Hi everyone, so as most of you would probably agree, the Simpsons have expired past their "fresh 'till" date. It is widely accepted that the Simpsons had a golden age, and that ever since that time of "classic" episodes, the show has pretty much nose-dived. My question is: why? It's hard to put a finger on, what exactly about the show is so different than before? Please do not respond to this thread with things like "the writers ran out of ideas" or other general crap like that. I'm talking specifics; I'm talking character deviations, I'm talking plot changes, I'm talking humor-swings. What is different now than it used to be? Here's a couple of my own ideas, please expand upon them:
1. The Simpsons used to be more innocent. Sure, they made self-referential jokes, or were sarcastic, or parodied the average American family, but for the most part their adventures stuck to their own lives and were adventures that we viewers could actually relate to. A few that come to mind right away: Bart ruining thanksgiving and having to discover remorse, Bart trying to get a passing grade, Bart's dog being a screw-up and the anxiety associated with a parent who doesn't like a pet, Homer and Marge falling in love, the kids attending a summer camp (albeit an abusive one), Lisa being moved by an influential teacher, three friends fighting to the practically-death over a jealous comic book-feud, Homer trying to kick drinking for 30 days, Bart and Lisa competing in hockey, Bart selling his soul and dealing with the consequences, Bart trying to break up his best friend and his new girlfriend whom he's jealous of, Bart breaking his leg over a summer and becoming paranoid in his room, the school suffering from a teacher strike and the resulting kid's reactions, etc. I don't know, nowadays the episodes' plots seem to be more over the top... Lisa invents facebook. Homer has to work with only Robots (who then try to kill him). Bart hooks up continuously with a teenager and sees boobs. The family is kicked out of the United States and sent to Guantanamo bay. The family is kicked out of Springfield and start a new town. A rag recounts his experiences over the last millennia. Homer becomes a famous talk show host after a viral video. Some new Star Cameo's storyline is wedged into an episode. It almost seems as if the show feels the need to be even more wacky and random than ever before, but to set themselves up for the grandiose plots, they rush rush rush.
2. The characters have changed. Remember when Lisa was a sweet little goody goody who tried hard in school, teased her brother, and enjoyed making adults happy? Now she's a pessimistic, unhappy genius who usually speaks in a flat tone and works to reveal the incompetence of all those around her; you won't see her baking muffins for her teacher anymore, and she's usually depicted as enemies with Bart.
Bart: Speaking of Bart, remember when he was a troublesome little hellion who paraded around with his group of rascals and did things like steal lemon trees, spend time with his sister (either teasing her or else having an actually good time with her), drop radios down wells to trick a town, try to woo his older babysitter, think he sold his soul, write phony love letters to his teacher, and after all of his pranks (i.e. painting inappropriate phrases on candy hearts, throwing tomatoes at Skinner's butt, and convincing his sister that there was a boy kept in the basement of their neighbor's home), explode with that obnoxious yet adorable laugh? When's the last episode that HAD that laugh, by the way? Nowadays, he's depicted as almost cold, calculated, and merciless. Instead of giving Lisa a wet willy, he will humiliate her in front of the entire school. Instead of dropping ketchup in Martin's seat before he takes a spot, he tries to demolish the school with a subway. He no longer worships Krusty, he treats him with contempt; and he's been depicted as beating up other kids (like a young Homer) and being ringed with the bullies while he himself used to be the little kid who the teenagers would scare lunch money out of. No longer does he fantasize about dancing with his neighbor, now he greets a 17 year old by leaning forward, closing his eyes, and waggling his tongue around in the air while reaching with his hands. His voice is also different, and there is something else... different that I cannot quite figure out. I noticed it in the recent episode "beware my cheating Bart," when Jimbo takes off his hat and Bart goes "haha! That's not fair, you know that this is hilarious!" Maybe it was his lack of fear. In previous episodes, he would have talked his way out of that situation with his silver tongue, but in this episode, he stupidly kept taunting an already pissed bully. It was just... uncharacteristic. I wouldn't say Bart has ever been a coward, but he's never been dumb in sticky situations... In fact, he's usually quite manipulative. I don't know, I've noticed the same thing several times. He's almost TOO cheeky now, exaggeratedly so. It's almost like he's trying to be funny in these incidents and it's just not... working... Plus, what's up with all the gay references? This kid is being overly sexualized.
Homer: Homer used to be lovably stupid. Now he's an obnoxious buffoon. He used to have conversations between himself and his brain that were just pure gold.
Lisa: "Remember, t'is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."
Homer: "What does that mean? Better say something or they'll think you're stupid. Takes one to know one! Swish."
Now his "funniness" is found in his constant yelling about stupid things. His relationship with Bart is much less fatherly now and much more hostile, although they do seem to bond over being violent together, like when they temporarily ran the mob. He's an altogether abrasive character whose once classic adventures have been reduced to random garbage. No longer does he unintentionally feign political genius as a union leader through his own slow thinking and misunderstandings. Now, he's doing things like... threatening Marge about their marriage because she spoiled a TV show for him... He's become insensitive. I miss the days when his stupidity was funny and subtle, well, not subtle, but not shoved down your throat with a rusty hook either.
Marge: Once a kind and caring mother. "You're not allowed to have hurt feelings Homer! Right now there is a little girl upstairs who needs you, and no little girl can be happy when she doesn't have faith in her daddy!" "What's wrong, Bart? uhp uhp uhp, a mother can always tell... it feels like you're missing something, something important..." Now: supreme nag and sex object to Homer. Seriously. When's the last time that you saw Marge and she wasn't either trying to snuggle with Homer or nag him about something.
Maggie: Maggie? Maggie who?
4. Too many famous guest cameos. Period. Ya don't need 'em.
5. Too much parody and not enough originality.
6. Treating both kids as if they were adults.
7. B stories have been severely underdeveloped lately.
8. Too much focus on Homer, where's a Lisa episode? I think she's had a full 20 lines during season 23.
9. I'm getting tired, tell me what you guys think! Why are the Simpsons so different now?