For the first time ever, I am actually going to use the term “jumped the shark“. I have fought it for years, even as it became more popular, but now is the time for me to use it.
The Simpsons have jumped the shark. Not only have they jumped the shark, they couldn’t even stick the landing.
I came to this conclusion when I finally watched this previous Sunday’s episode, “Marge’s Son Poisoning“, wherein Marge and Bart finally begin to bond over going to a tea room together. I did not laugh once in the entire episode. I didn’t even crack a smile. I watched totally dumbfounded at just how bad this show really has gotten. Sure, people have talked for years that the show has become unfunny, but I always thought they were overstating things. My first clue was when I also failed to laugh at this year’s Treehouse of Terror XVI episode. Almost always an assured laugh, this year’s was just a complete disaster.
I understand it is hard to keep a show fresh, especially after 17 seasons, but tonight South Park proved that no matter how old a show gets, it can remain fresh and exceptionally edgy. This weeks episode, “Trapped in the Closet“, focused on taking on the absurdity that is the Church of Scientology. Not only did they reveal the embaressing secrets of the “churches” beliefs (Oh, please go read the Wikipedia entry about Xenu…all will be explained…I will tease you that it includes aliens, space planes and volcanos, oh my!) they took on two of the most notable celebrity believers, Tom Cruise and John Travolta. It did split the story a bit as the Cruise stuff focused on him hiding in Stan’s closet and refusing to come out of the closet….yeah…you got it, but every moment of this episode was a gem down to the closing credits.
Sure, South Park is only it’s ninth season, and The Simpsons are in their seventeenth, but South Park is still going strong and fresh. I also feel South Park is one of the best satirical shows in the history of the Television medium. To see such a horrendous episode of The Simpsons in the same night as one of the best South Parks ever, just made it even more obvious how badly The Simpsons are decling. Do yourself a favor, skip The Simpsons from here on out and use the time to watch even old South Park episodes.