Matt Selman: The worst Simpsons showrunner ever!

Joined
Jan 25, 2016
Messages
290
In my opinion, Matt Selman is the worst executive producer and showrunner of The Simpsons because he removed the chalkboard gags and the couch gags. The Simpsons without gags is not The Simpsons. Selman ruined the show removing the gags!. If this continues, the season 33 would be the first season without chalkboard and couch gags in all history of The Simpsons!.
 
Last edited:

Arctan

I'll be in my room.
Joined
May 18, 2021
Messages
221
Location
America
Well, I do miss the couch gags, But Matt Selman isn't a terrible showrunner.
 

HomerFan1998

Stonecutter
Joined
Jun 4, 2020
Messages
2,283
Besides, we have to get used to Selman-showrun episodes later in Season 33. I mean, yeah! I also miss the chalkboard gags and couch gags as well
 

Brad Lascelle

A Fixture in Online Simpsons Fandom Since '93
Staff member
Joined
Mar 9, 2008
Messages
4,779
Location
Kitchener, ON
In my opinion, Matt Selman is the worst executive producer and showrunner of the Simpsons because he removed the chalkboard gags and the couch gags. The Simpsons without gags is not The Simpsons. Selman ruined the show removing the gags!. If this continues, the season 33 would be the first season without chalkboard and couch gags in all history of The Simpsons!.
You'll get a couch gag in 2 weeks. Possibly a chalkboard gag then, too. How exciting for you!
 

CousinMerl

the waiting game sucks
Joined
Oct 24, 2006
Messages
8,499
Location
Spittle County
I never saw the chalkboard and couch gags as essential, more like added bonuses (even though they've been there from the start & I say that as a fan of them) so to say Selman is bad because he often opts to not include them (nor the intro sequence aside from the very opening with the clouds) feels really, well, extreme and kinda silly.

I can understand why some wouldn't care for Selman (in spite of his output usually being better than that of Jean's in the modern era) but no chalkboard gags and no couch gags being the reason? No. I'm fine with them both being sacrificed as it usually does help to give more room for the scripts/stories themselves to develop.

They are a tradition, but not a must per se (especially if their absence add to the final product, which tend to happen).
 
Last edited:

dorian

Pin Pal
Joined
Jun 4, 2020
Messages
337
Location
New York City
It certainly does feel off to have the majority of episodes have no couch gag but this shouldn't be a criticism of Selman's overall work as a showrunner. I do think he is vastly overrated though, last season showed that the over saturation of Selman episodes decreases the overall quality. He's no genius his best work is just better than Jean's best. He is no match to any other showrunner.
 

Great Northern Fan 54

I think Season 11-13 are good
Joined
Mar 13, 2021
Messages
35
Location
Illinois
In my opinion, Matt Selman is the worst executive producer and showrunner of the Simpsons because he removed the chalkboard gags and the couch gags. The Simpsons without gags is not The Simpsons. Selman ruined the show removing the gags!. If this continues, the season 33 would be the first season without chalkboard and couch gags in all history of The Simpsons!.

Consider the following: Are Coach Gags actually funny?
 

Szyslak100

Stonecutter
Joined
Jul 7, 2017
Messages
1,652
Location
Argentina
Saying Selman is the worst showrunner just because his episodes don't have couch gags is of course provoking and I am not going to take that seriously.

But I think he could include one from time to time. It's not as if each one of his episodes need that extra time. The latest episode would have been better with a couch gag and without that pointless and expendable scene with Loki, for example.
 
Joined
Jan 25, 2016
Messages
290
Saying Selman is the worst showrunner just because his episodes don't have couch gags is of course provoking and I am not going to take that seriously.

But I think he could include one from time to time. It's not as if each one of his episodes need that extra time. The latest episode would have been better with a couch gag and without that pointless and expendable scene with Loki, for example.
Don't forget the Gravity Falls little crossover (Bill Cipher's cameo).
 

