‘Simpsons’ soon to be 500 strong

by David Dixon

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It’s time to recap some recent events that happened during the 23rd season of “The Simpsons.” Homer befriended an ex-CIA agent voiced by Jack Bauer, whoops, Kiefer Sutherland. “The Ren & Stimpy Show” creator, John Kricfalusi, got to animate his own twisted couch gag. And most importantly, the Simpsons’ conservative, goody-two-shoes, Christian neighbor, Ned Flanders, is now officially dating Bart’s raunchy schoolteacher, Edna Krabappel. While they do not seem like an ideal couple, their relationship actually works in the context of the show.

So what other misadventures are coming up? Well, “The Simpsons” Halloween tradition continues with “Treehouse of Horror XXII,” which features parodies of “Avatar” and “Dexter.”

Also, this February will mark an important achievement, because the 500th episode will air. Executive Producer Al Jean said the premise involves the Simpsons potentially getting banned from their town, Springfield. Though the Simpsons have been forced to leave Springfield on more than one occasion, there is likely going to be some funny twists in how this situation is handled.

Now it is time to address the elephant in the room, which is not a reference to Bart’s old elephant, Stampy. There was controversy about whether or not “The Simpsons” was going to end this year, because of budgetary constraints.

Those who adhere to Homer’s recommendation to not pay attention to the news might be surprised to know all of “The Simpsons” voice actors signed new contracts. The show will run at least until 2014, which as Mr. Burns would say, is “excellent.”

Despite the renewal, many question if “The Simpsons” can still stay fresh. Judging from the first couple of installments of the most recent season, the answer is a resounding yes.

Visually, it is now one of the best-looking primetime animated sitcoms, and its rapid fire-humor is still intact. Here’s hoping that the series reaches 1,000 episodes.

“The Simpsons” will return to Fox on Sunday nights.

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