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The Grim Reality Facing ‘The Simpsons’

Legendary voice actress Russi Taylor died recently. She was the voice of Minnie Mouse, but she was also the voice of Martin Prince, and a couple other characters, on The Simpsons. That’s what I know her best from. To me, The Simpsons is the greatest piece of media ever created. It’s pure genius. I am actually writing this a few hours before I go to a monthly Simpsons trivia event at a local bar. So yes, I love The Simpsons. Morbid as it is, when people like Taylor die, I also start to worry about The Simpsons. I worry that the show may not end before somebody vital to the show passes on, which would effectively force The Simpsons to end, and not on its terms.

The Simpsons has been on for 30 seasons and 662 episodes. That’s insane. A lot of people have given up on it, and admittedly it isn’t the show it used to be, but I still watch it. I haven’t missed an episode. Eventually, the show will end. It can’t go on forever. However, they have showed no sign they plan to end it soon. That means more episodes, more years, and more time for cast members to age and, grim though it may be, possibly die, or become incapable of performing their voice work any longer.

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Russi Taylor was not a young woman. She passed away at the age of 75. Marcia Wallace, who voiced Bart’s teacher Edna Krabappel, was 70 when she died. The show hasn’t been the same without Mrs. K, and it won’t be the same without Taylor’s characters. Those losses are manageable, though. Julie Kavner, who voices Marge, is turning 69 this year. Harry Shearer, who voices so many characters you love, such as Mr. Burns and Principal Skinner, is 75. How much longer can he do this? Can you imagine an 80-year-old Shearer still voicing Ned Flanders?

As a matter of sheer practicality, the folks behind The Simpsons should be realizing the proverbial writing on the wall. Everything must end. I want The Simpsons to end on its own terms. I want a series finale that was intended to be the final episode of the show ever. More importantly, I want all the key cast members there. Are they just trying to get over 700 episodes? They can do that with two more seasons. That feels a little risky even, but maybe that’s the shadow of Taylor’s passing. I hope that The Simpsons has its end in sight. I hope they don’t try and stretch things out too long. The time has come to realize The Simpsons needs to finish telling its story. Otherwise, it might be ended for them by the nature of life.

About Chris Morgan

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