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1%% Image removed per Image Pickin' thread: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=1555759311091668200²%% Please start a new thread if you'd like to discuss a new image.²%%²''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' has been on television since December 1989 (and since April 1987 if you include ''Series/TheTraceyUllmanShow'' shorts). It is the longest running sitcom in American television history, and as such the very definition of a LongRunner. However, the show was created in the late 1980s as a send-up of {{sitcom}}s throughout UsefulNotes/{{television}}'s then-40 year existence. Everything in their initial structure easily shows that fact, and the references they made were directed at people who grew up in that era, or to the then-current day.²²However, as television evolved (somewhat from the show's enormous influence on comedy and television), and societal trends and norms shifted, [[SeinfeldIsUnfunny a lot of the show's characters and themes did not.]] Most shows that are extremely long-running (and even some that are not so long-running) usually change characters, premises, or settings to keep relevant and bring in new story ideas. However, ''The Simpsons'' still has the same premise and almost all the same characters as it did when it premiered 30 years ago, with only a few recurring ones added over the years, with the same designs, mannerisms, and general backstory. In fact, current showrunner Creator/AlJean (who has been showrunner since ''2001'') has confirmed he has {{enforced|Trope}} the {{status quo|Is God}}, even undoing several of the changes the previous showrunner, Creator/MikeScully, oversaw.²²Also, due to its being animated and having a system of ComicBookTime, none of the characters have aged, except for a few scattered exceptions, almost none of whom are recurring characters. Because of this, various elements of the show are brought into the present even though they started as things that were very relevant and timely, but are no longer relevant in culture, or at least far less relevant. There are also some issues where character dynamics run for so long [[{{Flanderization}} that the writers forget why certain characters do or feel certain things.]] Often, the show will actually do episodes addressing these points, but because those elements are "iconic", refuse to properly update.²²This is not usually a problem that television shows, especially sitcoms, have, as shows typically end within their cultural era, and by the time such a show would need to drastically adapt, it had already been wrapped up years beforehand. If the show had aired new episodes for only 8-10 years (the typical length of a successful sitcom), as most viewers, cast, and crew expected the show to last, this datedness would have been far less noticeable and more forgivable, if it ever became an issue at all. The show would have be seen at best as a classic show heavily defined by its time, or at worst an UnintentionalPeriodPiece.²²''The Simpsons'' is basically a living fossil trapped in time, the only pop culture connection left from the early 90s, as every other television show from the time has LONG ended. For perspective, the start of ''the Simpsons'' happened closer to the Eisenhower presidency (1953-1961) than to today. [[TheArtifact After 30 years, spanning four decades, various things glaringly show their age:]]²²!!!Generic Structure²* The premise and set-up as a whole. Every member of the family was [[DeconstructedCharacterArchetype parodying, deconstructing, and/or subverting famous]] {{archetype}}s of sitcom families from UsefulNotes/TheFifties to UsefulNotes/TheEighties. However, because the Simpsons became so successful and iconic, [[DeadHorseTrope it pretty much destroyed the]] [[DomCom "wholesome family sitcom"]] {{genre}}. The shows they were heavily {{parody}}ing wrapped up by the mid-90s, and television moved heavily to sitcoms with more modern sensibilities, or ones with very different premises, such as [[RoommateCom ones about bachelors]] instead of families. Because of this, the characters lost all context. [[WeirdAlEffect From there, the characters at this point are known as the characters themselves, not what they were subverting.]]²* The Simpsons was born in an era where sitcoms were vastly different from today. In sitcoms, characters essentially never watched television, or even brought up television at all. Creator/MattGroening stated that given how much Americans watched TV, the idea that fictional characters who are supposed to represent us did not even acknowledge its existence was absolutely absurd. The Simpson family, especially in Seasons 1 and 2, was obsessed with television, with several plot points revolving around what is seen on television. From there, parodies of what is seen in television and movies came from that, and from there, the Simpsons became also known for its brilliant parodies of pop culture at a wit and speed unprecedented in sitcom history. This was a watershed moment in comedy that changed how parody was done in pop culture.²** Had ''the Simpsons'' wrapped up in the late 90s, it would be very fondly remembered as basically the father of modern television comedy, especially of animated comedy. Since the 90s, TV writers and producers started making shows inspired by the Simpsons's style and humor (and now, shows from people inspired by the Simpsons from watching it as children and/or teenagers). The Simpsons now has to compete with a landscape it inspired and created, against people creating parody using methods and writing styles that have since evolved and improved significantly. And now THOSE shows have inspired a new wave of writers and producers, with shows that begin and end and allow for a seamless evolution of entertainment while the Simpsons will always have its origins rooted firmly in the early 90s. A show usually does not have to go through this, because by the time a show fully creates such a landscape, it has already ended.²** ''The Simpsons'' has also had to compete against the show most clearly {{inspired by}} itself, ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy''. While the shows appear very similar in structure (suburban, blue collar NuclearFamily [[ABoyAGirlAndABabyFamily with 3 kids]] in a town with wacky inhabitants), ''Family Guy'' 's style of humor is very different (its trademark [[CutawayGag incessant cutaway gags]] for one), [[DenserAndWackier and is far less grounded in reality, with more overt references, crass jokes, and fantastical moments.]] The show was cancelled after 2 seasons, but was picked up for a third at the last minute, and then cancelled after that season. However, it was revived in 2005 after very impressive DVD sales and huge ratings success in syndication, and became the newest animated comedy to talk about. ''The Simpsons'' tried to incorporate ''Family Guy'' 's humor and writing style into their own, but as the Simpsons was not originally meant to have such a style, it usually does not work well.