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What more can I possibly say about a TV show that has already been praised
to death? I was 15 when the Simpsons first aired and I'm 25 now. I've
every single episode, and I'd have to say it's a rare combination of
that come together to make The Simpsons the best show ever.
It's a very clever and intelligent show - they never dumb anything down - and as creator Matt Groening has remarked, "The Simpsons is a show that rewards paying attention." There are always enough obscure pop-culture references or subtle background gags to ensure that the second, third, or tenth viewing of an episode will find you noticing something you hadn't before.
In the early days of The Simpsons, they derived a large part of their popularity from the everyday, down-to-earth, unglamorous, average-blue-collar-slob aspect of the Simpson family. Homer is lazy and doesn't like his job, Bart doesn't excel at school, the plastic ketchup bottle they use at the dinner table makes that farting sound, and so on. This aspect of the program contrasts it with popular 80's family sitcoms such as The Cosby Show which always featured impossibly well-functioning families who got along a little too perfectly and usually learned a neat little lesson at the end of each episode. An early tag-line for The Simpsons said that they "put the Fun back in Dysfunctional."
Perhaps this blue-collar-slobness by itself is nothing shockingly original - think of previous TV shows such as Roseanne, Married with Children, All in the Family, The Honeymooners - but the Simpsons doesn't stop there. This show is extremely densely packed with jokes - everything from cerebral witticisms and sly satire to Homer falling down and going "D'oh!" Because it's a cartoon, the writers can get away with surreal gags such as the time Homer tells a joke which falls flat, after which a long silence happens which is punctuated by a single tumbleweed rolling through the Simpson's living room.
There are just too many things to mention about The Simpsons. It can be touching occasionally; more often the viewers are treated to an unequalled cavalcade of obscure references, surreal sight gags, wacky adventures, self-mocking irony... The list goes on and on. Just watch it, else you're missing out on one of the most important elements of 1990's popular culture.
Brilliant television series that could probably be best described as "The Flintstones" gone stark-raving mad. "The Simpsons", everyone knows them. Some love the series and some could care less about it. Love it or hate it, it is near impossible to criticize the intelligence and creativity of this series. The titled animated family makes their home in Springfield, USA and gets into situations that are seemingly more outlandish and crazier than the previous adventure. Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie are still going strong after nearly a dozen years of television life and with each passing moment it seems that the series sets some new precedent. For several years the show seemed to be the only attraction to the then obscure Fox Network. It was the first primetime animated show that was treated like a sitcom since "The Flintstones" quietly left the air in 1966. Many people feared the series when it first premiered in 1989 because they felt that it was hardcore adult material in a candied form that would appeal to younger audiences. Well for the most part this was true. However, "The Simpsons" would prove to be much more for all audiences. The great thing about the series is that it caters to all audiences. True there are usually situations that may not be suitable for all viewers, but then again that is true with everything on television this side of Disney Land and Sesame Street. "The Simpsons" works because of great comedy of course, but also great lessons that can be taken from most of the episodes. The people within the program may be animated, but they are just as complicated and vulnerable as the people watching them. All the regulars have their quirks, but in some episodes you can understand what certain characters are going through because the show is so life-like at times. Former President George Bush (the one from 1988-1992) once made a statement that families should be more like "The Waltons" and less like "The Simpsons". His opinion is somewhat old-fashioned and unrealistic. In other words, many topics dealt with in "The Simpsons" fit life for people in the 1990s and 2000s better than "The Waltons" did in the 1970s. A crowning achievement in television art. 5 stars out of 5.
No one, not even Matt Groening himself, could've imagined that The
Simpsons would become as big as it did. Nor could anyone anticipate it
could become so cultural. "D'oh" is in the dictionary, and it has
spawned off several catch-phrases and one liners. Truly, The Simpsons
is the biggest thing since Seinfeld! The first three seasons showed
them as if they were an actual family. Like the kind of family you'd
meet on the street (only a lot more dysfunctional). Homer trying to do
the fatherly thing in each episode. Marge being the voice of reason all
the time. Lisa and Bart with their sibling rivalry. These first three
seasons are not usually sighted as being the best, but they are often
brought up when one speaks of "The Best Episode Ever!" By Season four,
the show took a turn for what may have been the best. It left it's more
realistic roots and became more of a satire. With more zany antics and
more clever, witty, and often times sophisticated humor, The Simpsons
became the most popular family on television. Each episode still
contained it's own merits, themes and messages. Seasons 4 to about 10
are often said to be the "Golden Age" of The Simpsons.
