This genius chart that tracks the decline in The Simpsons is too real

Call yourself a fan?

British legend Sol Harris spent 3-4 months of his life watching and rating every episode of The Simpsons.

Harris, who is a freelancer and podcast host (on top of being a huge Simpsons fan), gave each episode a score out of ten and also ascribed an overall score for each season.

The results, which he made into a chart called “The Decline of The Simpsons“, confirms something we already knew: the show has been going downhill for a good while now.

According to Harris, “The Golden Years” were from Seasons 3 to Seasons 8, with an absolute peak in Season 6.

The downward trajectory begins after the seminal “Who Shot Mr Burns?” double episode, and – despite a brief bump caused by the movie – hits rock bottom in Season 28, the most recent season.

All art is subjective, and Harris backs up his claims by showing the IMDB rating for each episode per season which chart a similar decline.

He also provided a more detailed chart of his individual episode ratings.

A poll on The Simpsons subreddit four years ago reached a similar conclusion on when the best episodes came out.

According to that poll, which received 594 votes from diehard fans, the top ten includes three episodes from Season 6 and three from Season 8.

1. You Only Move Twice (S08E02)
2. Marge vs. the Monorail (S04E12)
3. Homer’s Enemy (S08E23)
4. 22 Short Films About Springfield (S07E21)
5. Last exit to Springfield (S04E17)
6. Lemon of Troy (S06E24)
7. Cape Feare (S05E02)
8. King Size Homer (S07E07)
9. (equal) Homer vs. the Eighteenth Amendment (S08E18), Deep Space Homer (S05E15), Bart vs. Australia (S06E16)
10. Homer Badman (S06E09)

When asked for his top ten, Harris tweeted the following:

I’ve always felt that the show jumped the shark when it killed off Maude Flanders in Season 11. It just didn’t seem right to me. It’s like the show was trying to do something on the level of “Who Killed Mr Burns?”, but failed miserably. #JusticeforMaude

As far as favourites go, I have many but ‘A Fish Called Selma’ stands out (S07, E19). I’m a big Troy McClure fan and I really love that Planet of the Apes musical.

Along with Seinfeld, The Simpsons is one of those shows that changed the way people communicate. My brother and I still quote The Simpsons on a monthly basis, but we pretty much stick to Seasons 3-10. Oh, and we love The Frinkiac (try it!).

When given the opportunity to continue the show for huge money, Jerry Seinfeld opted to end his show in Season 9, when it was at the peak of its popularity. Maybe The Simpsons should have done the same and finished earlier too.

Like Harris, IMDB and Reddit I think a peak at Season 6-8 and a decline beginning around Season 11 is accurate.

But this is art criticism, so at the end of the day, it’s just like, my opinion, man.

About the author

Stefan is an Adelaide-based freelance writer. In his spare time, he plays tennis badly, collects vinyl and brushes up on his Mandarin. Follow Stefan on Twitter

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