simpsons question

..and why not?
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Postby Maxwell's Golden Pickaxe » 25 Jun 2007, 11:45

The Tourist wrote:I think it is down to the writing - most US sitcoms are written by a committe, a pool of writers all vying to get their material in, some of whom might go episodes without making a mark on the show, whereas SP is still very much written by matt and tre, meaning that the characters only move in a direction they want them to move in, and whose jokes are written by people who know the characters inside out.


Yeah, definitely agree. A lot of excellent writers left the Simpsons over the years, and the decline in quality was obvious.
Is it true that some of these writers are back for the movie (I don't know the actual names)

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Postby Tactful Cactus » 25 Jun 2007, 20:43

The Tourist wrote:futurama always was and always will be Matt Groening's masterpiece.


Futurama is Smiley Smile to Simpsons Pet Sounds

southpark has run for only 2/3 seasons less than simpsons, yet the new episodes are still fairly legendary (like all cases theere are great and not so great of course)


Id agree there, absolutely. I actually stopped watching Southpark for a few years and I've gotten into it again now that more channels are showing it here. Its always been patchy though. Some episodes are built on such a thin plot (Oprahs vagina, Russel Crowe "Foightin!"). Filler. And then episodes like the recent 'World of Warcraft' are excellent. You could tell they had alot of fun (or maybe it was a pain in the ass) making that one.

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Postby toomanyhatz » 25 Jun 2007, 23:40

The Simpsons is still, even in its "not as good as it used to be" state, the funniest show on TV. Only comedy show I laugh at at least several times per episode. One reason is that shows like South Park and Family Guy, as good as they are at times, can occasionally drown in mean-spiritedness and shock value. South Park in particular spends way too much time making fun of celebrities. Or maybe it's because I'm so non-celeb-gossip oriented that I don't get a lot of the jokes. (Those I do get I rarely find funny, though.)
sloopjohnc wrote:I know I picked the Diamondbacks, but they were the wildcard. Next teams will be a little tougher.


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Postby The Write Profile » 26 Jun 2007, 05:49

I think if there was a turning point in the Simpsons, as I've mentioned before, it was somewhere just after Season 8, the moment where Scully took over the reins as head showrunner and several of the guys so important to its early inception (Brad Bird, John Scwartzwelder, Mike Judge, etc) left around the same time that Ian Maxtone-Graham became a fully fledged staff writer. These things are subtle, but you notice in the way the gags became much, much broader under Scully's tenure and the previous keen observation of even the minor characters (Apu, Smithers, Wiggum, etc) slowly started to go to pot. Also, something cosmetic happened as well- the animation became shinier and I think they lost some comedic timing with that. But Maxtone-Graham is a key because he infamously came in without having seen a single episode of the Simpsons and much of his early work with them betrays that. Tonally, it's almost a parody of a run-of-the-mill Simpsons episode.

As guys like Al Jean and Conan O'Brien say in the commentaries to the early seasons, even the slightest off-beat in timing could upset not just one gag, but the punchline following it (one of the great things about the peak run was how seamlessly off-the-wall it was- everything flowed after another). That and the fact that Groening's increasingly hands-off approach during the Futurama years definitely exacerbated the slide. And let's not forget the fact that Phil Hartman's death seemed to fill a much bigger hole than was first reckoned- one how many episodes during the Season 5-8 period relied on a Troy McClure gag/Lionel Hutz subplot to kick things into action. Apparently Groening and the other writers were going to give him other characters to work with too, not just on the Simpsons either- Futurama's Zap Brannigan was written directly with Hartman in mind.

Another question- how different do Simpsons fans reckon it would've been if Conan O'Brien stayed on a bit longer? He left right in the middle of their peak (let's say about '94) and he was the first writer outside the "original circle" to come along too. And he really shook things up, I mean one of his very first episodes was the Monorail episode! But O'Brien's style definitely became the dominant mode of their golden run: high culture collides with pop culture, plots go everywhere but (and here's the key) remain essentially linear, the more subversive elements are offset with nice character stuff--maybe if O'Brien stayed on for a couple more years, he could've helped prolong the peak. But then again, maybe it wasn't to be.

Season 8 is the keypoint because, while it's one of the best seasons, it's without doubt the most self-referential. After that season, there was nowhere for the show but repeat itself.

I know, I know...

Image

Btw, here's the guides to each episode writer-by-writer

Anyway, while we're all pretty sure that the Simpsons' Movie will be a dog, early reviews indication that former showrunner Brad Bird's latest for Pixar, Ratatouille, might be the best thing either himself or Pixar studios have done yet. That's the Simpsons-affiliated film we should be supporting.
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Postby 010101010101 » 26 Jun 2007, 07:43

The RightGraduate Profile wrote:Anyway, while we're all pretty sure that the Simpsons' Movie will be a dog, early reviews indication that former showrunner Brad Bird's latest for Pixar, Ratatouille, might be the best thing either himself or Pixar studios have done yet. That's the Simpsons-affiliated film we should be supporting.