²²!!!Internet Killed the TV Star²* The Simpsons also came in a time where {{the Internet}} was not in mainstream usage. In 1989, only 15% of households owned a computer, and the World Wide Web had JUST been invented that year (and it was only used by scientists at CERN to share documents). So television was America's main source of pop culture and satire. Back then, television was more of a great cultural unifier, with very large pop culture moments having a lot of gravitas, often still being remembered decades later. This was especially true at the time since there were only [[Creator/{{ABC}} three]] [[Creator/{{CBS}} main]] [[Creator/{{NBC}} channels]] (and the Simpsons helped Creator/{{FOX}} become a fourth), and cable and satellite were expensive and did not have a lot of original programming. UsefulNotes/PrimeTime television was the only mainstream method of popular television, so reruns of old shows and movies on main channels and cable were common. Because people more solidly remembered old movies and TV shows, and very common reruns helped get newer viewers up to speed, satire and parody of old pop culture was a sure winner. It also helped that the Simpsons wrote their parodies broadly enough that they were still very enjoyable to a viewer who did not get the references.²* However, two major, interrelated things have shifted that completely killed this landscape.²** The first was the evolution of television. By the mid-to-late 1990s, cable television started to have more original programming. This led to more competition, and more split markets. This splintered the unifying nature of television, and made it more easily cater to specific tastes. So general pop culture references weren't as memorable or easy to parody with all the variety and constant deluge of new shows. Also, reruns became less and less common, so as various movies and famous moments faded into history, references were lost and a new generation never learned about them collectively. And while the Simpsons pushed the envelope on what you could get away with on television, cable channels (especially the premium ones, like HBO and Showtime) had fewer broadcast standards to abide by, so they had fewer creative constraints. Today, the most successful shows are on cable or premium channels.²** The second is the proliferation of the Internet. By 2000, a majority of Americans had internet access. This created the same phenomenon as cable television (but on a far bigger, more general scale), because with the Internet, there was a far bigger quantity of news, and it came faster than ever before, and making older references is going to make you look out-of-touch. There was also the fact that the Internet was a new time-killer instead of television, letting everyone find their niches and not watch television to pass the time. This already-tectonic shift was then exponentially multiplied in the mid-to-late 2000s when internet speeds vastly increased, and casual usage of the Internet became a part of everyday life for almost all Americans.²** This was then FURTHER multiplied by the invention of smartphones. Instead of waiting until you got home or to work to use the Internet, you can use it literally anywhere you go. And with social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+, along with news apps that give notifications, news and opinions of said news are broadcast and consumed worldwide and instantaneously, making all pop culture work on a very abbreviated schedule. Due to the Simpsons's long production cycle, this leads to looking [[WereStillRelevantDammit/TheSimpsons incredibly behind the times]] even if it was just a year ago. By the time the Simpsons gets a crack at a new trend, the episode about it doesn't air until the trend is long dead, or it airs after all the social media feeds, late-night talk show hosts, comedians, WebComics, and web shows already squeezed out every possible joke about it, and then got bored with it.²** Also, with higher internet speeds, came television shows released on the Internet. Unlike the 90s where television only competed with itself, today there are HUNDREDS of shows to pick from on Creator/{{Netflix}}, Website/YouTube, Creator/{{Hulu}}, Creator/{{Amazon}} Creator/{{Prime|Video}}, and many other choices. With the ENORMOUS variety available to people, making pop culture parody is very difficult these days, so most other comedy shows have stopped trying, instead parodying more general aspects of society. Because essentially all of today's other shows came out in an era when this fast pace of life was a given, they usually account for this instead of hoping it doesn't exist.²** In short, the Simpsons didn't have much competition (except a few other networks) in its prime, and most jokes it could tell about pop culture people would collectively understand. Today, it has to compete with other channels, basic cable channels, premium cable channels, webcomics, the Internet's original programming, Website/YouTube, and countless other sources.²²!!!America's Favorite Family²* The RunningGag of [[AbusiveParents Homer strangling Bart]] was yet another one of the many subversions of traditional sitcoms of the period, as Homer's knee-jerk response of strangling his son for troublemaking came off as a shocking and hilarious demonstration of Homer's character. As time as gone on, however, the joke stopped being shocking ([[WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy Peter Griffin]] on a good day still makes Homer look like a saint by comparison) and the realistic method of attack combined with advancements in studies on the effect of physical abuse on children makes the joke more uncomfortable than anything else. Like many things, the show [[Recap/TheSimpsonsS22E17LoveIsAManyStrangledThing did an episode discussing this]], but completely missed the point when it came to actually addressing it, creating a massive FamilyUnfriendlyAesop that implied such treatment was required to prevent Bart from going too far, and then going back to doing it as soon as the episode finished. ²* The family cars have remained generic family sedans/station wagon-type cars that were already outdated by the 1980s/early 1990s, but still serviceable. Needless to say, cars have substantially changed in appearance, performance, and features over the last 30 years. Occasionally, an episode comes along where they are driving a new car, and that car usually fits the time period of the episode, but they always go back to the original cars by the next episode.