We are all familiar with ‘The Simpsons'; hell people in remote villages in Africa and Asia know that Homer says “Doh!”, Bart says “Eat My Shorts” and that Maggie has said about three words in the 23 series run. News reported by the BBC this morning (Weds 5th) said that for the fourth time in its history the Cast of The Simpsons is to have a change in pay. So far this has been slowly rising (in 1998 it was $30 000 per episode, it is currently on a staggering $400 000 per episode) but Fox (the network which airs The Simpsons) has said the series cannot continue unless the voice actors take a 45% pay cut.
To me this doesn’t come as a massive shock, lets face it the current pay packet for its actors is giving out millions of dollars per episode which in itself is ludicrous but also the programme itself has been declining in quality for a number of years, is it any surprise the network wants to cut the cost per episode? So far the actors and the network haven’t come to a compromise over the cut, and it is possible that they will come to a dead end (unlikely but possible) and that The Simpsons will end.
I remember that about ten years ago the BBC broadcast The Simpsons on BBC2 at 6 ‘o’clock in the evening on weekdays, it was sort of accepted that a huge number of people would be there to watch the new episodes and (more commonly) the re-runs. It was a family thing, we all sat down together and the kids enjoyed the slapstick comedy and the mischief whereas the adults enjoyed the social commentary and pop culture references and the clever political humour. Unfortunately, the quality of the show has plummeted in recent years. This isn’t just my opinion, viewing figures last year showed that new episodes were getting 14% less than previous year’s viewership.
Although The Simpsons still has a regular viewership of 7 million people per episode (in the USA) if it continues to decline by similar figures each year, it would imply that in a few years that The Simpsons will be a shadow of its former glory. Let’s face it, just because it holds a special place in many people’s hearts if we don’t watch it anymore then it simply won’t be made any more.
I am intrigued that when The Simpsons does end, how will the writers do this, will it have an actual story to finish it off? Or will it simply stop at the end of what is essentially a normal episode? Who knows but if i’m honest I probably won’t even end up watching the finale. Fans of the series shouldn’t be too bothered even if it does end, let’s face it, with over 400 episodes there will be re-runs until the end of time.