On Nov. 8, America received some incredibly unforeseen news: For the next four years, our country will be run by former reality TV show star, Donald Trump.
While half of America celebrates and the other half smashes the windows of car dealerships, there is one thing that can bring us all together: The Simpsons, which was renewed for two more seasons.
On Nov. 4, Fox executives extended an order for two more seasons for the historic sitcom giving the show its 29th and 30th seasons. With the addition of the new seasons, the show’s total episode count will climb to 669, passing the record for most episodes of a prime-time scripted series in television history.
In recent years—and by recent years, I meant the last decade-and-a-half—some fans have pushed back against the show, calling it a shell of its glory seasons. Many believe it should be canceled.
But what would a world without The Simpsons look like? That’s a question some of the younger students at Portland State might literally not be able to answer. The show started in 1987 as a series of shorts on the Tracy Ullman Show. That means to have experienced a truly Simpson-less world, you’d have to be at least 29 years old.
It’s no wonder the old people who voted for Trump are so jaded: they’ve gone most of their lives without The Simpsons.
Since its inception, The Simpsons has gone on to become a pop culture force like none the world has ever seen. The franchise earned Fox more than 2.3 billion dollars in profits during its first 23 seasons alone. Its catchphrases are so wildly used and commonplace that even Homer’s annoyed grunt, “D’oh!” has made it into Oxford’s English Dictionary. It even has a penchant for predicting the future, including calling Donald Trump’s presidency—a prediction which would leave us broken.
As a franchise, The Simpsons has speared on some of America’s greatest comedic writers, including Conan O’Brien who honed his talent for simultaneously silly and sharp-witted jokes with the show in the early ’90s.
In addition to famous former writers, the show has had more notable celebrity guest appearances than anything except for Saturday Night Live. From its start to its current season, The Simpsons has become the destination spot for stars across the entertainment stratosphere to make fun of themselves. Not only do they use typical stars like Danny Devito and Jon Lovitz but also get American heroes like astronaut Buzz Aldrin.
The Simpsons is less of a television show now and has become more of a cultural icon. Because it has been on the air for such a long time, the setting of Springfield and the characters Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie are no longer a driving force of the show but rather a vehicle for jokes.
In the same way that Saturday Night Live has been institutionalized, so has The Simpsons. Regardless of how good a new season is compared to older ones, the show deserves to stay on the air if only to remind us of a funnier time—something we all may need in the next four years.