StarfishHair

Junior Camper
Joined
Sep 26, 2020
Messages
106
Absolutely not, sure it can be said the couch gags are part of The Simpsons brand but there have been over 500 if not 600 of them and pretty much everything that can be done has been done. If Matt Selman doesn't like them I'm fine with that because in the end they are filler material to make the 22 minutes, something we get far too much of from Al Jean. I by far prefer a well structured episode that isn't full of overly long jokes and stupid non-sequiturs unrelated to any of the plots over a couch gag.
 

John95

Stonecutter
Joined
Apr 29, 2017
Messages
1,964
Location
Mauston, WI
It's rather funny to say Matt's the worst showrunner simply because most of the time he doesn't use a couch gag where there are actual legit problems with his episodes you didn't come close to mentioning. Those being his tendency to pander to a specific crowd (Homer naming a bunch of New Orleans restaurants for no real reason and Bill's cameo in the latest episode), his episodes feeling rather sitcomy especially with their endings where they have an unearned happy resolve that feels forced (the latest episode) and my own big issue with his episodes which is being forced to sympathize with characters who don't deserve any (Bart in The Town, Kirk in There Will Be Buds and everyone in the play in the season premiere) and wrongfully painting the one who actually is sympathetic as the villian (Marge in the same episode and Homer in There Will Be Buds).
 

Szyslak100

Stonecutter
Joined
Jul 7, 2017
Messages
1,652
Location
Argentina
[USER]John95[/USER] I am really glad you could express some of your problems with Matt Selman's episodes, even though I disagree with most of your notes.

The argument of pandering to a specific crowd is quite much a farce as far as I can see, or at least the examples you give are wrong, the first one because it's an Al Jean episode (granted, there are no examples of such pointless overlong gags in Selman episodes), and the second one was literally a cameo where the guest stars say three words, and I can not even see why he would make a wink to Gravity Falls' fans.

The argument of happy endings and sitcomy situations is another one I just can't buy. The latest episode is the opposite of that, in fact. The happy and cliché ending would have been that the girl from the oil station returned the loan Marge did. In the episode, it was actually Grampa, changing the lesson in the last second and going for the unexpected way. Sorry, but that is the opposite of what you are saying.

Neither I can see how Bart and Kirk are unsympathetic in The Town and There Will Be Buds, respectively, or when Marge and Homer are painted as villains there. There Will Be Buds, in particular, is clearly a character-driven story, there is not a thing as "villain", and you can empathize with the one you prefer because both have their virtues and defects.

But well, even though we disagree on pretty much everything, I am happy you expressed your point of view of Matt Selman's episodes and did the effort of searching differences between his job from Al Jean's (even if it seems you only found negative aspects).
 

John95

Stonecutter
Joined
Apr 29, 2017
Messages
1,964
Location
Mauston, WI
@Szyslak100,

Sorry, I'll admit I got the New Orleans example from a response from @Dark Homer pointing out the kind of pandering that one is likely to find in a Selman episode.

Despite putting a smile on my face, Bill's cameo mostly came across as "We did it only because we have easy access to the character now! once the initial novelty of it has worn off. I wouldn't have gotten the same impression if it'd been as part of a couch gag (which even you said you would've preferred over the shared hallucination scene) because those are seperate from the main episode.

The ending we got still comes across as cliched and happy in a forced way that feels very much like it was taken from a sitcom like Full House, but also backfires severely by making Marge look incredibly naive, Abe putting himself out of a further $20 in order to let her keep her naivety and unintentionally discourages people to potentially help those who might actually be in need as the "Message" ultimately comes across as "Trust no one because everyone's a scammer!". Their best option was to just have Marge accept that she got scammed even though the problematic "Message" would still be the same.

Kirk comes off as unsympathetic in There Will Be Buds with his constant ways of forcing Homer to do things with him while Homer was seen as being in the wrong for continually rebuffing him and causing him to run off when he learns the truth through a musical number that feels like it came from a Jean episode.

