This is a bit of news I though I’d never be reporting…or even living to see. Two days ago, we all got word that Fox was threatening to pull the plug on The Simpsons after season 23 if the cast was unwilling to take drastic pay cuts. This was not the first time that The Simpsons has been involved in financial arguments with the network, so many of us wrote this off as an empty threat. However, the latest news coming from the network is that even if the voice actors (Dan Castanella, Nancy Cartwright, Julie Kavner, Yeardley Smith, Harry Shearer and Hank Azaria) do agree to the reduced salaries, the series will very likely not be continued beyond a 24th season (The Simpsons is currently in the middle of its 23rd season). So as it stands, it looks like we’ll either finish out this year, or get one more. And then…that’s it.
Many Simpsons fans, the biggest in fact, agree that the animated series has been past its prime for quite a while now. There have been a variety of points attributed to the beginning of The Simpsons decline. Some say it was post Season 12. Others, post Season 9 (a good deal of fans cite this season’s episode “The Principal and the Pauper” as the marked turn). The really harsh critics say that everything went downhill after Season 7. And though almost nobody is in the mindset that The Simpsons of today really lives up to the earlier years, it’s still sad to see the series go out this way.
Yes, the Springfield family is indeed past its prime. But I think we were all rooting for the iconic series to go out on its own terms. We imagined creator Matt Groening finally realizing that the world he created has lived up to its fullest potential, and then thrilling us all (and infusing us with nostalgia) with a heartfelt, in-joke-laden and almost-funny-enough-to-be-mistaken-for-an-old-episode finale. We all wondered just how Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie would say goodbye to American audiences. And we imagined that even though we might miss them (The Simpsons may not be outstanding anymore…but they’re still always there; a set of loyal, comforting, familiar yellow faces on Sunday nights), we would feel fulfilled by and grateful for Groening’s satisfaction with his mark on the world.
So it’s more than a shame to see The Simpsons forced off the air. Of course, we can hope that Fox does not follow through with its declaration. We can’t be too sure just how dedicated the network is to its statement. But in the event that we will be saying goodbye to The Simpsons sooner than later, the best thing we can do is remember the best things it has brought us: Mr. Plow, Sideshow Bob’s tireless pursuits of Bart Simpson, Apu’s wedding, Troy McClure’s extensive resume, the Nuclear Power Plant’s baseball team, Flaming Moe’s, the Treehouse of Horror Shining parody, the shooting of Mr. Burns, and, of course, the Monorail song.
Source: AV Club