“A show with yellow Americans and white Asians truly transcends the times.”
The Simpsons is an American animated monochromatic sitcom created by Matt "Groaning" Groening for the Fox network. The series is a satirical depiction of America's sorry state as epitomized by the dysfunctional yellow-skinned Simpson family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie, who live in the enigmatic town of Springfield with a zany cast of characters. In addition to everyday American life, the show parodies aspects of the human condition, including beer, donuts, television, steamed hams, Sneed's Feed and Seed (formerly Chuck's), pigeon-rats, magic xylophones, predicting the future, and nuclear waste dumping. In its heyday, the show won critical acclaim and several awards, notably three D'oh!scars (or (Annoyed Grunt)scars), the award for having cromulent material from which other sub-par television shows such as Family Guy can yoink from, and four Grammies, which Groening uses today as paperweight for his memoirs.
The show ran with remarkable agility for roughly eight precise seasons until hitting the late 1990s, when all the good writers migrated to Futurama and viewers began losing interest in the show, causing it to become old, fat, bald, and ugly as it died a slow, tragic death, which it is still currently in the process of doing. While the show's more recent episodes can elicit an occasional chuckle, fans generally prefer the glory days of those classic seasons, aka "The Phil Hartman Saga". The Simpsons is like a nuclear reaction; it's difficult to shut down once it's begun, as it continues to pull in dwindling-but-servicable ratings, even when its current audience thoroughly refuses to accept that any remnant of topical humor, emotional depth, coherent storytelling, or cultural relevance has long since disappeared from the show.
The show is set in the fictional middle-class American town of Springfield, North Takoma, where all Caucasian residents suffer from an illness called yellodramatis causing them to have yellow skin and four fingers. The cast of characters is vast, but the show mainly focuses on the Simpson family, a quintet of mutated humans with little empathy or traces of mankind inside them, but everyone loves them anyway. They are: Homer, the buffoonish donutmania-suffering father; Marge, his nagging housewife with an elongated blue tumor on her head; Bart, their ten-year-old hellrasier son; Lisa, their precocious eight-year-old hippie daughter; and Maggie, their one-year-old secret-genius sniper baby. The family pets are Santoz Lil' Hopper, a Peruvian import greyhound dog who loves eating turkey; and Snowball
V II, a black cat who was "accidentally" killed by Lisa only to be revived. Although the family is dysfunctional and often at each other's throats, many episodes show that they really care about each other deep down, in that sappy family sitcom way. The Simpson family are surrounded by numerous supporting characters, most of whom are just as crazy as the family and occasionally get star billing in episodes when Homer isn't being a moron for our entertainment.
Despite the depiction of yearly milestones such as holidays or birthdays passing, the characters never age, possibly due to constantly taking anti-growth hormones, and thus leading to a certain stagnation in the show which bores longtime viewers; some would prefer seeing Bart and Lisa move up to middle school, or even high school or college, but instead we get the usual elementary antics. For example, one episode featured Homer and Marge marrying in the '90s, which spat in the face of oldschool true fans, who grew up knowing that Homer and Marge married in the '80s.
“I am so smart! S-M-R-T! I mean-S-M-A-R-T!”
- Homer Simpson – The bumbling father/husband figure of the Simpson family. Having studied and failed to become an aerospace cadet, he wound up working as safety inspector at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, under the watchful eye of former SS officer Mr. Burns. At his job, he absorbed just enough radiation for all his hair to fall off; somehow, the radiation also affected his age, and he's permanently stuck in his mid-late 30s. He's your average village idiot, but if you anger him he'll strangle you with his bare hands. With all his beer and donut consumption, baldness, laziness, lack of intellect, crayon lodged in his brain, symbiotic fusion to his couch, and constant rage, it's a mystery as to how he's still alive and leads a successful life with a wife, three kids, a beige-colored McMansion, a high-paying job, and lllobsters for dinner!.
- Marge Simpson – Homer's doting, psychotic homemaker wife. Marge, formerly Marge Bouvier, once had normal hair and a normal voice until she gained a large blue tumor on her head and a raspy voice from constant smoking. Her grouchy voice drives most people crazy, and one day Marge found the postman's self-removed head inside the mailbox after she talked to him for two seconds. But Marge is still attractive, sometimes...to Moe Syzlak. The moralistic busybody of the family, Marge is often ignored and has to attack her family with either her voice or the vacuum cleaner. Whilst she loves Homer, she has repeatedly tried to kill him to up the ratings in the show. The last years of her life were spent on YWCA reassignment, as her profile does not bond in any possible way with the life of today's housewives.
