It’s like this: the main cast cashes 8 million per season each, then they get a paltry union mandated residual for reruns and syndication, but nothing else. The novelty and the freshness wore off a long time ago; hence the ratings are not what they used to be. (a paltry third of its prime) The main cast boss is even more reviled than Charles Montgomery Burns and a standoff was unavoidable.
Dan Castellaneta (Homer, Grampa Simpson, Krusty the Clown, and others), Julie Kavner (Marge and others), Nancy Cartwright (Bart and others), Yeardley Smith (Lisa), Hank Azaria (Moe Szyslak, Chief Wiggum and Apu Nahasapeemapetilon), and Harry Shearer (Mr. Burns, Principal Skinner, Ned Flanders, and others) each earn about $8 million annually for about 22 weeks’ work. Fox offered a 45% pay cut with absolutely no sweeteners. The counteroffer took the form of a 30% cut with a tiny fraction of all the huge back-end profits the network receives from syndication and franchising. Fox said no way.
In the end, after 500 episodes and absolutely no fear of diluting a winning franchise, Fox says it’s not afraid of axing the longest running series in American TV history, either.
I say it’s about time.
The Simpsons and I parted ways the season when Homer and Marge ate uranium and Bart ate tomacco. I found the movie okay and that was pretty much it. It’s sad the animated sitcom didn’t find its Great Gazoo that would mercifully kill it, so that the memories of seven or eight good seasons could be preserved. But no, we have to endure craptacular irritating annoyance season after season in order to appreciate only two good quality episodes.
I cannot understand why people are raving mad about the series cancellation, even now we’re not sure if this is not a gimmick to embig a little bit the ratings. I cannot understand the twitter threads. I cannot understand the Facebook frenzy. 500 episodes is not enough?
Another fact is that The Simpsons were so groundbreaking that they had to take the same path of Citizen Kane and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They became revered artifacts but are not paid attention anymore. Don’t you think so? South Park is experiencing some of the same problems now; hey, even Family Guy is more interesting and funnier now (it will take the same path eventually).
The Simpsons started with the truly remarkable ambition of being more realistic than any flesh-and-blood sitcom of its time (Family Ties and The Cosby Show were on the crosshairs). It succeeded. Then it departed from its first goal having already changed pop culture forever; while the new flesh-and-blood sitcoms tried to capture its irreverence and joie de vivre, The Simpsons began its slow demise into irrelevance. By having a huge and loyal following, nobody noticed this.
It should have ended with a bang. Instead, the acrimony of a nasty divorce takes the spotlight instead of the series.
And no catchphrase will lighten me up now. Meh, indeed.
- The Simpsons: history of the series (telegraph.co.uk)
- Rupert Murdoch, boogeyman or antihero? I say: both of them. (sipmac.blogspot.com)
- Woo Hoo! The Simpsons could be given their very own TV channel (telegraph.co.uk)
- Money dispute may end ‘Simpsons’ (the dailybeast.com)
- Who turned The Simpsons into a cartoon? (slate.com)
- The Sipmsons: Th-th-th-that’s all folks? (sipmac.blogspot.com)