600 Episodes Later, The Simpsons Remain Relevant

Patrick Inman, Staff Writer

The Simpsons are preparing to appear on countless living room televisions for the 600th time. How did a show that seemed so simple in the beginning become one of the most successful shows ever created?

Flashback to 1989: George H.W. Bush was President, hip-hop was scratching the surface of the music industry, smartphones have not been invented yet, and the new Star Wars movies had not hit theaters yet. It was a simpler time. Out of the little town of Springfield, emerged what became America’s favorite mustard colored family, The Simpsons.

Al Jean, an executive producer for The Simpsons, has been around ever since the debut. Jean was asked why he believes The Simpsons are still going strong.  In response, Jean stated, “It was just a show that kids would like because of the form but that adults would like because of the content, and since then, everybody–the writers and animators– everybody had just worked so hard on preserving the quality of the show. I think that’s the one reason we’re still around.”

The Simpsons was one of the first shows to appeal to all age groups, which Jean believes enhanced the longevity of this show.

The Simpsons are pushing the verge of becoming a 4 billion dollar property.  Amusement park rides, clothing, and seven eleven takeovers are just a few things that have spawned from the hit TV show. Creator Matt Groening is a recognizable celebrity almost anywhere now.

A question that must enter every individuals mind is: How is new content still being developed after so many seasons?

“Coming up with fresh stories that haven’t been done by us or by ‘South Park’ or ‘Family Guy’ that’s hard,” Jean admitted. “There are thousands of episodes of prime time animated shows that weren’t there when we started.” Despite Jean’s comments, The Simpsons writers seem to produce fresh, exciting content with relative ease every season.

Perhaps the most unique feature of The Simpsons is the shows ability to accurately predict real-life events. Surely fans have heard of the theory that The Simpsons can predict almost anything, and that theory can be justified.

Way back in 2000, an episode titled “Bart to the future” Showed Lisa, Bart’s sister, as an executive in the White House. The iconic line from this episode came from Lisa, “As you know, we’ve inherited quite a budget crunch from President Trump.”  Sixteen years ago, the Simpsons ‘predicted’ Donald Trump running for the Presidency.

Another example came in a season 6 episode titled “The Lemon Of Troy”; a lemon tree was stolen in their fictional town of Springfield. Oddly enough, in 2013, a lemon tree was stolen in Houston, Texas. Several of these unique predictions have kept watchers coming back every Sunday.

600 episodes in, The Simpsons have not slowed down. Each and every Sunday night, the dysfunctional family brings laughs to millions of viewers nationwide. The Simpsons seem to have a knack for witty pop culture references and a remarkable willingness to tackle social issues. Pair those two incredible features with frequent celebrity guest appearances, and a near-perfect show is molded with incredible consistency.