- Bart Simpson – The family's ten-year-old troublemaking son, Bart is known for his spiky hairdo and spiky Dennis the Menace-type attitude to go along with it. Due to his bad behavior, Homer and Marge felt obliged to drug Bart with Focusyn, which had the side-effect of him always staying ten years old. Pretty much the scum of the universe, he causes crazy trouble which has had serious consequences on the lives of his family and friends. His running troubles include: vandalizing a chalkboard at the start of each episode, using the phrase "Eat my shorts" to slag off people (at one point, a tramp ate the shorts right off him), and prank-calling Moe Syzlak (one such incident involved Bart being partially responsible for the death of Jimbo Jones). Besides starring in the show, Bart leads a criminal life, often being sentenced to community services such as megaphone tester, building demolition, Spanish translator (Ay caramba!), and rapper (Everybody Do the Bartman).
- sunflower. She never ages due to Homer slipping anti-growth hormones in her cereal to prolong the show's run. Lisa is a brainy and over-achieving girl who plays a saxophone, hates meat, and is an eco-terrorist. Aside from Marge and Maggie, she is the only smart person in the Simpson family (or in the whole show), not that anyone cares seeing as she's also the show's least funny character. Lisa loves her little sister Maggie, yet also seeks her destruction, out of jealousy that Maggie is smarter than her.
- Maggie Simpson – The youngest child in the family, Maggie is not actually Homer and Marge's child but actually the daughter of alien Kang. Being an alien, she chooses to permanently be a one-year-old. Maggie's first possession was a pacifier coated in rum, and she has been hooked on it ever since. While young and seemingly helpless, Maggie has the mind of a serial killer and wishes to destroy her arch-nemesis, Baby Gerald, who sports the unibrow of evil. She once shot Mr. Burns but couldn't be sent to prison because she's a baby.
- Santa's Little Helper (formerly Santoz Lil' Hopper) – The family dog introduced in the first episode, Santa's Little Helper is Bart's best (and only real) friend. He had numerous pups with a racing greyhound, which were skinned and turned into furcoats by Mr. Burns.
- Snowball I, II, III,
IVColtrane, and V – A series of unsuccessful cat clones. I was run over by Clovis Quimby's Chrysler, II–Coltrane were all "accidentally" killed by an obsessive Lisa, and then V was adopted by Lisa and considered the "resurrection" of Snowball II as if nothing ever happened.
“If that is the way the winds are blowing, let no one say that I don't also blow.”
“Principal Skinner is an old man who lives at the school. Teacher sent me to Principal Skinner's office when I was dirty. When I grow up I want to be a principal or a caterpillar. I love you Principal Skinner.”
- Christian, Flanders speaks in his own strange language which consists of variations on the word "diddly". He is ironically the bane of Homer's existence despite being his so-called "friend", because Homer is jealous of Flanders having a better life than him. Ned owns a shop called the Leftorium, despite being a religious conservative.
- Maude Flanders – Ned's deceased wife who was killed by a t-shirt cannon due to Homer's stupidity. Flanders took on a depressive personality after Maude's death, until he was knocked out by Homer and went back to his old self.
- Rod and Todd Flanders – Ned's two sons, a pair of strange twins who speak like a drugged-up Mickey Mouse.
- Apu Nahasapeemapetilon – The stock Indian/Hindu character, Apu is shopkeeper of the Kwik-E-Mart, which appears to be the only supermarket in Springfield. Apu got married to beautiful Manjula and has since had octuplets, who he burns alive every time they defy the rules of Ganesha and Vishnu. Apu has a symbiotic relationship with the Kwik-E-Mart and often unleashes his fantasies on the store's squishy dispenser. Some of Apu's notable appearances include freezing Jasper to turn the Kwik-E-Mart into the Freak-E-Mart, discovering he was an illegal immigrant, and giving Manjula the romantic weekend of her life — he had an obnoxious parrot sing to her, suffocated himself in a chocolate self-sculpture, had Homer nearly kill himself in an attempt to blow up a bi-plane while fighting the pilot, and got Elton John to sing to him and Manjula. In 2018, Apu was retired from the series after SJWs complained he was offensive.
