It seems crazy to think about any show in primetime television these days managing to reach even 200 episodes, so for a show like “The Simpsons” to go three times longer than that is both stunning and incredibly impressive. Tonight, the long-running Fox animated comedy is bringing you episode #600, which is a tremendous celebration and one that Fox is promoting using everything from a “Hunger Games”-inspired story to a couch gag that will utilize virtual reality.
We know that the show’s been on for decades at this point, so with that comes the next question: Could it actually topple “Gunsmoke”? The popular Western, which ran from 1955 until 1975, remains the record holder for the most episodes ever for a scripted primetime show with 635. That is a tremendous achievement, and in our mind it will still hold a special place even if “The Simpsons” beats it. It’s different doing a scripted show out in the conditions every day versus an animated one with voice-actors. Both are a tremendous amount of work, but in some ways they are different beasts.
So could “The Simpsons” do it? Our feeling is probably so, given that you only need about a year and a half more show to make this happen, and nobody’s talking as though this season is going to be the end of the road. The current renewal brings it to 625 episodes, so if they can just order even a shortened season after that, they’ll make it there. Given that the ratings are a shell of what they once were, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the series end around the time they made it to 650 episodes, or somewhere close to 30 seasons.
Our main hope is that whenever Fox does decide to end the show, they really do hold a massive celebration for what is one of the greatest television achievements of all time.
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