It's generally recognized that The Simpsons drifted from sharp comedy to cosy light entertainment as the years went by, and that a threshold was passed somewhere between seasons eight and eleven. Using data culled from IMDB and a contiguous cluster analysis, Nathan Cunn pinpoints the exact end of The Simpsons' golden age to the half-hour: episode 11 of season 10. This particular way of seeing things condemns no particular episode's sins, merely putting a statistical dividing point between Wild Barts Can't Be Broken and Sunday Cruddy Sunday. Compare to The Principal and the Pauper, the season 9 episode traditionally identified as the shark-jumper, which in this chart is a controversial blip on the road to all the disengaged meta to come.
It’s remarkable that the show managed to go for over nine seasons, and over 200 episodes, with an average rating of 8.2. The latter seasons, in contrast, have an average rating of 6.9, with only three episodes in the latter 400+ episodes achieving a rating higher than the average golden age episode—those episodes being Trilogy of Error, Holidays of Futured Passed, and Barthood. Given that the ratings approximately follow a Gaussian distribution, we expect (and, indeed, observe) that roughly half of the golden age episodes exceeded this mean value.
Although The Simpsons isn’t quite the show it once was, the decline in the show’s latter seasons is more testament to the impossibly high standards set by the earlier seasons than it is an indictment of what the show became.
Nonetheless, the author also posits that further declines in standards may be masked after a certain point by survivorship bias: votes coming only from fans whose perception of quality won't change so long as the quantity remains. On the other hand, internet ratings are not the be-all and end-all of America's collective critical faculties, either.
This Sunday, Weezer will cameo on The Simpsons and as a teaser, the band released their cover of “The Simpsons Theme” by Danny Elfman. From Rolling Stone: In the new episode of The Simpsons, Weezer will play a cover band called Sailor’s Delight, which serves as the house act on a romantic cruise Homer and […]
This is a wonderful thing. Author and Librarian Joel A. Sutherland posted this video, with the following message, on Twitter: Social Isolation, Day 23 Kids: We’re booooored! What can we do? Wife *cleaning basement*: What are we ever going to do with these Simpsons Halloween costumes we only wore once? Me: How great is that?! […]
If you care about The Simpsons with the same intensity that I don’t care about the Simpsons, you’ll be happy to hear that that Disney has finally sorted out how to stream the long-running cartoon sitcom in its proper 4:3 ratio. Disney+ will start kicking it old school, by the end of May. In a […]
When you were 10 and your mom demanded you finish your vegetables or go to your room, you were mad. Even as kids, we hated it when we were ordered to do something. Car insurance is a federal mandate, yet that’s only one of the reasons why most Americans would rather do just about anything […]
We all know the drill. As the overlords of the smartphone and tablet markets, the braintrust at Apple very seldom hold sales on their signature devices. So rather than spending almost $1,000 on a brand-new iPad Pro, the folks in Cupertino are instead giving you the opportunity to score one for about a third of […]
Entrepreneurs looking for new avenues to reach customers may not have considered one of the fastest-growing content mediums today: podcasting. And we don’t mean just dropping an advertisement for your product or service in the middle of a popular show. Right now, there are about 850,000 active podcasts reaching 165 million Americans. Those listeners are […]