And as for how Bart falls guilty of this in The Town, I'll once again quote what @AlphaOmega said previously:
It didn't really help either that Bart was completely unlikeable here. Throughout the whole episode, I never felt a trace of sympathy for him at all, he acted like a smug dick at the start and constantly screwed around with Homer, but then at the end your supposed to suddenly feel sorry for him and his constant whining about how much he hates living in Boston, even though it's his fault they moved their in the first place. Then at the end he tricks Homer into hating Boston again so they could go home again. So even though his family was extremely happy living in Boston, Bart ruins their happiness and acts like a petty asshole. And then even though Bart was a complete dick who destroyed his family's happiness, Homer says he was right all along and gives a big smile to him! What?! Why am I suddenly supposed to feel sorry for Bart and agree with him when he was basically completely unsympathetic the whole time? It's like whenever they have Homer act like a complete asshole to people or his own family, and then he has a sad expression on his face and now your supposed to feel sorry for him, even though he really doesn't deserve it. Sorry, but it didn't work for me.

I meant to say that Marge was portrayed as the villian in The Star of the Backstage despite not only being in the right, but the only one who actually had any sympathy. Sorry if I didn't make that clear.
 

Evil Homer

Stonecutter
Joined
Jan 26, 2016
Messages
1,100
I agree with John95. Mike Amato of Me Blog Write Good also points out how Selman's episodes tend to play clichés straight and irony-free. Not only that, they are chalk full of exposition and characters announcing how they feel.
 

Szyslak100

Stonecutter
Joined
Jul 7, 2017
Messages
1,652
Location
Argentina
@John95 I certainly agree there are quite a few expendable cameos and guest appearances that apports nothing to the story in some of Matt Selman's episodes and that they put it in the show just because they can. Even though it's not something exclusive of his episodes (Al Jean does it often too) and although I don't consider it a problem, you know, more of a detail that could be fixed. A little cameo of a guest star won't ruin an episode. At worst, I will overlook it if I don't who the invited is. I hated the hallucination scene in Bart's in Jail! not because of Bill Cipher, but because it came from nowhere, took away the realism of the episode, and gave it a wacky conclusion to the story.

We must have different conceptions of what is a happy and sitcomy ending (I haven't watched Full House so I don't get the analogy). But, I don't know, it is an unexpected ending with a last-second plot twist and a change of message (for better or worse – I don't think the lesson is "Trust no one because everyone's a scammer", but more of "Be careful because not everyone is like you", after all, Marge is a truthful person so of course there are more like her). The happy and sitcomy ending was that Marge got his money back from the girl who asked for it. The unhappy ending is the one you proposed, with Marge losing 20 dollars and her faith in humanity. This is more of a misleading ending because it looks like a happy ending because Marge got her money back and keeps her hopes in people but it is not because it was Grampa who sent the money. You could like it or not, but I don't think it's happy or cliché.

You have a point with Kirk in There Will Be Buds, he is not sympathetic there. But let's not forget who Kirk is. In few words, he is a loser with a bitter life and without friends. Neither Kirk nor Homer act with bad intentions (that's why I said there are no villains). Kirk only tries to be friendly but he is embarrassing and pathetic, that is why Homer (and the audience) feel sorry for him. Homer only tries to tolerate him while the kids play the tournament. The situation reaches a limit and Homer admits he doesn't tolerate him through a song I adore, and then, yes, it is the guy who lied about his feelings the one who has to be sorry, and not the one who doesn't know how to socialize.

I think the role of Bart in The Town is just serviceable to the story, although I can see why some people could dislike his characterization and why the ending doesn't work for them. I thought the beginning just showed Bart innocently annoying Homer for a football team, you know, nothing out-of-character, but I can see people getting problems with his influences on the family to move to Boston at first and to return to Springfield at last.

I also agree with you when you speak about the role of Marge in The Star of Backstage. I am often confused with the role of some one-time characters in his episodes, like Sasha in this one or Mary in last season's Christmas special. They are mean but are portrayed as the victims. It's not a problem that affects every episode but it's something I wish they can fish in the future.
 

John95

Stonecutter
Joined
Apr 29, 2017
Messages
1,964
Location
Mauston, WI
@Szyslak100, I agree with the hallucination scene for those reasons as well, that's why I said that I'd recommend just turning the episode off after the call center scene as that's when it starts to cave in and not really recover.

