The Simpsons are starting their 25th season this fall.
Think about that for a moment. Most of you weren’t even born in 1988 when they started. Maggie would be out of college inventing a new pacifier or something if they aged normally. In their 6th season, they predicted 15 years into the future…into 2010 in “Lisa’s Wedding.” The yellow family from Springfield, ?? has had a litany of guest stars throughout their years, and they seem to never run out of ideas. This year…maybe they have.
Fox announced recently that the upcoming fall season would feature two “crossover” episodes involving the Simpsons, Family Guy, and (no longer on Fox) Futurama. The first announcement released said that the Simpson family would be featured on an upcoming season 12 episode of Family Guy (read my feelings on Family Guy here). That in itself wasn’t surprising. The Simpsons will appear on most anything (remember the Butterfinger commercials?) and Family Guy has struggled to regain the magic it had in their original run. This seemed like a perfect opportunity to get some spillover fans of the Simpsons to finally watch Family Guy.
Entertainment Weekly had some information about the plot: “Peter and the rest of the Griffins embark on a road trip and wind up in Springfield. There, they cross paths with Homer, who graciously greets his new ‘albino’ visitors, and the two families become fast friends. Stewie is impressed with Bart and his assortment of pranks, Lisa tries to figure out exactly what it is that she’s good at, and Marge and Lois do some bonding. Meanwhile, Peter and Homer argue over which beer is better: Pawtucket or Duff.”
Frankly it sounds like a pretty simple episode that pretty much writes itself. I am guessing that it will be a lazy episode intended to get viewers, much like the Family Guy episode with the entire cast of “Star Trek: The Next Generation. Just this news didn’t make me think anything poorly.
The Futurama announcement followed that up, stating that the crew of Planet Express will be coming to Springfield in the Simpsons next season. The episode’s plot will apparently pit the future’s favorite robot Bender against Bart. Apparently Bender has to come back from the future to kill Bart because there’s something that Bart does now that messes up the future somehow. It feels to me that somehow, The Simpsons is on the last of its ideas.
People have been asking if the Simpsons have jumped the shark for the better part of a decade. In fact, I’m surprised the ever-self-aware writing staff hasn’t written an episode that revolves around Homer literally jumping over a shark. To those people who have asked if the show has declined in quality I usually say that it’s still better than most of the stuff that’s on TV now anyways. This time though I can’t imagine this crossover idea will work out well. In fact, I can’t ever remember any crossover show ever succeeding (if you can please let me know in the comments). The only saving grace reason I can give as to why the writers green lit this episode is that Futurama is coming to an end on Comedy Central, and they wanted it to go out with a bang. Sadly, based on recent seasons of The Simpsons, it’s not looking good.
The sad part about it: I’ll still watch. Like I said earlier, it’s still better than most of the stuff on anyways right? I guess now we know why they’re making it.