at humour is prefaced with an excessive and unnecessary amount of exposition, slowly walking us through the context of the joke and how it relates to the episode or recent world news.
Oh, and just in case we didn’t understand it the first time, the joke stays on the fry-pan, getting cooked more and more, until it is impossible to digest. If you didn’t work that out, jokes are dragged on, being explained, and further developed, and then explained once more in order to ensure everyone catches the punch-line.
Why can’t we get the short, sharp, droll gags from the past? Surely this quality piece of satire between Nelson and a stranger, which lasts about 15 seconds, is far more preferred than the outstretched jokes of today?
But wait, did someone say tramapoline?
Boring Stories and Plots
When is it enough of ‘Treehouse of Horror’? How many times can you rehash the same ideas? Obviously, after 26 seasons and almost three decades, ideas aren’t exactly going to be flowing like they used to. But still, you can at least attempt to be creative and give us a unique spin or take on something topical, bringing back the old Simpsons magic. Make it relatable.
We don’t want to follow a character on an idiotic and silly journey. A baby killing the richest man in Spingfield? A shonky and out-of-his-mind salesman building a faulty monorail? Homer working for a corrupt organisation headed by a dude named Hank Scorpio? Troy McClure and Dr. Zaius on stage together? Hell yeah! That sounds way better than Homer forcing Bart to eat broccoli, Lisa causing Mr. Burns to fall in love, and Apu being the star of a famous band.
Where are ‘The Simpsons’ games?
Yes, I know. This doesn’t directly tie into the argument of whether the show is a success. But to me, it actually does. Playing games like ‘Hit and Run’ and ‘Road Rage’ on my PS2 cemented The Simpsons of that era as the cornerstone of a good show.
To air a series that ticks all the boxes, and then to have a game that does the same, if not more, to follow is a recipe for an awesome time. I couldn’t even begin to imagine the sort of nonsense missions or objectives that would be on a game that would come out today. Fun fact: I completed ‘Hit and Run’ in two days last year, after never being able to get past level 2 in my adolescence.
Due to the quality of the recent seasons’ Simpsons episodes, perhaps it would be wiser to spends your time at the gym. That’s pronounced “gime”.
If you enjoyed our piece on why new Simpsons suck (at least say you enjoyed it more than the latest seasons of The Simpsons), read Digital Fox’s article The 7 Best TV Comedies Ever.