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Tag Archives: This American Life
The Simpsons is a television show that will forever be chasing its own shadow. I firmly believe that if your average viewer were to watch the episodes produced over the last five seasons or so, the general consensus would be that it’s generally a pretty good show. Unfortunately for showrunner Al Jean and the rest of the current Simpsons’ staff, their modern day output will always be measured against the seven or eight years when The Simpsons was one of the best shows on television, or to go one step further, if the good people at Time Magazine and your humble narrator are to be believed, the best show of all time. It can be a difficult task to live up to your own legacy.
Despite this challenge, Season 21 of The Simpsons produced a number of very good episodes, some of which even stack up pretty well against the episodes of the “Classic Era.” As has become customary, the latest season of The Simpsons consisted of a few big hits, a few big misses, and a large quantity of solidly enjoyable if unspectacular episodes in between. First and foremost, “O Brother, Where Bart Thou?” a tale of Bart’s quest for a younger brother, attained a level of quality that I did not believe the modern day Simpsons staff could reach anymore. Even with the proliferation of guest stars, usually a telltale sign of a weak episode, the story and the comedy fired on all cylinders the whole way through. It was touching, it was funny, it was well-constructed, and most of all it was entertaining from start to finish. Though Season 21’s hits managed to be a notch above those of prior recent seasons, this episode in particular stands apart as the best of the bunch.