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!"