Many shows have come and gone at Fox over the years, but for all the high-profile cancellations, one show has always stuck around. Even if The Simpsons isn't the ratings giant it once was, it still manages to move the needle every once in a while and get longtime and younger fans back on board. As for how the show manages to do that, showrunner Al Jean thinks he knows why.
Well, I have a few reasons. Everybody works really hard. The animation is really evergreen, because it doesn’t look very much different from when you started watching it. And it’s about a family, and the way the universe of The Simpsons was created by Matt [Groening], Jim Brooks and Sam Simon, it’s very elastic and can expand to the reality of 2019 very easily. You know, I think there’s also a bit of a nostalgia factor where people have watched every episode and want to keep watching, plus there’s so many things out there now that I think people appreciate a thing that’s still the same thing they liked when they were young. Were we not on, people would be talking about a reboot.
The times may change, but The Simpsons has done a good job at keeping up with them. The same Bart Simpson who was known for his slingshot back in the day is the same Bart who uses a smartphone in more current episodes. As Al Jean told The Daily Beast, there's not a lot about 2019 or any era that the family can't slide into, which may be why they've lasted throughout the years.
There's also the nostalgia factor as well, which certainly plays into things. There's now children of parents who grew up with The Simpsons who now have children of their own. That's quite a run, and a level of success even those currently launching new shows on television likely don't expect to see. Given that, it does make it easy to believe Al Jean when he says if The Simpsons wasn't currently around, someone would be trying to bring it back.
The interview also brought up one big change in the family that Al Jean admitted was unintentional. When The Simpsons first started, the family's home and lifestyle made them look poor. Now, in 2019, a family living in a house with a wife who doesn't work, three children, and an endless vacation budget seems rather luxurious. Jean admitted the Simpson family's lives probably won't change to reflect that, but they will still continue to adapt and react to the world.
The Simpsons airs on Fox Sundays at 8:00 p.m. ET, but those looking to binge the series can find it on quite often most days on FXX in the evenings. For more on the show, read what show producer Mike Reiss had to say about recently deceased actor Luke Perry's guest spot.