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Monday, May 19, 2008

Fade to Black or When Good Shows Go Bad

When I was a kid anytime my Dad felt an athlete had stayed in the game too long he brought up Willie Mays in a Mets uniform and what a sad vision it was to see Willie struggle. That's a pretty common reference as is the sight of Johnny Unitas in a Chargers uniform and Joe Namath playing for the Rams. While watching the Simpsons season finale last night (hey I like the Sunday Fox cartoons...sue me) it hit me that that's what the show has become now...a shell of itself just playing out the string.

The quality of the Simpsons has been fading for several years. Last summer's Simpsons Movie was a joy...great writing, great gags and it did a great job of reminding me why I enjoyed the exploits of the four fingered dysfunctional family. I can't remember anything about this season just past tho. It wasn't awful, it just wasn't good...Usually in its worst moments I could always count on at least one chuckle an episode. Not so this season. I must confess, I'm so down on the Simpsons I have two episodes from this season on the DVR that I haven't watched yet. Just can't bring myself to do it.

The creators of the Simpsons know that they've slipped. They've made several in-jokes about it. Yet they continue to trot the old warhorse out season after season as it comes off as ever more tired. Sure the show still has an audience and its making money for all parties involved with it...but is that reason enough to keep the show on the air?

I've seen every episode of the Simpsons more times than I care to mention. But I doubt very much I'll tune in again next year...I'll give it a shot and if the beginning of next season stinks then I'm done. Same goes for Family Guy, which while never in the Simpsons league, has its laugh out loud moments. However, this season has been the worst ever. Maybe the writer's strike is to blame but if that were the case why are American Dad and King of the Hill better than ever?

One other show that needs to fade to black and disappear is Saturday Night Live. No one on the cast stands out...the writing is awful and the hosts don't even appear to be trying. I have better things to do than watch a guy struggle to read cue cards. Ya know a show sucks when even Steve Carrell can't make it funny. I rarely watch SNL anymore...might tune in depending on who is hosting (which was the case Saturday night). I've made a promise to myself to not even do that anymore. The show is just flat out awful. SNL now comes off like the last half hour used to....its like every skit is just tacked on to fill time.

Whatever happened to the showbiz idiom of "leave 'em wanting more"?


O.M.O.M. said...

Haven't watched The Simpsons in years, a once great show that has lost me in recent years.

I pretty much retired from television when the strike hit. I ditched Heroes and the handful of other shows I tuned in for. I only watched half of the new season of South Park and watch 30 Rock and The Office online every few weeks. The only other show I find worthwhile is The Trailer Park Boys and they don't even air that stateside, I have to find 'em online and buy the season dvds.

E. S. Furniss said...

My tv habits have declined quite a bit..I used to be a big "prime time" viewer (as Homer said in much better days "thats when tv's brightest starts come out to shine") but now I'm down to the Sunday night Fox cartoons and Lost on Thursday nights and thats about it. I'll watch the Office and 30 Rock when I remember but otherwise thats it for scripted programming.

HBO's quality programming keeps me from cancelling them but due to the economy I'm gonna have no choice....Real Time with Bill Maher, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Real Sports and Flight of the Conchords are must see tv.

Network tv is as lame as terrestial radio.

O.M.O.M. said...

Cancelling HBO was pretty tough for the first month. After that, I pretty much forgot about it. I hate missing Curb... and Conchords but it helps that new seasons only come every couple of years. I just can't stand waiting that long anymore, I'm becoming very impatient in my old age.

E. S. Furniss said...

Blame the Sopranos for the those collosal HBO wait times....every stinkin' one of their series seems to take 18 months minimum to refuel for another run. I think my HBO cancellation is coming sooner rather than later. Mr. Bush's stimulus check kept it going for this month but its harder to justify it. Might be cheapr for me just to run to the vid store and rent the season sets when they come out. Curb I believe is due back in the fall and the Conchords in a date yet to be determined.

Fx is no better....Rescue Me is entirely off the air this calendar year but will return next year with 22 eps instead of the usual 13. By then I may not care anymore.