So I’ve noticed over the years that there are still animated shows that are still going but no one really talks about them anymore, or they’ve actually become kind of lame over time, yet they keep on trucking along and keep getting renewed for new seasons. These shows keep on getting ratings not because they have maintained quality, but because at this point they have become a nostalgic blanket that we Americans enjoy snuggling up into so much to escape the terrifying time that is NOW.
Ya know, I get it, stuff sucks now. Scary stuff is happening in the news. People grew up being told that a four year degree and a family with 2.5 kids was all they needed to be happy and successful in life. But now it’s near impossible to pay for college, there’s currently a “Baby Bust” happening because no one can afford to have kids, and getting married doesn’t solve all of your problems as we were told. Nostalgia in television and film has taken over because life isn’t so easy.
It’s okay to enjoy nostalgia from time to time, but we should note that some things don’t really deserve our attention anymore and must diverge from them if we ever want anything new and good. So, I’ll be exploring some currently ongoing animated series that have all degraded in quality over time, so that we can acknowledge and analyze our current state in primetime animations and why they should end. We will begin with:
This show as good while the good last, but now, a lot of nothing seems to happen in the show more often. Like it’s just filler and there isn’t much point to those episodes. Perhaps the writers are having trouble writing entire archs for a normal full length Season. We are currently in Season 9, which is to be only eight episodes long. Currently we are only 3 episodes in. Season 10 is already greenlit, and too will be only eight episodes long. While the last couple of seasons have had some interesting set-ups, the writing has gotten kind of flat and the jokes just aren’t hitting anymore, and that is why they need to end this show already. I believe it will be ending after Season 10.
3. AMERICAN DAD
When FAMILY GUY was cancelled by Fox, AMERICAN DAD was created as the “tweaked” version that would supposedly do better. I honestly liked AMERICAN DAD better than FAMILY GUY for a while, but it too lost my interest over time. The characters in AMERICAN DAD were less obnoxious and more relatable, which is why I feel it is the better spawn of Seth MacFarlane’s loins. However, in its current state, I’m not going to waste my time watching. AMERICAN DAD won’t be ending anytime soon, they’re in the middle of the current Season, and it was already renewed for a Season 16.
2. FAMILY GUY
This show used to be Simpsons HUGE. Everyone was quoting it, there was merchandise everywhere, and it was all thanks to Cartoon Network’s resurrection of the show. FAMILY GUY originally was cancelled by Fox after only airing three Seasons, but after CN picked up, and ran reruns, a massive following started to develop and Fox decided to finally renew the show. Now, we are up to 16 Seasons of newer episodes that vary between being very strange, depressing, or something that just kind of happened. The writing has noticeably changed over the years, and most people don’t really like it anymore. They tried to spice things up by killing off the dog Brian at some point and replaced him with another dog. but fans who dislike change weren’t having it, and Brian was brought back just a few episodes later. and I’ve never before seen a show go from being insanely popular to becoming UNCOOL to even reference. So who is still watching it for the series to keep going? Because of how uncool the show became, it is quite likely that there are far more people watching it that won’t admit to it. I often wonder if this is the fate of RICK AND MORTY.
1. THE SIMPSONS
Starting way back in December 17th, 1989, the SIMPSONS still continues to this day. The show stole the record from GUNSMOKE by becoming the longest running primetime scripted series after airing their 636th episode, “Forgive and Regret”. This just happened on April 29th 2018 as the show ended their 29th Season, and the 30th is on its way! I rarely find people who still watch the new episodes Sunday nights deliberately these days. THE SIMPSONS rose to fame in the 90s, and held strength for many years. The general consensus is that the show stopped being worth going out of your way to watch somewhere around Season 10. 10 aired in 1999, so it’s been near or a whole 20 years since the Simpsons was still good? What I am basing good on is the jokes and complexity and relatability in the plot of the individual episodes. The current show isn’t bad now, it’s just kind of bland, but definitely more watchable than FAMILY GUY. THE SIMPSONS is an endlessly beaten horse that just won’t die.
You might be asking “wait, why wasn’t RICK AND MORTY on the list?”
Well, I disagree with the notion that RICK AND MORTY has gotten worse during Season 3. While it was definitely overhyped, and that whole nugget sauce fiasco it technically had nothing to do with, the show was as good as ever. Much of the shock humor still had a strong effect the first time around. It was just as fun to watch as ever. However, there was some odd foreshadowing happening in the last episode of Season 3 that makes me wonder if the future episodes will lose quality. RICK AND MORTY has been renewed for a whopping 70 new episodes! I’m thinking that’s another 3-4 Seasons, which is CRAZY to sign on for all at once. Hopefully Dan Harmon, Justin Roiland, and their writers will use these 70 episodes to develop a more engaging story arches for the show, but it looks like they just want (or were told to) make nothing ever change. Currently, the RICK AND MORTY is still going strong, but with time and that many episodes to fill, it could really go downhill. I’m hoping not.
Shows I want back? FUTURAMA, of course. Only this time they aren’t allowed to tack on FAMILY GUY writers to make “better pop culture references”. Bring back the scientists!
SOUTH PARK, I’m still on the fence on. They had some reasonable slipups with their attempt at serialization in Season 20. Serialization was a move I was excited for. However, writers Trey Parker and Matt Stone got themselves stuck in a place trying to stay relevant to what was happening in the real world, the story clearly started to fall apart when the election didn’t go as they thought it would, and didn’t consider a plan B. PC Principal was a brilliant character invention, and believe the show is still capable in great parody of modern events.
BOB’S BURGERS was never good. The show at the very most was okay, but not good. If you look at it from a perspective of someone who knows nothing about the history of the people involved, on the surface, it is clearly a Fox-engineered animated sitcom designed to please the masses. Of course, that's what makes money, but making money does NOT equal good. The show will never be clever or controversial. I have never found it funny. The stories are as bland as the new SIMPSONS episodes, with their own twist on "humor". If you want to look at BOB'S BURGERS as a longtime fan of Loren Bouchard's work, including HOME MOVIES (co-created with Brendon Small), DR. KATZ, and LUCY, DAUGHTER OF THE DEVIL, BOB'S BURGERS is extremely lacking. The quality of Bouchard's previous works are far superior in quality and complexity, and BOB'S BURGERS is just simplistic and low-brow compared to the rest of his creations.
What will cartoon fans watch if none of these shows are around anymore? The networks will have to *gasp* make something new! And I welcome it! Primetime for animation has been pretty much the same since 2009, you guys. There were some things that came and went before their time, like SIT DOWN, SHUT UP. I'm not saying new things haven't come out at all, there's shows like RICK AND MORTY, ADVENTURE TIME, and STEVEN UNIVERSE. There's a sorta promising new show out right now called FINAL SPACE executive produced by Conan O'Brien. You know, an original and well-known writer of the SIMPSONS that moved on to new and better things long ago.
My ultimate point is, those four shows I numbered, plus BOB'S BURGERS needs to die. They don't push, or no longer push, boundaries and do nothing good for the animation world.