question of the day: Who is still watching ‘The Simpsons’?

The Simpsons is officially a record-breaker… or at least, it will be. With Fox’s announcement that it will run for at least two more seasons, the show will surpass the record held by Gunsmoke as the longest-running prime-time series on American TV, and will finish up — assuming that the show is not extended further — with 493 episodes.

Here’s my question: Who is still watching The Simpsons?
Ratings for the show have not been great of late, and I wonder if a lot of former viewers feel like I do: that the show simply isn’t fresh anymore and is no longer worth making an effort to catch. The Simpsons used to be appointment viewing for me, to the point where I’d be upset if I missed an episode, but it’s been a long time since I felt that way. And when I do happen to catch an episode by accident, I find it mildly amusing, but in no way evidence that I’m missing anything by not watching regularly.

I did note, however, that the show has finally gone to HD. It does look nice…

Are you still watching The Simpsons?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me.)

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Fri, Feb 27, 2009 10:07am

I am totally still watching the Simpsons. Yes, the quality has fallen off. Being on the air for 20 years will do that. But I grew up with it, I still like it, and I still consider it appointment viewing.

The move into HD cements that. The show just looks so good.

I expect there will be lots of snark about the show in this thread. That’s fine, but I’ll personally still take The Simpsons over just about anything the networks are offering these days.

Fri, Feb 27, 2009 10:23am

It’s been quite a few years since I’ve made an effort to catch the show regularly. I still watch Simpsons on syndication…but 20 years is a long time. There’s really nothing else for the show to do, and watching some of the newer episodes only cements that feeling. The new eps I’ve seen are a lot like the Simpsons movie… fitfully amusing w/ a couple of good laughs, but nothing worth planning your night around.

However, I cannot complain about a show that was the funniest thing on TV for a good five years. It’s just that those days are long past.

Fri, Feb 27, 2009 11:06am

I used to watch them when they were part of the Tracy Ullman show (“GAW HAWME!”), back when FOX had high-quality sitcoms like Duet and Married with Children.

I watch episodes on occasion when I still catch them, but they aren’t being DVR’d, if that’s what you’re asking.

Fri, Feb 27, 2009 11:52am

I rarely watch the show anymore. If I’m home at 8 on a Sunday and I think of it, I’ll watch it. I have a DVR, but it’s not set as a series recording. I’ve been watching since Tracy Ullman shorts when I was about 6 or 7 years old. I can still remember being excited for “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” when I was a kid. I literally grew up watching the show.

Around season 10 or so is when I realized the show might not be great forever. There were quite a few episode that fell flat for me that season, although there were still some really good episodes. After that it’s gone steadily downhill. Late in high school and early in college I’d still try to catch a show, but if I missed one I didn’t mind waiting for a rerun. Now, if I miss a show, I don’t care at all. If I’m bored and looking for something to watch on hulu I generally go for an episode of a show I’ve already seen over The Simpsons. I didn’t even see the movie in the theater, only later at a friend’s place on DVD.

Fri, Feb 27, 2009 2:01pm

I am not only NOT watching the Simpsons, I have tried to watch it and stopped in the middle of new episodes, disgusted.

Fri, Feb 27, 2009 2:25pm

My children grew up watching the Simpsons; they are about as old as Maggie(20+). For them, real life and Simpsons are indistinguishable because they’ve known both for the same amount of time. For me the Simpsons are like mac-and-cheese – comfort tv that reminds me of better times whether or not it’s the cutting edge of gourmet.

Fri, Feb 27, 2009 2:43pm

Like riley, I stopped watching religiously around season 10. The quality and consistency of the episodes, I think, dropped severely around then. I stick to the “classic” seasons now — every episode is a gut-buster.

Sat, Feb 28, 2009 2:18am

Yes I still watch The Simpsons. I started watching in 1989 when I was 25 and I am still watching it now I’ve just turned 45. I did have a patch of not catching it as often but that was because I had other stuff going on in my life (marriage and eventual divorce)and I am now back to watching it again regularly. In 20 years I have changed, the program has changed and the world has changed so naturally the viewing figures have changed too. Not really a surprise as there are many other competing factors for many popular TV programs now compared to 20 years ago including other popular programs such as Family Guy and South Park. All 3 are in my humble opinion as good or as bad as each other, although I’ll always have a soft spot for The Simpsons. I watch the reruns and have seasons 2-7 of the DVD boxsets so I can have a Simpsons fix just about anytime I want so that’s a great thing.

Sat, Feb 28, 2009 3:25am

I didn’t realize it was still on. I thought they made the movie because the show was over and they moved on to the big screen, but one of the opening jokes in the movie is funnier now.

Sat, Feb 28, 2009 5:08pm

Like Gloria and riley (and most fans my age), I stopped around season nine, mainly because I stopped watching TV and started wasting time online instead.

However, I’ve been stuck in a hotel room in Oklahoma for the past few weeks, so occasionally I’ll catch a few seconds of one of the newer episodes on TV (or the movie), and I’ll wonder, “How is this garbage still on the air?” Then I see Family Guy airing on three different channels at the same time and I think, “Oh yeah, the world is full of freakin’ moro.. erm people with simpler tastes.”

It’s as if they told a twelve year old to be clever and edgy. I can say without hyperbole, that The Three Stooges are sophisticated and emotionally moving in comparison not to mention funnier and less predictable. Parker and Stone’s assessment of what it take to “write” a Family Guy episode seems pretty accurate. Ugh, just thinking about it is depressing; I’d better stop before this turns into an off-topic, condescending rant.

I’ll just say this. When I was a teacher, we’d occasionally watch part of an older Simpsons episode in class (Homer in Space for gravity, King Size Homer for Newton’s 3rd Law, Lisa on Ice for the 1st law, etc.). Almost every kid in there was cracking up, boys and girls, lousy students, good students, asian, latino, african american, white, in my ninth grade regular classes all the way up to my twelfth grade AP class (sadly, the class got more and more homogenous going from one to the other).

Several of the ninth graders told me afterwards, “I didn’t know the Simpsons was this funny.” Yes it was. Yes it was.

Sat, Feb 28, 2009 11:35pm

the drop in quality from season eight into season nine was very noticeable, and by season eleven i had to stop watching lest the new episodes taint the best series ever award i had going on in my head

Mon, Mar 02, 2009 2:20am

“The Simpsons” can be described in two eras (using two supporting characters):

The Bleeding Gums Murphy era (90s) hip beyond words; gone but not forgotten.

The Ol’ Gil Era (00s) desperate, tired, and won’t go away.