If The Simpsons Began Today?


Remember Me As I Was
Sep 19, 2012
California Coast
How do you think the Simpsons would do if it was never made in 1989 and was started this year with the same episodes from Season 1 onward? Would it still be recieved well by the people, and do you think it would still be as groundbreaking and loved as if it started in 1989?
The world is a lot more different today. It would never have the same amount of impact.
The Simpsons was something unique. It was the 2nd cartoon to air in primetime, with adult content. Now look. Family Guy, South Park, American Dad, all of them after the Simpsons.

If the Simpsons began now..... it'd probably fail.
First, the pacing would need to be sped up since the run times are shorter (and so are attention spans). I'm not so sure it would be a success today since you would have to change the formula that made it a success in the first place
It would most likely fail due to have the people who watched The Simpsons in the 90s as kids are now young adults/adults who may be interested in edgier things, like South Park and/or Family Guy.
It's hard to say. If they showed the exact same thing, completely unchanged, it would probably be too somber by today's standards. The tone somehow fit much better in the nineties; Homer was a lot more rash, Bart's attitude was a lot "fresher" and the idea of "animated world as microcosm" is not as novel a concept anymore. The colors are washed out in the animation, the show is of a such slower pace in S1 and it was really more emotionally charged than it was out for cracking jokes. I don't think it'd do well in an era where jokes come a mile a minute and the jokes are much more irreverent and sardonic.

Broadcasting The Simpsons brand-new with the 1990's content unchanged would probably do as well here as it did in Arabic-speaking countries when they did the exact same thing in 2005 (which failed for other reasons, but still, they started with S1).

Alternatively, let's say they took the characters, town and plots and had it air in this day and age. Could you imagine what Moaning Lisa would turn out like if remade in its current format?

First, it'd be in four acts. Lisa's depression, Lisa's encounter with Bleeding Gums, Marge's lousy advice and then Lisa's rekindling her enjoyment of jazz would all be shoehorned into four acts. The animation would be brighter, which goes against part of the charm of the episode.

The dialogue would be interspliced with one-liners and kooky visual gags.

Lisa: How can I be happy when there's so much suffering in the world?
Homer: Lisa, I've tried talking to you. I've tried getting you new music for your sax-o-ma-phone. I even got you that card.

(Cut to a greeting card with the caption "Sorry you've got the blues." Cue Homer's dopey laugh, which kind of acts as a laugh track / stroking the writers' ego these days)

Homer: Ah, parenting. Doing as little as possible to show you care. Heh heh.
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Classic Simpsons is still pretty damn funny, even by today's standards, so I think it has an edge to survive.
Many aspects of the show would change if the show premiered today.

If we took a look at season one, where the animation was done by hand, we can see the vintage look, as the frames resemble perhaps weeks, even months of drawing. There was a lot of heart put into animation (Don't forget that it was also extremely stressful). If we take the same vintage look and put it on HD, bright animation, it does not make you feel as warm and welcomed as the hand drawn animations may give. Animation-wise, at least for me, I would not have received it as well as when I first saw "The Simpsons roasting on an Open fire".

If The Simpsons was a follow-up of Seth Macfarlane shows (Lets just pretend that this style of animation really did come first), it would also not be received well by audience because most of them have a different standard in what "decency" may represent on television. Family guy viewers may find the show boring, not having enough jokes/gags, no violence, etc. In reality, The Simpsons did come first, and thus it has set a standard to what is decent in cartoon animation (Now from here, we can see how Family guy is seen as "morally indecent" when critiques review it).

