It’s become a generally accepted fact that The Simpsons has become a distorted shadow of itself, but it’s gotten so bad that newer seasons seem to rely heavily on a tidal wave of trendy guest stars.
Let me fill you in on just how bad things have gotten as far as guest stars are concerned. Last year, they had Justin Bieber, Steve Carrell, Natalie Portman, Tina Fey, Zooey Deschanel (twice in the same season), and some crappy rock band called The Decembrists, among other trendy guests. In season 23, they had Julian Assange appear on the 500th episode for its own sake, and they devoted an entire episode to trashy pop queen Lady Gaga, thus single-handedly destroying their credibility. So far, in the current season, nearly every episode has had some kind of guest appearance.
Of course, this isn’t a new thing. There were just as many guest stars in some of the older seasons, and during the Mike Scully era, they brought in guest stars as often as they could (especially in season 11). However, in the newer seasons, it’s much worse because most of the new guest stars are only brought in for its own sake, and to hide the fact that there is no hope for the show.
What’s even worse is when the guest stars gently mock themselves just to seem humble. However, to their credit, it’s not like they can have much pride left if they sell themselves out to a technically dead TV show whose only goal now is to grab as much precious ratings as it can.
Of course, there’s one thing we have to blame for all this. The veritable army of guest stars is a sign of the end, because the main problem with the show is that the writers can’t make an original episode with a well-written plot anymore without it already having been done before. In this situation, it’s become a lot easier to just slap in more than a few shameless guest appearances.
But then you have another problem: the fact that so few celebrities turn down a guest appearance. The first person to turn down a guest appearance was William Shatner, and he later guest starred in an episode of Futurama anyway.
Thank God they never got David Bowie to be on the show (and given his recent reclusion, it looks as though they never will), otherwise, that would have been the last straw for me.
Either way, this can’t last forever. At some point, The Simpsons is going to die, simply because of the fact that no TV show lasts forever, and all the guest appearances from Kevin Michael Richardson can’t change that.