Established 1/23/03; last updated 5/28/03; maintained by the gnarled fingers and twisted mind of Michael Allen.


There had been warning signs throughout Seasons 7 and 8 that The Simpsons was slipping in quality (e.g., "Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield", "The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase", "A Fish Called Selma", etc.), but the first episode of Season 9 ("The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson") marked the genesis of the New Simpsons era, through which we still suffer today. Said era is typified by several dreadful characteristics:

1. Celebrity guests appearing in almost every episode--often as themselves, and usually at no benefit to the plotline (e.g., U2, Steve Martin, Mark McGwire).

2. Episodes revolving entirely around Homer, despite the glut of interesting (and underused) side characters inhabiting Springfield.

3. Sloppy animation, exhibiting little or no imagination and meeting none of the standards raised by Season 8.

4. Poor voice work, resulting from increasing apathy towards the series from the vocal talent. The epitome of this trend is reached when Maggie Roswell quits The Simpsons for financial reasons and is replaced by Marcia Mitzman Gaven (see #5).

5. Massive changes being wrought frequently within the framework of the series--e.g., traveling to NYC, moving the whole town of Springfield five miles down the road, Homer and Ned getting remarried in Las Vegas; epitome of trend reached when Maude Flanders, regular character since Season 2, is killed ("Alone Again, Natura-Diddly") in an attempt to conceal the fact that Marcia Mitzman Gaven sounds nothing like Maggie Roswell.

6. Pointless revelations being made about characters/town--e.g., Ned Flanders is actually 60 years old, Principal Skinner is an impostor, Homer's middle name is Jay; trend reaches zenith when 'true' location of Springfield, the most famous running gag in the show's history, is revealed in "Behind The Laughter" to be North Kentucky.

7. Humor relying increasingly on extreme/puerile elements--e.g., Milhouse pricking finger on dirty syringes while cleaning up beach, Homer considering changing Marge's name to 'Hootie McBoob', etc. Trend first appears with New York City trash bags scattering syringes and other ephemera across Simpsons' windshield, ruins almost every subsequent episode.

8. Shallow self-reference replacing original ideas--as witnessed by countless incidents throughout the New Simpsons (e.g., Bart doing the "Bartman" on the school bus in "Simpson Tide").

9. Selling out--during the New era, The Simpsons reaches a level of ubiquity not seen since its earliest days (when the series' creators cashed in on its immense popularity for fear that it wouldn't be on the air long). Suddenly, everywhere you look, there are new 'Simpsons' T-shirts, key chains, shot glasses, Pez dispensers, video tapes, CDs, DVDs, calendars...and books. For some reason (read: "money"), the creators of the show find it necessary to chronicle Seasons 9-13 in two separate books, then release both in the same package as their predecessor (the equally ill-advised A Complete Guide To Our Favorite Family). This displays a complete lack of class on behalf of the production staff, further justifying the nagging suspicion that no one on the 'Simpsons' creative staff has a clue as to what their fans really want. Granted, the DVDs are a nice package, but even they include episodes that have had content removed for no apparent reason.

10. Mike Scully as sole executive producer: six words that speak volumes.


Despite the steady decline of the series, a number of quality episodes have appeared during the last six years. The following is a list of said salvagable material.


1. "Lisa's Sax": A "flashback" show in the style of "The Way We Was" and "I Married Marge"; chronicles Bart's introduction to the harsh world of grade school and reveals the origin of Lisa's saxaphone. BEST MOMENTS: Principal Skinner's horrified reaction to Bart's playground antics; Homer's similar reaction to Lisa's playing her broken sax.

2. "Treehouse of Horror VIII": Consists of "The Homega Man", in which Homer faces the prospect of being the last man alive; "Fly Vs. Fly", in which a second-hand matter-transporter melds Bart's DNA with that of a housefly; and "Easy-Bake Coven", in which Marge, Patty and Selma conduct witchcraft in a colonial village. BEST MOMENT: Homer crushing the skull of Kirk Van Houten and then snorting, "Huh! Still got it."

3. "The Two Mrs. Nahasapeemapetilons": In an effort to invalidate his arranged marriage, Apu cons his mother into believing that he is married to Marge Simpson. BEST MOMENTS: Homer's escape from the old folks' home; Apu's retort "I can't believe you don't shut up!"