The Simpsons came early, It's too difficult for me to imagine if it were to air today/tomorrow. Oh well, not to worry because it didn't happen!
I just can't picture Season 1, 2, and 3 episodes nowadays. I mean, look at the shorts on the TUS. Compare it to the Simpsons sleek HD finish now, and it looks bleh.
Season 1 would need to be over the top edgy too survive were it on today, and it would also need Santa's little Helper and Snowball II to be able to talk....oh, and wouldn't hurt if they had neighbours who were either:
A) Brutally racist
B) Mentally handicapped
C) Sex offenders
The characters of The Simpsons themselves would probably be the same at the core of it (By which I mean show an occasional glimpse of a moral compass and ultimately care about each other) but about 90% of the episodes themselves would be like:
A) Homer accidentally gets a fence post stuck in his ass during a gardening mishap and *Gasp* doesn't have health insurance to get it removed
B) Marge gets sick of being a stay at home mother so she decides to get a career that she finds empowering.....Becoming a waitress at Hooters!
C) Bart's scores so low in a standardized test that he is place in a school for the mentally retarded
D) Lisa does what would be considered an average, regular episode with nice pacing and depth......nobody watches it....

The Halloween episodes would have great stories too like.....
Comic Book Guy snaps and kills several people a local movie theatre during the new "Buttman" movie, Krusty goes all "John Wayne Gacy" on his fans and Apu stars in an offensive Bollywood parody of Michael Jackson's Thriller
It would probably start as a hit, but for a Modern Generation, but shows like Family Guy, Futurama, South Park wouldn't be created until later on in the future. Than in the future, they'll call the Modern Simpsons the classic era and the Future Simpsons the decline era.
what jamie said.

come on guys, without the simpsons all those shows would not exist. period. the series was gigantic risk for murdoch and the execs to take, and nobody even thought of animated shows in primetime (since the flintstones) until the simpsons was a hit.

if the simpsons began today it sure as hell wouldn't be premiering next to family guy season 12.
Like other people said, if the Simpsons didn't exist back then, chances are FG wouldn't have existed, and other cartoons wouldn't exist either. The Simpsons set a standard for cartoons.

Now we can speculate that if FG came in first back in 1989, and set a standard that cartoon shows are generally violent and unrealistic with low brow humor, then I guess the Simpsons still would be groundbreaking in that it actually has emotion. ( provided that classical era is not changed in anyway )

However, chances are classical era will be changed because of HD. Then if given the original classical writers with the same motivation (by that I mean not just milking the show) and ambition back in the 1990s, I believe that they can make HD classical episodes just as good as classical episodes. So Simpsons would change the standard if it was more popular than the earlier FG, which given classical era quality it will be able to beat FG even if FG existed in the 1990s, but today I am not so sure because of a seemingly increase in endorsing low brow humor, fart jokes and violence in cartoons in the 21sf century.

Another possibility is that the Simpsons exist today to set a standard, with FG and other cartoons coming in the future. Then, the Simpsons still would probably have a harder time to be as popular as back in the 1990s, because short attention span isn't only influenced by FG style cartoons. Since the viewers probably care less about emotions and realism now than in the 1990s, the Simpsons won't probably be as well received as in the 1990s ( especially if they move to HD ).

In general, the Simpsons are just much better off premiering in 1989 compared to now, no matter which way u look at it and which route u take
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Family Guy may have eventually aired without The Simpsons, it just would have been more like how The Simpsons were early on, since The Simpsons broke all of the ground so Family Guy could be as edgy and as insane as it is today.
I don't know. Seth MacFarlane took inspiration from The Simpsons, but everyone has their own way of comedy. Seth tends to keep it more edgy and crude while Matt tends to tone it down a bit.

But then you can look at Brickleberry.
But THe Simpsons probably assured him that he could be edgy and crude, and a cartoon as inappropriate as Family Guy would be too different, that it wouldn't have made it. He would have had to tone it down a bit.
In my opinion, The Simpsons defied whatever Family Guy, American Dad, South Park, King of the Hill, or even Futurama, which was also created by Matt.

Everything is traced back to the Simpsons.
Not sure about South Park. I don't think Parker or Stone have watched the show that much...
They probably meant it influenced them by allowing them to do what they do. They didn't really incorporate any Simpsons humor into their show, or the same style, so the only way they would be influenced by Simpsons is that they couldn't do what they do and the way they do it without the Simpsons. I would be very amazed if the Simpsons weren't a major influence to them.