The first episode of The Simpsons ran in 1989. Now, 30 years later, it is still critiquing the human condition, and may continue to do so for a long time – the series was recently renewed for its 31st and 32nd season. The Simpsons has amassed over 650 episodes, and its viewership numbers in the millions. However, both episode quality and viewership have declined, and many have argued that The Simpsons should come to a graceful end .
The Simpsons focuses on the eponymous Simpson family, comprised of father Homer, his wife Marge, and their kids, Bart, Lisa and Maggie. They live in the fictional town of Springfield. The family represents different aspects of society – Homer is lazy and uneducated, but he is generally a good person. Marge tries to keep order in the family, but she is usually unsuccessful. Bart is rebellious and uncontrollable, while Lisa is smart but often depressed.
While the family might seem relatively ordinary, the show often puts them in bizarre situations. In one episode, Homer becomes an astronaut. In other episodes, the family becomes familiar with various celebrities and politicians. The show uses these plots to reveal problems in society, like when Mr. Burns, the evil owner of the nuclear power plant Homer works at, attempts to hide radioactive waste in a city park.
The 30th season focuses on social issues like healthcare, drug use, and environmental issues, among others. However, the social commentary is more told, and less shown. Instead of showing the characters experiencing issues firsthand as in previous seasons, they make cheesy jokes about the issues. The plots are often formulaic. For instance, several episodes of the 30th season focus on Homer trying to appease Marge after he does something irrational.
On the other hand, animation quality has improved greatly in the 30th season. The characters are drawn in more detail and their movements are more natural. Voice acting is excellent as always. And considering the show has been around for 30 years, it isn’t surprising that a few plots would be repetitive.
Since the show has been renewed for the next two years, it may last several more decades. But no matter how much longer The Simpsons lasts, it will always be considered one of America’s greatest TV shows.