As much as the show is not just arguably the biggest chapter in television's history, it probably defines my history a little more than it should. Simply put, I probably spent a good 10 percent of the 90's decade watching episodes of this fine little program. In college, when a friend and I decided to start taping them VHS-style, sparking, and watching them repeatedly, I felt like we invented the Spirograph. No matter how many times we watched a particular episode, we seemed to always discover something new.
When DVD players started to kill the VHS, I was saddened that my collection of VHS tapes, which contained every episode of the show seasons 1-9, would soon be outdated until they released Seasons 1 and 2, completely in order with no commercials, on DVD. This is why I bought my first DVD player. The opportunity to watch every Simpson's episode in a row and see the show's growth all over again was fascinating for me. Not only that, one could see when characters like Troy McClure (Season 2, Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment, #7F13) or Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel (Season 5, Bart Gets an Elephant, #1F15) or maybe Comic Book Guy (Season 2, Three Men and a Comic Book, #7F21) debuted for their first time.
At some point, and I don't know if it was because certain writers moved on, or producers moved on, or some rival animated series stole their best gags and made entire new shows off of them, or I simply stopped watching the show high, but the show stopped being entertaining. The waning started around Season 9 and seemed to continually drop off from there. The Golden Age of the Simpson's is particularly Seasons 3 – 6, but Season's 1-8 are all indeed classics.
There was always talk of a Simpson's Movie, but it always seemed like just that, jibber-jabber. Finally, now several years I've stopped watching the show on a regular basis, it happened. In short, it was quite good. Did it match anything compared to the golden age? No, but it did match some of the episodes around Seasons 7 & 8, and more importantly, the animation was incredible. People say nowadays, well, the animation is all done by computers ... I don't like that. Who cares? Does one need to feel the strain of drawer's hands in order to appreciate the formerly crude drawings?
The steps forward the show has taken is what sets it apart from other animated sitcoms. Over the past year or so, I've started DVRing the new episodes and some of them have been really good again. Yes, they still have their clunkers, but for the animation alone it's worth to watch once in awhile. For a show that just may last forever, I'm sure it's going to have up and down seasons depending on the writers and producers of the time. I believe they just finished Season 22 and I have to say it's probably the best season I've seen since 10 (I'll admit, I've missed most of Seasons 14-21 or something like that). The only way I can explain the improvement is they realized what made the show good again when they did the movie, or they got new writers, or new producers, or maybe it's all because I get high again when I watch it.