Is Post Season 3 Really That Bad?

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Hey everyone,
I hope everybody is doing ok, I've heard people say that Simpsons post season 3 is not that good and I'm wondering what you guys think about that? Nothing against the people that feel this way, it's just personally I think Simpsons is good up to the later seasons and season 4 I think has some great episodes too.
Season 4 and upwards have always seemed at the very least on-par with the quality of the previous seasons to me, if not better. A lot of people tend to agree that up to Seasons 8, 9 and 10 are where any sort of decline starts, though that's subjective. I can see where the idea that post-Season 3 is worse comes from, though. The first three seasons have their own kind of style and charm in a way.
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I agree with you about the first 3 seasons having there own charm which is why some people don't like post season 3, I guess it is subjective at the end of the day though, the first 10 seasons for me are amazing and I can watch to about season 20 and get some enjoyment out of it.
Growing up in the late 90s to early 2000s, my exposure to The Simpsons was when a majority of people were in agreement that the show was in decline due to the more outlandish nature of the gags and plots seeping it's way into the regular episodes (not just the Treehouse of Horror or non-canon ones). As such, I kinda associate the television series to an extent with these more 'wacky' episodes, even though I understand this is what began to turn people away from the series as a whole.

The first three seasons definitely feel a bit more grounded in reality and have a much more down to earth feel, but even that was starting to erode by then. An episode where Homer tries to find new purpose in life after being fired from his Power Plant job is fairly different in tone and feel than something like Bart accidentally getting roped up with the mob and believing the principal of his school was murdered. I think the reason why these more outlandish plots worked is because they just tip-toed on the boundaries of what 'worked' and what didn't. Characterization in Seasons 3-9 still felt pretty consistent and relatable, and worked great at satirizing issues in America. Homer fishing a British individual out of sugar is pretty silly, but isn't the driving force behind the plots themselves. It all works without turning the characters into broad stereotypes that exist for cheap laughs. Each Season up until 9 got a bit wackier with it's jokes which can definitely be offputting, but for me, I think it was Simpsons at it's peak. A good balance between being absurd and taking advantage of it's animated format, and using it to satirize society as a whole.

I think TheRealJims' video on 'The Computer Wore Menace Shoes' kinda illustrates where the series was going and puts my thoughts into post-Season 9 pretty well. It's still decently fun and creative even if these weird outlandish plots and gags became the main focus, but it's a fairly different show from what people would consider 'the golden years'.

So, eh. I like a lot of the stuff post-Season 4 and still consider it a decent time, with stuff between 4-9 being 'peak Simpsons' to me. Even something like Season 10-15 can be pretty funny going in with the mindset that it was more of a cartoon than anything else. I consider The Simpsons Movie (or Hit & Run) a good 'finale' to the entire series. I feel there was an earnest attempt to steer the series back into something more grounded when they switched to higher definition, but the series length kinda unfortunately made things a bit more stale. The more strict runtime the writers have received certainly doesn't help matters.

Super Eyepatch Wolf's retrospective on the series is also a fun watch if you haven't looked at it yet!
Growing up in the late 90s to early 2000s, my exposure to The Simpsons was when a majority of people were in agreement that the show was in decline due to the more outlandish nature of the gags and plots seeping it's way into the regular episodes (not just the Treehouse of Horror or non-canon ones). As such, I kinda associate the television series to an extent with these more 'wacky' episodes, even though I understand this is what began to turn people away from the series as a whole.

The first three seasons definitely feel a bit more grounded in reality and have a much more down to earth feel, but even that was starting to erode by then. An episode where Homer tries to find new purpose in life after being fired from his Power Plant job is fairly different in tone and feel than something like Bart accidentally getting roped up with the mob and believing the principal of his school was murdered. I think the reason why these more outlandish plots worked is because they just tip-toed on the boundaries of what 'worked' and what didn't. Characterization in Seasons 3-9 still felt pretty consistent and relatable, and worked great at satirizing issues in America. Homer fishing a British individual out of sugar is pretty silly, but isn't the driving force behind the plots themselves. It all works without turning the characters into broad stereotypes that exist for cheap laughs. Each Season up until 9 got a bit wackier with it's jokes which can definitely be offputting, but for me, I think it was Simpsons at it's peak. A good balance between being absurd and taking advantage of it's animated format, and using it to satirize society as a whole.

