TV Club: The Simpsons: “The Man Who Came To Be Dinner”

It would be a lot easier to make the case that The Simpsons still has value if the people behind the show seemed to give a damn. But an episode like “The Man Who Came To Be Dinner” is a product of such slapdash, breezy disregard for what makes The Simpsons The Simpsons that it functions as a dispiriting signpost to the show’s hastening irrelevance.

Throughout its 26th season, the show has, following the pattern of the last decade or so, marched along in sluggish competence. There are real downers (“Clown In The Dumps”), an occasional episode whose modest charms seem to come from an earlier, better season (“Super Franchise Me”), and the rest coast along on familiarity and the cast’s talent. But there have been worrying signs this season that showrunner Al Jean (who co-wrote this episode alongside David Mirkin) is embracing an “anything goes” philosophy for …

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