The Simpsons has completeky divided its fan base in recent years. The split has occured between fans who think that the show should finish up, and those that think that the show still has life left in it.
It’s a bitter divide, and one that leads to much argument in real life, along with considerable internet flaming. Many longtime fans of The Simpsons feel that the show hit it’s high point about ten years ago, and that subsequent seasons have been a huge disappointment. Other fans feel that since the series is the longest running TV comedy, it deserves a special place in our hearts and minds, and they feel that the quality of the show has been consistent for years now.
The truth of the matter is that the reality lies somewhere in the middle, I think. The Simpsons was unique for the first decade of its existence, with nothing to challenege it’s satire and goofiness. It’s possible that fierce denouncers of the modern iteration are blinded by nostalgia, leaving them incapable of accepting change.
On th other hand… in the last 10 years, The Simpsons has been part of an ever expanding genre that includes Family Guy, Cartoon Network, and the rise of South Park. They’d also been diluted in part by Matt Groening’s own Futurama, which spreads the tastes and attentions of The Simpson’s audience even further.
The quality and popularity of the various shows in the genre have forced The Simpsons to adapt to new trends while staying relevant. It isn’t the same as it used to be. It still is funny, but it definitely is a different show in tone. That’s the evolution of the business.
Personally? I hope that the show outlives me. But that’s my opinion, and may not be reflected by the rest of the longtime fans. But there is something comforting about the fact that Homer will always be choking Bart, and that Krusty will be forever grouchy.