Friday, January 08, 2010

'The Simpsons' hits 450 episodes - Sepinwall on TV

Over at NJ.com, I have a column marveling that "The Simpsons" is going to celebrate its 450th episode and 20th anniversary on Sunday night. "Wire" fans, look for an early cameo (in the column, not the episode) from Randy Wagstaff.

13 comments:

Adam said...

Underachiever, and proud of it. I don't think Kids These Days would appreciate just how controversial The Simpsons were, but people didn't get that this was a cartoon for grownups which featured kids, and not just a cartoon for kids to watch.

And then came the Black Bart t-shirts.

Jesse Perry said...

Alan, have you read the recent book on The Simpsons by John Ortved? Not very well-written, but lots of interesting info.

Loved the Harrell quote!

Chazz Goodtimes said...

Great piece! Definitely took me back to my own beginnings with show- I was actually the same age as Bart when I watched the premier episode.

The show isn't as sharp as it was when they hit their stride in 2nd-5th seasons (but then again, what show ever is?). That said, I completely agree that their have been some absolute gems in seasons after what is generally considered the shows prime.

For me, 2000's Trash of the Titans and 2001's Tennis the Menace. The latter included not only Homer confusing Tennis with Foxy Boxing but also one of my favorite all-time lines:

Lisa: [sighs] Oedipus killed his father and married his mother.
Homer: Eugh! Who pays for that wedding?

Matt said...

Alan, have you read the recent book on The Simpsons by John Ortved? Not very well-written, but lots of interesting info.

I've heard from a few people who would know that most of it is very not true.

I would love to see Randy Wagstaff on The Simpsons.

Zac F. said...

I can imagine Michael, Dukie, Namond and Randy doing a West Side Story dance-off against Bart, Nelson, Milhouse and Martin. :)

7s Tim said...

Bunny could move Namond even further out of the projects....all the way to Springfield. Then Michael and Bug (who has run away from his Aunt's place) would need a place to lay low. Then Dukie would wander by and ask if they could loan him 20 to score (kinda sad even to joke about Dukie like that). Randy would be moved to a new foster home in Springfield and befriend Nelson. This could work people!

BigTed said...

I miss the brilliant way in which "The Simpsons" managed to satirize family life and American culture in general while upending every TV convention.

And, yes, it hasn't really done that in a long time, but how could it? You can't keep reinventing the form, and keep topping yourself, on a continual basis for two decades. (I remember a lot of self-referential episodes in which the show made fun of its own longevity and the possibility it had outlived its heyday -- and those were around season 7.)

So now it's a pretty good show with occasional moments of hilarity. If it weren't for those first half-dozen amazing seasons, that would seem like more than enough. And if the current episodes seem like a letdown, that's just because it was once one of the greatest comedies in history.

Anonymous said...

I still watch the new ones sunday night and find they're still pretty sharp. I suspect that the show is basically just as good, but over 20 years, most viewers have changed more than the show has.

I can't really distinguish something from season 9 from season 14, but it would be pretty interesting to pay attention to the changes its gone through beyond just the drawing and voices in the earliest episodes vs. the rest of the series.

Bix said...

Yeah, the show is probably better than it gets credit for but gets crapped on since it was genius level for several consecutive seasons, but that's why you always hear talk about ending a show before the quality falls off. As time goes on, it won't be remembered as much for how good it was at its peak, just how long it ran.

Lasse said...

Well I think the Legacy of The Simpsons will be very interesting when it eventually gets off the air.

But I'm confident that it will age a lot better than the Flintstones.

Episodes from season 2-9 (which I consider the prime of the Show) still holds up greatly on repeat viewings more than 10 years after they aired.


And the satire still holds up even though more than 20 years have passed since it began.

But I still think that the majority of the recent episodes still beat anything Seth MacFarlane comes up. (Even though I'm not a MacFarlane hater and generally like both Family Guy and American Dad but Cleveland Show not so much)

Liz said...

It always surprises me to learn the Simpsons are still on the air. Not because I don't think they deserve to be, but simply because I've lost track of the show over the years.

For a number of years, I really enjoyed it. But eventually I reached a point where I felt that I'd pretty much seen all The Simpsons had to offer.

Comic Book Guy said...

Worst. Column. Ever.

Anonymous said...

The show is still a great 22minutes of tv. Tonight's episode and some great lines that only Homer can state like along the lines of:
Bart: Why do women always mess things up?
Homer: Son, when you're older.....you'll just think that but not say it.
And, the B-plot had a nice take on corporate perks and head-hunters although it could have a bit more bite.
Anyways, can't complain. If it's just comfort television nowadays, I'll take it.
Last point -- just like when a Wakefield pitches or Farve starts a game and I (a 32 year old) can remember when they first came into their leagues, everytime a new Simpsons comes on....it's hard to feel TOO OLD. That's a nice gift.