Tag Archives: The Simpsons Season 13

The Simpsons and the Division of Al Jean: “Little Girl in the Big Ten” (S13E20)

It’s fairly easy to divide up the first twelve years of the The Simpsons, into different eras based on who served as the showrunner for each season. Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, and Sam Simon established the show in its first two seasons. Al Jean and Mike Reiss took the series to new heights in Seasons 3 and 4. David Mirkin brought a more joke-heavy style in Seasons 5 and 6. Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein ran the show with a more experimental bent in its seventh and eighth seasons. And finally, Mike Scully presided over the series’ creative decline in Seasons 9-12. Each period within this time frame has its own style and sensibility that can be traced back to the individuals in charge.

After that, however, things get tricky. Al Jean returned as showrunner for Season 13, and  instead of the usual two-to-three year tour of duty on the job, he has proceeded to hang onto that title for over twelve years, producing more than 250 episodes in that time.

That’s nearly half of the show’s run, and it’s much more difficult to chop up those seasons up into discrete eras. Some of the show’s most ardent fans have thrown around terms like “Early Jean,” “Late Jean,” and “the HD era.” Some have tried to use The Simpsons Movie as a dividing line during Jean’s tenure. But it’s much harder to classify the gradual, sometimes rocky, evolution of the show under a single individual than it is to note the sharp changes in direction that came when different showrunners each brought their distinct visions for the series to the table.

(more…)

Posted in Television, The Simpsons | Tagged , , | 3 Comments