the simpsons' peak period - can we have some consensus please ?

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
i say series 3 thru to 6 inclusive although
series 2 has it's moments. maniacs insist it hasn't
really dropped off in quality, but god i saw the
one where ned's wife died recently and it was...
well, just like a different show. have there been any
good episodes since series 7, cause as soon as i
see that it's a newer one, i'm not interested and
never watch.

piscesboy, Sunday, 12 January 2003 05:49 (eighteen years ago) link

the n'sync one was good

minna (minna), Sunday, 12 January 2003 08:08 (eighteen years ago) link

Going from memory fortified by syndication, season 4. Others will try to convince you it was season 5, but resist. "Deep Space Homer" while funny is not the end-/be-all.

Leee (Leee), Sunday, 12 January 2003 08:56 (eighteen years ago) link

i just looked at simpsons episode archive http://www.snpp.com

series 7 = still classic, has bart sells his soul, selma marries troy maclure, lisa gets cool friends at the beach
series 8 = still classic moments, has the treehouse of horror with the little world growing on lisa's tooth + bill clin-ton & bob-dole, but this could be the beginning of the end
series 9 = hmm

so series 7 should still be included in the golden age - call it 2-8.

minna (minna), Sunday, 12 January 2003 09:13 (eighteen years ago) link

season 5 is better than season 4.

minna (minna), Sunday, 12 January 2003 09:25 (eighteen years ago) link

After season 5 it becomes dicey but there are some real gems:

-all treehouse of horror episodes
-when lisa becomes a veggie ('why is it talking to me in a lamb's voice?')
-homer vs. nyc (try seeing that one nowadays in US syndication!!!)

keep in mind even bad simpsons is better than most other good tv.

That Girl (thatgirl), Sunday, 12 January 2003 10:34 (eighteen years ago) link

Season two until Phil Hartman's death.

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Sunday, 12 January 2003 10:45 (eighteen years ago) link

i forgot that the 'fishbulb' episode was in season 8, this redeems season 8 completely.

minna (minna), Sunday, 12 January 2003 11:36 (eighteen years ago) link

I agree w/ minna, seasons 2-8 were the peak, althought 8 was spotty.

Watching new Simpsons episodes is painful because it reminds me how great the show once was. That is why I don't anymore.

fletrejet, Sunday, 12 January 2003 13:15 (eighteen years ago) link

As you can see we can't have a concensus, no.

Lynskey (Lynskey), Sunday, 12 January 2003 13:30 (eighteen years ago) link

Minna = OTM. 2-8 is mostly golden. Everything else (especially the newer episodes, which I can barely stomach, let alone enjoy) is meh.

mark p (Mark P), Sunday, 12 January 2003 14:07 (eighteen years ago) link

I think that The Simpsons is becoming better the more self-referential it gets. They're cartoon characters, not actors, so it's not like it costs them to hire any more people - why not have a cast of hundreds? I like the episodes where Apu has an affair, because it's better than Homer having an affair *again*. Plus, the animation in some of the earlier series is terrible, and they've now got Moe spot on as a lonely, dirty old man.

James Mitchell (James Mitchell), Sunday, 12 January 2003 14:38 (eighteen years ago) link

My favourite episode is still the one where Homer bowls the perfect 300. "Miss! Miss!", "I paid 7.10 for this split!" etc etc

Ronan (Ronan), Sunday, 12 January 2003 15:32 (eighteen years ago) link

I find that terrible episodes from the late nineties and 00s now look like classics in comparison to the ones that are on now. I'm not sure whether all that self referential 'worst episode ever' stuff is good or not, although that clipshow that ended with a song containing lyrics along the lines of 'we're really sorry about the clipshow, but we've got lots more plotlines to come, honestly!!' was pretty great.

