With the 23rd season of The Simpsons premiering on Sunday, America's longest-running sitcom is still going strong. Despite the perennial complaints about declining quality, the Simpson family maintains a huge audience and the ability to attract new viewers, averaging 7.2 million viewers per episode during the 21st season. An all-Simpsons television channel is rumored to be in the works.
But beyond the series' longevity, The Simpsons has had a notable impact on American society, both as the forerunner for an entire generation of irreverent, animated satire (see Family Guy, or even South Park) and as representing a distinctive form of cultural criticism. The world that extends around 742 Evergreen Terrace looks very much like our own: Politicians, movie stars, artists, and other cultural figures (or at least their caricatures) inevitably find themselves in Springfield U.S.A.
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