After 30 years on the air, The Simpsons finally did something they’ve never achieved before: they had really terrible ratings.
The 30th season of Matt Groening’s landmark animated series concluded on Sunday and, boy, the numbers don’t look good for Springfield’s favorite family. The show garnered a 0.5 rating in the coveted 18-49 age bracket and only had 1.44 million viewers. That’s a series low for the show and a low for Fox too. And this wasn’t just any episode, it was their season finale. Even after 30 years The Simpsons just doesn’t see results like that.
Obviously everyone is asking the big question: is it time to say goodbye to The Simpsons? This isn’t the first time the question has been asked but it’s taken on a brand new life now that the ratings have cratered and Disney owns parent company Fox. The show has been renewed for two more seasons but after that? It’s all up in the air. If it was still a ratings juggernaut then we wouldn’t be having this conversation but the show’s bad ratings come right as Disney starts steering the Fox ship. They’re going to be looking at the bottom line and only the bottom line. And the bottom line isn’t good for The Simpsons.
The thought of a television landscape without The Simpsons would have been nuts to think of even just a few years ago. However the show has lived a long, long time. It would be a radical change to not have new episodes of the show airing, even for fans like me who have long given up on it. It would be like the nightly news no longer airing, it just feels weird. But it might be time to throw in the towel and let the show recede into the history books where it belongs.
The Simpsons has been a shell of its former self for ages now but a series finale could bring people together. Its final season, whenever that may be, would serve as a celebration of a show that literally changed TV forever. Even though its become a completely different, neutered series in its latter years, the impact its had on pop culture is undeniable. It would be odd to see it sign off but it would be a joyful final season where people could reflect on the good times and give the show one final round of applause. Even retired fans like myself would want to partake in a Simpsons victory lap.