In this column, I discuss how "The Simpsons" responded (or didn't) to a thoughtful critique:
I was bewildered by the levels of bland stupidity and willful ignorance in Sunday’s episode of “The Simpsons.”
First, let me say that I loved this show. During its prime, “The Simpsons” featured a vibrant wit, as well as a vibrant animation style. Animation greats have passed through the show like Brad Bird (“The Incredibles,” “The Iron Giant”) and Rich Moore (“Zootopia,” “Wreck-It Ralph”), among many others.
But the show has long fallen off my priority list of TV viewing. Its overall writing quality been consistently low from what I have seen over the last decade or more, but the same can be said of the animation quality. I once saw a gif that compared a single shot from the original opening theme song sequence with the same shot from a more recent iteration, and it was just depressing.
In the older shot, there is life and vitality, drawn by hand. The new one looks like it was made by a teenager with rudimentary animation software — I know, because I was a teenager who made stuff with rudimentary animation software. When I saw the comparison, I wondered why they would even re-create the opening sequence if it would be so inferior, but of course, if the rest of the episode is going to be shoddily made, don’t start it with any evidence of your once-greatness.
This is all to say: it’s nothing new for me to be unimpressed with recent “Simpsons.”
But what the show did in its latest episode, “No Good Read Goes Unpunished,” is so flabbergastingly dumb that even I was unprepared: They went directly after comedian Hari Kondabolu — a self-declared “Simpsons” fan himself — for his 2017 documentary, “The Problem With Apu.”