- Abe "Grampa" Simpson – Homer's elderly father who spends his senior life trapped in a retirement home. A veteran of too many wars to name, Grampa acts like a rambling senile old fool but is actually very cunning and devious, planning to some day lead a revolution against all young people with his fellow old people. As a war veteran and member of the Secret Fish Society, Abe's yearly income is much more than that of all other Simpsons combined, hence why they kicked him out of the family long ago.
- Mr. Burns – The town's resident rich ancient supervillain who runs the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. He is a grumpy old jerk with the face of a nightmarish radish, has an unhealthy obsession with his teddy bear, and cannot remember Homer's name despite their countless times together. Burns has died numerous times in the series, including when he was shot by Maggie, but remains alive due to a deal with the TV producers at Fox.
- Mr. Smithers – Mr. Burns's assistant, best friend, and secret admirer. The only gay guy in town, Smithers is disturbingly in love with the prehistoric Mr. Burns, and wishes to be buried alive alongside his boss as Mr. Burns promised him. His hobbies include collecting Barbie doll ripoffs and going to speedo resorts.
- Comic Book Guy – The town's resident nerd; a big, fat guy who runs a comic book store. 'Nuff said.
- Barney Gumble – Homer's best friend, and one of the few people in town dumber than Homer. An on-and-off alcoholic, Barney is often seen in Moe's Tavern getting wasted or using Moe's cooler as a toilet. He gave up drinking and became a helicopter pilot, one of the few plot points to remain permanent in the series beyond one episode. His mother is from Norway and his father was a WWII veteran, but died in a parade float accident. His father named Barney's Bowl-O-Rama in honor of Barney, even though Barney isn't competent enough to actually own a business. His catchprhase is "*BUUUUUUUUUUURRP*".
- elderly man known for being the world's first man to be frozen in a Kwik-E-Mart fridge, for his brief stint as a substitute teacher at Springfield Elementary, and for his distinctive long white beard. Jasper is a known acquaintance of Grampa Simpson; the strength of this relationship was amply demonstrated when Grampa bravely fought to free Jasper's beard from the clutches of a troublesome pencil-sharpening device. Jasper's career remains shrouded in mystery, though it is common knowledge that he and Grampa successfully dodged the World War II draft by disguising themselves as women and competing in the ladies' softball league. Jasper also once auditioned for Homer's popular 1980s barbershop quartet group, the Bee Sharps, but his heartfelt rendition of "Theme from a Summer Place" was unanimously rejected by the band.
- Professor Frink – The schizophrenic mad scientist of Springfield, Professor Frink is the spawn of Jerry Lewis and Dr. Frankenstein. A genius with many inventions including the highly successful hamburger earmuffs, Frink suffers from a gibberish illness that causes him to scream out random "nerdy" words.
- Patty and Selma Bouvier – Marge's elder slag sisters, Patty and Selma are identical twins. They smoke cigarettes every hour of the day to see if they can beat cancer, and their grouchy voices stem from the fact they actually eat some of their cigarettes. To make the characters more interesting, the writers made Patty gay and gave Selma a Chinese adoptive daughter named Ling. Selma has married numerous other characters in the show including Troy McClure, Sideshow Bob, and Homer in order to adopt Ling.
- Mona "Grandma" Simpson – Homer's mother who ditched him and Grampa to become a hippie and wage war on Mr. Burns's nuclear power. She returned to Homer occasionally under the alias of "Glenn Close", but ultimately passed away from little screentime.
- Hans Moleman – An indestructible immortal man, King of the Mole People, and uncle to Kenny from South Park. He leads a devastatingly miserable existence, dies on a regular basis, and looks older than he is due to heavy drinking.
- Princess Kashmir – A belly dancer that Homer danced with in season 1. Although every man in town wanted her, she's still a virgin. She is not to be confused with her brother, Prince Jammu.
- Nelson Muntz – A poverty-stricken, totally unfrightening bully from Springfield Elementary that for some reason Bart completely fears. He has terrible fashion sense, wearing denim shorts and a pink t-shirt with an open-fronted denim tank top. He severely deals with humans through the medium of punching, and birds with a BB gun. Nelson thinks various things are funny; he indicates these things with fingerpointing and his catchphrase "Ha ha!"