Ferg (Ferg), Sunday, 12 January 2003 16:35 (eighteen years ago) link

Self-reference is only funny when the show is still funny. Self reference when a show is not funny comes off as a cheep desperate gag: "Ha ha ha, we know this is a sucky and preditable episode. But that's ok because we know it is, wink wink." Yawn.

fletrejet, Sunday, 12 January 2003 17:46 (eighteen years ago) link

"series 8 = still classic moments, has the treehouse of horror with the little world growing on lisa's tooth + bill clin-ton & bob-dole, but this could be the beginning of the end
series 9 = hmm"

So true. The first two series are good, but series three is where it came into it's own. I'd say series 3 through 7 is the peak. From then on in, it's been a steady decline. The last few new ones i've seen are so bad, it's almost painful to watch. Episodes like the one where Marge gets Mafia help to sell pretzels - in season 8 - are where the rot set in.

weasel diesel (K1l14n), Sunday, 12 January 2003 19:25 (eighteen years ago) link

I actually found the "Skinner propopses to Edna" episode to be pretty good, mostly due to the "Eastern Airlines World of Tomorrow" bit and Little Richard's appearance. That, and the hijinks actually seemed plausible (except for Groundskeeper Willie owning a souped-up late '60s Le Mans-style race car, but at least that was funny).

Nate Patrin (Nate Patrin), Sunday, 12 January 2003 19:30 (eighteen years ago) link

I didn't realise there was a new one with Sideshow Bob in it tonight, was it any cop?

Ferg (Ferg), Sunday, 12 January 2003 21:34 (eighteen years ago) link

I'm still feeling grumbly about that Toronto episode.

Kim (Kim), Sunday, 12 January 2003 21:38 (eighteen years ago) link

i've missed the last two (maybe even three) Sideshow Bob ones...i'd thought they'd stopped doing an annual episode on him

that 'Apu has an affair' one was rubbish...utterly pointless and illogical

and fletrejet is otm about the self-reference. the simpsons is the most self-aware show on tv and that used to be great...but its just boring and unfunny now. i saw one not too long ago where Carl actually talks to camera...thats a cardinal sin!

stevem (blueski), Monday, 13 January 2003 17:50 (eighteen years ago) link

I used to avoid the newer episodes because people kept telling me that they weren't any good, but in seeing them now being rerun as part of syndication....they're actually still far better than most of what gets run on TV. I think a lot of the new ones are interesting because they're pushing the limits in a lot of ways, and the fact that a lot of them are so unrealistic is part of their charm. IT'S A CARTOON. Who cares if things seem unrealistic? And there's still at least one joke per episode that makes me laugh out loud, something that's not easy to do when it comes to TV.

Justification for post season 8 episodes: BEHIND THE LAUGHTER.

Sean Carruthers (SeanC), Monday, 13 January 2003 18:05 (eighteen years ago) link

behind the laughter was fucking awful, the simpsons nadir.

weasel diesel (K1l14n), Monday, 13 January 2003 18:08 (eighteen years ago) link

But where's the humanity, people?

mark p (Mark P), Monday, 13 January 2003 18:21 (eighteen years ago) link

"when you see a sheriff; shoot him...............a smiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiilllle!" sigh

naked as sin (naked as sin), Monday, 13 January 2003 18:30 (eighteen years ago) link

behind the laughter was fucking awful, the simpsons nadir.
Maybe I'm alone in this, but I thought it was one of the better episodes.

Sean Carruthers (SeanC), Monday, 13 January 2003 18:33 (eighteen years ago) link

I hated Behind the Laughter the first time I saw it, but I was fairly amused when I saw it in syndication recently. I think I was kind of blinded the first time by the fact that they were spoofing only one show for the entire episode. It has some funny moments.

There's still one great joke per episode at least.

Vinnie (vprabhu), Monday, 13 January 2003 19:22 (eighteen years ago) link

yes, but there used to be a great joke every five seconds.

weasel diesel (K1l14n), Monday, 13 January 2003 19:25 (eighteen years ago) link

It'll obviously never get back to where it was, but one great joke per episode + many mildly amusing jokes = still watchable for me

Vinnie (vprabhu), Monday, 13 January 2003 19:41 (eighteen years ago) link

this 'new episodes aren't as great but still better than anything else on TV' excuse is feeble and HAS TO STOP. i can name at least 37 programmes that are currently funnier and more entertaining than The Simpsons

and the 'its a cartoon, doesnt have to be realistic' excuse would be okay except The Simpsons was originally very much rooted in reality and obeyed the laws of that generally with obvious exceptions (Treehouse Of Horror) but they abandoned that years ago...sure Homer going into space isnt realistic but it was still physically possible! unlike that episode where Homer n Marge win the dancing contest after he spins her on her hair and stuff...yeurgh...

stevem (blueski), Monday, 13 January 2003 19:54 (eighteen years ago) link

it always veered into the surreal, but now it does it constantly, and it feels like more of a get-out clause. they'll conjure up bizarre scenarios just for the sake of it, rather than as a device to reach better comic ends.

