Hard to believe it's been ten years since The Simpsons left the air.
After 8 seasons and 178 episodes, the Simpsons closed up shop in 1997 at the top of its game. The series went out in signature offbeat fashion with "The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase". That memorable show offered a hysterical look at the various awful ways the show could have tried to carry on, such as a comedy-variety show and an action series starring Chief Wiggum in New Orleans. "Be happy we're saying good-bye," the show seemed to be saying. "You don't want this."
Still, it was a bittersweet finale, and fans have mourned the loss of their favorite family ever since. Sure, FOX gave a huge promotional push to Matt Groening's new project, Futurama, now heading into its 10th immensely popular season. Some enthusiasts say the show had explored everything it could without becoming tired. Some point to the untimely death of voice actor Phil Hartman a year after the series ended, saying that may have triggered a decline of its own. But many fans would have preferred more seasons of The Simpsons, insisting there was still several seasons' worth of good stories to be mined from the residents of Springfield.
These fans have spent the last decade pleading for the characters to return in some form, whether that be new episodes, web-cartoons starring the Comic Book Guy, or even (gasp!) a movie. Today, they finally get their wish, as The Simpsons Movie opens in theaters nationwide. Can it live up to the highs of a series that rarely had a subpar episode? Will this, after eight years of perfection, finally be the "shark jumping moment" for the series? Movie-goers hungry for a return to Springfield will find out tonight.