Decline of The Simpsons

A man spent four months watching every episode of each of The Simpsons’ 28 seasons. He did this in order to chart what he perceives as the show’s decline in quality.

The first series of The Simpsons, created by Matt Groening, debuted in December 1989 making it the longest-running American sitcom.

British producer and The Simpsons fan Sol Harris (27) shared his chart on social media. Many fans of the show agree with his analysis which charts ‘the golden years’ from seasons three to eight. This is followed by a gradual decline to the present day and season 28.

Golden Years

The results, which he made into a chart called “The Decline of The Simpsons“, confirms something we already knew: the show has been going downhill for a good while now. According to Harris, “The Golden Years” were from Seasons 3 to Seasons 8, with an absolute peak in Season 6.

Despite consistent ratings for ABC, it has been criticised in recent years for a perceived decline in quality.

Harris rated each episode out of ten and based his chart numbers on season averages from those individual episode ratings.  Initially, he tried to chart each individual episode but said the chart was “unreadable”.

He pinpoints season six as the best season ever after which it has declined to the present season, punctuated by a high point around the release of The Simpsons Movie around season 18.

He makes observations about particular episodes, singling out Dental Plan! and Marge Goes to Jail as high points and the 90s episodes in which Home and Marge grew up in the 90s as a low point.

He marks November 11, 2011, as “the definitive moment when the show went from ‘bad Simpsons’ to ‘bad television”. He adds, “The show makes fun of its decline with dreadful pitches for future episodes including Moe getting a cell phone, Bart owning a bear, and Selma marrying Grampa”.

Speaking to fellow fans on Twitter, he said, “The show’s been genuinely bad for a decade” but added, “I still consider The Simpsons to be a 10/10 show despite the last decade and a half”.

He rated Lisa goes Gaga a 2/10. Nonetheless, he has “yet to see an episode bad enough to warrant a 1/10 but I think they’ll get there”. However, he still has love for the show and rated several episodes 10/10

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