I grew up watching The Simpsons but it wasn’t until my early twenties that I truly appreciated the brilliance of the animated sitcom’s earlier seasons; particularly the ‘golden era’ which most fans agree – myself included – are seasons three to eight, and feature the absolute best Simpsons episodes of all time.
I saw The Simpsons Movie in cinemas when it was released and enjoyed it immensely, whereas now I realise that while it’s good; it’s not great. The movie was released after The Simpsons’ eighteenth season; long after the show lost its witty charm and leaned into the full brashness of its humour and characters; especially Homer.
And if anything, after the film was released The Simpsons quickly became a pale imitation of what it once was; there are rarely any clever references or instances of dark humour anymore, Lisa went from the family’s voice of reason to a caricature of ‘woke’, and the heartwarming moments that were regularly featured in earlier seasons – like ‘do it for her’ – no longer occur in newer episodes.
To be completely honest, I’ve stopped watching and haven’t seen seasons nineteen to thirty-three in their entirety, just the occasional episode here or there. But I know that I’m not alone in this. Most of the Simpsons fans I know only re-watch seasons one to roughly fourteen and then call it quits; something most fans want the show to do – call it quits! Thirty-three seasons is enough…
A similar show to The Simpsons is another animated FOX show, Bob’s Burgers which is currently in its twelfth season and has its highly anticipated movie coming to cinemas in just a few weeks. In my opinion, Bob’s Burgers has done better than The Simpsons so far, in regards to managing the show’s quality.
Yes, both The Simpsons and Bob’s Burgers had a rocky first and second season as both shows were still finding their footing and, yes, both really came into their own during their respective third seasons. However, The Simpsons’ quality began to dip from the ninth season; the second episode of season nine, The Principal and the Pauper is one of series creator Matt Groening’s least favourite episodes.
And, overall, leading up to The Simpsons Movie’s release, the episodes from seasons nine to eighteen were hit and miss. Then after the film was released most episodes have been ‘misses’, and ‘hits’ are rare these days.
Bob’s Burgers on the other hand is still pumping out episodes that are good, funny, and true to the show’s original essence (for lack of a better word). Sure, some episodes have been misses but the majority are still hits. This is because the show hasn’t changed the characters into caricatures of what they once were, as The Simpsons did, and the plots are still interesting, thoughtful, and haven’t massively deviated from the show’s original core themes, again, as The Simpsons did.
Hopefully, after The Bob’s Burgers Movie is released later this year in May, Bob’s Burgers continues to be good and doesn’t rapidly decline in quality like The Simpsons did; I think it has a good chance if it learns from the mistakes of its predecessor and continues to place importance on keeping the lovable characters the same and the plotlines’ thematically similar.