I've thought this before, but I'll say it out loud and on the record:
The Simpsons have jumped the shark. Actually, I think they did so a few years ago.
For those of you unfamiliar with shark jumping, I refer you to this article. I knowit may seem sacriligous for me to say it, but I think they have. It's time for the Simpsons to retire gracefully before they crash and burn.
Let's face it, the Simpsons have had a major impact on our society. I can remember when it first debuted, it was roundly decried as a harbinger of the decline and fall of American society. Christians especially hated it and singled out Bart as a devil in blue pants. I find it ironic, then, that a decade later, when I went to the Seminary, you couldn't walk through the campus during the evening without hearing a Simpsons re-run in somebody's dorm room.
The Simpsons are everywhere. "D'oh!" is even in the dictionary now. Matt Groening has conquered the pop culture world. But I fear that Groening's clan has overstayed their welcome.
I know this is my opinion, and I know it may not be that popular, but if you want to see what I mean, just live out my day today with the Simpsons. It started as I watched last night's new episode, where Lisa is tutored by Milhouse in the Italian language and Marge joins some social circle called the "Cheery Tomatoes" (or something like that).
First of all, both plots were somewhat repetitive. At least, they were to me. Lisa has had a "first love" how many times? At least two or three by my reckoning. Granted, it was about time that Milhouse got his shot, but still, having Lisa getting a crush on anyone at this point has been done before, and done better. Marge joins a club because she doesn't have any friends? Ummmm, no. She's had lots of friends. She's been in countless organizations and had all sorts of chums. Sadly, the plots of this week's episode were just stale rehashes of ideas done before.
Then, this evening, I got to watch a classic Simpsons re-run, the "Who Shot Mr. Burns?" episodes. It just drove home the point for me: the Simpsons have jumped the shark. Those two episodes are funnier and more creative than anything they've put on this season.
So let the Simpsons go. Let them go off the air before they really begin to stink up the joint. Let Groening bring back Futurama. Let him come up with something new. Or, if that won't work, try shaking things up a little: let the Simpsons age. Let Bart graduate to the 5th grade. Let Maggie actually speak her first words. What would Lisa be like at sweet 16? How will Homer react to Grandpa's death? It's time to find out. No cartoon series has ever let their stars age before. Maybe the Simpsons could be ground-breaking pioneers in this way.
But whatever the case, let's recognize the plain truth: the sharks have been jumped.