- Itchy and Scratchy – A cat and mouse duo who star in Krusty's The Itchy & Scratchy Show, a show-within-a show-within-a show. Their show is an ultra-violent parody of Tom and Jerry, but without any suspense (Tom sometimes won, but Scratchy never wins).
- Principal SKINNER! – The uptight-yet-spineless principal of Springfield Elementary. He used to be a badass Vietnam veteran, yet in recent years lives with his mom and gets humiliated by Bart's pranks. He did have sexual relations with Mrs. Krabbapel, but she later dumped him for Comic Book Guy and then Ned. Skinner lives a lie, as his real name is Armin Tamzarian and he stole the "real" Seymour Skinner's name when Real Skinner went MIA in 'Nam. However, when the Real Skinner returned to Springfield, the townspeople hated him and had him tied up and hauled off on a train.
- Captain McCallister – A sea captain who has two glass eyes. He has nothing to live for and is addicted to peyote.
- "Diamond" Joe Quimby – The corrupt mayor of Springfield. He he has a wife named Martha, but prefers sleeping with other people's wives; in total, he has slept with 55 different women and made 54 children. He is known for shouting "VOTE QUIMBY!" at inopportune times.
- Krusty the Klown – A Jewish entertainer clown who's like Bozo mixed with Pennywise. He puts on a lovable persona on his TV funnybox show, but is in fact an unpleasant alcoholic. His father is a rabbi.
- Milhouse van Houten – A little yellow boy with blue hair, awesome hairdo, and huge glasses, he was born to Galileo in 2300 B.C. Being Galileo's only son, he worked very hard to help discover the source of Jesus and his friends. At only age 3, Milhouse was printing up X-rays of the cosmos for his father with great precision. everyone wonders why his crush landed upon a spiky-haired 8-year-old. What a perv.
- Lenny Leonard and Carl Carlson – A white guy and black guy who work with Homer at the power plant and also hang out at Moe's.
- Rich Texan – A rich oil tycoon who claims to be from Texas but was actually born in Connecticut.
- Reverend Lovejoy – The priest, part of the Spiritual Enlightenment Department.
- Lionel Hutz – Notable felon and lawyer.
- Troy McClure – "Hi, I'm Troy McClure. You may remember from such television shows as The Simpsons and The World's 100 Hottest Actors. Now, you may have thought I died in 1998, but you're confusing me with Phil Hartman."
- Ralph Wiggum – A special needs nose-picker.
- Martin Prince – A nerd.
- Moe Syzlak – The bartender and owner of Moe's Tavern, whose only friend is Homer. He is a stalker who has bad luck with women, often attempting to steal Midge away from Homer. He was an illegal immigrant from Armenia, and later became the self-proclaimed Emperor of Springfield.
- Super Nintendo Chalmers – Skinner's boss who loves steamed hams.
- Mrs. Krabapple
- Otto Mann – The drug addict/metalhead bus driver at Springfield Elementary.
- Cletus Spuckler
- Groundskeeper Willie – The boastful Scottish groundskeeper at Springfield Elementary. In Scotland, he was the town laughing stock, but in America, he is perhaps the most intelligent philosopher to have walked the face of the Earth.
- Sideshow Mel – Sideshow Bob's former sidekick who plays his slide whistle funny and says things in an operatic tone of voice.
- Bill Cosby – Yep.
- Sideshow Bob – A depraved thespian and lunatic who has attempted to murderer Bart several times. Bob has served as the mayor of Springfield, then the mayor of Italy, and was also the face-stealer of Walt Willard.
- Kang and Kodos
- Disco Stu – The Jesus of disco.
- Dr. Hibbert – A quack doctor known for laughing inappropriately.
- Dewey Largo
- Kearney Zzyzwicz – An 18-year-old who has a son yet somehow hangs out in Springfield Elementary.
- Dr. Nick – A Mexican quack doctor, known for his catchphrase "Hi everybody!"
- Jimbo Jones – A hardass who shares his name with a suicidal cult leader.
- Dolph – Another hardass, unrelated to Dolph Lundgreen.
- The Squeaky-Voiced Teen
- Duff Man – Duff Man, oh yeah!
- Chief Wiggum – The police chief, aka Chief Piggum.
