After 20 Years, The Simpsons Is Irrelevant

But the show has influenced much of modern TV, says author
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2009 11:49 AM CST
This undated frame from the Fox series "The Simpsons," shows the popular cartoon family posing in front of their home. From left, Lisa , Marge, Maggie, Homer and Bart.   (AP Photo/Fox Broacasting Co.)

(Newser) – Today marks the 20th anniversary of The Simpsons, a show that has influenced everything from modern TV to the president’s speechwriter—but is now barely relevant. “There will never be another show or entertainment program as wide-reaching as The Simpsons,” says John Ortved, author of The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History. But, he tells Salon, “After it hit that 10-year mark, the show had a serious drop-off in quality, and it's just never, ever come back.”

Though the plots have become “outdated” and the episodes filled with “throwaway jokes,” there’s no denying the show's impact: “The Simpsons made audiences a lot smarter”—and willing “to accept a certain level of irreverence,” Ortved says. The Simpsons in one way or another gave us most of what's smart and progressive in television.” What’s next for the franchise? Ortved expects more Marge Simpson-in-Playboy-type moves, “like a Simpsons Land.”

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