²* The family TV in their living room was an old rabbit-ears CRT television until the late 2000s. In the 60s-80s, families often had only one TV, due to how big and expensive they were, and kept them for long periods of time. During the 90s and 00s, however, most Americans got cable/satellite (often with DVR), the price of [=TVs=] themselves plummeted, and bulky, standard-definition CRT televisions were almost completely phased out in favor of much lighter, flat-screen high-definition TV. As of the present day, not one factory on Earth manufactures cathode ray tubes, and the CRT TV is essentially an extinct, worthless product that even charities refuse [[note]]with the only exception being retro gamers and competitive ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBrosMelee'' players, since modern televisions with old game hardware have an input delay unseen to the common eye, but for twitch reflexes in gaming, it is important[[/note]]. In 2009, the Simpsons living room television was finally upgraded to a modern HD flat-screen (to symbolize the show itself moving to HD), although in some scenes, it goes back to the original design.²* Homer still working outside the safety room at the Power Plant in the opening theme may be this. Although zigzagged, Homer has since been shown the main role of working as the "Nuclear Safety Inspector" for the most part with the openings appearing with the same depiction of him mostly working as the other employees work.²* Marge's BeehiveHairdo. In the 1970s and 1980s, that hairstyle, along with other "big hair" styles were at the forefront of hair trends. So a woman having that hairstyle in a sitcom made sense and fit the era. However, as the 1990s went on, the trend died out, and emphasis was placed on longer and/or less voluminous hair. By the 2000s, the beehive and other styles of the 1980s were considered completely retro. Anyone with Marge's hairstyle today would be very conspicuous. In the Season 28 episode "[[Recap/ThesimpsonsS28E19MohoHouse Moho House]]", Marge inexplicably has a more modern, shorter hairstyle for a majority of the episode. This is likely what hairstyle Marge would have if the show premiered today.²²!!!Character Designs²* The show in its infancy (Season 1 and especially the Tracey Ullman shorts) had a rather crude art style. The Simpsons family members were drawn with hair the same color as their head, or a bunch of lines (like Homer's bald head). The exception is Marge, originally drawn with a beehive of realistic proportions, but soon became the trademark insanely tall hairstyle she is famous for, although with blue hair the entire time. A few nameless background characters were indeed drawn this way as well (including one random man waiting at the bus stop where Bart steals the sign in the Season 1 intro). Also, Homer and Grandpa (as well as Lenny, Krusty, and a few other characters) all have brown muzzles signaling beard growth. Many side characters had these style choices as well, and the character designs fit in with the rest of the show's style at that point.²* However, by the start of Season 2, things changed very markedly. Due to the show's enormous success, the second season was given a much bigger budget, and most of the show's rough and crude animation style was heavily cleaned up. Characters and locations started to look much more polished. Character designs of new characters started to be far more realistic and detailed, with the exception of some background characters. There were some exceptions, of course, like Herb Powell still having a brown muzzle, although that was almost definitely to show family resemblance. And Comic Book Guy had a small goatee the same color as his skin...even though he had brown hair. So newer characters were more polished, but the original characters did not look too out of place.²* By season 3, though, the show was even MORE polished with an even bigger budget, and literally all new character designs were similar to those today. Absolutely no new characters with brown muzzles and lined hair were created. No characters with unusual hair color were created. While these rules were occasionally broken for crowd scenes and background characters, it stayed true for any named characters and/or those in the foreground. This was basically the style that the show has stayed with, although the animation gets crisper with each season. Eventually, even the exceptions went away.²* However, during all of this, no characters created in the first two seasons were redesigned. Marge and the Van Houtens have blue hair when literally no one else does (although Patty and Selma also have strange colored hair). Homer has one line around his head signifying baldness, when every other bald character in the show has more realistic, full sides of the head (e.g. Superintendent Chalmers or Kirk Van Houten). Also, Homer's cylindrical head shape is not used with any other character since Season 2. Bart, Lisa, and Maggie are the only ones with hair color the same as their skin.²* Even by Season 4 and 5, it was obvious what characters were created in which season, but since the appearance of the characters were so iconic, nobody really complained or took issue with it. However, after thirty years, and being surrounded by thousands of character designs that only get more detailed and crisper with each passing year, [[NonStandardCharacterDesign it is absurdly glaring that the Simpsons (and the original characters from the very early years) are just weirdly drawn people in an increasingly realistically drawn world]] (except for the fact that every light-skinned person is still yellow and everyone still has FourFingeredHands).²* As any long-running show, The Simpsons has undergone a lot of ArtEvolution. When the original Season 1 intro was reanimated for the second season, it still reused some traced-over animation from the former one, resulting in some of it being rather subtly clashing with the usual animation of the show, while also keeping some other quirks (such as Homer's pink sedan being a two-door). This version of the intro remained in use for many years until the high definition update in 2009.²²!!![[TimeMarchesOn The Time-frame]]²Certain aspects of the show avert ComicBookTime, causing these characters to each be a RefugeeFromTime. A common thread running through these is that most of the characters were originally established as baby boomers (or parents of baby boomers), but today, baby boomers are the ascending elderly generation while their parents are passing away, not the young and middle-aged adults:²* Homer and Marge being teens in UsefulNotes/TheSeventies. This made sense when the show started... since people in their 30s would have been in high school in the 1970s, but as the show went on, 30-somethings would have grown up in UsefulNotes/TheEighties and UsefulNotes/TheNineties, and now, even [[TurnOfTheMillennium the 00s]]. Certain episodes like "[[Recap/TheSimpsonsS19E11That90sShow That '90s Show]]", "[[Recap/TheSimpsonsS25E3FourRegrettingsAndAFuneral Four Regrettings and a Funeral]]", and "[[Recap/TheSimponsS29E13ThreeScenesPlusATagFromAMarriage Three Scenes Plus A Tag From A Marriage]]" attempted to address this, but they generally didn't stick, the former heavily panned by critics and longtime fans. The "Bart and Homer's Excellent Adventure" segment from "[[Recap/TheSimpsonsS24E2TreehouseOfHorrorXXIII Treehouse of Horror XXIII]]" pokes fun at this by depicting Bart travelling back to the events of Season 2's WholeEpisodeFlashback "[[Recap/TheSimpsonsS2E12TheWayWeWas The Way We Was]]" in 1974... from 2012.