I believe the time is right to bid farewell (Picture: Fox)
It’s the show that coined an array of catchphrases, with Homer’s trademark ‘D’oh’ even making it into the English dictionary.
It gave kids ideas with Bart’s infamous prank calls (‘I’m looking for Mike Rotch?’) and even predicted Donald Trump’s US presidency years in advance.
For 32 years, The Simpsons has been a reliable cartoon companion with a huge archive to its name – and I believe the time is right to bid farewell.
This much-loved, US animated series has a firm place in the hearts of countless fans, and I consider myself one of them. So why am I making such a bold claim?
I simply think The Simpsons should take steps to end on a high while it remains popular, and before it loses its way through repetition and ambition.
There’s nothing wrong with ambition, and showrunners have mentioned that The Simpsons could go on forever due to its animated format. But that doesn’t mean it should.
Continuing without an end in sight could risk losing the fun and frivolity that first brought the likes of Bart and Homer to our attention, with the characters in danger of revisiting old plots and trying to change format.
In terms of the latter, Comic-Con@Home recently teased an all-musical episode. It’s an enchanting idea, but the show’s rich history already boasts elaborate musical interventions. From Do The Bartman, which received its own music video in 1990, to The Garbage Man, where Homer took control of local sanitation; the show’s flair for music perfectly illustrates the lighthearted silliness that won the show such adoration.
Do we really need a polished, professional extravaganza when the beauty of The Simpsons’ singalongs has always been that they are laidback and whimsical by nature?
This upcoming episode also references Marge as a high schooler in the new millennium – once again changing the timeline and muddling our brains after previous offerings depicted her as a teen in the 1970s.
We know this shouldn’t matter because the characters do not age. But we have now watched such a broad variety of angles – particularly on Homer and Marge’s first meeting – and it’s all getting quite repetitive. From the pair’s first meeting taking place during their childhood instead, to making Homer a high-flying band member or a 90s kid, it feels like we’ve seen it all.
I feel the same way about the show’s constant foray into flash-forwards. My most memorable glimpse into the show’s future is still the season six episode in which Lisa almost got married, calling off her nuptials to her British fiancé after he insulted her family.
The heartwarming message wins me over every time, with Lisa coming to appreciate the eccentricity of her family when love shone through Homer’s clumsy efforts to welcome the undeserving Hugo.
Since then, there have been several more futuristic adaptations, and from an audience perspective we’re running out of authentic routes to go down. We’ve seen Bart, Lisa and even Maggie at various stages of their lives, including glimpses of teenage years and later parenthood for all three.
The continued, alternative realities of the adult Simpson children are beginning to grow stale. Lisa has been President, while Bart’s been a divorced dad and a failed musician in separate universes.
Another noticeable feature is the show’s tendency to retell historical or fictional narratives, such as last season’s portrayal of Lisa as artist Leonardo Da Vinci and Homer as a gladiator. These instalments have become tiresome and hint that The Simpsons are relying heavily on other stories.
Homer’s outlandish plots are also losing their edge. The man was at his most endearing when he was creating sugar piles, which he stole from a truck and sold door to door. The episode in which he hilariously attempted to eat crisps in space is one of my personal favourite scenes of all time because it’s so daft and doesn’t need any dialogue to stand out.
There isn’t much more the show can do with Homer now because he’s already had every kind of adventure: from finding a long lost mother and secret brother, to the wacky schemes listed above. Season 32 reflected this in many ways as it slipped into the same old routines.
There’s no doubt that The Simpsons deserves its iconic status (Picture: Fox)
Another woman arrived to yet again tempt him into infidelity (remember country singer Lurleen who debuted way back in season three?) and we also saw Homer become a ‘truck guy’, which only served to remind me of his time as Mr Plow; where he bought a snowplow and earned popularity by clearing everyone’s driveways.
I find the latter era of The Simpsons enjoyable but the jokes are not as much fun; I will always have a preference for those older, classic episodes. A favourite is a 14th season episode Bart vs. Lisa vs. the Third Grade. It always leaves me smiling, as Bart and Lisa reach an understanding after a relatable squabble on a field trip.
Homer is a legendary character and I can’t help but wish he could be rested before he officially runs out of steam. He may be a cartoon, but even Homer Simpson can’t maintain that unique edge to his antics forever.
The sitcom is due to air until at least 2023 and there could be just as much merit in building to an epic conclusion instead. Let’s see a stripped-back, more simplistic format rather than going back to the same old plots. More time for conversation would be welcome amongst the chaos.
For example, I’d like to see Homer acknowledge his behaviour in more than just a passing scene, taking a moment to laugh at himself or talk about something ridiculous he’s just done. A finale could deliver a surreal awakening where he relays all his funniest escapades – only to find his family staring at him in bemusement because it all took place in his head.
After all, everything he ever did came from the brilliant minds of creator Matt Groening and company.
There’s no doubt that The Simpsons deserves its iconic status. But isn’t it time to preserve this beloved show rather than endlessly trying to improve upon it?
So let’s see The Simpsons take their final bows. Our appreciation for one of the most famous fictional families hasn’t dimmed, and their combined magic will stand the test of time without an encore.
Credit: Original article published here.