"this 'new episodes aren't as great but still better than anything else on TV' excuse is feeble and HAS TO STOP. i can name at least 37 programmes that are currently funnier and more entertaining than The Simpsons"

Yes. Maybe that excuse was valid for the episodes shortly after series 8, but the newest ones are atrocious by ANY standard, not just compared to the old classics.

weasel diesel (K1l14n), Monday, 13 January 2003 20:28 (eighteen years ago) link

The "Behind the Laughter" episode is completely classic if only for the shot of Homer skiing crotch-first down a mogul run.

Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Monday, 13 January 2003 20:37 (eighteen years ago) link

The last episode I really enjoyed was the one w/Homer's Day, Bart's Day, and Lisa's Day. I don't think I've even watched any of this season.

I just hope syndication avoids these copious duds.

Curtis Stephens, Monday, 13 January 2003 21:24 (eighteen years ago) link

i wonder when we'll see the 'Homer vs the people of New York' episode again

stevem (blueski), Monday, 13 January 2003 21:27 (eighteen years ago) link

the bbc is avoiding these copious duds by only ever broadcasting series one, pretty much

mark s (mark s), Monday, 13 January 2003 21:33 (eighteen years ago) link

the bbc has shown episodes as recent as fours years ago i'm sure

stevem (blueski), Monday, 13 January 2003 21:34 (eighteen years ago) link

"The last episode I really enjoyed was the one w/Homer's Day, Bart's Day, and Lisa's Day. I don't think I've even watched any of this season."

That was actually the best of the recent episodes I've seen. But still nothing special.

weasel diesel (K1l14n), Monday, 13 January 2003 22:05 (eighteen years ago) link

geez, you all must have missed the very end of last week's ep (the one where they go to orlando/epcot center) where homer gets up from the kitchen table and blurts out this hilarious tune in a most grandoise disneyesque jingle. it almost made me loose my drink.

jason m., Tuesday, 14 January 2003 01:47 (eighteen years ago) link

2012-2016 except Treehouse of Horror 25.

naked as sin (naked as sin), Tuesday, 14 January 2003 01:54 (eighteen years ago) link

I think the first season was great, though I have the advantage of actually sitting through most of it during its original run, so it's got sentimental value for me. Sure, the voices sound weird, but get past that and the humor's a lot more subtle and strange and idiosyncratic than it was later on.

Justyn Dillingham (Justyn Dillingham), Tuesday, 14 January 2003 05:22 (eighteen years ago) link

Actually, last Sunday's was really good. Having no attention span, I can't recall any examples. Oh yeah, the private dick was a complete breath of fresh air as far as one-off characters go.

Leee (Leee), Tuesday, 14 January 2003 08:00 (eighteen years ago) link

''the bbc is avoiding these copious duds by only ever broadcasting series one, pretty much''

right now they are broadcasting the earliest episodes, which is a shame, but they have broadcast, say 100+ i think (my brother would know more abt this since he has taped every episode shown on the bbc.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Tuesday, 14 January 2003 09:53 (eighteen years ago) link

i'm never sure which season is which,the ones on rte at the moment are the lisa is a vegetarian one,the one with mr burns recycling plant,that sort of carry on...anyone know what season they're from?

robin (robin), Tuesday, 14 January 2003 10:05 (eighteen years ago) link

"Vegetarian Lisa" is season 7, "The Old Man and Lisa" (recylcing) is eight.

Leee (Leee), Tuesday, 14 January 2003 22:11 (eighteen years ago) link

two years pass...
Just got the Season 6 DVDs and went through almost all of them - still the "golden period" for me, for sure, especially with classics like "Lemon of Troy" and "Bart vs. Australia" (possibly my favorite Simpsons episode ever). watching these chronologically w/the DVDs its much easier to see the progression from season to season, and I'm curious how obvious the drop-off in quality will be.... at this point though, I'm in the camp with whoever up-thread said Seasons 2-8 constitute the apex of the show. I doubt I'll get any of the DVD packages past season 8.

