Nothing lasts forever. Not even the longest-running primetime series in television history.
If The Simpsons has become known for anything the last few years, it's been its own longevity. What once was a show about a dysfunctional cartoon family has become a behind-the-scenes drama of how long it can possibly go on. The Simpsons kicked off its 27th season last night. It's amazing that viewers in our quickly-bored culture have sustained it for this long.
So how long can it last? In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, showrunner Al Jean speculates that it will be all but impossible for the series to continue beyond a 30th season.
The show's official status at the moment is a green light up through the end of Season 28, which takes it up through around May 2017. But the show's cast — who went through some prickly contract re-negotiations not long ago — has options that run up through Season 30. THR asked Jean for his thoughts on the subject.
"It's quite possible that we don't have to go through the whole negotiation [after Season] 30," Jean said. "I wouldn't be stunned if we stopped at 28, but my bet is on at least 30."
The problem, as he went on to say, is that all of the actors would have to negotiate once again for the show to go beyond Season 30. Considering the pay raises involved in any re-negotiation, as well as the difficulties of getting everyone to sign on the dotted line this last time, Jean has cause to believe it might be impossible to get the band back together after 30.
"If you made me pick one, I'd say the likeliest is ending after 30, but I've been wrong before. I thought five seasons was good when I got there," he laughed.
So how do you give a proper end to a beloved show that's lasted for 30 years? Al Jean shared an idea he had for a series finale, but stressed that it was merely an idea being kicked around in his head, and not anything that he's pitched to Fox or anyone else.
"I thought it'd be cool if the last episode ended with them getting ready for the Christmas pageant that appeared in the first episode, so that the whole series was a loop that didn't have any beginning or end."
What do you think?