The New Longest Running TV Show

The animated FOX sitcom The Simpsons has been renewed for its 29th and 30th seasons. This announcement, which allows the show to continue through the 2018-19 seasons, secures The Simpsons as the longest running scripted TV show in American television history.

The renewal will carry the cartoon family, which debuted in 1989, to a total of 669 episodes. This passes the current 40-year record holder, Gunsmoke!, which held the record of 635 episodes.

simpsonsImage courtesy of FOX

The animated series is about a dysfunctional cartoon family living in the town of Springfield in an undisclosed U.S. state. The show features the working class family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie, and mainly parodies culture and society.

I remember watching the cartoon on Sunday evening as a kid. I always thought the show was funny and made sure to watch it. I think what made it so funny was how dysfunctional the family was. Homer, the dad, seemed to lack common sense and Bart, the son, was always getting into trouble. Lisa, the daughter, seemed to be the smartest of the bunch while Marge, the mother, was always trying to hold the family together. Then there was Maggie, the youngest daughter, who only communicated through sucking her pacifier.

One thing I do remember about the cartoon is that it always seemed to be on TV. Even today, I feel like there is a good chance you can find it by flipping through the channels. Then again when a show has over 600 episodes the odds are increased. I also noticed that the network FXX, owned by FOX, boasts that you can stream every episode created of The Simpsons online through their network.

Since the creation of the show in 1989, it would seem that the cartoon has never lost its popularity. I think it is very interesting that the longest running scripted TV show in America is now a cartoon about a dysfunctional family.

Do you think this says anything about our society? Or do you think it is just a funny TV show that parodies society and culture in a way that keeps people watching?

-Katie Thevenow

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5 Responses to The New Longest Running TV Show

  1. mediaphiles says:

    I think it’s crazy that any show could remain this popular for so long so in that sense I think it’s great to keep The Simpsons going. However, I just wonder how the writers are able to come up with new topics for each episode. Wouldn’t it seem as though there could not be any topic that is left to write about after the decades the sitcom has been on the air? I honestly don’t care either way if The Simpsons is over staying its welcome on the television screen but it is interesting to think about. -Courtney Green

    • mediaphiles says:

      I agree Courtney! Especially after doing our script-writing assignment, it is crazy to me how creators and writers keep coming up with new ideas! I know that there are some common themes of stories, but with a show like the Simpsons, it would be so hard not to repeat a story-line or joke. – Katie Nelson

  2. mediaphiles says:

    Before this class, I wouldn’t have considered animated television shows, like The Simpsons, to be sitcoms. I’ve never really watched the show, so I’m excited for our upcoming section on it. It’s amazing to me that a show could be running for that long. Perhaps it’s the animation plus the social commentary that makes it appealing to such a wide audience and has kept it on the air for so long. -Valerie Medoff

  3. mediaphiles says:

    I do not see how Gunsmoke had so many episodes, the one I watched for my History of Television class was long and kind of boring. It did not hold my attention well, unlike The Simpsons which I happen to find funny and interesting, even though I do not personally watch it. It is interesting how The Simpsons focuses on a working-class family, which never had too much popularity because advertisers, when they were running the networks, wanted wealthier viewers so that they had a higher chance of selling their products. This show could show us that the power behind programming has changed hands.

    -turner arrington

  4. mediaphiles says:

    The Simpsons is a timeless classic. I love how the characters don’t age at all, and their stagnant reality is genius. The show writers are not bound by age stereotypes and age related benchmarks. Maggie will always be a baby and communicate through her pacifier. They don’t have to come up with a rhetoric for her. Bart can always be an idiot kid, and he will not be asked to grow up. The premise is beautiful. –Serena Daya

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