Feature

The Simpsons' two-season extension: 'Woo-hoo'?

The animated series in the midst of its 23rd season will make it to the quarter-century mark — after its actors accept a 30 percent pay cut

Fox and the actors who give voice to The Simpsons have reached a deal that extends the longest-running comedy program ever for two more years. For seasons 24 and 25, each actor will reportedly accept a 30 percent pay cut, to about $300,000 per episode, or $6 million per year. They will not, as requested, get any cut of the lucrative back-end profits from nearly a quarter-century of work. "In the words of Homer Simpson, 'Woo Hoo! I outlasted Andy Rooney'" says 20th Century Fox in a statement. Should viewers be that happy, too?

No. The Simpsons should have been snuffed out: When it looked like Homer and family were on their last season, "I honestly wasn't all that bummed," says Jackie Storer in Ohio State's The Lantern. It's not that I don't love The Simpsons — I do, and have since age 4. But the show just "isn't that funny anymore," and my spotty viewing since season 10 has trickled down to nothing. As they say, "if you truly love something, you have to let it go.""D'oh! Cancel The Simpsons now before it gets even worse"

C'mon. This is great news: Woo-hoo indeed, says Alan Sepinwall in HitFlix. People have been saying The Simpsons lost its magic since at least season 8, when I started reviewing TV professionally, "and I've always thought that was silly." It's not as fresh as it was in season 2, or as funny as season 4, but this last year was great. "The Simpsons is still capable of being funny, and moving, and of making me and many other people happy that it still exists and is still producing new episodes.""Woo-hoo! FOX renews The Simpsons for two Moe seasons"

But nobody looked good in this showdown: The best you can say about the deal is that it ends a week of embarrassingly public "backbiting and stalemate," and everyone walked away unhappy, says Lloyd Grove in The Daily Beast. It's hard to see how watching the next couple seasons will be more enjoyable knowing that Fox greedily denied the show's stars a cut of the profit-sharing, and that the actors are still earning salaries that, as Harry Shearer admits, are "ridiculous by any normal standard.""The Simpsons lives!"

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