- Spider-Pig/Harry Plopper – A pig who does whatever a spider-pig does. Homer saved him from being turned into bacon.
- Mr. Teeny – Krusty's monkey assistant.
- Akira – Maker of sushi.
- Fat Tony – A mafia boss who died and was replaced by his identical brother Fit Tony.
- Artie Ziff – A sleazy womanizer who was rejected by Marge in high school, and wants to steal her back from Homer.
- Minnie Moore
Other quirky secondary characters in the series include...and so much more. Did I forget anyone? Oh well, The Simpsons/this show must have a million different insignificant characters you probably never even heard of or saw them somewhere in the background, which doesn't also mean that they weren't really characters you could mention in this article about this show in the show itself, far too much to list here.
1985–89: Origins and shorts
The Simpsons started off as a joke when obscure cartoonist Matt Groening, known for his comic strip Life in Hell, met with comedienne/New Wave popstar Tracey Ullman in 1985 after her car broke down by his trailer. For such a nice car fix, Tracey was in debt to Matt and eventually invited him over to the Krusty Burger for an eatout. Matt drank too much and later that evening confessed to Tracey that his lifelong dream was to create a robot from scrapped trash cans that would gamble and drink booze — actually, that was his second dream, the first one being to create a yellow-skinned moron.
Later the same year, Tracey dumped Matt for Jay Leno, so Matt had to keep writing comics for peanuts. As some point, however, something happened, and this the history does not disclose, that made Tracey realize all of the talent Groening had in him, and eventually she decided to give Matt's dream a shot and invite him and his crude yellow cartoons to her show. Groening based his main character off of Dan Castellaneta when he was visiting Matt and chilling out in his basement; hence, Homer Simpson was born as a fatal error of cartoon creation. When Tracey saw this abomination, she said Matt had better come up with an excuse to show such a cartoon on television. And Dan kicked his ass right after.
In 1987, the Simpson family was finalized and debuted to television screens worldwide, appearing in shorts during The Tracey Ullman Show. The original set included Homer Simpson, a happy Greek-turned-Turkish-turned-Muslim with his two wives Patty and Selma, their parents Abe and the Midge the Bountiful, and their kids: Bart, Lisa, Maggie, Poochie, Snowball I, and Hans Moleman. Once again, Matt overdid it, especially insisting on his vision of having one-year-old baby Maggie talk with a British accent, as well as having the family own pets. Unlike Seth MacFarlane, however, Groening's childhood passion was not Huckleberry Hound, so he did not make the same mistake of having the pets talk.
1989–91: Early seasons
Evidence suggests that Groening might've been color-sensitive, with an enhanced perception of yellow from a mutation, before slowly regaining his normal sight during the Clinton era. Although this statement was never proven to be true, the Simpson family was given their own half-hour show in 1989, after they were heavily revised to represent a politically-correct image of middle Americans, not the freaks Matt had in mind (to his bitter disappointment). Matt hired his college roommates Nancy Cartwright and Yeardley Smith to voice Patty and Selma respectively, but they later moved on to Bart and Lisa, after also trying out for the roles of Maggie, Santa's Little Helper, and Snowball II. Castellaneta and Hank Azaria covered all the other roles, and Frank Welker was hired to voice Maggie's pacifier.
What followed was a pretty boring first two seasons, during which some strange characters, such as Dr. Marvin Monroe, Lester and Eliza, this long-nosed mascot whose name I don't remember, Black Smithers, etc., etc. developed their character traits, only to be dropped from the show a couple of years later. You have to take it from me, this Groening guy was a very deranged lunatic, and the early Simpsons seasons best exemplified his depressing weirdness in its most undistilled form. Groening wanted The Simpsons to be semi-realistic, and not just emulate contemporary off-the-wall cartoons, getting uptight whenever the animators so much as made a fish wink at the camera. Also there were two other guys, Sam Simon and James L. "Spanglish" Brooks, who helped Groening develop the show, but they're not important.