It is, it's absolutely wonderful.

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Postby Buddha B-Rex » 26 Jun 2007, 14:06

Btw...the pepper Homer ate (after pouring hot candle wax in his mouth to coat his throat) was the Guatemalan Insanity Pepper.

Meanwhile, Matt Groenig should get the nobel peace prize. No man has ever brought so much laughter to so many people.

And even though the quality has declined over the years and seasons 12-15 utterly stunk, Family Guy and South Park can't hold a candle to Homer Jay. Even now.

The movie is going to be fantastic, and all you player haters should just ease off the throttle and show some respect for the Best...Show...Ever....
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Postby lemon » 26 Jun 2007, 15:00

I don't have anything to add that hasn't been said already, but being a massive fan of peak period Simpsons, like other people here am appalled at what it's become these days. The quality is like one of those rubbish pilot episodes of a crappy sitcom that never gets made, yet they keep churning it out and I've heard that the film won't be the end of it either.

What's even worse is that the longer goes on, the more the peak period becomes a blip in the history of a god awful tv show.

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Postby Maxwell's Golden Pickaxe » 26 Jun 2007, 17:26

lemon wrote:What's even worse is that the longer goes on, the more the peak period becomes a blip in the history of a god awful tv show.


This is a good point. The Simpsons legacy is being irreperably tarnished.

You can no longer claim it was the greatest thing to ever happen to TV because the shit years now exceed the good ones. That's called mediocrity. Shame on you Groening.

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Postby toomanyhatz » 26 Jun 2007, 18:07

Listen to Buddha-B. Rex at this point.

Ferchrissakes, this is what drives me crazy here. People take it so personally when bands (or in this case shows) don't live up to their early brilliance.

The Simpsons are, if anything, the Paul McCartney of TV. No matter how bad it gets, it can't erase how good it was at its best. Like Paul, it has given us enough pleasure as to owe us nothing. And yet Paul can give us a Chaos and Creation, and the Simpsons still gives me at least a few belly laughs per episode. And as bad as some of the scripts get, I can't say that about any other show.
sloopjohnc wrote:I know I picked the Diamondbacks, but they were the wildcard. Next teams will be a little tougher.


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Postby lemon » 26 Jun 2007, 20:02

toomanyhatz wrote:Ferchrissakes, this is what drives me crazy here. People take it so personally when bands (or in this case shows) don't live up to their early brilliance.


I don't take it personally in the sense I think it's gone shit just to annoy me, but the reputation is being tarnished with every new, awful episode. It's like a best friend who gradually lets their self go and become a washed up drug addict or something, it's really quite upsetting to watch it go down the toilet.

I'm glad you still get laughs out of it, someone should, but I don't even see it as "bad for the Simpsons", it's just plain bad and wrecks the reputation of the show and the creators the longer it goes on.

The new episodes can't be erased but I think they could be forgotten in the future to people who aren't familiar with the show. Admitting you like the Simpsons will be some embarrassing thing.

Yeah, I've taken this too seriously but I grew up with the Simpsons and it does mean a lot to me.

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Postby It came from japan » 28 Jun 2007, 17:00

The Tourist wrote:I think it is down to the writing - most US sitcoms are written by a committe, a pool of writers all vying to get their material in, some of whom might go episodes without making a mark on the show, whereas SP is still very much written by matt and tre, meaning that the characters only move in a direction they want them to move in, and whose jokes are written by people who know the characters inside out.


Surprisingly it's just Trey Parker that writes it; click!

Out of the Simpsons, Southpark, Futurama etc, Southpark is my favourite. As someone pointed out, it's being going nearly as long as the Simpsons and is now a lot funnier. Futurama was great, do they still make it? I haven't seen any new episodes for quite a while. Family Guy was good for the first series or two but I don't watch it any more.

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Postby Tactful Cactus » 28 Jun 2007, 18:08

It came from japan wrote:Surprisingly it's just Trey Parker that writes it;


Trey Parker does all the good voiceovers too. Not to sound cruel, but what does the other guy do?

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Postby nathan » 28 Jun 2007, 18:21

I find it funny that I watched the Poochie episode last night and it has the part where Bart tells the Comic Book Store Guy that Itchy and Scratchy owe him nothing. If anything, he should pay them for all the entertainment they have given him over the years. And the Comic Book Guy, knowing that his tirade is just geeky nonsense with no real validity, replies with "Worst Episode Ever".

It's as if the creators knew this geek tirade was coming just a few years down the road and prepared an early statement. Things evolve and so does this show. Luckily they haven't tried making their own Poochie or have gone too gimicky. Everything is still as it was about 10 years ago, and I am totally fine with that. There have been recent episodes that I thought were grand entertainment.