²* Abe Simpson being a UsefulNotes/WorldWarII veteran. This is not wholly implausible, since a good amount of WWII veterans are still alive (although they are dwindling by the day; as of the end of 2018, only about 500,000 out of the original 16 million are still living). However, he has a 30-something son, and was clearly established to have taken care of Homer as a middle-aged man in the 1960s-70s. Most WWII veterans alive today have children in their 60s and 70s, since all of them are in their late 80s to 90s or even pushing 100 and beyond.²* Mona Simpson falling in with hippies in UsefulNotes/TheSixties. The episode introducing her and her backstory aired in the fall of 1995, and revealed she ran from the family to escape the police after a lab raid in 1969. In 1995, a 30-something man like Homer would have been approximately 7-10 years old, as Homer was shown to be. However, as the show went on, and she made two other appearances before dying (and many other appearances afterwards in flashbacks), the backstory didn't change, even though 30-somethings would no longer have been alive in UsefulNotes/TheSixties, and since elements of the hippie movement completely died out or became incorporated into mainstream society by UsefulNotes/TheSeventies (and especially UsefulNotes/TheEighties), the backstory makes increasingly less sense.²* Principal Skinner being heavily established as a veteran of UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar. In the 80s and 90s, most Vietnam War veterans were middle-aged Baby Boomers, so a stern school principal having this backstory would make perfect sense. However, today, most Vietnam war veterans are retired and/or in their 60s and 70s, so a man Skinner's age would likely have been a small child during the war, or not even born yet.²* Montgomery Burns has Victorian-era memories (or at the very least, pre-WWI memories) that would make him absurdly old at this point. In the 1990 episode "Simpson and Delilah", Burns tells Homer that he's 81 years old, which would place his birth date in 1908 at the earliest. Burns's age was then exaggerated in later seasons; by the mid-90s he was usually stated to be 104 years old. While this is of course an age that most people never reach, it's still not downright absurdly old. At that point in the series, flashbacks to Burns's childhood were usually implied to take place in the late 1800s, which made sense since the episodes aired in the 1990s. The thing is though, that even in the episodes airing now in the 2010s, Burns still seems to be a child of the late 1800s (or very early 1900s), having had vivid memories of the time. By 2000, the amount of people born in or before 1900 were down to a very select few, and was heavily female. By 2018, literally all of them are dead.²²!!!Ethnic Stereotypes²The show made great use of {{Funny Foreigner}}s, such as Luigi Risotto, Groundskeeper Willie, and especially Apu (see below). They were created in a time when ethnic stereotypes were far more acceptable in comedy, but due to cultural shifts, no show today would create [[EthnicScrappy characters like them anymore]].²* Apu Nahasapeemapetilon in particular was created to be a {{stereotype}} of [[AsianStoreOwner the ethnic store clerk]], voiced by the white Creator/HankAzaria, but due to the increased Indian population in America, as well as changing ethnic norms and taboos, [[EthnicScrappy doing this today would be considered offensive.]] His depiction has become the target for a lot of Indian-American people in recent years, especially from actors who'd had to go through thousands of auditions where they'd be asked to do some variation on his stereotypical voice, not to mention dealt with racism from people making fun of them by doing that voice. Comedian Hari Kondabolu once described him as "a white guy doing an impression of a white guy doing an impression of my dad," and went as far as to make a documentary, ''Film/TheProblemWithApu'', discussing his and other Indian people's complicated relationship with this show and the character and acknowledging that it has as much to do with a general lack of representation of Indians in American media as it did with Apu himself.²** In rebuttal to this, [[FairForItsDay many have said that Apu was a relatable, fleshed-out character with a realistic, down-to-earth backstory, at a time when Indians did not get much positive representation (if any representation at all) in American television.]] While you could feasibly make this argument in the classic era, in the modern era, he, like most characters, severely regressed and he is basically a crude Indian stereotype. Also, this was addressed in the above documentary, saying that while Apu was not the WORST possible representation of an Indian, it was still not extremely flattering for the aforementioned reasons, he was still played by a white actor, and he was pretty much the ONLY representation of Indians in pop culture.²** The show actually provided a rebuttal to this documentary in a [[Recap/TheSimpsonsS29E15NoGoodReadGoesUnpunished season 29 episode]], using an allegory of Marge wanting to share with Lisa a book she loved as a child, but realizes it is rather offensive by modern standards. However, the episode badly and confusingly bungled it, completely ridiculing the idea and mocking people for not allowing for or being able to handle ValuesDissonance of an old character... which would be a somewhat appropriate response if the Simpsons had ended in TheNineties, but the Simpsons is still on television, with Apu still appearing. Again, most shows would not have this problem because by the time such major cultural shifts culminate, the show has long ended.²* Bumblebee Man was a parody of strange Spanish-language sitcoms found on obscure channels in the 90s (specifically, ''Series/ElChapulinColorado''). Today, with Latino media being far more mainstream (both in the English and Spanish-speaking communities), most viewers, especially younger ones, will likely have no idea what he is supposed to be. This is slightly justified in that his appearances in more modern episodes are mostly reduced to crowd scenes, but sometimes he talks and has the same shtick he did in 1995.