On Sunday night, The Simpsons will kick off its 24th season of animated hilarity, and it’s entirely possible you don’t care. The accepted knowledge on the show is that the first eight seasons or so are some of the best half-hours in the history of television comedy, but that it long ago ran out of gas.
And while the show hasn’t reached the incredible plateaus of classic episodes like “Marge Vs. The Monorail” and “Homer’s Enemy,” it maintains an incredible balance between animation-enabled wackiness and actual storytelling. South Park may have eclipsed it as the definitive satirical voice in television comedy, but it retains a certain amount of social bite.
What I’m saying is that The Simpsons used to be better than 98 percent of everything else on television. Now it’s only better than 90 percent — and still stands head and shoulders above most any other animated program on network TV.
In fact, last season featured an episode that absolutely belongs in the Simpsons pantheon. “Politically Inept, With Homer Simpson” featured Homer’s ascendance as a Glenn Beck-style TV zealot — complete with crying jags. It embodied everything that is great about the show past and present.
It’s remarkably compact
The episode managed to skewer the TSA, the absurd politics of wedding invitations, the frustrating nature of air travel, and the silliness of YouTube buzz — and that’s all in the first three minutes. READ FULL STORY »