At its peak, The Simpsons was a shining beacon of overwhelming consistency. From seasons 3-9 or so, you could throw a dart at a random episode and hit a stone-cold classic. Once delivering dazzlingly acerbic wit and satiric genius on a weekly basis, the show scaled dizzying heights in the annals of TV history.
Until it didn't. As Game of Thrones fans can attest, the more passionate the fandom, the more vitriolic the reaction when things don't go right. And when The Simpsons failed the hit the benchmarks of quality it had established, fans were quick to emulate Comic Book Guy in denouncing lesser entries online.
As the years and decades have gone on, the once-legendary show has moved farther and farther away from what it was, and fans have been forced to adjust their expectations accordingly. No longer able to rely on guaranteed brilliance, viewers will instead settle for merely chuckling more than once throughout an episode in order to assess an instalment as passable.
More than thirty seasons in, the show arguably features more missteps in its huge catalogue than classics. Yet, though the majority of such lacklustre showings simply prompt an ambivalent Edna Krabappel shrug, there are those maligned episodes that still cause fans to flock in droves to the internet in order to type out "WORST. EPISODE. EVER!"
10. The Boys Of Bummer
The steep decline of the show from acerbic satire to buffoonish yet tone-deaf antics is abundantly clear in this tale focusing on Bart's psychotic break after losing Springfield a baseball game.
Bart simply dropping the ball would be one thing, but watching him flail around absurdly afterwards while trying to make a play is more akin to... well, a cartoon. Not to mention the 78 (!) times it takes for a faux-rematch to result in Bart making the redemptive grab, essentially the Springfield equivalent of Joey Tribbiani attempting to speak French. How can anyone be this incompetent?
As the town quickly turns on Bart for his initial failure, it feels all too much like a Treehouse of Horror parody, only The Simpsons wants you to believe that it's canon. It all culminates in Bart literally attempting suicide by leaping from a water tower. Springfield's citizens react by jeering him in his hospital bed. Once upon a time, audiences were a little unsettled by the darkness of Homer snoring through Frank Grimes' funeral, but this is just too much.
In other news, Homer gets a job as a mattress salesman before discovering that his bed is the secret to hot romance, in one of the lamest B-stories ever attempted.