Shakey Mo Collier (Shakey Mo Collier), Tuesday, 13 September 2005 20:26 (fifteen years ago) link

2-7 sounds right. The quality slip in season 8 was very perceptible, it's much better in retrospect obv. but I wouldn't call it classic, definitely the first time watching it felt kind of optional. I'll catch a new episode if I'm literally sitting in front of the TV and happen to remember it's on, honestly I think a new episode of "What not to Wear" beats it in head to head competition in my house, and that's not just cause of the wife.

tremendoid (tremendoid), Tuesday, 13 September 2005 20:44 (fifteen years ago) link

The dropoff in quality is way overblown. Season 11, for example, is brilliant:

http://snpp.com/episodeguide/season11.html

quality does not equal quality (wetmink), Tuesday, 13 September 2005 20:44 (fifteen years ago) link

i wonder when we'll see the 'Homer vs the people of New York' episode again

it was run here last week

oops (Oops), Tuesday, 13 September 2005 20:46 (fifteen years ago) link

Wait season VIII was and is GREAT!!!! Season XI on the other hand had some eh episodes, I can see where people could have been bummed.

Alex in SF (Alex in SF), Tuesday, 13 September 2005 20:51 (fifteen years ago) link

Ohmigod season VIII has the Van Houten DIVORCE episode!!

Alex in SF (Alex in SF), Tuesday, 13 September 2005 20:52 (fifteen years ago) link

there is no peak
it was a gusher the whole time

dr gary bleune (dr g), Tuesday, 13 September 2005 20:52 (fifteen years ago) link

I can't believe no one else besides me will stand up and defend "Brother's Little Helper", which is a good example of one of the last instances of that truly sincere sappiness that most Simpsons fans seem to refer to as "having heart".

It does seem though that, throughout these nerdliest of arguments, nobody seems to really care to defend seasons 12-present, which, I do say my good man, is close to being "consensus".

nickalicious (nickalicious), Wednesday, 14 September 2005 17:13 (fifteen years ago) link

Oh wait, wetmink included that one in his list, didn't he/she? D'oh!

nickalicious (nickalicious), Wednesday, 14 September 2005 17:14 (fifteen years ago) link

Missionery Impossible has one of my favorite endings of any tv show/book/movie/etc. ever.

nickalicious (nickalicious), Wednesday, 14 September 2005 17:15 (fifteen years ago) link

Is that the one where it just ends with Homer and the little Lisa-esque tribe girl about to be crushed by burning timbers?

Sociah T Azzahole (blueski), Wednesday, 14 September 2005 17:25 (fifteen years ago) link

xx-post yeah, Andrew Farrell also mentioned love for "Brother's Little Helper".

many-x-post Leeeeee, those are great moments from those 2 episodes.

In Missionary Impossible, they are about to be crushed by burning timbers, and then a Fox pledge drive cuts in, Bart calls in a huge pledge, and the ending lines are

Rupert Murdoch: You saved my network!
Bart: Wouldn't be the first time.

quality does not equal quality (wetmink), Wednesday, 14 September 2005 18:06 (fifteen years ago) link

Leeeeeeeeeee are you still in Chicago? Simpsons is on not once, not twice, but thrice.

oops (Oops), Wednesday, 14 September 2005 21:51 (fifteen years ago) link

I moved back to Springfield. Only twice a night here.

Leeeeeeeee (Leee), Wednesday, 14 September 2005 21:56 (fifteen years ago) link

Oh. Are you at least proud of what I did in that post?

oops (Oops), Wednesday, 14 September 2005 22:13 (fifteen years ago) link

Sure. I feel so full of...what's the opposite of shame?

Leeeeeeeee (Leee), Wednesday, 14 September 2005 23:00 (fifteen years ago) link

Does the recent one where Moe takes care of Maggie not have "heart"? It seemed like it did, but I am no expert.

Casuistry (Chris P), Thursday, 15 September 2005 01:54 (fifteen years ago) link

fifteen years pass...

The best has yet to come.

More promotional ‘Simpsons’ shorts will be coming to Disney+ throughout the year. All of them will pay homage to some of Disney’s top brands and Disney+’s most popular shows.

Source: https://t.co/c3WQdQBBha pic.twitter.com/lPm8WSvj6x

— Cartoon Crave (@thecartooncrave) May 3, 2021

Joe Bombin (milo z), Monday, 3 May 2021 16:25 (three days ago) link

make purchase of the merchandise

wasdnuos (abanana), Monday, 3 May 2021 16:30 (three days ago) link

Why did i used to write like a 13 year old texting one handed on a bicycle?

piscesx, Monday, 3 May 2021 16:37 (three days ago) link

Just read a great long interview with John Swartzwelder in the NYer this morning. Laughed very hard at this bit:

Do you remember the first funny thing you wrote?