However, as the year 2000 came, fans began to see themselves divided. Those who stuck with the show since it came about in 1989 were quick to jump on how the show changed. The humor became more lurid and toilet like, with antics becoming heavily more unrealistic and zany (to the point where some even say it isn't funny... but stupid). Some characters becoming unrealistically stupid, and the show shifting gears from focusing on Bart to Homer... to everyone outside of the Simpson family. The show also began to see more cumbersome and meaningless plots. Plots that didn't focus on current issues, or that didn't seem to be as strong as older episodes. Despite this, new fans seem to have come about to replace then, and the show continues to remain at the top of its game, even today.
I'm sure you all know where I stand on that debate. Nine stars to nine fantastic seasons.
The Simpsons is the longest running animated TV series since The
Flinstones, and you could understand why after watching just one of the
Simpsons episodes. Simply because The Simpsons is just so hilarious and
incredibly clever and has been ripped off so many times, but nothing
has come close to the brilliance that the Simpsons writers have brought
We have Homer Simpson, one of the most beloved TV characters of all time, with his famous quote "Doh!". He's an overweight, lazy, and not the brightest bulb, but so incredibly lovable for the fact of how bipolar he is! One minute he can be so incredibly depressed, but the next minute really happy and giggling. My favorite Homer quote is when he kills the zombie Ned Flanders in a Halloween episode, Bart tells him "Dad! You killed the zombie Flanders!"... "He was a zombie?" Marge is Homer's wife and a homemaker. She is at times naggy, but always manages to get in some terrific humor and some deep sympathy with all she puts up with. My favorite Marge quote is "Bart, don't make fun of grad students. They've just made a terrible life choice." Bart is the oldest son and a rebel. His usual quotes are "Don't have a cow" "Cool, man!" "Ei Carumba!". He's this generation's Dennis the Menace. My favorite Bart quote is "I need a soul, Ralph, any, your's!", you'll see what I mean.
Lisa is the second oldest and the smartie pants of the Simpson clan, she's kind of the know it all who solves all the adventures of the Simpsons. My favorite Lisa quote is "They're only using you for your pool you know... shut up brain! I have friends now, I don't need you any more!". Last, but not least, Maggie, the eternal baby of Homer and Marge, always a great love of the screen, but no famous quotes, just memorable moments like when she turns into an alien.
The supporting cast is a terrific addition, my favorites include Mr. Burns, Homer's boss, Groundskeeper Willy, the school janitor, and Mr. Skinner, the school principal. The Simpson is just a terrific show that in one way or another you will see at least one episode in your lifetime. I know that generations to come, they will still be watching The Simpsons.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The series that follows the dysfunctional family of the Simpsons. The
oafish Homer who can barely go a day without slacking or getting mixed up in
crazy adventures. His wife, Marge, who tries to hold it all together. His
duaghter Lisa who is smarter that her gene pool should allow, Bart every
inch the classroom rebel. The family is rounded out by the youngest baby
Maggie. The family interact with those around them and learn lessons or
sometimes fail to change completely.
When this series started in 1987 as a string of rough shorts in Tracey Ulman's show it would be a brave man who would have predicted that over a decade later that this series would be as huge as it is. However the series got launched with the Christmas special in the early 90's. The first series saw the animation greatly improved and the characters developed fully to be more involving. However the story lines were not as sharp or as full as they were to be. The second series and onwards saw the Simpsons have better stories often multi-layered stories filled with pop-culture references and background jokes that reward the careful viewer to try and list them would take ages.
For an American sitcom (for that is what it is) this is amazing the intelligence of the script is fantastic. The depth of the stories are involving, witty and packed. For a movie buff like me, this is a gold mine from sly references in the background to full blow scenes almost spoofing movies this has them all. In some programmes that have background jokes the main stuff at the front often suffers or is ignored totally. However here the main plot and dialogue is fresh and well thought out it is amazing that for almost all of it's run The Simpsons rarely had a bad episode.
True recent shows have begun to show a slide in quality but this is to be expected after more than 10 years at the top. However it is generally brilliant and clever. After the first series everything improved. Not only was the series used for political comment, satire and ironic humour (in a country that generally can't do any well) but it is also heart warming and funny.