1991–97: Fame years and apogee
The show was famous from the start, but it didn't hit a quality stride until losing its somewhat dark early tone, shifting focus from Bart to Homer, and receiving a lot of pop culture reference and zaniness injections around the third or fourth season. While it sometimes takes as much as five years for a show to get into the groove, The Simpsons managed to find it rather quickly in only two years. Harvard grads Al "Family Guy" Jean and Mike "The Critic" Reiss took over as showrunners around this time, with Conan O'Brien also having a brief-but-memorable stint as writer. Though the cast changed drastically, with Homer's voice becoming lighter, the show's focus shifting from Bart to Homer, Chief Wiggum dying his hair blue from black, and Krusty the Clown somehow getting his makeup to become his face, the show lived off the same jokes. And suddenly, they sharpened and started to become funny, maybe because no other sitcom was airing at the time, beside the schmaltzy Full House, or perhaps a certain Fresh Prince. Whatever it was, the show received a certain boost, and for the next six years it was considered the number one sitcom of yellow-freaked reality.
Unfortunately, by season 5, many of the series' OG writers had left and moved on to other projects. David "Smirkin'" Mirkin, previously known for the sitcom Get a Life starring Chris Elliott, miraculously obtained new writers by growing them on a Shelbyville lemon tree. Mirkin still managed to keep the show down-to-earth when running seasons 5–6, but also completely off-the-wall, swarming with magic Itchy & Scratchy Land robots, pet elephants, soul-selling, and Alf pogs. Staff writers Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein took over as showrunners for seasons 7–8. They aimed to combine the wackiness of seasons 3–6 with the melodrama of seasons 1–2, as well as stretch the show's boundaries with Ned going insane, D-Fens expy Frank "Grimey" Grimes clashing with beloved dog Homer, Milhouse's parents breaking up (with Kirk being unable to
buy a thrill borrow a feeling), magic powers, wedding after wedding after wedding, and long-lost triplets. Bill and Josh felt the show was winding down, hence their experimentation; little did they know this wouldn't be the case...
Due to this big increase in fame, Groening felt that he finally accomplished something important and that he was truly good for something after all. During this time Matt commissioned a 138th episode special, for which he hired fish-loving actor Troy McClure, whom you might remember from some movie somewhere in the something. The special revealed things you didn't know about The Simpsons, notably that Bart's real name is Bartolomiej Czej Szymcki; that Nelson's famous "Ha-haw" was digitally compiled from Edna Krabappel's "Hah!", Krusty's "Hey-hey!", Scratchy's scream when Itchy chops his head off, Ned Flanders saying "Neighborin-o" sped to 0.025 seconds, the Yes guy saying "Yeeeeesss!" without the "y" and the "s", and, of course, Cartwright saying "Ha-haw!"; and that every member of the Simpson family had a catchphrase, except Lisa, until "Dad!" was introduced in season 2.
1997–2007: From Japan to Brazil, or The Great Yellow Decline
Basic fact, The Simpsons started to decline around seasons 9–10, when Matt Groening suffered multiple anger attacks after watching the episode "The Principal and the Pauper", where Principal Skinner is revealed to be a fraud. In this condition, it became difficult for Groening to run The Simpsons at all without instantly becoming depressed, so he let the main project go and instead concentrated on his side-sitcom Futurama, designed to readapt the Simpsons style to sci-fi reality as more refined, more realistic, more complex, more sensible, very arguably more humorous, and less yellow. He took most of the old Simpsons writers with him to Futurama, along with 1,000 Korean graphicists, 25,000 Chinese colorists, and over a million typewriting Harvard grads, leaving the few remaining Simpsons staff in a pickle. Another factor leading the show's decline was the untimely death of "man of
a million two voices" Phil Hartman at the hands of his psycho wife in 1998, leading to the retirement of beloved characters Troy McClure, a B-list actor and corporate shill, and Lionel Hutz, an incompetent lawyer. The show's voice cast also demanded higher salaries at this time, indicating the show was no longer controlled by the writers but by the voices. The Simpsons began facing competition from other animated sitcoms at this time, such as propane instructions course King of the Hill and the foul-mouthed elementary schoolers of South Park, and desperate times called for desperate measures.