I do, mostly because the reaction I got to it was so startling. I had just learned how to form letters into words, so I decided to write a play. The only thing I remember about the play itself, except for the last two lines, is that it was hilarious. But, when I read it aloud to my family, it got no laughs! Just supportive smiles and nods. I didn’t get it.

But then I got to the second-to-last line, which was supposed to set up the big joke at the end. The setup line was: “This play has been brought to you by the Trash Can Airplane Company,” which—since this was Boeing country—got a huge, possibly undeserved, laugh. Baffled, but feeling that I finally had my audience in the palm of my hand, I leaned back and practically screamed the big finish: “P.S. It stinks!!!” More supportive smiles and nods. Plainly, there was a trick to comedy, and I didn’t know what it was.

Do you know what the trick is now?

No. “P.S. It stinks!!!” should have gotten a laugh. I don’t get it.

nobody like my rap (One Eye Open), Monday, 3 May 2021 16:45 (three days ago) link

I'm sure something similar was said somewhere upthread, but I really feel like what the Simpsons lost after its "classic" years was more its emotional center than its humor. Without that, the constant absurdist jokes started to feel decadent and the cynicism started to feel aimless.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Monday, 3 May 2021 17:11 (three days ago) link

I've always maintained that the Simpsons just slowed down in how quickly they pummelled you with jokes. Like they just left more room to breathe and think and "get it". The only show post-Simpsons that I think even approached that energy was 30 Rock.

Like if this bit from a season 18 episode was in a season 9 episode, I don't imagine it would have had the second part explaining the joke

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q34Qxl5HINg

bruce spr!ngisH3r3 (Whiney G. Weingarten), Monday, 3 May 2021 17:23 (three days ago) link

I remember feeling very distinctly at the time that the show finally became irrevocably unmoored when Kid Rock and Joe C guest-starred, and I think I'd stand by that assessment today.

You Can't Have the Woogie Without a Little Boogie (Old Lunch), Monday, 3 May 2021 17:24 (three days ago) link

I like that

Left, Monday, 3 May 2021 17:26 (three days ago) link

I'm going thru the seasons chronologically and I'm at 8 now. Some great episodes in it but last night I watched the 1st one where I really did not like Homer. Because he was TOO stupid, plus was being an asshole. It was "A Milhouse Divided". Obv overall it was a slow slide into shittiness for the series but the 2 minute or so section of Homer overcompensating by fawning over Marge was jarring, like they stuck season 30 Homer into the episode.

A True White Kid that can Jump (Granny Dainger), Monday, 3 May 2021 17:28 (three days ago) link

Granny Dainger out here complaining about Homer in the episode where he says "I sleep in a big bed with my wife"

bruce spr!ngisH3r3 (Whiney G. Weingarten), Monday, 3 May 2021 17:43 (three days ago) link

Lol that's kinda my point. There's this 2 minute stretch where nuHomer is born.

A True White Kid that can Jump (Granny Dainger), Monday, 3 May 2021 17:48 (three days ago) link

pretty much everything terrible about nu simpsons (1998-now) can be found in the classic episodes in less concentrated and morbid forms so it probably sowed the seeds for its own decay and wasn't built to last as long as my entire fucking life

just noticed the AV club (whose writers have wasted years trying to convince themselves it's still good) has decided to stop covering new episodes altogether which is pretty damning, I mean if you've lost them

Left, Monday, 3 May 2021 17:56 (three days ago) link

I also say nu-Simpsons starts in 2002

Seasons 10, 11 & 12 are def a "clearly not-peak-era-but-also-not-offensively-terrible" zone

bruce spr!ngisH3r3 (Whiney G. Weingarten), Monday, 3 May 2021 18:11 (three days ago) link

1-9: Phil Spector 1959-1966
10-12: Phil Spector 1970-1980
13-present: Phil Spector 2003-2021

bruce spr!ngisH3r3 (Whiney G. Weingarten), Monday, 3 May 2021 18:19 (three days ago) link

i don't remember specifics from season 13, but season 14 was home to that episode with the rolling stones, so that ^^ seems to check out

the mai tai quinn (voodoo chili), Monday, 3 May 2021 19:22 (three days ago) link

Season 13 gave us the "Old Man Yells At Cloud" image at least.

blue whales on ambient (C. Grisso/McCain), Monday, 3 May 2021 19:32 (three days ago) link

Are the Rolling Stones the only (group of) people to work with both the Simpsons and Phil Spector?