The characters live in a balance between reality and surreality. They are sort of recognisable as real people in terms of habits and experiences but in another way they are out there ..Homer has been in Space, stopped a nuclear explosion etc. The mix of this makes for an unique programme. What makes it better is that the makers never draw a line between the madness and the normality one episode is made up of a bad-neighbour type war between Homer and George Bush Snr! The mix is seamless and adds layers to each show.
The wealth of characters is another strength. The main family is strong even Maggie has regular input and adventures! However where most sitcoms really rely on their main subjects for the stories, The Simpsons has a supporting cast of dozens and dozens of really good characters all of whom are able to carry an episode. They range from the normal characters (an inept Police Chief, an Asian shop keeper who is used to being robbed at gunpoint) to the referential or well imagined, (the well-educated Sideshow Mel, a bitter Krusty the Clown, an useless lawyer). All the characters have become more fully used as time has gone on.
The voice actors are all excellent and all do a huge range of voices of course they get very well paid for it! Unfortunately the late Phil Hartman provided the voices of two of my favourite characters and I really miss his dry humour and strong all-American voice. Lionel Hutz was a great character and my favourite, Troy McClure is a wonderful spoof of 60's B-movie actor Doug McClure. This depth really helps the show and has allowed it to feel so very fresh years on.
I could go on for ever, but the series is a wonderful bit of proof that sitcoms don't have to be simple, full of canned laughter and focus on sassy teenagers! The joys of the dialogue are backed up by movie references and crazy adventures. The wonderful Simpson family are supported by a huge cast of imaginative characters who are always well used and a queue of celebrities just lining up to have a few minutes in the show. Quite simply this is consistently the best show to come out of American in my life time.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
i have yet to see something as funny, clever and entertaining as "The
Simpsons" on TV. I'm hardly a TV-series buff, I rarely have the patience and
interest to follow a show for more than five or six episodes. "The Simpsons"
is the one show that I am very sorry to have missed out on until just a
couple of years ago. Luckily, Swedish television are rerun experts. It is
also the only show that I make sure to follow apart from perhaps "Friends",
but in entertainment value, "The Simpsons" is way ahead.
What makes this show so great is its attention to detail, its outrageous dialogue and its completely fearless way of dealing with any issue that crosses the writers' minds. The many characters and their extravaganza makes it an endless well of new angles, new ideas and even more outrageous dialogues. Another very important element is the mocking irony and sarcasm which permeates the entire series. The smarmy and cheesy moments that a great many episodes end up in are extremely clever and becomes an important part of the fun.
What impresses me the most about the series is, however, the enormous amount of detail: the attentive spectator is not just in for the obvious gags - there's always something going on or something to read in the background, which makes a VCR mandatory so you can go back and check that special detail out again. Its a fantastic show, and its a great moment when one can sit down and watch another insane, stupid, disastrous and hilarious episode.
Out of every cartoon, Movie, play, and T.v show I've ever seen The Simpsons tops it all. the Simpsons is the funniest show Bar None. American Dad, Futurama, and Family guy come in close but in my opinion the Simpsons is better than all of them combined. I have seen every single episode and i own seasons one through five and have Simpsons posters and action figures.i have not found an episode that i did not like., some of my favorites are the valentines episode where Bart puts Homers Beer in the paint shakers, and "Das Bus" season 9 "O' Brother were art Thou?" season 2. and any episode from the sixteenth season. they have made it to over three hundred episodes and I'm betting on three hundred more. THE SIMPSONS WILL NEVER DIE!
The Simpsons is a show that has sustained ten years of constant humor. The stories have gradually become better and the second fiddle characters were getting more screen time which translates into a much more realized show. The pop culture references abound and delight those who can pick them out. My personal favorite is the Citizen Kane references in the episode called "Rosebud." Plus, anything with C. Montgomery Burns is hysterical. The guest stars aren't there as a "special appearance" touted by the networks. They actually work into the storyline, and that makes it all the more enjoyable. Where else can you see The Moody Blues acting like thugs in a Vegas casino?
The Simpsons is one of the best TV shows of all times. It is a perfect
mirror of the American culture and has many memorable moments that will
always be remembered . I don't know anybody who doesn't like this show,
it's impossible not to be a fan of it. You could watch each episode 20
times and never get tired, you will always find a new funny thing every
time you watch it
Unfotunatley the show is getting worse and worse with every new season, Maybe it's time to let "The Simpsons" die with dignity before the audience starts to hate it.
