We’ve honestly not thought about, let alone watched, The Simpsons for at least five years. But when headlines announced that Channel Ten was no longer home to the beloved family, we sat up and paid attention…
Ten has been the home of everyone’s favourite yellow family since 1991, an entire generation’s childhood to put it mildly. I can remember turning on the TV at 6pm sharp and fighting with my brother about who’d be remote commander, before Dad settled the argument by plucking it from our tug-of-war grip. Last week it was announced that, due to disputes over contract renewal, Fox has pulled their content from Ten’s program meaning no more Modern Family, no more Futurama and no more Simpsons.
While the central drama is about money: Ten being a station who’s financial future is cloudier than a thunderstorm, I can’t help but wonder if there’s more at work here than plain profit. Does the disappearance of Fox’s family-friendly comedies mean no more family time or has that particular brand of television just expired?
The struggle to remain relevant in a society where trends change faster than the Flash changes his onesie is a Herculean task with a slew of competitors ready to go Hunger Games for survival. It comes as no surprise that some free-to-air stations are stumbling. Aside from reality shows and the ol’ Friday night movie, networks like Ten have few resources left to compete with the likes of ABC, SBS, HBO, and streaming services like Netflix and Stan. Considering the amount of original content that’s continually spouting from these portals, it’s a wonder Ten’s made it this far.
With so many other entertainment options available, I don’t think family time has gone the way of the dodo. It might simply be that Aussie audiences have left families like the Simpsons behind. After all, comedy is one of the fastest-changing genres and right now the cartoons that are proving the most popular are the cynical society-bashing ones by Adult Swim. Even the moral messages at the end of Family Guy episodes are becoming outdated while random adventures like Rick and Morty’s continue to skyrocket.
It’s like Grandpa Simpson said, “I used to be with ‘it’, but then they changed what ‘it’ was. Now what I’m with isn’t ‘it’ and what’s ‘it’ seems weird and scary to me!”