²²!!!Other Characters²* Jeff "Comic Book Guy" Albertson was originally established as a {{composite|Character}} {{parody}} of rude, {{nerd}}y shut-ins and of angry Simpsons nerds of the time, since they were the most vocal, given their access to the then-nascent Internet. However, as TheInternet grew in usage, both of these factors were weakened. First, by the late 90s, when the Internet became far more widely used, everyone watching the Simpsons now had an outlet for their opinion, diluting the opinions of the hardcore nerds. Two, because of the Internet, nerd culture became more far more accepted and diverse (not just in demographics, but in interests: {{film}} buffs, {{otaku}}s, gamers, {{comic book}} nerds, [[Franchise/MyLittlePonyGeneration4 Bronies]], [[Franchise/StarTrek Trekkies]], [[Franchise/DoctorWho Whovians]], etc.). So while the image of a lonely, angry, fat, white man obsessed with comic books is still understood, it is nowhere near the {{archetype}} it once was. For what it's worth, later episodes appear to be putting some effort into modernizing Comic Book Guy by expanding his nerdy repertoire (albeit still keeping him grounded in American ComicBooks) and having him find love with a woman who is into {{anime}}, {{Magical Girl}}s and {{Kawaii|ko}} stuff.²* This is more of a result of decades of {{backstory}} rather than time in the real world passing, but the fact that Moe calls Marge "Midge" is an example of writers forgetting context. In the classic era, Moe had very little interaction with the Simpsons aside from Homer's common visits to his tavern, and when he did, he clearly did not care (with one or two exceptions in Seasons 1-3, but that can likely be chalked up to EarlyInstallmentWeirdness). Moe did not care much about Homer's home life, and hence didn't really know or care about Marge's real name, so whenever they did meet up, he called her "Midge" (although sometimes, he did correctly call her Marge), showing his lack of knowledge. However, as the show went on, Moe spent much more time with all the members of the Simpsons (working with Marge to build a British pub, taking care of Maggie, Lisa helping him write poetry), to the point where he is essentially a family friend. It no longer makes sense for him not to know Marge's name. This was addressed in Season 28 with "[[Recap/ThesimpsonsS28E19MohoHouse Moho House]]", but it proves the writers forgot the reason why, because Moe says he has no idea why he does it.²* The hatred that Homer has for Ned Flanders makes no sense anymore due to how dynamics have shifted. At the beginning of the show, Homer's resentment of Flanders was out of pure jealousy. Flanders had everything Homer wished he had: a beautiful and caring wife, well behaved and loving kids, enough money to live very comfortably, and beloved by the town. And while Homer could be miserable, Flanders was always cheerful -- the origin of Flanders's religiosity was simply that, while Homer struggled to even stay awake in church, Flanders actively looked forward to it. [[ThisLoserIsYou The Simpsons were the dumpy, everyman family constantly beaten down by the world]], [[AlwaysSomeoneBetter and the Flanderses were the successful, perfect neighbors.]] But as the show went on, the Simpsons became less beaten down and soon most episodes were about how awesome their lives were. Money never seems to be an issue anymore, and the Flanderses have completely changed. Maude was killed off, Ned turned from the perfect neighbor into a goofy but nosy, crazily religious moralizer, and Rod and Todd turned from naive and good-behaved to creepily sheltered. It makes absolutely no sense for Homer to be jealous of him. ²** Ned's {{Flanderization}} is an example of this in itself because it shows the writers forgetting the point behind a joke, namely that Ned was ''supposed'' to be a traditional sitcom dad compared to the subversion that Homer was, with his religiosity being another symbol of him as a "ideal" American father. Once that archetype had vanished from the American consciousness (if anything, the BumblingDad is now the norm and Ned is now the subversion), the Flanders family was left without any kind of role. Thus, the idea of them being obsessed with religion, despite the already ''having'' a character (Reverend Lovejoy) who was used to comment on religion since the early seasons.²* The sporadically recurring character Database was created as a extreme nerd stereotype who looked and talked like Pat from ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' (although unlike Pat's premise of {{ambiguous gender}}, Database clearly identifies as male). While Pat's last appearance in any media was in August 1994 (with the BoxOfficeBomb of ''Film/ItsPat''), six months before Database's first appearance (February 1995), this was still a fresh reference that most people figured out. But Pat's presence in pop culture pretty much faded away shortly after, and is mostly forgotten by younger generations, so he has basically become a funny-looking nerdy kid with an annoyingly strange voice. Also, with Pat considered today a questionably transphobic premise, or at the very least, inconsiderate to those who identify as non-binary in terms of gender, most try to leave the character in the past.²* Drederick Tatum was an obvious parody of Creator/MikeTyson, along with his manager Lucius Sweet, an obvious parody of Tyson's manager Don King. In TheNineties, Tyson was a very prominent and famous (as well as infamous) boxing champion, so satire of him on the Simpsons and in other media was common. While Mike Tyson is still alive and well, and is mentioned somewhat regularly in pop culture, he no longer boxes, and he is nowhere near as relevant as he once was. However, Tatum still appears, sometimes just to say a few lines.²* Judge Snyder, the judge who presides over almost every plot-relevant case in the show, is based on former judge Robert Bork. Robert Bork became very well-known in the 1980s as an appellate judge, a legal activist, and (most famously) his failed nomination to the Supreme Court in 1987. However, Bork retired from being a judge in 1988, making Judge Snyder already a mostly outdated reference. But with anyone born in the 1990s likely knowing nothing of Bork, and Bork's death in 2012, Snyder is now completely outdated with the {{satire}} lost.²* The Blue-Haired Lawyer (he is never given a name onscreen, nor is it AllThereInTheManual) is shown to be Mr. Burns' attorney (or lead attorney), as well as the attorney for most businesses and wealthy people in Springfield, and also is a defense attorney for the government occasionally. Unlike many of the other lawyers in the show, he is shown to be extremely competent and diligent, and [[AmoralAttorney defends his client very ruthlessly and professionally]]. His nasally voice with the New York accent is clearly based on that of Roy Cohn, the New York attorney most famous for helping Wisconsin Senator Joseph [=McCarthy=] conduct his Communism witch hunts in the early to mid 50s, being UsefulNotes/DonaldTrump's lawyer in the 1970s (as well as the lawyer for many of New York's prominent businessmen and mafiosos), and for being revealed as gay and dying of AIDS in 1986 (although while dying, he insisted it was liver cancer). Despite his death, Cohn was very well-known in the 1990s for his very cutthroat, ruthless messaging and methods, and his using of [=McCarthyism=] to basically blacklist and exterminate any political opponents. However, since the 90s, he has mostly faded into history, with newer generations knowing little about him, so today the Blue-Haired Lawyer is just a lawyer with an unnecessarily silly voice that only masks his competence instead of exemplifying it.