Halfway there but for you, Monday, 3 May 2021 19:34 (three days ago) link

Ramones as well

soref, Monday, 3 May 2021 19:35 (three days ago) link

iirc season 14 has the one where marge gets new boobs and homer sings a song about them, the one where marge gets roid rage and rapes homer, and the one where frank grimes jr shows up to get his revenge. def beyond redemption at that point

Left, Monday, 3 May 2021 19:43 (three days ago) link

paul mccartney (sort of)

Left, Monday, 3 May 2021 19:44 (three days ago) link

xp

Left, Monday, 3 May 2021 19:44 (three days ago) link

The show peaked with Season 8. Specifically, "Homer's Enemy." The Frank Grimes episode should have been the series finale. They were never gonna do anything funnier, and there was no coming back after torching the show's entire conceptual superstructure that way.

but also fuck you (unperson), Monday, 3 May 2021 19:45 (three days ago) link

I'm sure something similar was said somewhere upthread, but I really feel like what the Simpsons lost after its "classic" years was more its emotional center than its humor. Without that, the constant absurdist jokes started to feel decadent and the cynicism started to feel aimless.

I've always maintained that the Simpsons just slowed down in how quickly they pummelled you with jokes. Like they just left more room to breathe and think and "get it".
The only show post-Simpsons that I think even approached that energy was 30 Rock.

I thought it was interesting that Swartzwelder said in his interview that he thought season 3 was the series peak because I feel like there was a shift between season 3 and 4 where they sacrificed some degree of character based humour for joke density and surrealism. I think a lot of the writing staff changed between those two seasons? I think seasons 2 and 3 might be my favourites, it's strange though because I would have guessed that Swartzwelder would come down more on the 'density and surrealism' side than the character/realism side.

soref, Monday, 3 May 2021 19:45 (three days ago) link

paul mccartney (sort of)

Definitely George & Ringo!

blue whales on ambient (C. Grisso/McCain), Monday, 3 May 2021 19:48 (three days ago) link

I've been rewatching some episodes lately and I've gotten that same impression, the S2-3 ones are better than I remembered while the S7-8 ones are maybe a bit too overexposed and absurd. obviously still very funny though. last one I watched was the one where he eats the psychedelic chili pepper, the first 2/3rds of which is maybe one of the finest episodes of any animated show ever (and clearly seemed to be the inspiration for a bunch of Futurama episodes), but man I'd forgotten how cobbled together and dull the final third is. like, it ends with Marge randomly forgiving him and then they prevent a shipwreck together? its like they couldn't figure out how to end it.

frogbs, Monday, 3 May 2021 19:56 (three days ago) link

I also say nu-Simpsons starts in 2002

Seasons 10, 11 & 12 are def a "clearly not-peak-era-but-also-not-offensively-terrible" zone

re-read the beginning of the thread

bobo honkin' slobo babe (sic), Monday, 3 May 2021 20:07 (three days ago) link

I feel like there was a shift between season 3 and 4 where they sacrificed some degree of character based humour for joke density and surrealism. I think a lot of the writing staff changed between those two seasons?

All the staff Simon hired stayed as long as he did, and several left with him after S4. Oakley/Weinstein and Conan are the only two that joined between 3 and 4.

bobo honkin' slobo babe (sic), Monday, 3 May 2021 20:14 (three days ago) link

This thread was started during S14.

blue whales on ambient (C. Grisso/McCain), Monday, 3 May 2021 20:15 (three days ago) link

I don't remember it exactly but I think there's a quote about jazz thats something like 'jazz is about seeing how far out you can go and still get back', like when a musician improvises around a tune how far can they go while still retaining some connection to that original tune - and the I think the surrealism in the Simpsons is kind of like that. For the first 10 years of the show's life a lot of the humour comes from how there is some base level of realism, the laws of physics apply, people act like real humans to some degree, but because it's a cartoon they can stretch the realism and flirt with outright surrealism, and when they stretch it to the point of breaking and there are no rules left that's when the show stopped being any good.

like the bit with Homer jumping the gorge on a skateboard is funny because it's treading this fine line between loony tunes cartoon surrealism and realism, it's Wile E Coyote type joke but he actually ends up bruised and bloodied. It wouldn't be funny if the Simpsons was set in a world with no rules where cartoon physics applied, but it also wouldn't be funny if the Simpsons was set in a world that was strictly realistic.

soref, Monday, 3 May 2021 20:18 (three days ago) link

Definitely George & Ringo!

