"American Idol" is coming to "The Simpsons'" Season Finale, thereby combining two things long past their prime. Just knowing the Simpsons is still going makes me angry, somehow. I loved that show so much, and it deserved it; I loved the crappy animation, the brilliant characters, the rambling stories. Then they ruined everything, took it off "The Tracy Ullman Show" and made it a stand-alone series! And all you people who liked the series are sell-outs and losers.


Well, no. Those early cartoons are frightening:



But the Simpsons did have a golden era in the first seven seasons, and has been treading water ever since. (Count me among those.) I still can’t tell if the decline was so gradual we didn’t notice until it had tipped over into self-parody, or whether there was one stark moment where we should have realized it was over. Maybe when they had to move the entire town because of the garbage situation . . . although that has some moments. Garbageman song, right? Right.


See, that’s the problem. They all had moments that gave you hope, made you think this season would be better, but at some point old fans just cut the cord and made a clean break. For me, it was when Seymour Skinner was revealed not to be Seymour Skinner, or something like that. I thought: it's not funny, I don't care, and it messes with the delicate continuity of the show. I'm out of here. Yes, that's right: some of us cared about continuity in the Simpsons, which is like expecting cogent metallurgical analysis from Rosie O'Donnell, but there was continuity. You can't say Krusty had a superfluous nipple one season and pretend it doesn't exist the next. 


If they’ve managed to do something one-tenth as touching as the show where Homer explains why there aren’t any baby pix of Maggie in the books, I’d be surprised. In case you're curious: the cool thing to do this year is hate the Simpsons. Last  year, it was cool to sneer at the haters, because the 47th season was pretty good. I Even numbered year when the season starts, okay to hate. Odd numbered year, not okay to hate.