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View Poll Results: When Did The Simpsons Lose It's Spark/Soul?
Season One 1 1.30%
Season Two 0 0%
Season Three 1 1.30%
Season Four 0 0%
Season Five 1 1.30%
Season Six 1 1.30%
Season Seven 3 3.90%
Season Eight 5 6.49%
Season Nine 11 14.29%
Season Ten 7 9.09%
Season Eleven 5 6.49%
Season Twelve 4 5.19%
Season Thirteen 5 6.49%
Season Fourteen 5 6.49%
Season Fifteen 2 2.60%
Season Sixteen 0 0%
Season Seventeen 0 0%
Season Eighteen 0 0%
Season Nineteen 0 0%
Season Twenty 1 1.30%
Season Twenty-One 0 0%
The Simpsons Is Still Good 25 32.47%
Voters: 77. You may not vote on this poll

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Old November 14 2009, 06:12 PM   #16
Holdfast
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Re: The Simpsons

The Simpsons is one of those shows that is rerun so heavily and randomly that I have no idea what episode is from what season, so I can't really answer the question. I mean, sure, I can tell roughly, based on the animation, but otherwise, I wouldn't have a clue as to the episode name or the season.

All I can say is that, like, say, Friends, TNG and a few other shows, The Simpsons is great "wallpaper"/"comfort" TV for me. I can watch almost any episode and feel at least vaguely familiar with the story and can find something that makes me enjoy it at least a little bit.
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Old November 14 2009, 06:33 PM   #17
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Re: The Simpsons

Holdfast wrote: View Post
The Simpsons is one of those shows that is rerun so heavily and randomly that I have no idea what episode is from what season, so I can't really answer the question. I mean, sure, I can tell roughly, based on the animation, but otherwise, I wouldn't have a clue as to the episode name or the season.

All I can say is that, like, say, Friends, TNG and a few other shows, The Simpsons is great "wallpaper"/"comfort" TV for me. I can watch almost any episode and feel at least vaguely familiar with the story and can find something that makes me enjoy it at least a little bit.
Same here.
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Old November 14 2009, 06:38 PM   #18
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Re: The Simpsons

Season One was them getting their feet steady. I think that Seasons Two through Thirteen were consistently very strong (Thirteen ended on one of my favourites, Poppa's Got A Brand New Badge). After that, it started to decline, and I stopped watching it regularly (but then, I slowly started falling off TV altogether then).

I occasionally tune in, and they can still produce some really fun stuff, but it's not must-see anymore. But whatever, still the greatest show in TV history.
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Old November 14 2009, 07:30 PM   #19
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Re: The Simpsons

Up until season 10, it was pure gold, but there were enough decent episodes in seasons 11-13 for it to be watchable. Anything beyond that is unwatchable for me.
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Old November 14 2009, 07:44 PM   #20
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Re: The Simpsons

I'm not sure the season numbers exactly (and I'm too lazy to look ) but generally I consider anything from the year 2000 onward to not really be worth paying much attention to.

Some of the recent episodes that I've sporadically watched I'd classify as "not bad"... not even close to the near perfection of the show at its peak, but still enjoyable enough to not immediately change the channel.
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Old November 14 2009, 08:09 PM   #21
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Re: The Simpsons

I voted season 11. Season 4-10 were the height of the series for me, I'm pretty sure I've seen every episode from that stretch at least a couple of times.

The show still has it's home runs, and I really enjoyed the movie. It's just not a show I make time to watch anymore and it hasn't been for about ten years.
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Old November 14 2009, 08:17 PM   #22
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Re: The Simpsons

J. Allen wrote: View Post
Goji wrote: View Post
The show was at its best through the end of the seventh season. The eighth season is also fairly strong, and is the last one I own on DVD. The decline, for me, started in the ninth, and the show now in no way resembles what it used to be, at least not in the ways that matter.
Oh, definitely. Season 8 had "In Marge We Trust" with Homer and the Mr. Sparkle ad. I love that episode. Bart's "Yep, there's your answer, fishbulb."
Yeah, definitely two of the season's highlights. My favorite of the eighth year though is absolutely the Prohibition one. Which was also probably the last time on the show Homer was allowed to be clever. The gag at the end involving the testing of the catapult is a classic moment.

But I could have done without the so-so X-Files crossover episode, or the "Itchy & Scratchy & Poochy" episode, and I hate the one-joke "Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase". That last one is probably why I don't count it as part of the show's best run.
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Old November 14 2009, 10:45 PM   #23
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Re: The Simpsons

I'm not sure when The Simpsons lost it for me. At some stage, though, it just stopped keeping my attention. I'd watch it out of habit rather than interest, and eventually I didn't bother with it at all. The handful of new eps I've stumbled on in the past five or so years didn't do anything for me.

When it was good, it was fantastic. I agree that Phil Hartman's death was a turning point, but the family themselves aren't the same people any more and that's probably my biggest problem with it now. As Homer became more stupid, Marge became more shrewish, Bart became more prat than brat, Lisa became more insufferably preachy and Maggie just kept being Maggie, it became harder to give a damn about them. They're just not interesting "people" to me any more.

J. Allen wrote: View Post
TGTheodore wrote: View Post
When a show lasts as long as The Simpsons, it's quite possible that a viewer's tastes change and they no longer relate to it as much anymore. It doesn't mean the show itself has "lost its way" or gotten significantly worse, but just that the viewer has moved on and just isn't interested anymore.

What's funny and hip to a viewer at 13, isn't always the same at 34.

Or else the show actually could just become stale.

