The Simpsons (Frinkiac) Appreciation
That last episode of Season 8 is where The Simpsons ends for me -- and while Season 9 does boast some good ones to be sure (several of them customary holdovers from Season 8), once the Golden Age ends, that's it.
Some amazing .GIFs in this thread, though -- been chuckling my ass off at several of them.
Jesus. The Simpsons is like a gigantic maze that seemed fun at first, but now incites dread whenever I think about it (which isn't often), as I don't remember where I left off (somewhere in S5?), and have no idea where that is relative to the end. So I never bother going back.
The insane longevity makes it easy enough to just dump the entirety of the last however many dozen seasons into the "who cares" pile and forget about them.
There are a few bright spots as late as Season 13 (they never approach the heights of 3-10, but they're still very funny), but that was definitely when, as a 12 year old who could recognise they weren't great without being to articulate why, I started caring about catching new episodes less. Between 2001 and 2003 there was also a massive drop off in the quality of the animation and voice acting.
I think The Simpsons lost its way simply because it went on too long, and they wrung every bit of genius they could from it. In university (in the late aughts), me and two Simpsons-obsessed friends tried to pitch ideas that hadn't been done when we were drunk - and every idea was either too convoluted, too out of character, or had been done already.
I'm definitely not in the majority here, but I actually thought the last few seasons were pretty decent. Yes, I still watch the series.
Episodes to watch:
"Halloween of Horror" (a non-"Treehouse" Halloween story that nicely focuses on Lisa's fears)
"Much Apu About Something" (a response to the vocal backlash against Apu, guest-starring Utkarsh Ambudkar who has been a critic)
"The Town" (the best travel episode in ages)
"There Will Be Buds" (a very good Kirk Van Houten episode)
"The Great Phatsby" (a two-part episode. The second part is especially solid)
"A Father's Watch" (Simon Rich wrote this one. It comes off like a classic "Simpsons" episode, in my opinion)
"Springfield Splendor" (an episode that satirizes Alison Bechdel's Fun Home with Martin Short in a really funny guest role)
There are other episodes worth a watch too, but those would be the standouts.