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In the decades since its 1989 premiere, The Simpsons has provided consistent laughs for generations of audiences. The titular family has just begun their 27th season residing at 742 Evergreen Terrace, with a contractual guarantee that they will continue to do so for 28. People have often joked that the series would run forever, but – like all things – it must eventually come to an end. It's a matter not of if, but of when, and executive producer and series showrunner Al Jean may have just shed some light on that.
Speaking with THR, Jean spoke out about the longevity of The Simpsons, and when it could all come to a close:
It's quite possible that we don't have to go through the whole negotiation for 30. I wouldn't be stunned if we stopped at 28, but my bet is on at least 30. But then you'd have to resign them again. If you made me pick one, I'd say the likeliest is ending after 30, but I've been wrong before. I thought five seasons was good when I got there.
So fans of The Simpsons can rejoice knowing that the family will likely continue to grace our screens for at least three more seasons. Of course, this estimate does not take unforeseen circumstances into account – the cast is getting older, after all. Many fans have their own ideas for how the show should come to an end, when that day finally comes. Jean himself recently came out and admitted that his idea was to have the series finale lead directly into the series premiere episode “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire.” This would effectively immortalize The Simpsons, keeping their continuity on an endless time loop. The fact that Jean has already admitted this idea publicly probably kills the likelihood that it will ever happen, but still it’s food for thought.
While The Simpsons continues to garner great ratings, there are some who have begun to feel the series has perhaps overstayed its welcome in our lives. Most of the episodes thought of as classics occurred some time in the mid 1990’s – “Who Shot Mr. Burns,” and “You Only Move Twice” – with recent seasons opting more for shock value and gimmicks. These stunts include overwhelming celebrity cameos, killing off secondary characters, and even the rumors that this season would see Homer and Marge divorce.
The end of The Simpsons will mark the end of a television era. After possibly 30 seasons, a movie – with a potential sequel on the way – and countless tie-ins, the series has touched the lives of billions around the world. If and when the creative team (or Fox) decides to call it quits, we can rest assured the show will go out with a bang.