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Steamed Hams But The Episodes Didn't Stay Good

I'm not sure what I did on weekdays at 9pm during my earliest years but after 2000 the answer was simple. I was watching The Simpsons on The Comedy Network. Most of my middle school friends were doing the same and this put us in a position to witness the end of an era. Reruns that aired every day seemed strikingly different from the new episodes that aired on Sunday and it did not take us long to figure out that the latter were steadily getting worse. The decline of The Simpsons is common knowledge but I recently found a visualization which puts it in a rather harsh perspective. This chart, by filmmaker Sol Harris, points out among other things that The Simpsons has more than twice as many episodes as the next longest running cartoon. The writers would be able to take 14 years off to come up with good ideas again and still be able to call themselves the record holders. I would say the tail is so long that some viewers, who have already been watching for a number of years, were born after the last good episode.


A plot showing a rating out of 10 issued by Sol Harris for each 1989-2017 Simpsons episode.

But what is the last good episode? Modulo some broken clocks that are right twice a day, Harris tells us that it is the 12th Halloween special which aired at the beginning of season 13. The episode afterwards called "The Parent Rap" is scorned as "the definitive moment when the show went from 'Bad Simpsons' to 'Bad Television'". In the Harris ratings, which I have re-plotted above, the beginning of season 13 indeed looks like a turning point. A more satisfying exercise is to justify this with maximum likelihood estimation.

Things That Shouldn't Get Wet

A painting of Spider-Man that I made. I started thinking about memorable events from the last year and came up with a painting session that people had at my residence. Actually two of them. At the first one, I painted Spider-Man, but it took such a long time that I didn't get to put anything in the background. Because of this, I suggested another painting session to the soon-to-be Residence Association President as he was campaigning door-to-door. I'm pretty sure they would've held one anyway. At the second one, I completed the scene by painting some upside-down buildings. Both events had a great turnout... probably because of the ample supply of paint, canvases and wine. I only have a picture of Spider-Man, but it was great to see what pictures other people came up with. When some one was painting a landscape, I said it looked like something by the Group of Seven. This turned out to be true, since the guy said he had a painting by A. Y. Jackson in mind when he started it.

My Definition Of "Was" Is "Was Never"

Many people I know only watch torrented TV shows, but not me. Even though I'm a proponent of torrents, I still watch regular television quite a bit. And as a Canadian, that means the biggest topic I see now is the upcoming American election.


Bill Clinton giving his famous speech.

I recently watched Bill Clinton give his long speech endorsing Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention and it was really something. I agree with the sentiment that it's making some people miss Clinton but I'm sure it was eloquent enough to convince many people that Obama is the next best thing.

Three Great Little Known Performing Artists

I have to make a plug for a few people that have exceptional talent. These are the people that I want to get tons of exposure so they can make a career coming out with stuff that entertains the shit out of me. And when I talk to my friends I will sound like a badass because I'll be able to say that I knew them before almost anyone else. They have more talent than most of the people in Broadway or Hollywood. One exception might be Christopher Nolan whose first film is still insanely good. Nolan would be on my list if he were still making low budget films. But he's a best-selling director now, so it's down to these three.

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