‘The Simpsons’ Dominates Disney+, Embarrasses ‘The Evil Corporation’
It’s an unforgettable bit from the 2007 film, The Simpsons Movie – Bart Simpson swings upside down from the luggage compartment of an Alaskan passenger train wearing a brassiere on his head that resembles a certain famous pair of mouse ears. He quips to his mother in a high-pitched voice, "I’m the mascot of an evil corporation!”
Sixteen years later, the parody is reality.
According to data released by Parrot Analytics, interest in Disney+ titles has been dominated by a single show – The Simpsons. Based on a demand metric that factors in “consumer research, streaming, downloads and social media, among other engagement,” Matt Groening’s animated monolith blew every other Disney+ title out of the water in December, 2022 without even a worthy contender for second place – the distance between The Simpsons and the runner-up, The Mandalorian, is greater than the gap between The Mandalorian and sixth place Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir.
In the midst of the bitter streaming wars, The Simpsons has become Disney’s greatest weapon – and irony its greatest casualty.
By Parrot Analytics’ assessment, demand for The Simpsons is 52.75 times higher than the demand for the average TV series tracked by the company which brands itself as “the leader in global entertainment analytics.” That number dwarfs the demand for big-budget Star Wars tent-poles such as The Mandalorian’s 39.38 and Andor’s 30.19.
The Simpsons has some natural advantages over its comparatively flashier competitors – namely, a 33-season backlog of legendary comedy content that die-hard fans can waste their lives pouring over like Comic Book Guy and his pulpy obsessions. While each season of The Mandalorian takes multiple years of painstaking effort and production costs in the nine-figure range just to create a measly eight-episode spectacle, 20th Television plops a new 22-episode season of The Simpsons on Disney+’s doorstep every year for immediate binging on the platform.
Still, for an entertainment conglomerate whose massive, unequaled success started with their animation empire, it must be slightly humiliating for their animation department to watch an acquired property blow their original content out of the water so decisively. The Simpsons was already the most-watched show on Disney+ in the entirety of 2021, and, with each successive season, the gap between The Simpsons and original Disney animation continues to widen.
Of course, nobody now benefits from The Simpsons’ success more than the “evil corporation” who holds the keys to Simpsons streaming. It’s only a matter of time before yellow, spikey-haired hats overtake plastic mouse ears as the headgear of choice at Disney theme parks and the new generation of iconoclastic animators take aim at Bart and his family as the idols of an oppressive corporate overlord.
The money that The Simpsons have made for a conglomerate their creators once despised is enough to give Bart an identity crisis – “I’m Bart Simpson, who the hell are you?” will soon be replaced by “I’m Bart Simpson, who the hell am I?”