²* [[MayorPain Mayor Joe Quimby]] still works today as a {{satire}} of {{corrupt|politician}}, [[SleazyPolitician womanizing]] politicians, but he is clearly supposed to be a parody of the Kennedys, such as the obvious UsefulNotes/{{Boston}} accent, the liberal reputation, the family compound, the large Catholic family, and the demeanors and personalities of him and his family members. In the 1990s, the Kennedy political family was still rather relevant. The two brothers, President UsefulNotes/JohnFKennedy and Senator UsefulNotes/RobertFKennedy, were both gunned down in their prime (the former while President, and the latter while running for president) and were still fondly remembered by Baby Boomers. Their brother Edward "Ted" Kennedy (who Quimby most strongly resembles) was still a very powerful Senator, having had been in office since 1962. However, as the Kennedy assassinations faded into history (and because of ValuesDissonance, people today are not as forgiving the Kennedys for their womanizing and major transgressions as people in the past did), and fewer Kennedys were rising to take their place, the Kennedys have lost their omnipresence: ²** Ted Kennedy died in August 2009, and his Senate seat was then occupied by Republican Scott Brown for 3 years in a shocker special election in January 2010, blunting his legacy until liberal firebrand Elizabeth Warren defeated Brown in November 2012.²** UsefulNotes/{{Connecticut}} State Senator Edward Kennedy Jr., Ted Kennedy's older son, was elected in 2014, but left office in 2019.²** UsefulNotes/RhodeIsland Congressman Patrick Kennedy, Ted Kennedy's younger son, retired from Congress in 2010 due to his drug problems.²** UsefulNotes/{{Massachusetts}} Congressman Joe Kennedy III, grandson of Robert Kennedy, was elected in 2012, and re-elected in 2014, 2016, and 2018, and, as of now, is the only member of the family currently in political office, or considered to have any future ambitions.²* Minor example, but Dr. Julius Hibbert started as an obvious parody of Dr. Huxtable from ''Series/TheCosbyShow''. The show was one of ''The Simpsons'''s competitors in their time slot, so it made comedic sense to have a character that mocked/played homage to their main competitor. However, ''The Cosby Show'' ended in 1992, but Dr. Hibbert kept his mannerisms, although he was never a true {{Expy}} and had his own quirks and personality. However, he is still the result of a reference that references something irrelevant today. Creator/BillCosby is relevant today for... other reasons, but his character Dr. Huxtable has mostly faded from pop culture.²** Also, other aspects of his Cosby similarities were phased out. He originally had a family and a house very similar to that of the Huxtables. However, while his wife Bernice is an occasionally recurring character, his children were also completely forgotten, with the exception of the occasional crowd scene.²* Rainier Wolfcastle, or [=McBain=], is an obvious {{Expy}} of Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger, down to such detail he is basically a CaptainErsatz. When he first appeared in the early 90s, Schwarzenegger was easily one of the biggest movie stars in the world, with almost every form of entertainment [[TheAhnold having a parody of him in some way]]. Wolfcastle was also used to parody other 80s and 90s action stars, and his [=McBain=] movies are obvious parodies of 80s and 90s {{action|genre}} movies.²** By the mid to late 90s, Schwarzenegger's career was in decline, although only relatively from the amazing heights of the 80s and early 90s. So even by Seasons 10-11, making fun of him was still relevant. However, his movie career ended when he became governor of UsefulNotes/{{California}} in 2003, and while he made a few movies after leaving office, it is nowhere even close to the heights he had in the 80s and 90s. Despite this, Wolfcastle still appeared regularly when pop culture mostly moved on. While Schwarzenegger never truly slipped into obscurity during this time, a show that premiered today would likely never even consider creating a character solely dedicated to satirizing him.²* Otto Mann, the school bus driver, is clearly a Simpsonized take of 1980s metal-head teenagers (despite being a man in his 30s), with the long hair, the constant obsessions with 1970s and 1980s rock bands, his musical skills, the "surfer dude" voice, his slacker attitude and casual substance abuse, and his ever-present tape player with large headphones. Characters like this were commonly satirized in the late 80s and early 90s, with ''Film/BillAndTed'' and ''WesternAnimation/BeavisAndButtHead'', just to name a few. However, as musical tastes changed, and those teenagers grew into adults, and the new generation of teenagers had very different cultural and musical tastes, these satires obviously faded into history as products of their time. However, Otto stayed on, with his personality and mannerisms identical from the start. Tape players are extremely obsolete, but Otto still uses his. He still makes references to 1970s and 1980s rock bands, even though that was very clearly not the popular music when a man his age was a teenager. Lately, though, Otto just appears to make a drug reference or a joke about drug trips and hallucinations. There is also the odd, behind-the-scenes strangeness of Harry Shearer, a man in his mid-70s, still doing an 80s SurferDude voice.²* Professor Frink was heavily based on Creator/JerryLewis's character Julius Kelp from 1963's ''Film/{{The Nutty Professor|1963}}''. In the 90s and early 2000s, this character was still well-remembered by Baby Boomers and pop culture, but by the mid-to-late 2000s, most of the newer generation had never heard of Jerry Lewis, or [[AdaptationDisplacement more often associated the title]] with the 1996 Creator/EddieMurphy [[Film/TheNuttyProfessor1996 version]]. With Jerry Lewis's death in 2017, the character has become a relic.²* Herman Hermann, the head of the military antiques shop, is a very minor example, partly because he was mostly phased out of the show. His appearance is based heavily on Simpsons writer John Swartzwelder (who left the show after season 15), and his voice is based on President UsefulNotes/GeorgeHWBush, who was president at the time of the beginning seasons. At the beginning, this worked as a fun reference and an interesting character, especially since Bush was a harsh critic of the show. However, Bush lost to UsefulNotes/BillClinton in 1992, and mostly faded from public life. As such, a character with his voice is a strange reference to make by the mid-to-late 90s, and especially now with Bush's death in late 2018.