The reason why I brought up The Town and There Will Be Buds is because I recently rewatched Season 28 about a month ago, so those episodes are still fresh in my mind having not watched them since they originally aired. The whole time I was watching the latter I kept thinking "There's a reason why characters like Kirk are best in small doses" which of course Jean is guilty of too as was proven with Yokel Hero.

My biggest problem with Mary was that she was just an uninteresting character. While that's still not good, it was better than Sasha who's final scene more or less confirmed that despite what the show forced us to think, she deserved to be called out for being a liar because of her high and mighty "Better than thou!" attitude and showing no remorse for ruining Marge's life back in the day.
 

CousinMerl

the waiting game sucks
Joined
Oct 24, 2006
Messages
8,499
Location
Spittle County
Nice to get a bit of explantion on the problems you have with Matt Selman's episodes, @John95. As before, I usually don't agree with you regarding Selman's output but I can at least understand your point of view and here and there you might have some points (it might not be major ones all the time, but sometimes you do make stronger arguments here and there so it is not all disagreements). Even though there is many disagreements, it is nice to get different viewpoints.

Also, I think you both and @Szyslak100, make some good points, such as regarding Kirk in 'There Will Be Buds' but also with Bart in 'The Town'. Their characterization was, perhaps, exaggerated, but it wasn't really out of character for either to behave as they did. Bart is often an annoying ass to Homer as a way of teasing him and mocking him and Kirk is the pathetic loser that ends up looking unintentionally unsympathetic (and I could understand Homer's viewpoint as well). I think the way they are written they work in these two episodes and their behavior services the plotlines (I think Selman generally balances the characterizations better and has an easier time justifying unlikeability), but I understand how it can be quite the opposite to some.

The thing about 'Bart's In Jail!' and the ending of Marge unknowingly being scammed and being left unknowing is another one I agree with you bot abut. Having Marge get the money back from the woman would've been too perfect and sitcom-like & having her get nothing back and be crushed would have been the bad ending but would have felt wrong, so the one they went with probably was better as a "middle ground" (and having Grampa chip in was a neat "thank you" gesture and a bit of an interesting nice end & and the message was more on the "be careful" side than "don't trust any stranger" though it can be misinterpreted by some as the latter, but I hope that those watching don't get the wrong ideas. Use your common sense and be the right amount of vary, I'd say).

What I felt was missing with the ending was more of a balance, with it maybe could've been good for Marge to have learned to be a little less blindly trusting without losing all faith in humanity (which could've been difficult to write; this is one case it would have been hard to both have the cake and eat it), and maybe a bit more of a true glimmer of hope in the cynicism, but that's just my personal preferences speaking (though as a whole, the ending doesn't bother as much anymore).

And yes, the Loki hallucination was bad nonsense (aside from the animation & vocal performances that I couldn't fault) that felt completely unnecessary (and like it was just there to really hammer in how shaken Marge's trust in the good of humans was) and those minutes that it took could have been used to craft a bit of a stronger and more poignant, balanced ending instead of further reiterating things that we already knew about. It was made a little too obvious.
 
Last edited:

Szyslak100

Stonecutter
Joined
Jul 7, 2017
Messages
1,652
Location
Argentina
Well, we now are on the same page, @John95. We have different opinions but we at least know what think each other. That's nice. The only thing I need to respond to is this:
The whole time I was watching the latter I kept thinking "There's a reason why characters like Kirk are best in small doses" which of course Jean is guilty of too as was proven with Yokel Hero.
Both Kirk and Cletus historically received minor roles and were unidimensional and inconsequential characters. But there is a big difference between There Will Be Buds and Yokel Hero. In There Will Be Buds, Kirk matures as a person. There is learning, there is character development. The writers use his main facet more than ever (he is really pathetic in this one), but then he realizes his problem after a process of self-discovery, and finally becomes a better person (reflected in his consolidated friendship with Homer and the support of the kids). In Yokel Hero, Cletus is a punchbag for stereotypical jokes about hillbilly, at the start of the episode, in the middle, and at the end of the episode. In fact, the climax of the episode, when he chooses his family over his career, they put that weird jokes of his jokes getting names from stream services.

