Everyone has their favorite episodes of the Simpsons, that goes without saying. You might be wondering, then why are you saying it. It goes without fail that with every new season of the Simpsons there comes the chorus of voices proclaiming that the show isn’t what it used to be. I have a theory as to why people think this way.
Consider that the Simpsons has been on the air for 15 years (hard to believe, but it is true) and it has been in syndication for most of those 15 years. In some areas you can watch the Simpsons for 2 hours a day. That is 4 episodes a day, 20 episodes a work week and whatever is on Saturday plus the episode at 8 on Sunday. That is a lot of Simpsons, and it is the reason that people think the show isn’t as good as it once was.
How did I make that leap of logic? Simpsons fans, as well as most other people, tend to remember the good times more than the bad. Therefore it follows that people remember their favorite episodes of the Simpsons, culled from a variety of seasons. All of these favorite episodes combine to form a mythical time when all Simpsons episodes are great. So many opportunities exist to watch the Simpsons one does not need to watch those episodes that do not measure up. This selective viewing reinforces the idea that the older episodes of the Simpsons are superior (excluding the first season of course).
Consequently, each new episode must be compared with only the best episodes of the Simpsons canon. Only two outcomes are possible, the new episode is embraced as a remembrance of how great the Simpsons were and is added to the criteria for future episodes, or the episode is rejected causing geeks everywhere to lament the decay of America’s longest running sitcom.