²** This is somewhat excused because Herman, while clearly originally intended to be a regularly recurring character, fell out of prominence very quickly and only VERY sporadically appeared up to Season 9 (with two cameos in Season 24 and one in Season 30), although he appeared often in crowd scenes. He likely disappeared because other characters could fill his niche in likely much funnier ways, as Herman was not exactly a lighthearted character, and any shady business would likely be done more funnily with someone like Moe, Snake, or Mr. Burns.²* Julio was introduced in Season 14 as a gay character. At the time, he was portrayed as [[CampGay a very stereotypical Hispanic gay person: he looked like a young boy-toy, talked with a lisp, and was flamboyant, wealthy, and highly cultured.]] Even at the time, this was slightly jarring, especially since ''The Simpsons'' had been known at that point for respectfully showing gay characters as nuanced, ordinary people as far back as 1990, when it was almost unheard of for television shows to have ANY gay characters of any kind. As cultural and political views shifted, over the course of the TurnOfTheMillennium and UsefulNotes/TheNewTens, gay stereotypes became more offensive and unacceptable in comedy, but Julio still appears unchanged. If anything, it is worse today, because what little characterization he had was dropped to being a one-note character who has whatever stereotypical job a gay person has. A show coming out today would not make a character like Julio unless they wanted a ton of hate mail.²* Disco Stu started as a sight gag involving Homer's "Disco Stud" jacket. Afterwards, he became a more and more commonly occurring, repeating the same joke as [[DiscoDan someone still engulfed in the 1970s disco culture]]. In the 1990s, it worked, because many viewers remember {{disco}} and [[DeaderThanDisco the huge backlash that ensued in 1980]], and how someone who still embraces it is considered extremely silly and pathetic. However, as the disco era faded further into history, such a joke no longer hits since the context for the joke was lost. Despite this, Disco Stu still appeared very often to make this joke. Also, with elements of disco being incorporated into today's modern dance music, and some retro trends returning, someone embracing 1970s fashion is not as much of a joke as it was in the 1990s. Also, this potentially plays into being a RefugeeFromTime, because unlike the mid-90s when relatively young and middle-aged people had been around in the disco era, anyone alive today that was engulfed in disco culture would be approaching senior citizen status, making Disco Stu's relative youth and energy increasingly out of place.²* Raphael (also known as the Wise Guy) is a mustachioed man who is the storekeeper or delivery man for several random shops and jobs throughout Springfield. He has a very sarcastic attitude towards people, and tends to be rather dismissive of customers. His voice is clearly based on Creator/CharlesBronson, a man famous for his roles in ''[[Film/TheMagnificentSeven1960 The Magnificent Seven]]'', ''Film/TheGreatEscape'', ''Film/OnceUponATimeInTheWest'', and the ''Film/DeathWish'' series. He had been extremely well-known for decades, so his voice and mannerisms were easily recognized by viewers. This connection is confirmed by the fact that whenever Charles Bronson (or everyone in Bronson, Missouri) appears, Creator/HankAzaria uses the exact same voice. However, Bronson died in 2003, and his movies are no longer watched and remembered the same way. In fact, ''[[Film/TheMagnificentSeven2016 The Magnificent Seven]]'' and ''[[Film/DeathWish2018 Death Wish]]'' have already been remade for a modern audience. However, Raphael still appears with the same voice.²²!!!America's crud-bucket, Springfield²* Even WhereTheHellIsSpringfield, an idea famous enough that it is the TropeNamer, is an example. The sitcoms that the show satirized were very intent on showing the idea of an All-American family, and thus very deliberately avoided identifying the state and used the VERY common town name of Springfield (there are over 30 Springfields across America - only Wisconsin has 5) to create and mock that sense of "it could be anywhere". Granted, this was more reflective of the shows in the 1950s, such as ''Series/LeaveItToBeaver'', ''Series/FatherKnowsBest'' (which actually took place in a town called Springfield), and ''Series/TheAdventuresOfOzzieAndHarriet'', since most shows after the 1950s had a setting of a real location, usually a suburb of a prominent Midwestern or Northeastern city (the suburb or town itself is sometimes fictional, but its basic location is not). But Springfield was left jokingly vague, and blatant aversions and teases of outright stating the state was a humorous lampshading of such an idea. It eventually got to the point where Springfield's geographical location could not possibly exist in reality due to contradicting facts about it.²** But two problems arose:²*** 1) The show has been on television for so long that the joke has gotten old. Once it was essentially revealed that Springfield could not exist anywhere, that became the joke, and then that also got old. To add onto it, Matt Groening stated in 2012 that Springfield is in UsefulNotes/{{Oregon}}, his home state... even though that contradicts a few episodes and the jokes about it have not stopped since then.²*** 2) Almost no sitcom on television does this anymore. Outside of children's shows, almost every sitcom in recent years takes place in a real city (or at least a real state, or just BigApplesauce), with all the cultural references of that region being part of the show's setting and aesthetic. Sitcoms no longer try to create a "perfect, All-American family" that could live anywhere... somewhat because the Simpsons deconstructed and parodied them to oblivion.²** So essentially, like many things on this list, the gags about the location of Springfield are now satirizing an idea which no longer exists.²* Even the nuclear power plant falls into this. It was pretty cutting in 1990, a mere four years after Chernobyl and a decade after Three Mile Island, when the nuclear power industry was one of the most notoriously corrupt in America. Nowadays, the nuclear power industry is pretty much stagnant, and the idea of a nuclear power plant sticking around against even a tenth of the Springfield one's incidents is hard to swallow (something that ''The Simpsons'' itself could be given some credit for). In particular, the RunningGag of [[GreenAesop the plant's terrible environmental record]] probably couldn't happen today, when the ''far'' larger environmental impacts of coal and natural gas plants have become a major talking point (indeed, nuclear power's comparatively small environmental footprint is seen as one of its advantages). On top of that, even its main relevance as a place for Homer to work has suffered, when more episodes seem to revolve around Homer [[WhyDoYouKeepChangingJobs working anywhere]] ''except'' the plant.