Date: 3/31/2009 3:00 PM

BC-NXT-SIMPSONS:TB _ whats next (550 words)/595
The Simpsons’ still relevant?

(NOT INCLUDED IN YOUR MCT NEWS SERVICE SUBSCRIPTION. To subscribe to What’s Next, see purchase information below.)

(PHOTO)

By Jimmy Greenfield

Chicago Tribune

(MCT)

Nobody I know talks about “The Simpsons” anymore.

I’ve got it on a TiVo season pass, but I don’t have any urge to watch the night it airs and I don’t really mind if I miss it altogether.

I can’t recall episodes the morning after I do make time to watch, and my brain no longer automatically records the best quotes – though that could be more about my brain than the show.

The only time “The Simpsons” gets discussed in the vast wasteland of pop culture is when it’s compared to “Family Guy” or if off-the-air issues like actors’ salary demands or the show’s renewal come up.

Which reminds me, Fox renewed “The Simpsons” for two more seasons, meaning by 2012 there will be 493 original episodes in circulation.

To put how high that number is in its proper perspective, I can’t count to 493.

Can you kind of guess where I’m heading? I never thought I’d say this, but I’d be perfectly fine if “The Simpsons” went off the air.

Notice I didn’t say I’d be happy, just that I’d be fine with it.

“The Simpsons” no longer has to be on the air, which is awfully close to saying the show is no longer relevant.

Everybody respects the show and its heritage but nothing it does anymore is groundbreaking.

At this point, it’s often funny and still endearing. But I’m ready to learn my life lessons from “Friday Night Lights” now. There are only so many times I can watch Homer discover how much he loves Marge; Marge shockingly take up some vice; or Lisa once again learn that being popular isn’t as important as being yourself.

It’s true that any animated show to come along for the next few decades will owe a debt to creator Matt Groening and his band of merry geniuses. But there’s nothing more “The Simpsons” can do to alter its DNA. Its place as one of the greatest shows in TV history is secure.

You should know I’ve got my bona fides as a “Simpsons” devotee in order, going back to the days I’d hold “Simpsons” season premiere dinner parties.

We’d have tacos, watch the premiere, then debate if the episode had been awesome, brilliant or brilliantly awesome. When the time comes for it to end I know I’ll be upset, but more like when you graduate high school than when your best friend moves away.

I’ve missed so many episodes over the last seven or eight seasons there must be more than 100 I’ve never seen yet. I’m sure I’ll have no problem finding new episodes for years to come.

So while I’m not one of those people who think “The Simpsons” is a shell of its earlier self, the truth is I can take it or leave it.

But not until 2012.

___

(c) 2009, Chicago Tribune.

Visit the Chicago Tribune on the Internet at http://www.chicagotribune.com/

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

_____

TO SUBSCRIBE TO WHAT’S NEXT

Items in the What’s Next package are not included in your MCT News Service subscription. You can subscribe to the What’s Next package or purchase the items a la carte on MCT Direct at www.mctdirect.com. To subscribe, please call Rick DeChantal at Tribune Media Services at (800) 245-6536 or [email protected] Outside the United States, call Tribune Media Services International at +1-312-222-4444 or e-mail [email protected]

_____

PHOTO (from MCT Photo Service, 202-383-6099):


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.