Like Old Man River, The Simpsons just keeps rollin’ along. Recently renewed for two more seasons of 22 episodes each, by 2019 The Simpsons will have been on the air for 30 years with 600-plus episodes, making it the longest-running American sitcom and the longest-running animated series. (However, Japan’s Sunday night staple Sazae-san, has it beaten by a mile: 48 seasons and around 7,500 episodes.) Like the 20-year run of Gunsmoke, which produced about as many shows, the cast of The Simpsons has remained remarkably, virtually unchanged.
Fans and critics generally agree that The Simpsons has been in steady creative decline for a number of years, since around seasons 10 or 11. Looking at Season 18 on DVD, there’s certainly some evidence of that, but nearly every episode still offers at least one big belly laugh, and some of the episodes in that set are quite f…Read the entire review