Although The Simpsons has been going on for decades (and always breaking the sitcom status quo), the show didn't break a major TV rule until its 34th season.
Warning: Spoilers for The Simpsons season 34, episode 12.
^ Although "The Simpsons" has run for an incredible 34 seasons, the series still found another new way to break the rules of television with its sitcom storytelling. While The Simpsons isn't as critically acclaimed as the series was at the height of its popularity, the series' creators aren't using the show's aging population as an excuse to abandon experimental, creative writing. Season 34 of The Simpsons has been surprisingly offbeat so far, and the series promises to prioritize clever storytelling to keep the show fresh.
For example, The Simpsons season 34, episode 12, "My Life As A Vlog", was the show's first live-on-screen episode (and one of the first TV episodes to use the format). That would have been impossible in the golden age of The Simpsons, and proves that the series can keep up without coming across as hopeless or gimmicky. Screenlife is a technology for telling stories entirely through a computer screen, and while it's been around since 2000, the style has recently been popularized by viral thrillers like Megan's Missing, Breaking Friendship, Finding and The Host. , but is still rare on television.
In "My Life As A Vlog," the Simpsons use screenlife to tell the story of the meteoric rise (and almost instantaneous decline) of the Simpsons' vlogging career. Oddly enough, this whole adventure was later found to be a wiki rabbit hole started by the procrastinating George RR Martin. While Season 34 of The Simpsons changed its opening credits several times before "My Life As A Vlog," the fact that the episode didn't have one suggests it was an experimental show. "My Life As A Vlog" starts off as a vlog with the Simpsons and then gets more complicated.
How The Simpsons Used Screenlife
Soon, unseen clickers were explaining how the Simpsons became famous (a viral video of Homer helping Maggie at a baby ballet recital) and anonymous vloggers exposing their duplicity (soon revealed to be Millhouse) bouncing back and forth between. The episode utilizes the unique style of storytelling offered by screenlife, a text-driven mystery model where information is gradually revealed via on-screen pop-ups, links, comments and distractions. This style requires the viewer to pay close attention to a lot of input at the same time, however, because even the oldest episodes of The Simpsons are packed with With as many gimmicks as possible on screen, the show is a perfect fit for the format.
While "My Life As A Vlog" was an interesting experiment in season 34 of The Simpsons, it wasn't the first TV episode to be told through the medium of on-screen life. In fact, The Simpsons wasn't even the first family sitcom to devote its screen life to solo outings. Modern Family season 6, episode 16, "Lost Connection," tells the story through a complicated Skype call that leads to disaster for Claire and Hayley through a series of escalating misunderstandings. However, The Simpsons is still one of the first shows^ New episodes of The Simpsons air Sunday on Fox.
The Simpsons Aren't The First Screenlife Sitcom
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