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The Flag of the World

-G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

This here blog is a glimpse or two or three at the condition of the 'fortress of our family' through the eyes Timothy Goddard, a Christian writer with an unhealthy interest in politics living in the Puget Sound area.

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Sunday, February 16, 2003


Should The Simpsons end?
Slate writer Seth Stevenson is calling for The Simpsons to close up shop (again). Excerpt:
Who knows when it happened—maybe it was when Homer visited the leprechaun jockeys in Season 11, or when he was raped by a panda in Season 12—but for several years, watching The Simpsons chase Ozzie & Harriet's record for the longest-running sitcom has been like watching the late-career Pete Rose: There's still greatness there, and you get to see a home run now and then, but mostly it's a halo of reflected glory.

The hype surrounding this Sunday's 300th Simpsons episode (actually the 302nd because Fox isn't counting two holiday "specials") has underscored the show's decline. To celebrate the milestone, Entertainment Weekly picked the top 25 episodes in Simpsons history: Twenty-four of them come from 1997 or before, meaning that only one comes from the past five seasons (which, not coincidentally, is the time period from which EW selected its "Worst Episode Ever"). Similarly, USA Today published a top-10 list written by the fan who runs the best Simpsons site on the Web. He picked nine shows from 1993 and before, and the other was from 1997. The newspaper also asked Simpsons staff members to select their 15 favorite moments and episodes, and only one person (Al Jean, the show's executive producer) chose something that happened within the past five years. Even as fans, critics, and staff members rejoice in the show's amazing longevity, they all agree: The past five or six seasons just haven't been up to snuff.

This is pretty standard Simpsons fan lamenting. His main issue (and again, he's hardly alone in this) is that the show has stopped focusing on the family dynamics as much, and is going for wacky, Fonzie-shark-jumping type gags. I maintain that this is not worse--just different. It's not the Anti-Cosby anymore, so much as it is the American version of Mony Python. I enjoy the new episodes for reasons very different than I enjoyed the old ones. The old ones were a spot on satire of America, and the American family especially, and now they're less satire, and more... well, just plain bizzare, with a good dose of satire mixed in.
But like most people, I'd say that my favorite Simpsons are all from the earlier years. So what am I saying? Nothing much, really. But here are a randomly sorted assortment of my favorite Simpsons episodes
- "Homer at the Bat"
- "Lisa on Ice"
- "Flaming Moe"
- "Treehouse of Horror VII"
- "Treehouse of Horror II"
- "Homer the Heretic"
- "Bart Gets an F"

Interestingly enough, many of these overlap with the various "official" picks, but I think they left out some of the best, including "Lisa on Ice" and "Bart Gets and F." Ah, well. There's no accounting for taste.
Agree, disagree, have more information on the topic? Please, feel free to leave a comment. No profanity!

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