20 years from now,

Fox Executive

the original Sex Pistol
Jan 6, 2008
just a coupla minutes from here
when the show is in season 41, will people think season 21 is part of a classic era of the show?

I don't think the Simpsons are as good as ever or anything like that, but if the quality decline continues, season 41 must suck really bad, so maybe it actually could become reality that we're watching a classic season right now...
Yes, of course they'll think it. But they won't think hard about it. Anything old is automatically classic.

"Did you listen to that new album?"
"Their album from 20 years ago is better."

Meanwhile, there'll be a group of more hardcore fans who still think seasons 1 - 9 are the best. The end.
No, if the show keeps declining, they will just have nostalgia of season 21, and look back and see that it was better back then, but will still know those episodes are of the same quality as they were when they first aired. It's the same with the scully era IMO. I look back and remember it as a bunch of wacky-plotted episodes featuring jackass Homer and a handful of tasteless gags. Still, I personally would rather watch those episodes for nostalgia purposes than to watch an episode from the last couple of years. It's no classic era, but at least the scully era was more focused and not as lame. The real classic era will always remain the classic era and anything that occurs in the future will not change that. It's when the origin of the show's focus was still intact and remained of a consistent high quality throughout.
20 years from now, historians will mention the quick decline of the Simpsons as one of the greatest tragedies of the early 21th Century.

Season 41 will be used as an illegal torture-method during interrogations of terrorists.
i'm praying for a 2012 end of the world just so this doesn't happen

Me too. I think it's not that hard to realise the few unfulfilled dreams I have during these last 2 years on the planet.
The classic era has generally been a pretty defined group of seasons for a while now already for the majority of people. Those who would consider 21 brilliant are likely the people who would consider a season 41 (barring a miraculous upswing) brilliant as well, so for them there wouldn't be a classic era, it would just be the Simpsons.
For a great majority of people The Simpsons is just that, The Simpsons. Someone might tune in every once and a while and find the same show they've always known. With perhaps a vague sense that "something is off"
Season 41: Magical powers! Wedding after wedding after wedding. And did someone say long lost triplets?
can't wait till next season's "Bart Gets A "B"

Bart wins a bear in a contest at school. But the bear goes crazy and tries to eat his family. Now Bart must get his bear back.

or something similar, no doubt
'so does anyone have any ideas for the new season?'
*long silence*
'fine we will just steal ideas from that crazy song we did a while back...'

it will/has happen...
To answer the original question - obviously not, because The Simpsons in its current incarnation is virtually irrelevant to the pop cultural landscape and, more specifically, it doesn't mean the same thing to people today that it meant to the generation that watched it during its 90s run