The show was then rehabilitated by new showrunner Mike "Captain Wacky" Scully, a protégé of Yakov Smirnoff. Scully replaced the old guard with newbie writers, who had to pass the Stonecutters test to be accepted into the staff. It was under Captain Wacky's watch that the show entered its ongoing death spiral and became The Homer and Friends Wacky Half-Hour, as he shifted focus to Homer going on zany adventures and get-rich-quick schemes, with more frat-boyish humor, country music montages, and frequent celebrity guest star-playing-themselves cameos, as the writers became the same corporate shills who they had previously mocked. Another staple of this decline era was "The Simpsons are going to...!" at least one foreign country per season, starting with Japan in season 10 and continuing with Florida (season 11), Tanzania (season 12), Brazil (season 13), Unamerica (season 13), Dude Ranch (season 14), Britain (season 15), China (season 16), Italy (season 17), India (season 17), and Vermont (season 18). In season 13, Al Jean returned to The Simpsons and took back the reins as showrunner, this time without Mike Reiss. Under Jean's tenure, Homer's "jerkass" antics were somewhat put out of focus and the seeds of Homer's bland dumbassery were planted in place. The show then became The Simps, and began to rely on Homer and Marge breaking up then getting back together constantly, childish puns (i.e. Mapple, MyPod), stilted storytelling, cheesy pop music montages, and ham-fisted political commentary.
Under Scully's and Jean's watch, the show slowly degraded into all kinds of tacky humor, and many of its once-clever and memorable characters were subject to out-of-character storylines and dialogue that was more "American Pie" than "Harvard grad", such as: Maude getting pelted to death by t-shirt cannons, Homer meeting magical jockey elves, the Simpsons meeting Kid Rock at a Florida spring break concert, Homer getting raped by a panda and reeking with "panda love", Marge suddenly starting to krump-dance for no reason, Homer trying to act more stupid than he actually is which makes him look s-m-r-t, Lisa gaining interest in spelling bees and crosswords all of a sudden, and Bart becoming a (literal) simp who goes out for tea and scones with his mommy. Viewers were in denial over what was happening at the studios at the time, and instead believed that whoever (or whatever) wrote those episodes must've been the bean-counting writers of other toothless shows such as Friends and Everybody Loves Raymond, or maybe spies working for Family Guy. The less funny The Simpsons got at the time, the more funny the other cheap shows on Fox got; desperately, Fox bought local affiliates just to run a huge subliminal campaign saying "Watch The Simpsons!" every time The Simpsons was on. This was not a very smart move either, as most viewers either poked their eyes out or packed up their stuff and moved to another channel, and soon it was embarrassing to even be seen watching The Simpsons.
In 2007, Groening and the old writers returned to the series and teamed up with the new writers in a last-ditch attempt to rejuvenate its popularity, by releasing a two-hour-long
bloated extended episode feature film inventively titled The Simpsons Movie. It was promised as a return to form by critics, but was ultimately filled with the same stale post-season 8 cringe humor viewers had grown accustomed to, i.e. Bart's wang being shown uncensored. Of the whole movie, only the "Spider-Pig" sequence gained at least some popularity, being endlessly overhyped and overquoted by audiences who turned it into an Internet meme, and the other scenes were quickly forgotten; even Spider-Pig lost popularity when Homer renamed the pig "Harry Plopper". This was the final punch in the series' metaphorical stomach, and if there was still some hope for the show to survive before, the movie destroyed it all.
2007–2019: Switch to HD
Following the movie, The Simpsons only strayed further off the yellow path. They turned their back on their classic seasons by trying to revive the past in order to save the future by reinventing the storyline, in a manner similar-but-not-quite to the Futurama movie Bender's Big Score. The Simpsons episode "That '90s Show" depicted Homer and Marge as being a young childless couple in the mid-'90s (which makes even less sense than the show's characters never aging), and Homer invented grunge, a sharp contrast to earlier episodes where they got married in the early '80s, and Homer loved Grand Funk Railroad. Needless to say, this confused and pissed off a lot of the show's nerd fans; in other words, the past is The Flintstones, the future is The Jetsons, and the present is The Simpsons. I mean, an episode that refers to another episode which aired thirteen years earlier by retelling the whole storyline (if any) and completely confusing the viewer? What are we to believe, that this is some sort of a magic
xylophone cartoon sitcom or something? Boy, I really hope somebody got fired for that blunder.
Today, The Simpsons is one of those shows that you watch "when nothing better's on, because there's not much to watch on a Sunday night and honestly you don't feel like getting up for the remote even though it's right there under your sofa" along with other one-note shows like The Orville, slowly but inevitably making your way to the total "lolsorandomandedgy" boredom of Family Guy. You know the show is "meh" now, but you watch it anyway because it's an American tradition, like hotdogs or Mom's apple pie sitting on a windowsill. Apple pie, windowsill, and American tradition are trademarks of MomCorp.
