“Yes, the Simpsons have come a long way since an old drunk made humans out of his rabbit characters to pay off his gambling debts. Who knows what adventures they'll have between now and the time the show becomes unprofitable?”Who knows indeed? Fox has announced that the Springfield clan has been renewed for an 18th and 19th season that will keep the show going until 2008. That is an incredible run for a show that is already the longest-running comedy on broadcast television, has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and has put the word "D'oh!" into the dictionary.
- Troy McClure
With the additional seasons, The Simpsons will be just one short of Gunsmoke’s 20-year run, even though it still has a long way to go to catch the western’s 633 episodes. Not that reaching episode 400 next May is anything to, umm, laugh at. Reaching its quadricentennial milestone will put The Simpsons at No. 6 on the list of the longest running TV shows (by episodes), at least according to these guys. The Top 5?
1. Gunsmoke 633 (1955-1975)Could The Simpsons take the No. 1 slot? It’s possible. Last year creator Matt Groening said there are no plans to stop making the program. "I don't see any end in sight. I want to get to 366 [shows] so we have one for every day of the year, including leap year.”
2. Lassie 588 (1954-1973)
3. Death Valley Days 452 (1952-1972)
4. Ozzie and Harriett 435 (1952-1966)
5. Bonanza 430 (1959-1972)
But should it try to keep going? That’s a question fans continue to battle over. Having watched since the poorly animated shorts appeared on the Tracey Ullman Show way, way back in the 1980s, I now view the show like Saturday Night Live. Once a groundbreaker, now an institution, the seasons ebb and flow as new writers come and go. Some years will suck when compared to what has come before them, but then there will be flashes of the brilliance that make watching worthwhile.
It is no longer must-see TV anymore, but with my trusty PVR I will still watch as a bad episode of The Simpsons is still better than most things on TV.