Bitching about the quality of entertainment you get for free has never made sense to me and probably never will though.

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Postby Tactful Cactus » 28 Jun 2007, 18:33

nathan wrote:Bitching about the quality of entertainment you get for free has never made sense to me and probably never will though.


In the UK and Ireland we have to pay a TV license and possibly a monthly cable or digital TV bill aswell.

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Postby Maxwell's Golden Pickaxe » 28 Jun 2007, 19:13

nathan wrote:Bitching about the quality of entertainment you get for free has never made sense to me and probably never will though.


No entertainment is for free.

Apart from street entertainment.

And that's always shit.

If you don't bitch about entertainment you get Dharma And Greg.

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Postby toomanyhatz » 28 Jun 2007, 19:16

The absolute dorkiest, most sickly sentimental, stuck-for-an-ending episode, by the way, was the death of Bleeding Gums Murphy. Season six. I'd have to go through a list of recent episodes, but I imagine most are way better than that one. Though the line about why he doesn't go to the dentist- "I already have enough pain in my life" is hilarious.
sloopjohnc wrote:I know I picked the Diamondbacks, but they were the wildcard. Next teams will be a little tougher.


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Postby nathan » 28 Jun 2007, 20:42

Tactful Cactus wrote:
nathan wrote:Bitching about the quality of entertainment you get for free has never made sense to me and probably never will though.

In the UK and Ireland we have to pay a TV license and possibly a monthly cable or digital TV bill aswell.

Sucks to be you guys! WOOT!

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Postby The Write Profile » 29 Jun 2007, 00:31

nathan wrote:I find it funny that I watched the Poochie episode last night and it has the part where Bart tells the Comic Book Store Guy that Itchy and Scratchy owe him nothing. If anything, he should pay them for all the entertainment they have given him over the years. And the Comic Book Guy, knowing that his tirade is just geeky nonsense with no real validity, replies with "Worst Episode Ever".


Oddly, that's one of my favourite episodes. The writers in the commentary explained that they used to "lurk" in some of the early Simpsons bulletin-boards during the first few years of mass internet usage and eventually came to realise that they couldn't win against some of those guys. The comic guy's tirades in those episodes were practically taken word-for-word from one of those sites. But I think the episode also worked because they really took the 'gimmicky' aspect of trying to 'revitalise' shows to task- right down to introducing a character called 'Roy' into the family and doing absolutely nothing with him and never alluding to him again! Genuis.

Somewhere along the line they became obsessed with stupid plot-lines though- I checked out long before 'the Simpsons go to Africa' episode. It is kinda futile to complain about a television show but there just seems to be no reason for it to keep going, other than Matt Groening's mercenary self-delusion. It had an amazing run- one of the best, if not the best- but it would be good if it just stopped now. Seinfeld had the right idea by finishing its run just before it started to fade away post-Larry David. There was no reason why the Simpsons could've at least taken a hiatus around the time of Futurama- maybe they could've focussed themselves a bit better then.

As I said before, the 'real' Simpsons movie is gonna be Brad Bird's Ratatouille
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Postby nathan » 29 Jun 2007, 15:08

The RightGraduate Profile wrote:It is kinda futile to complain about a television show but there just seems to be no reason for it to keep going, other than Matt Groening's mercenary self-delusion. It had an amazing run- one of the best, if not the best- but it would be good if it just stopped now. Seinfeld had the right idea by finishing its run just before it started to fade away post-Larry David.

But that's the thing, I still love the show and so do millions of people. Each season still has a high number of inspired shows. This past seasons' take on the World of Warcraft phenomenon was brilliant. And the season previous had one of my all-time favorite episodes when Moe realizes he is in love with Marge and they start that theme bar together. I think there is still tons of life left in the show and see no reason for it to stop. They have different writers now so of course the show is different than it was 10 years ago. It all depends on if you have liked the changes. It seems most people here don't. That doesn't mean it should end.

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Postby toomanyhatz » 29 Jun 2007, 19:04

nathan wrote:
The RightGraduate Profile wrote:It is kinda futile to complain about a television show but there just seems to be no reason for it to keep going, other than Matt Groening's mercenary self-delusion. It had an amazing run- one of the best, if not the best- but it would be good if it just stopped now. Seinfeld had the right idea by finishing its run just before it started to fade away post-Larry David.

But that's the thing, I still love the show and so do millions of people. Each season still has a high number of inspired shows. This past seasons' take on the World of Warcraft phenomenon was brilliant. And the season previous had one of my all-time favorite episodes when Moe realizes he is in love with Marge and they start that theme bar together. I think there is still tons of life left in the show and see no reason for it to stop. They have different writers now so of course the show is different than it was 10 years ago. It all depends on if you have liked the changes. It seems most people here don't. That doesn't mean it should end.


[Stating the obvious]Listen to Nathan at this point[/Stating the obvious]
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