I think TheRealJims' video on 'The Computer Wore Menace Shoes' kinda illustrates where the series was going and puts my thoughts into post-Season 9 pretty well. It's still decently fun and creative even if these weird outlandish plots and gags became the main focus, but it's a fairly different show from what people would consider 'the golden years'.

So, eh. I like a lot of the stuff post-Season 4 and still consider it a decent time, with stuff between 4-9 being 'peak Simpsons' to me. Even something like Season 10-15 can be pretty funny going in with the mindset that it was more of a cartoon than anything else. I consider The Simpsons Movie (or Hit & Run) a good 'finale' to the entire series. I feel there was an earnest attempt to steer the series back into something more grounded when they switched to higher definition, but the series length kinda unfortunately made things a bit more stale. The more strict runtime the writers have received certainly doesn't help matters.

Super Eyepatch Wolf's retrospective on the series is also a fun watch if you haven't looked at it yet!

That's a really good evaluation, the first three seasons really are more down to earth compared to later seasons and are more relatable in that regard, personally I like the more cartoonish nature of the later seasons but I do still enjoy the first three seasons because of the realistic situations they tackle and appreciate them for what they are. I did watch TheRealJims video and it definitely help define what you are getting at and I agree with your points entirely, I'll probably watch Super Eyepatch Wolf's video later because it's a bit long for me (that's what she said) at the moment, thanks for the comment :)
Glad I was able to communicate what I was going for! Was worried the point was a bit muddled, but I think that review and particular episode nicely demonstrates what route the series was going down. Not bad in it's own right, but definitely a lot more wacky with characterization kinda going out the window (Homer's stupidity kinda driving the plot as opposed to him just sort of being a regular guy in an awkward situation).

Criticisms about the series even prior to this point are nothing new. I recall reading an interview snippet from Al Jean in which he states he had read some criticism around Season 4/5's air date that personally felt the series was running low on ideas? He then reflects on it, stating something along the lines of 'now they agree Season 4 is good. And now I'm like, I'm glad you guys agree!' I unfortunately have not been able to find this interview, and it's quite possible I'm confusing this with Mike Reiss (the other showrunner at the time). If anyone has any further information on it, I'd greatly appreciate seeing it. There are likely some more critical reviews of what people would now consider 'the golden years' of the show from this time period as well.

The cast has also spoken up about the series and it's decline in quality as early as the late 90s or early 2000s. Harry Shearer (voice of Burns, Ned, among many others) made some waves a while back stating he was departing from the series, wanting to pursue other things. He's been vocal about his personal opinions on the show prior to this, such as openly admitting he hated what The Principal and the Pauper did to Skinner's character during production, and was even interviewed back in 2004, citing the last three seasons (at the time of the interview) '...as among the worst, so Season 4 looks very good to me now.'

Yeardley Smith (voice of Lisa) had also commented on the cast personally feeling as if 'Marge Vs. The Monorail' as one of the worst episodes they ever did, despite it being a fan favorite (and Conan O'Brien's favorite episode he wrote while on the show's production crew). There's a small citation here, but I have not read the original source. This citation also claims there were some more personal negative reviews of the episode around the time it aired.

Basically, a lot of the criticisms towards the show post-Season 3 aren't terribly new. However, I think post-Season 3 is more of the same, but better! It's where the show found comfortable footing and really made the best of it's animated format and satire. It's really all down to personal preference, but I still think a fair amount of the episodes post Season-9 are worth a watch myself.
I enjoyed the 90s and 2000s Simpsons 2010s Simpson is when I stopped enjoying it but there are some hidden Gems