When Disney Plus announced what they were putting on their streaming service there were two things that caught my interest, "The Mandalorian" and "The Simpsons" in its entirety. After rewatching a lot of the episodes of "The Simpsons" I started to think of the people who often say that "The Simpsons" stopped being good for a long time now. Are those opinions actually correct, or is there another reason?
When many people say that "The Simpsons" stopped being good I can never get them to tell me at what point they stopped being good. For example, if you ask people when "Spongebob Squarepants" started to go down hill they will almost always say it started with Season 4 after "The Spongebob Squarepants Movie" when the show creator Stephen Hillenburg left the series. However when it comes to "The Simpsons" I can never get a consistent answer from people.
When I ask random people when "The Simpsons" started to dip in quality it varies. I've heard people say that it dipped in Season 8, Season 11, Season 14, Season 7, Season 9, Season 20, etc. Heck, I've even heard some people start saying the series started to go downhill as soon as Season 5. This inconsistency made me wonder if there was another reason why people started to see "The Simpsons" in a different light.
Maybe "The Simpsons" has been on so long that people just got sick of the series at a certain point in there lives. Maybe people liked certain writers and directors on the series and when they left and new people came on they didn't like the writing/directing style of the new crew. Maybe people just grew into adults and didn't find the same joy in it when they were children, like many of things you enjoy as children, unfortunately. I just notice that whenever people start giving their criticisms of the newer seasons they often bring up things that are still present in the "good" seasons.
People often say that the newer seasons have too many dated celebrity cameos and dated pop culture references. While maybe not as frequent as the newer seasons the older seasons had a good amount of dated references. There was a Treehouse of Horror episode that referenced the 1996 election and there are episodes that guest stared James Woods and Micheal Jackson, which severely dates those episodes after what we found out about them.
People say that some of the humor has gotten mean spirited and overly cynical. While I can't argue that with some of the newer episodes there are still a large amount of newer episodes that still tug at my heartstrings and make me feel something. Also there are a few older episodes that haven't aged well, both in animation and story. There were still some older episodes that take an overly mean spirited turn (even though I love this episode, "Homer's Enemy" comes to mind).
Maybe there isn't an exact answer to this. I just wanted to vent my confusion after watching a good chunk of "The Simpsons", both old and new, and not seeing much of a difference to make the newer seasons bad. There are good and bad episodes in "The Simpsons" and there has been a slight downgrade in quality since the 90s, but I still see "The Simpsons" as a quality show that still has the capacity for thoughtful and hilarious writing.