What's Up With 'The Simpsons' Now? (A Catch-Up Guide)
It's no exaggeration to say that The Simpsons has influenced every writer you've ever read on this site (or any other comedy site). So this week, Cracked is taking a closer look at the town of Springfield and all of our favorite residents ...
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If you're anything like this writer, it's been a minute since you've watched the still going, still wildly popular, most American TV sitcom The Simpsons. Or, as I like to call it, that show where the baby never grows up.
Listen, it's not like I stopped watching it because it was bad or anything. Unlike many of the show's (previous) fans who seem to have some serious hang-ups about the show's apparent Golden Age being over or whatever, I have no opinion about "Old Simpsons vs. New Simpsons." There's just, you know, so much TV these days that Bart and the Gang kind of fell off my radar for a while there. Pretty sure there's an episode predicting it.
Imagine my sheer delight, then, when I sat down to watch the latest season (33 — hi-diddly-ho!) only to learn that The Simpsons is … a musical now? Were there always this many musical numbers? I'm not solely referring to the first episode that is unapologetically an entire animated Broadway production.
No, every second episode seems to have at least one musical number now. Previous seasons had … some, but this season feels like a lot. No complaints here — I just had no idea the show was targeting Rachel Bloom fans now. Of course, Bloom guest stars in one of the new episodes, so maybe we're finally witnessing the Rachel Bloom Takeover of All Television, just like we've dreamed of:
Anyway, where's Apu? After Hank Azaria stepped away from voicing the Indian immigrant character, Matt Groening proclaimed that they had "ambitious plans" for his beloved Apu, but the character — who was the main subject of a 2017 documentary about Asian stereotypes — has yet to make a comeback. Granted, Apu has been more of a recurring background character over the past years, at least according to the show's producers. Maybe they're hoping we'll just forget about him. Looking forward to the 2023 follow-up and probably Netflix documentary, Where's Apu? I guess.
Also, what? Mrs. Krabappel died? So Maggie doesn't age a second, Apu just … disappears, but Mrs. K gets knocked off? Well, that's a bummer. I guess it's cool they gave the late voice actress Marcia Wallace a proper and heartfelt send-off. However, since the show's creators have said that nothing in The Simpsons universe is canon, I'm going to believe that Mrs. K simply decided to fake her own death and get the hell out of dodge, finally. She changed her name to Ms. F.U. and is somewhere on an island sipping cocktails with Rachel Bloom and planning global domination as we speak. You can practically hear them singing about it.
Okay, so Bart's teacher is now *checks notes* Mrs. K turned Ms. F.U.'s surviving spouse, Ned Flanders. Who is now a two-time widower but is still somehow as cheery and rosy as ever.
All in all, the new episodes seem delightful and, in some ways, not so "American-exclusive" as some of the show's first episodes felt at times. Maybe it's because current pop culture and technological trends — everything from Fortnite to streaming services — are part of the global world now. It's all widely available, and trending themes are all around relatable.
Maybe it's because many of the new episodes seem to have a bit more heart to them.
Or maybe it's simply because it looks so damn pretty.
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Top Image: 20th Television