I think every recurring character of the show is worthy of an episode. But you can give them some development, a backstory, and moments to overpass their more prominent facet and become multidimensional (There Will Be Buds), or you can make jokes after jokes about the only characteristic of the character, with no progression or examination of the protagonist (Yokel Hero).
 

John95

Stonecutter
Joined
Apr 29, 2017
Messages
1,964
Location
Mauston, WI
@Szyslak100, I guess I'll give you that regarding Kirk. Too bad two episodes after that was Dad Behavior (an episode so boring it made me momentarily doze off), which seemed to bring him back to his usual loser characterization.
 

CousinMerl

the waiting game sucks
Joined
Oct 24, 2006
Messages
8,499
Location
Spittle County
I think every recurring character of the show is worthy of an episode. But you can give them some development, a backstory, and moments to overpass their more prominent facet and become multidimensional (There Will Be Buds), or you can make jokes after jokes about the only characteristic of the character, with no progression or examination of the protagonist (Yokel Hero).

While I too would say that every recurring characters deserves at least one episode, I still am of the opinion that Cletus is one of those "quintessential" characters who cannot hold up an episode. He's a one-note stereotype joke character and that is fine and all what he really needs to be. Every time they try to give him an episode it doesn't work as it is just joke after joke about him, but with the right writer and showrunner (maybe it's Selman's turn?), I guess even he could technically work as central character, though only if they really try to give him development and step outside of his cartoonish stereotypical self (which they seemingly don't want to).

Kirk is a good example for a character that is good to focus on, though, even though it, unless I'm forgetting about any episode, has only really been 'There Will Be Buds' as of late that has pushed his character somewhere interesting outside of the friendless pathethic loser archetype (and yeah, like @John95 says, there's Dad Behavior where it's just the same old loser nonsense with him again & with some really quite bad stuff at that, which makes that bad episode even worse).
 
Last edited:

Wile E. the Brain

Scientific progress goes "boink"
Joined
Jul 4, 2018
Messages
1,189
Location
France
Fans : "Every reccurring character deserves at least one episode. Except Cletus, he can't hold up one."
Al Jean : "I hear you loud and clear. Let's do a Brandine episode !"

(Sorry, too tempting.)

While I'm here, and because I don't have much to add since there were some very good arguments I agree with here, I just want to talk about Marge seen as the "bad guy" in The Star of Backstage, and Sasha seen as the "victim". While Sasha deserves to be called out, I think the point is that Marge did that out of pure revenge (and to get her out of the play), and not for the sake of honesty and moral (and her song was here to emphasize how much she makes a big deal out of it), and that's where she was, where she felt she was in the wrong. It all makes sense to me and I don't think the episode was trying to make us sympathize with Sasha. In fact the ending is really satisfying in that regard, with Marge finally befriending people who see her and recognize her as the person she really is and letting that group of "friends" who live in lies go.
 
Last edited:

Wire hangers

Expired medicine
Joined
Nov 7, 2020
Messages
73
A lot of long interesting paragraphs that's cool but where is the debate about the couch gag?? Anthony wants us to talk about that but you derailed the thread

:ac:
 

Szyslak100

Stonecutter
Joined
Jul 7, 2017
Messages
1,652
Location
Argentina
@Wile E. the Brain I don't disagree with you at all, but while the episode shows how Marge is remorseful for how she exposed Sasha, we've never seen Sasha being ashamed for everything she has done to Marge, which was way worse than the exposure of Marge about her lies. If those two stage manager guys didn't appear, Marge would have had an unhappy ending, and in any case, Sasha got a happy ending despite being an asshole with Marge throughout the entire episode, despite never apologized for lying to everyone, and despite never getting a comeuppance or a redeeming moment.

A lot of long interesting paragraphs that's cool but where is the debate about the couch gag?? Anthony wants us to talk about that but you derailed the thread
Actually, as it was redacted, the thread is about the quality of Matt Selman as showrunner and the absence of couch gags is only his argument to say he is the worst, lol. The thread is not about couch gags.
 
Top