My rating: 11/10
Network: Fox; Genre: Animated Comedy, Parody, Satire; Content Rating:
TV-PG (language, adult contend and animated nudity); Available: DVD and
syndication everywhere; Perspective: Classic (star range: 1 - 5);
Seasons Reviewed: Season 12+
If someone had told me 10 years ago that I would one day be bored by 'The Simpsons', I would have called them crazy. But here we are and while 'The Simpsons' has become the longest running show on TV at the cost of its core integrity. "Simpsons" in its prime was the best things to grace the small screen. A funny, ground-breaking animated comedy with lightening-quick wit, insightful social and brilliantly integrated parody. It created its own universe with an entire town of original characters. Most importantly, it actually helped shape the sense of humor of an entire generation. That generation which has now grown up and is now creating animated shows in direct competition.
"Simpsons" is a pale shadow of its former greatness. It gradually slipping this way for several years, but it wasn't until the 2002 and 2003 seasons that the show really smashed up against the rocks for good. I used to delight in each new episode of "Simpsons". But now the show clunks along each week in what appears to be filling time. The free-wheeling gags it used to deliver with such ease are now weighted down by an unnecessary over importance on story. The show at its best may get off a funny, sharp one-liner every now and then. It's biggest asset currently is it's willingness and given latitude to slam its own network. I do delight in their "Joe Millionaire" on-air promo parodies or a recent episode where Homer calls to give the network an idea and the recording says something like "If you know of another network's reality show we can rip off, press 2..."
So what happened? There really is no one thing that can easily be pointed out to all the late-commers and say "this is what happened" - you have to have traced the history. The 'jump the shark' moment could have come as early as the infamous Frank Grimes episode where our vision of The Simpson family was suddenly turned into something to aspire to instead of parody. It could be the legion of big name celebrities forced into every episode. To bring down a show as great as this, it was a slow convergence of several things.
Watching it, 3 differences are evident on-screen at any given time: First, the stripping down most of the characters to 1-note cartoons. Notably, British favorite Homer Simpson going from child-like, hard-luck father to a rag-doll for wild animals to rip apart as each episode closes. I'm particularly appalled at its attempts to use Homer as a political mouthpiece. Did you know that a guy who once lit a Q-tip so he could see inside his brain has an active concern for global politics? Yeah, I didn't either.
Secondly, the classic Baby Boomer voice of the series has evaporated and was replaced with contemporary generation X and Y jokes. Now, it's the internet and Tony Hawke. The voice of the series used to be one of creator Matt Groening's, seen through the eyes of Homer and Marge. That voice has been lost as the show has turned into an assembly line institution, repackaged and been homogenized for the masses and a new generation of writers lead by Ian Maxton-Graham has come in to "keep it fresh".
Thirdly, it has run out of creative juice. Anyone who has stuck with the show long enough can see it literally re-telling jokes and recycle previous story lines. When the recycling becomes too obvious or the episode makes no sense, they merely double back and declare it all a big self-parody. Not even Al Jean (architect of the show in its prime and the Larry David of "The Simpsons") can save it now.
Since the talented voice cast has remained the same low these many years, I put all the blame on this squarely with the Fox network who refused to let this show go out gracefully when Groening siphoned off his role to work on his dream project, the now far superior 'Futurama'. In Fox's race to claim this endurance record they have turned a once edgy and visionary show into an institution with an assembly line production and revolving door of writers to match any of the other lame shows on TV. Behind the scenes, maybe the condescending we-can-do-no-wrong attitude of Maxton-Graham has dealt the show its biggest death blow, while producer Mike Scully sat back and ineptly let Maxton-Graham run it into the ground.
In the end, the biggest blame may actually land with the "die-hard fans" that embolden the show by letting it get away with this junk. Yes, "The Simpsons" was ground-breaking and every adult animation in the future owns it a bit of gratitude, but blind loyalty to a show only for how it performed in the past isn't healthy.
Since it has hit long-running status the critical bandwagon jumping has begun and "Simpsons" is more popular than ever amongst critics that want to be on the inside of history. We've now reached a point where the bad episodes and bad entire seasons outweigh the good and that, I'm afraid, is going to be the sad legacy of "Simpsons" . A train-wreck of crass, childish humor, grainy animation, oddly misplaced satire and forced parodies of only the most obvious pop culture targets.
10 years ago I didn't know what I would do without "The Simpsons" but now, particularly with the emergence of satisfying new adult animated shows ('Futurama', 'Family Guy' and 'South Park'), living without it might be pretty good.
* * / 5
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