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Criticism of the Simpsons

Fans hold a wide range of views on which period in the show's history was the best. Some prefer the earliest seasons, particularly 2 and 3, when the show focused more on realistic, character-driven humour instead of what they perceive as cheap, throwaway gags. Others prefer seasons 4-7, when Al Jean/Mike Reiss, David Mirkin and Bill Oakley/Josh Weinstein were the show runners. Under Mirkin, the show began to focus more and more on social satire, as well as shifting focus away from young Bart to Homer.

In contrast, seasons 9-12 and the appointment of Mike Scully as show runner are often considered to be the show's lowest point creatively. While Scully's tenure featured a great deal of development of the show's supporting cast of characters (most notably Edna Krabappel, Principal Skinner, Ralph Wiggum, and Mr. Burns), it was highly criticized for shifting attention away from the Simpsons, with the exception of Homer. The show also became heavily reliant on celebrity guest stars (who almost always were cast to play themselves) and often episodes bent the rules of realism in order to justify these types of episodes.

But the biggest criticism of Scully's tenure as show runner was his reinvention of Homer. Under Scully, the character of Homer was criticized by many fans as having become unrealistically stupid and uncaring in most episodes, while inexplicably contradicting his own political and moral beliefs in others. This reinvention, referred to as "Jerkass Homer" by online fans, caused a large backlash from many long time fans of the series, who felt the show had "jumped the shark". Many such fans welcomed the return of Al Jean as show runner, calling it a return to the show's roots. However, many Simpson fans believe that, for the sake of the show's reputation, it should be cancelled. It's doubtful this will occur in the foreseeable future as the franchise is considered as profitable as ever by Fox television network.


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