TV Club Classic: The Simpsons’ 200th ends by uprooting all of Springfield—you know, as one does

There’s something off-putting about Simpsons episodes that end on a serious note. Not necessarily a heartfelt conclusion—that happens often enough, and is a regular part of the show’s DNA—but a downbeat political one, a moment when the show drops all pretense at maintaining some humorous distance from whatever message it’s driving home. Sometimes this can be deployed to incredibly potent effect, as in the haunting final moments of “Treehouse Of Horror XVII,” when Kang and Kodos’ alien attack bleakly allegorized the disaster of the Iraq war. But at other times, it feels like the show is treading dangerously close to “Very Special Episode” territory, which basically sums up the end of “Trash Of The Titans.” For a show that has made environmentalism a recurring theme of its politics, this unabashed plea for conservation is only a hair’s breadth away from a shooting star and …

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