²* The comic book shop, the Android's Dungeon. Back when the show was first created, places like that were treated as the main gathering place for nerd culture, and the idea of kids wandering into one to pick up a book was still entrenched in the American consciousness. After the UsefulNotes/TheGreatComicsCrashOf1996 and the advent of the internet, however, this is no longer the case, and most shops have either closed or converted into more general hobby shops. Nowadays, the idea that a comic shop could survive in Springfield, let alone have kids still interested in it, borders on absurd.²** This was actually addressed in a [[Recap/TheSimpsonsS19E7HusbandsAndKnives season 19 episode]] where a trendy comic book store opens across the street from the Android's Dungeon (ironically, Comic Book Guy inadvertently points it out when saying there is nowhere else in town to buy comics, something absurd to claim in 2007, deep into the Internet era). The store is run by a young, hip, charming guy named Milo (played by Creator/JackBlack) who is very friendly to his customers, values their opinions, and believes that comics should be read and enjoyed (to the point he does not care when a customer accidentally rips a page, something even the nicest store clerk in real life would not take kindly to). The store is extremely spacious and welcoming, with video games, music, and a very varied selection of comics. Comic Book Guy is not able to compete, so after the very odd decision to advertise that he sells ninja weapons does not work, he goes out of business... but that does not seem to matter, as he is back in business by his next appearance as if nothing happened AND Milo appears in a future episode.²²!!![[SocietyMarchesOn Other aspects of American culture]]²* ''The Krusty the Clown Show'' was already somewhat of an anachronism when the show started, but it originally supposed to be somewhat of an {{Expy}} of ''Series/BozoTheClown'' from the 1960s (with a mix of other clowns the cast and crew grew up with, especially "Rusty Nails", a local TV clown in Portland, where Groening grew up), with fun stunts, tricks, sketches, and cartoons to entertain kids. This originally worked because very early Simpsons (the Tracey Ullman era and Seasons 1-2) took place in a mostly timeless but relatable era, and because the joke in later seasons was that a local children's television entertainer in a small dumpy town was such a celebrity. However, kids in the 90s and onward did not watch Bozo the Clown, or any TV clowns, as almost all of them disappeared into the 90s, and so did a large amount of local programming in general. As for cartoons, kids watched them on Creator/{{Nickelodeon}}, Creator/CartoonNetwork, Creator/DisneyChannel, UsefulNotes/{{syndication}}, or just {{Saturday morning|Cartoon}}s (with the latter two fading away by the end of TheNineties). So with Krusty the Clown already being a relic in the 90s, in modern Simpsons it is just an amorphous, low-budget VarietyShow with absolutely no set {{format|s}}, that is inexplicably a huge hit with Springfield's children, who would most likely have no desire to watch a run-down show when there are so many alternatives.²** ''WesternAnimation/TheItchyAndScratchyShow'' remains the default show for the kids to be watching. When first introduced, it was an obvious parody of ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerry'' and other [[RoadRunnerVsCoyote plotless chase cartoons]], but with the violence ramped up from cartoonish to {{Gorn}} and the DesignatedHero-DesignatedVillain dynamic escalated into a full-blown NominalHero bullying a victim. Given that chase cartoons were still fairly common on the airwaves, it was a pretty on-topic parody, but in the years since, chase cartoons have basically vanished, with most modern kids cartoons featuring actual plots, while many [[AllAdultAnimationIsSouthPark adult cartoons]] or internet animations make ''Itchy And Scratchy'' look downright tame. This is probably why the series has been OutOfFocus. It also always aired on the Krusty the Clown show, which, like Bozo, showed cartoons.²* Bart's prank calls to Moe started as a way of showing Bart (and in the very early episodes, Lisa as well) how misbehaving and rebellious he was. It was also a reference to a series of prank calls made to the Tube Bar, a bar in Jersey City, NJ, in the mid 1970s. Bart would make these calls with little recourse, because Moe could never find out who he was. This whole "prank call to Moe" thing became an iconic running gag in the show.²** However, today, someone could not make these calls without consequence. Since the 1990s, last call return (known in the United States as *69) became mainstream and was offered by almost every major telephone service. And caller ID became mainstream years later. Many modern landline phones (and all cellphones) today have a screen that gives the name and number of every ingoing and outgoing call. If Bart called Moe today, Moe would know immediately who called him, eliminating the main appeal of the joke.²** There is also the fact that almost nobody today would call a bar to ask whether someone is there, as essentially everyone today has a cell phone. Anyone looking for someone would most likely just call or text the person's cell phone. There are still situations where someone might need to call the bar (bad reception, they are not picking up the cell phone, phone out of batteries), but typically, if one were to ask today if someone were present in a bar, the bartender would likely first ask why they have not tried the person's cell phone.²** Thirdly, there is the fact that the bar's role in the show had changed substantially since the beginning. In the beginning seasons, Moe was just a typical bartender with a few shady, surly personality quirks, who ran a typical bar where members of Springfield would come to drink and relax after work, like any bar. But it rather quickly morphed into a seedy, dark dive bar where the only customers 99% of the time are Homer, Lenny, Carl, Barney, and two random, mostly taciturn barflies (whose names, Sam and Larry, are mentioned once in passing). The idea that Moe would have to call out a random name to see if someone is there makes little sense when you know basically all your customers.²** Despite all of this, episodes as late as 2018 still have Bart do this, and Moe still picks up on his old 1970s-era landline phone, as if it is still 1990 and he runs a lively, crowded bar. Most recent occurrences tend to put some kind of twist on the format (such as Bart calling foreign bars in "Lost Verizon," sending Moe a telegram in "Helter Shelter," or medieval Bart sending a message via bird in "The Serfsons"), as the writers phased out the regular prank calls after five or six seasons because it was hard to come up with all the components of the gag (joke name, funny way for Moe to ask for the fake person, response from the barflies, and Moe's threats).²----

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