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The Decline of the

The Decline of the Simpsons And What You Can Learn From It The first 10 years of the Simpsons are Caddyshack, and the past 10 are Chevy Chase movies in the 90s. Everyone knows this, but no one knows why exactly. But that’s why God invented animus; to fill those voids in our brain, and so, in society. So let’s learn from the mistakes The Simpsons have made in recent years so we don’t make them in an arena more important to us than prime time television: our lives. Shut Up after a Joke We would think if a comedy show has become stale, it would be because the jokes have become stale, but this isn’t entirely true. In fact, enough of the jokes in the newer episodes are adequate; however, they are about two lines of dialogue or direction too long. All the energy from a funny joke is completely sucked out when it carries on. In story structure, this is called an anticlimax. In joke structure, this is called painful. It’s painful because explanation is tacked on at the end of a punchy word or line, like this sentence. Or this clause here. Don’t Change Too Much It’s odd when Homer makes a comment only a scholar of ancient Chinese culture would make. I don’t understand, did he start reading books? And it’s odd when we try so hard to change, we begin to act like something we’re not. Like the divorced dad wearing Ed Hardy shirts. This isn’t change, it’s a nervous breakdown. Don’t Force Emotions Similarly, the emotional arcs in the storylines have become peaks. Characters become depressed instead of sad, orgasmic instead of happy, and sympathetic instead of concerned. It’s like they’re trying to trick us to pay attention. Now, Homer cries and moans instead of just saying “d’oh,” it’s fake and annoying. Never Let Your Past Carry You The quality of the Simpsons would not be slipping if the show hadn’t already won a generation of Emmys and Peabody Awards. . “When you fail to change you become a parody of yourself.” I’m not sure who said this, so let’s say it was me. Many of the Simpsons story lines are the exact same they were 20 years ago, the character interactions have been played out. It’s old. 34 Intelligence Doesn’t Equal Depression Whether it’s Lisa, Comic Book Guy, or that episode where Moe becomes a poet, the Simpsons has increasingly pitied the smart and creative as being either lonely or condemned by the proverbial confederacy of dunces. It’s almost as if the writers are trying to vent their psychological issues throu-

PublicHouse gh the characters, which is to be expected from Harvard eggheads writing for a show created by baby boomers. It may be edgy for 15-year-olds to make this connection after reading The Catcher in the Rye, but if you’re an adult and still romanticizing a supposed fundamental human flaw, it’s time to grow up and start watching SportsCenter. Maybe The Simpsons is as Good as Ever It may be that shows weren’t meant to run for 20 years, but maybe they weren’t meant to be watched for 20 years either. After all, it would be silly for me to pontificate about the emotional subtleties of Grover and how his relationship with Oscar the Grouch has hit a plateau, or how computer animation makes the letter A seem cheap. Maybe I should shut my big mouth and let the latest generation of kids enjoy the same laughter that The Simpsons gave me for all those years. Mark Derian 035

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