We Pinpoint When The Simpsons Dropped Its First Bad Episode and Started To Go Downhill

So this is when it was changed forever

We all know the Simpsons just isn’t the same anymore. Back over twenty years ago this once great show could do no wrong, but is it possible to pinpoint the exact episode where it all started to go downhill?

Yes, and it wasn’t a quick thing either because once this bad episode had aired the show was still actually good for quite a while but gradually got worse every season. Once this first bad episode went out there was no going back. So which episode are we talking about?

It was way back in 1997, 28th September, and 25 years to the day. The episode is called “The Principal and the Pauper” from season 9.

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We’ve celebrated The Simpsons so much on this site and also expressed our woes (see here). This great cartoon series has been in my life for a very long time. I was a 90s kid and grew up with Homer and the family. I was pretty obsessed at first and I admit I had a couple of Bart Simpson t-shirts which included slogans like “Don’t have a cow man”, action figures, and posters on the wall and yes, I did purchase the “Do the Bartman” record too!

The show has given us plenty of memorable quotes, great characters, and some amazing background jokes and funny business names.

© Fox | Report

The show was the best thing on TV but after that fateful night of 28th September 1997, the whole world changed. Up until then the episodes were getting better and better but did the show hit its peak and was now doomed?

We’d come off season 8 on a high with great episodes like “Homer’s Enemy”, “Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show”, “Homer’s Phobia” and “The Springfield Files”. Season 9 started strong with the first episode – “The City of New York vs Homer Simpson” which is great but then dipped into the second episode with “The Principal and the Pauper”…

The synopsis – The real Seymour Skinner returns to Springfield, revealing that Principal Skinner – whose real name is Armin Tamzarian – is an impostor who stole his identity during the Vietnam War. A disgraced Tamzarian leaves Springfield to live on the streets of Capital City, but the real Seymour Skinner proves harder for Springfield to stomach.

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Does that sound like a great episode? In today’s totally random (and unfunny) celebrity voice rouletted Simpsons episodes that crazy concept for an episode would mean nothing and nobody would bat an eyelid if it didn’t make any sense.

Even with that wacky plot the episode started with such promise, it seemed well-written, and with Martin Sheen providing the voice of the real Seymour Skinner what could go wrong? Well, the main problem is it’s not that funny and Seymour Skinner is miserable and unlikeable. Seymour’s mother Agnes Skinner for some reason has been living with a complete stranger for decades who she thought was her son but is happy to let the real Skinner move back in even though she hates him and they both are completely joyless. The real Skinner also seems to replace Tamzarian as the Principle of the school even though he’s not a qualified teacher. Everybody in Springfield also seems to be affected by Tamzarian’s lie and cannot stand the real Skinner. So what do they do?

© Fox | Report

The citizens of Springfield tie the real Skinner to a train and force him out of town and decide that things go back to normal even though Tamzarian’s committed identity theft for decades on this poor guy. We’ve seen them eject an obnoxious character before like Rex Banner but this seems cruel and heartless. The characters agree to never talk about it again making the whole episode completely pointless!

The season did have some great episodes that did follow such as “Lisa’s Sax”, “Miracle on Evergreen Terrace”, “Bart Carny” and “The Joy of Sect” but we can say that season 9 was officially the last great season and was never the same again.

If you wish to see more Simpsons articles then go here.

Written by Jay

A caffeine-based life form with a love of the 80s and pop culture.

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