THE SIMPSONS STAR ADDRESSES THE SHOW'S OFTEN-DISCUSSED SERIES FINALE

  • In an interview with the Movie Dweeb, Yeardley Smith, the voice of Lisa Simpson, confirmed that The Simpsons will continue on.
  • Due to The Simpsons' longevity, fans have speculated for years about the shows end.
  • While The Simpsons experienced a decline after many seasons, the more recent seasons have shown a return to form, which bodes well for the show's continued future.

According to Lisa Simpson's voice actor, Yeardley Smith, fans of The Simpsons won't need to say goodbye to Springfield anytime soon. With 768 episodes and 35 seasons behind them, the series continues to look forward to the future. For years, fans have wondered if The Simpsons will be canceled, but in January 2023, the series was renewed through 2025.

When asked in a 2022 interview with the Movie Dweeb if there had even been a discussion about the last episode of the hit show, Smith said, "No, actually, not seriously." She noted, at that time, that they had just started recording Season 34, "which is a crazy sentence in and of itself, because most shows last, you're lucky if it lasts five years, which means you hit the 100 episode mark." While speculation about the end of The Simpsons has become almost as ubiquitous as the show itself, America's favorite dysfunctional family just won't quit, despite a critical slump.

This article was updated on June 7, 2024 by Christopher Raley: The Simpsons has been aired continuously since 1989 for a current total of 35 seasons, making it the longest-running television show in the history of television. The Simpsons also holds a place in many fans' hearts as the icon of the dysfunctional family.

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Speculation about how long the show can keep going has plagued it for the last twenty years. But Smith doesn't expect Disney to end the show anytime soon. "Part of the reason [Disney] bought [21st Century Fox] was for The Simpsons," Smith explained. "Also, if it was the last season, I think they would want to capitalize on that and make bazillions on advertising." But since 2019, all Disney has capitalized on is keeping the show alive, despite speculation to the contrary.

The Simpsons is scheduled through Season 36, which fans can expect to start watching in the fall of 2024 while they begin fresh speculation about the end of the show until a new contract is or isn't signed. While the longevity of the cultural phenomenon that is The Simpsons continues to leave critics and even fans scratching their heads, Smith has at least one explanation: the need for new material. "I feel like considering how much content streaming services need, they can never have enough. If somebody is literally going to binge your whole series in a weekend, you're f--cked! How do you keep that voracious appetite fed? It's a huge thing."

  • It would take about 280 hours or 11 and a half days to watch The Simpsons completely without interruptions.
  • To binge the whole show in 12-hour segments (leave the other twelve for sleep) would take a little over 23 days.

Disney+ is not only home to all previous seasons of The Simpsons, but it also airs shorts featuring the residents of Springfield mixing with other Disney properties such as Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Having the show's entire cannon available from Season 1 through The Force Awakens From It's Nap is a huge amount of material that, one way or another, has had a big impact on pop culture, and will leave a lot of people sad when the show finally does come to an end (assuming that this is possible). That includes Smith, who said, "When that show is over--when The Simpsons is done, I will be in a fetal position on the bathroom floor. It will be like one of my very best friends has moved away and is never coming back."

Speculation Over The Simpsons' Ending Continues

The Older the Simpsons Get, the More Fans Wonder

Speculating about when and how the Simpsons will end is practically an all-American pastime. Each time the show's contract comes due again, the pop culture press is flooded with the inevitable speculation that asks something like, "Is the show finally over?"

Many people made a strong case for the show ending when the Disney Corporation bought Fox in 2019. By that time, the show's ratings had long been poor. At the turn of the century, the show was at its peak, claiming almost 15 million viewers per episode. Since then, the show's ratings have gone nowhere but down. A decade later, The Simpsons had lost about half its viewership. When the 2020s emerged, not even a home-bound pandemic populace could lift the show past 2 million viewers.

For any other show, this kind of plummet would have resulted in cancelation years ago. But The Simpsons seems, if not immortal, then at least bulletproof. Critics have panned it for two decades, and fans have complained about it for at least that long, yet the show keeps going like the energizer bunny while the TV populace wonders who will take out the battery.

  • Krusty the clown was originally meant to be an alter ego for Homer, playing off the joke that Krusty is Bart's hero.
  • Creator Matt Groening is the one who creates sucking sounds that Maggie makes with her pacifier.

Around the time it was renewed for seasons 35 and 36, Hank Azaria, the voice actor who gives life to Moe, Chief Wiggam, and other characters on the show, offered some thoughts about the show's ending. "I would guess that it would probably go to season 40," he said. "It seems to be doing well." With no other explanation as to why 40, fans are left to wonder if maybe landing on a nice round anniversary-style number is the way the show will go out. As to "doing well," Azaria offers this observation: "Standards of what doing well means has changed so much for network television in the last 10 to 15 years."

Streaming has lifted large numbers of viewers (particularly those under 35) away from old-style TV watching and given birth to new phenomena that weren't present a decade and a half ago. Viewers can now binge a series for hours at a time or, if not exactly binge, then at least dedicate focused viewing every night to only one series. With the largest back catalog of seasons in the history of television, The Simpsons stands to benefit from these viewing habits.

Has The 'Dark Ages' Period Ended?

After a Long Slump, the Show May Be Funny Again

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It's widely accepted that the show's run of 8 seasons from 1989 to 1997 is its classic period. There will be some disagreement on this. Some exclude the first couple of seasons from this period. Others extend it to the 2000 - '01 season. But most agree that The Simpsons reached a critical climax in the late 1990s and a slump shortly thereafter. Now some critics assert that The Simpsons is entering into a renaissance. Smith herself noted, "We read a script [probably for season 34] yesterday that is fantastic. It was so funny. And for a script to be that lively and vivid over Zoom means it's f--king incredible. It's really, really great. Super-excited."

  • Season 34 features episodes in which Homer and Marge imagine life without Bart, and Kirk Van Houten gains control of Springfield Elementary's curriculum by fueling hate and division.
  • In "Lisa the Boy Scout," Pseudo-Nonymous takes over the broadcast and shows clips that tell the true story behind key characters, such as Carl who has an imaginary friend named Lenny.

The primary showrunner is now Matt Selman who is assisted by Al Jean, one of the original writers with a legendary status in the show's history. This has led to some funny and engaging episodes that take the age of the show and its impossible relevance (making Homer and Marge parents of Millenials) to absurd lengths, resulting in some genuinely funny episodes. While this doesn't answer why the show has been able to keep renewing contracts throughout its decline in viewership, it does offer some hope for its future.

For Now, The Simpsons Continues to Season 36

The Show Has a Renewed Contract Through 2025

In all the speculation about whether the show should end and when, it's important to remember that The Simpsons has remained weirdly relevant as past episodes have come to haunt the real world. The show has developed a baffling and well-documented penchant for predicting the future.

  • "Itchy & Scratchy & Marge," episode 9 from season 2, predicts a kerfuffle over the state of Michelangelo's David.
  • "Lisa Goes Gaga," episode 22 from season 23, predicts the look of an outfit from Lady Gaga's SuperBowl performance with some accuracy.
  • "Lard of the Dance," episode 1 from season 10, predicts thieves stealing cooking grease to sell for biofuel.

From faulty voter machines to autocorrect to Donald Trump as President, one reason The Simpsons keeps going is that they manage to remain eerily accurate in predicting the direction of the culture. "We're still in the news. It's still extraordinarily relevant," Smith commented. The show even managed to predict the sale of Fox to Disney. Maybe that is why Disney keeps the show going.

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