4. "Realty Bites": Marge becomes a real estate agent, while Snake stalks Homer for buying his hot rod at a police auction. BEST MOMENTS: Snake disregarding the honor system; Kirk Van Houten slicing off his arm; Rod and Todd Flanders playing "Jealous Jockey".

5. "Das Bus": The Springfield Elementary Model U.N. bus crashes into the ocean, leaving its student passengers stranded on a desert island; Homer starts up an online business at home. BEST MOMENTS: Homer and Ned discussing the Internet; Otto "swimming for help" and ending up on a slave ship; Fox promoting the episode as a Swiss Family Robinson-sendup despite its being an obvious parody of Lord Of The Flies.

6. "Lisa the Simpson": Lisa learns that the Simpson men have a genetic defect that causes them to lose their intelligence; Jasper attempts to cryogenically preserve himself in the Kwik-E-Mart freezer. BEST MOMENTS: Lisa's attempts to be a patron of the arts; the entire Jasper subplot.

7. "Girly Edition": Bart and Lisa premiere a news show at Springfield Elementary; Homer buys a training monkey. BEST MOMENTS: Lisa's attempts to find "human interest" stories; Homer's training monkey pleading, "Pray for Mojo".

8. "Natural Born Kissers": Homer and Marge discover that having sex in public places adds spark to their love life, while Bart and Lisa explore Springfield with a metal detector. BEST MOMENTS: Gil's disgrace at the car lot; Bart and Lisa finding the original, more-violent endings of Casablanca and It's A Wonderful Life; Ned Flanders crying, "People soiled our greens!"


9. "Lard of the Dance": A new kid arrives at Springfield Elementary and commences dominating Lisa's social circle; Homer and Bart start up a grease-buying business. BEST MOMENTS: Lisa covering for her school's empty trophy case; Marge getting Lisa prepared for the school dance; Willie's "retirement grease" adding life to the dance floor.

10. "Viva Ned Flanders": After it is revealed that Ned is a senior citizen, Homer takes him to Las Vegas in an attempt to liven him up--but in a moment of weakness, the two marry a couple of cocktail waitresses. BEST MOMENTS: Homer and Ned's drunken wedding video; Homer moaning, "Oh, those awful women want their omelettes!"; the two men being chased through a casino for dishonoring their wedding vows.

11. "Wild Barts Can't Be Broken": During their drunken exploits, Homer and his friends vandalize Springfield Elementary; the act is blamed on the kids of Springfield, and a city-wide curfew is thus instated. BEST MOMENTS: The sublime "Homer's Night Out" film; Lenny and Carl's "Iso-TOPES" brawl; The Bloodening.

12. "I'm With Cupid": Apu treats bride Manjula to several days of Valentine's gifts, making all the other married men in Springfield look inconsiderate by comparison. BEST MOMENTS: The delivery of Manjula's "chocolate husband"; the revelation that Chief Wiggum's pet name for wife Sara is "Poppin' Fresh".


13. "The Blunder Years": A pop hypnosis session unearths a repressed memory from Homer's mind, leading to the solution of Ernest K. Smithers' mysterious disappearance 25 years before. BEST MOMENTS: The Stand By Me references; Mr. Burns' "corpse hole".

14. "The Lastest Gun In The West": Bart befriends a forgotten Western movie star and attempts to revive his career. BEST MOMENTS: The ranch tour; Ralph proclaiming, "I'm a gulch!"


1. Homer and Bart expecting Paint Your Wagon to be an action-packed shoot-'em-up; Marge and Lisa cooing over Lee Marvin ("All Singing, All Dancing").

2. Homer shouting, "Don't you hate pants?" at Krusty ("The Last Temptation Of Krust").

3. Stephen Hawking quipping, "Time for this hawk to fly" ("They Saved Lisa's Brain").

4. The Wiggum men buying Tomacco at the Simpsons' road-side stand ("E-I-E-I-(ANNOYED GRUNT)")

5. Ralph using "Daddy's stomach is crying" to describe Chief Wiggum's fatal knife wound ("Tales from the Public Domain").

6. Bart's "Angry Dad" cartoons ("I Am Furious Yellow").





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