I love The Simpson more than any piece of pop culture. I’ve mentioned that on this very site many times over, and on other sites. Also, in many conversations, on a lot of dates, and so on and so forth. Granted, it’s not uncommon for Simpsons die hards to have a lot of negative opinions related to the show. I’m not as active on that front. I didn’t stop watching the show after season 12, I think there have been good episodes made in the last decade, and I actually like the episode “The Principal and the Pauper.” However, I have one Simpsons-related opinion that’s negative, and it’s not a popular one. I think the episodes where they travel are overrated.
“The Simpsons are going to…” episodes are one of the more common tropes they’ve used. I feel like the family, or members of the family, have traveled to far-flung destinations more often than they’ve celebrated Christmas on the show. Vacation episodes may only be second to Halloween episodes. Generally, they get good reviews, at least the early ones. The thing is, I don’t think any of them are great, and only a couple are really good.
I’m going to eschew the more recent ones in my argument. Yes, the episode where the family goes to Israel sucks, but it’s a late-period Simpsons episode, so a lot of fans haven’t seen it or just assume it sucks. Even in the glory days of the show, though, these episodes are usually just fine at best. I’m talking mostly about the ones where they leave the country, like when Bart goes to France, or the family goes to Brazil or whatever. That Brazil one is particularly mediocre, and “Crepes of Wrath” is one of my least-favorite early episodes as well.
The thing that got me thinking about this is the episode where the family goes to Tokyo. I was watching it recently at a Simpsons bar trivia night (like I said, I love the show), and it’s fine, but it’s too silly. There are too many goofy jokes about Japanese culture. The episode ends with Godzilla attacking their plane. That’s a bad joke. It ends the episode on a sour note.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, and this is the opinion that’s going to get me charged with heresy. I don’t like “Bart vs. Australia.” DON’T GET ME WRONG! It’s a good episode, but that’s it. It’s not any better than a solid episode. It’s not in my top 100 episodes, probably not even my top 200. There are some funny jokes, and it starts off well, but I feel like it peters out. They ran out of steam, and it keeps the episode for being anything special.
So yes, while almost everything I say about The Simpsons is praise, I do have my criticisms. For as much as I love the show, when the family leaves the country, I usually don’t care for it. If we include in-country travel, though, I will say I love “The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson.”