Okay, look, we're all very impressed. Seventeen years. Wow. That's a very long time to keep a series going. But hasn't the time come to lay the Simpsons to rest once and for all? Apparently not.
I don't remember when I stopped watching the show. It was certainly long after it stopped being funny. I think the last episode I watched may have involved Lisa winning American Idol. I remember disliking the show's increasingly implausible plot lines, excessive reliance on awkward guest star appearances, and episodes focusing more and more on the show's army of one-dimensional ancillary characters. This was to be expected. You have a show with a cast that doesn't age, you're going to run out of ideas after a while. And now, as the Simpsons enter their eighteenth season, they're remaining true to form:
Sunday's season opener (8 p.m. EDT) revolves around Homer's brush with mob life and includes Joe Mantegna as Springfield's big boss Fat Tony and Michael Imperioli and Joe Pantoliano of "The Sopranos."
In a September 17 episode with the White Stripes rock band, Bart is injured by a tiger that Lisa rescued and organizes a benefit concert to help pay for an operation on his drumming arm.
The landmark 400th half-hour, due to air next May, is a spoof of Fox's "24" that's titled "24 Minutes" and features the drama's Kiefer Sutherland and Mary Lynn Rajskub as their characters.
Does any of this sound interesting to anyone? More importantly, is there anything remotely new here? Another wacky, unlikely job for Homer? Another special guest appearance by a rock band? Lisa rescuing another animal? Bart becoming famous for some new reason? Another Fox crossover? And did anyone notice that there are already two episodes that are simply parodies of other, fresher TV shows?
This is just sad. How many more sharks are they going to jump?