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The Fall of The Simpsons

I haven't watched The Simpsons in ages. In fact I don't think I've sat down to watch it regularly since starting university fourteen years ago. I used to watch it every day after school, as a matter of routine, like most people I suppose. It used to seem so cutting edge - the program everyone talked about. Yet these days every time I turn it on, it seems to be a repeat; it seems old and flat - yesterday's show, to be ignored.

It would seem that I wasn't wrong in that assumption. This is quite an excellent video essay about how The Simpsons fell from it's position as pretty much the most cutting edge, salient and culturally subversive show on television to being an average, rather dull sitcom. I thought it worth flagging up as it gets to the heart of a big problem in contemporary western culture: in a way The Simpsons was a victim of it's own success; capitalism took something which subverted and critiqued mainstream culture and turned it into something which simply towed the line. As it grew in popularity, the show just became something every faux celebrity wanted to be on, just so they could claim to be ''cool''. In effect the success of The Simpsons rendered it just another part of the very culture it once attempted to subvert.

That is very sad, when you think about it. Capitalism, it seems, assimilated one of it's leading critics, incorporating it into itself. Instead of lampooning celebrity consumerism, The Simpsons became one of it's foremost advocates. This video, as well as this website, document it's sad fall. The media moguls tagged on to the show's popularity and bent it to their own ends. Surely this is a great example of how, in capitalism, the more popular something gets, the more likely it is to be taken into the fold and forced to tow the capitalist, consumer line. How sad that something so subversive and cutting edge could be transformed into the centrepiece of the very culture it once set out to challenge.

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