― blue whales on ambient (C. Grisso/McCain), Monday, May 3, 2021 2:48 PM (nine minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

george was nearly as memorable as his co-star, a giant plate of brownies

the mai tai quinn (voodoo chili), Monday, 3 May 2021 20:28 (three days ago) link

I don't remember it exactly but I think there's a quote about jazz thats something like 'jazz is about seeing how far out you can go and still get back', like when a musician improvises around a tune how far can they go while still retaining some connection to that original tune - and the I think the surrealism in the Simpsons is kind of like that. For the first 10 years of the show's life a lot of the humour comes from how there is some base level of realism, the laws of physics apply, people act like real humans to some degree, but because it's a cartoon they can stretch the realism and flirt with outright surrealism, and when they stretch it to the point of breaking and there are no rules left that's when the show stopped being any good.


Groening and others on the DVD commentaries mention this often — they call it “flexible reality” or “rubber-band reality.” There were a couple of jokes in Deep Space Homer that Groening and David Mirkin fought bitterly about, specifically, Homer briefly turning into Popeye, and later briefly turning into Nixon. Groening hated those jokes because he felt they stretched the show’s flexible reality too far. I love those two bits, but I do agree that stretching it past the breaking point in later seasons contributed to the show’s crapulence, coupled with just plain laziness on the part of the writers. They make me madder than a...yak in heat.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Monday, 3 May 2021 20:39 (three days ago) link

i was trying to think of a post-season 12 joke that i really loved and i remembered this one: "aww, i have three kids and no money. why can't i have no kids and three money?"

from episode 397 (season 18)

the mai tai quinn (voodoo chili), Monday, 3 May 2021 20:44 (three days ago) link

I've been listening to the commentaries too and the first few times Groening noted he had a problem with a joke in that regard I thought he was being overly fussy but a few seasons later I find myself agreeing with his stance more. Made me wonder if he's still doing commentaries on like season 21 or whatever?

A True White Kid that can Jump (Granny Dainger), Monday, 3 May 2021 20:46 (three days ago) link

The big writing staff shake-up occurred between seasons four and five (with “Homer’s Barbershop Quartet” and “Cape Feare” being leftovers). Homer calling a college dean a “stupid head” or bumblebee man falling over his chair after taking over for Kent Brockman was such a different kind of humor.

The Poochie episode was the beginning of the end. Yes it was funny, but the humor was just so smug and self-referential.

Mr. Snrub, Monday, 3 May 2021 20:50 (three days ago) link

Made me wonder if he's still doing commentaries on like season 21 or whatever?


I doubt it, because then he’d have to explain why the Critic crossover was unacceptable (he took his name off the credits) but had no issue with the later Family Guy crossover.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Monday, 3 May 2021 20:58 (three days ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAOLTsTtZis

Left, Monday, 3 May 2021 21:10 (three days ago) link

i was trying to think of a post-season 12 joke that i really loved and i remembered this one: "aww, i have three kids and no money. why can't i have no kids and three money?"

from episode 397 (season 18)

― the mai tai quinn (voodoo chili), Monday, May 3, 2021 3:44 PM (twenty-five minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

lol this one stuck with me too.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Monday, 3 May 2021 21:11 (three days ago) link

I doubt it, because then he’d have to explain why the Critic crossover was unacceptable (he took his name off the credits) but had no issue with the later Family Guy crossover.

older, insanely richer, did not think the current show had enough integrity to bother defending

bobo honkin' slobo babe (sic), Monday, 3 May 2021 22:34 (three days ago) link

i could have sworn i saw an interview within the last five years with groening where he said the show was still good, he may have even said it was still on par with the 'classic' era

global tetrahedron, Tuesday, 4 May 2021 12:58 (two days ago) link

i could have sworn i saw an interview within the last five years with groening where he said the show was still good, he may have even said it was still on par with the 'classic' era


Doubt he wants to stop the checks coming.

Van Halen dot Senate dot flashlight (Boring, Maryland), Tuesday, 4 May 2021 13:35 (two days ago) link


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.