--Ted
Well, the reason I think the show has become stale (at least for me) is because I can go back to Seasons 1 through 11 and enjoy them, particularly my favorite seasons 2 to 7. They never get tired or dull. The more recent Simpsons episodes just don't hold my attention, have no "soul" or "spark", they have no "heart" to me.
Yep. Quite obviously I'm older now than I was when I started watching the show and yes, people's tastes (sometimes / often) change over time. But I can watch those early episodes now and laugh as much as I did back in the day. The newer ones generally don't keep my attention much past the couch gag. So while I certainly don't enjoy some things as much - or at all - now as I did back in the day, and therefore my tastes have changed, the fact I still enjoy those old Simpsons eps suggests that for me at least, it just ain't as good now as it used to be.

J. Allen wrote: View Post
You say "Dental plan!" and Lenny's voice pops up right away, with Marge's "Lisa needs braces!" "Dental plan!" "Lisa needs braces!" "Dental plan!".
All these years later and I can still almost recite that episode word for word.
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Old November 14 2009, 11:46 PM   #24
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Re: The Simpsons

While I do agree that the show slide after season 10/9, I really enjoyed last season. So much that I would put it up with season 9.
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Old November 15 2009, 01:23 AM   #25
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Re: The Simpsons

Someone once said "Otto's Wedding", which is "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad Marge", but it was a season earlier, season 10, which had some good episodes, but some really weak ones, too.
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Old November 15 2009, 01:46 AM   #26
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Re: The Simpsons

I definitely think it's that the show has gone stale rather than I've become old (though both is true, I remember what a big deal it was for me to be the same age as Bart.) The old episodes still do it for me and not for mere nostalgia, they're just very sharp, very funny half-hours of TV. Often I understand some of them much better than I did then. The new seasons are clearly the product of a series that's been spinning its wheels for way too long. There are laughs (I caught an episode a while back and really enjoyed the couch gag of Simpsons characters appearing in old, iconic sitcoms - seeing the Simpsons run away from Sideshow Bob on the Cheers set was funny), but not as good and nowhere as frequent.

Phillip Culley wrote: View Post
You Only Move Twice was Season Eight
I really shot fact check more. Or, ever. My greatest failing as a self-important internet know-it-all is I just run off a few paragraphs and figure that my memory's more-or-less excellent when in fact it's decreipt, foggy, and hopelessly confused.

You'd think I'd learn, but no.

Although there would be nothing wrong with getting Season Seven as well...
True! Those were good years. "The Brother From Another Series" was another hilarious episode from season eight, and I say that very much as a Frasier fan.

"The Cappadocians, fine."
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Old November 15 2009, 02:17 AM   #27
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Re: The Simpsons

I've been re-watching a lot of The Simpsons and have been trying to pinpoint where it got bad. Season 9 is where it felt like it was starting to go bad for me.

If I had to pick a particular jumping the shark episode, I would have to go with the Armin Tanzarian episode (The Principle and the Pauper). It's one of the first episodes for me to really tamper with well established characters in a bad way and to just have a ridiculously dumb and out there plot.
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Old November 15 2009, 02:57 AM   #28
Zulu Romeo
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Re: The Simpsons

The Mike Skully years (seasons 9-12) were for me the low point of the series, although individual episodes were very good and even then, compared to other contemporary shows, it's still a pretty good animated half-hour or so. Certainly the infamous "Homer gets raped by a panda" episode wasn't nearly as bad as I remembered it, but it was definitely not among the best episodes from that period.

Having seen some of the episodes after that period (when Al Jean became showrunner again) I actually started to like it again - can't really place a finger on it, but it seemed to be from the middle of season 13 onwards. However, it was becoming somewhat gimmicky at times, with heavy reliance on guest stars to lift the episode.

For me, the show really became brilliant from the middle of season 2 onwards - "Bart the Daredevil" for me was the tipping point, the moment the show jumped the gorge. (Funnily enough, that episode featured a character jumping a gorge. ) That season we were also treated to gems like "Lisa's Substitute", and then onto seasons 3 and 4 which were just perfect.

"Lisa's Wedding" from season 6 is still my all-time favourite episode. "I get me brain medicine from the Nartional 'Ealth!"
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Old November 15 2009, 03:02 AM   #29
Too Much Fun
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Re: The Simpsons

I think season 1 is a little too crude to embrace entirely (due to the primitive animation and less developed writing), but it's not terrible, and definitely better than about the last 12 seasons. Season 2 and 3 are better, but still a little clunky in pace and lack the sophistication of some later season writing/humour, although it has its share of bonafide classics (i.e. "Lisa's Pony").

I consider seasons 4 to 7 "The Golden Era", when just about every episode was great, and the episodes that weren't great were at least very good. They started experimenting a little in season 8, resulting in a few episodes that were a little disappointing, but I don't think the show got consistently bad until season 9.

I bought seasons 4 to 8 on DVD. I was hesitant about 9, so I rented it, and it didn't take long for me to realize that I made the right choice not buying it and it is definitely when the show started running out of ideas.

It's the first season (after about 5 in a row) that I thought had consistently bad episodes and did some absolutely atrocious character assassination. What they did to Skinner in "The Principal and the Pauper" was shameful and after 7 seasons of loving him dearly, I think "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson" was the first (and unfortunately not the last) episode that made Homer annoying and painfully grating to me.

I like to pretend everything after season 8 never happened. I wish it hadn't, even though there have been a handful of really good episodes since then (i.e. "Girly Edition" and "Trilogy of Error").
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Old November 15 2009, 03:37 AM   #30
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Re: The Simpsons

I'd have been horrified if they had stopped at season eight. They did tons of brilliant stuff after that, including Homer's Enemy, arguably the funniest episode of the show.
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