Some claim Groening has been known to pay blind people to sit and watch the show, kidnap stars for guest appearances, and even try to raise the dead, all in an attempt to lure viewers away from other sitcoms and gaining back the show's decreasing audience, in all the ways possible. Some say Groening even massaged Jeffrey Epstein's feet to get more viewers to watch The Simpsons, then fled to a South Pacific island to become a missionary. Whatever he's done, there rests only one single question we want to ask Matt: Why? Why drag out The Simpsons like a dead horse? Why not just start another show up to today's social trends which would fit in just fine with weird sitcoms, as The Simpsons did with The Flintstones back in the '90s? The world may never know...until 2018 that is, sorta. After years of doing nothing, Groening finally created another animated series, Netflix's Disenchantment, this time satirizing the trends of Medieval society, but with lukewarm results.
2019–present: Bart to the Future Owned by an Evil Corporation
Following Disney's purchase of 20th Century Fox in 2019, a spinoff Simpsons series was produced for Disney+ titled Jasper from The Simpsons in Plusaversary. Jasper replaced Homer in the family and acted as this iteration's main character, in an attempt to "spice up" the stagnating franchise in the face of stiff competition from Desperate Housewives, The L Word, and other hot shows (lolfamilyguy). Meanwhile a mysterious green light encircles Springfield, randomly swallowing up citizens such as Dr. Nick and The Yes Guy. There will be more frequent scenes of Homer making MCU-esque quips while battling the aliens. Lisa will become an activist, maybe running away to Norway with Ralph Wiggum, and there will be a potential love triangle storyline involving Lisa, Ralph, and Nelson Muntz. It has been rumored that Mr. Burns will come out as gay, reciprocate Mr. Smithers's love, and change his wicked old ways.
The tagline for the series in advertisements is "What happens in the beard, stays in the beard." It is not known how this series came to be made. However, industry insiders recommend taking a good long look at who emerges from Matt Groening's apartment in the early hours of a Saturday morning. Is it the guy who voices Homer? Is it? Or is it the guy who voices Jasper? Think about that one...
Criticism and controversy
Despite their general success, Simpsons episodes are also abound with controversy. A major criticism of the show is that many episodes have gone unwatched, such as the season 9 clipshow "All Singing, All Dancing", which is yet to receive a single viewer on account of the sheer awfulness of watching the Simpsons endlessly singing and dancing. Currently, the only viewers of the show who are not old, attractive, or sociable are young lonely nerds, who shell out big bucks for Simpsons merchandise collections on eBay.
Many viewers have found the show to be lacking in cultural substance, especially in its later years when it showed a more overtly-liberal nature and secular-leaning values. Episodes with Selma performing partial-birth abortions, Marge coming to grips with Patty being a lesbian, Lisa joining PETA, and Maggie starting a Jesus website turned away viewers, who felt that these unfair and unbalanced political leanings were purely meant for shocking and preaching to the audience. While the show occasionally leans back at times towards its humbler and less-preachy beginnings, the writers seem to think the hollow and opinionated episodes have more weight.
In 1993, Bart Simpson was arrested for indecent exposure as he was found "building a solar-powered, high-speed monorail" with Leonard Nimoy in public on a highway. This scandal left the Simpson family distraught and Bart released a statement saying "I didn't do it", which was revoked after kontroversy with Krusty the Klown and kopywriters at Fox. Bart then re-released a statement saying "My dad did it." In 2005, there was controversy when during a live Treehouse of Horror episode, Homer Simpson referred to guest star Dennis Rodman as being "too skinny", provoking another guest star Russell Crowe to start a fight with members of the live audience and throw phones at them. The show had to be stopped halfway through a broadcast when Crowe threatened to bring in the baddies to "fix" Homer. The press from this incident was undeniably damaging. Newspaper headlines cruelly renamed Homer Simpson to Homer Douchebag, and Slam! magazine ran a cover story petitioning Homer to leave the show. The furore died down later in the month, but the public backlash to the incident convinced Homer to go into hiding at his grandpa's tomacco farm, from which he would not return until Marge offered to buy him ice cream with mini pies in it at the Kwik-E-Mart.