In news that probably didn’t surprise anyone Fox has recently confirmed that The Simpsons will return for seasons 31 and 32. By the end of this new order the show will have aired 713 episodes. To put that into perspective it would take 10 days to watch all 32 seasons without stopping!
Fox also reports that this season’s “The Girl on the Bus,” an episode that aired last month, was the highest-rated episode of any scripted series to air this year on Fox among the 18-49 demographic. That seems like a solid indication that The Simpsons will stick around at Fox, not just because of its legacy, but also because it still delivers ratings results—better than many other series Fox has on its slate right now, at least. Check out my review of that episode here.
Long as its run may be, “The Simpsons” hasn’t always aged well. Recent years have seen the series come under fire for its character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, an Indian-American character who operates the Kwik-E-Mart convenience store. The character has been called by some a negative, stereotypical representation of South Asians, a charge that drove the 2017 documentary “The Problem with Apu.” The show handled the criticism poorly in an episode last season which did not sit well with me. You can read about that here. Since then the show has essentially stopped using the character.
It’ll be interesting to see how the show moves forward once Disney officially takes over the Fox properties. I hope they don’t change too much. I wouldn’t mind injecting some new blood into the creative team just as long as they don’t fundamentally change the show.
I’m sure there are those out there that see this news as unfortunate. I’m talking about the ‘first 10’ fans as I call them; ie. those that disregard anything that came after the first 10 seasons. It is true that the first 10 seasons were its best and its also true that for a while the quality of the show declined. I would argue however that even in those ‘bad’ years (for me, seasons 15-24) there are some good episodes, enough to make a few seasons worth of good material. I would also argue that seasons 25ish until the present has seen a general increase in quality. Its nowhere near the first 10 but its certainly better than those middle years.
In any event I’m glad its been renewed. There’s something comforting about The Simpsons being on the air as long as it has. The show is not only funny but it can also be quite smart with its social commentary. Yet even more importantly the show has heart and is not afraid to get vulnerable and for me that keeps it a touch above most other like comedies.