One advantage that an animated TV show has is that its stars need never age. Case in point is Matt Groening's creation The Simpsons, which debuted on Fox TV way back in December 1989 (although it appeared in a shorter and rougher form two years previously as a skit on the Tracey Ullman Show) and whose stars haven't aged a bit in the years that it has been on consistently since.
However the show has gone through many changes behind the scenes with various creative contributors, especially writers, coming and going -- prompting some critics to say that it is not the same Simpsons that it once was.
Personally I think it is still a great show, although I don't rush home to watch it the moment it first airs as I once did. But I still really enjoy it whenever I catch an episode (some more than others). And one episode that I got to watch recently was the Sadgasm episode, from the ongoing 19th season, in which Homer flashes back to the nineties -- a time when he creates grunge, or so the storyline goes.
I thought it was hilarious and loved it. (Check out the highlights of it in above video clip if you haven't already seen it.) But some naysayers were critical of it: saying things like "Hey, how come Bart wasn't born in this episode when he was already born when the series started the previous decade?" To whom I say: It's a cartoon, dummy! And it's called suspending your beliefs as the show takes poetic license.
But hating on The Simpsons is nothing new. Online there are numerous blogs and discussion groups addressing the issue of the relevance of the show with a great many Simpsons critics lurking out there -- those who believe that the show is no longer funny or relevant and that it has long past its expiration date -- blaming the writers, who they say have long drifted from what initially ignited the show's magic: character-driven plots each week which have been replaced by sight gags and cheap easy laughs. These Simpsons critics suggest the show be put to sleep.
I disagree and hope that The Simpsons never ends because even at its worst it's a hell of a lot better than most crap on TV. In interview with Matt Groening two years ago he said, "I honestly don't see any end in sight. I think it's possible that the show will become too financially cumbersome... but right now, the show is creatively, I think, as good or better than it's ever been. The animation is incredibly detailed and imaginative, and the stories do things that we haven't done before. So creatively there's no reason to quit."
But what do you think? Should it be retired or keep going so long as Matt Groening is at the mast? And on a related topic: should South Park keep going or should it be retired? Thanks for your input in COMMENTS box below.