Thatís funny, it seems like ninety-one/ninety-two episodes is the point where some critic will claim that a hit show is going downhill, regardless of whether or not itís true:
[Ö] even "The Simpsons
" isn't always "The Simpsons" anymore. There was a time when its humor was piled on like lasagna layers, and peeling each of them back was part of the fun of watching. Every show was tightly packed with jokes, to the extent that you could watch a second or even a third time and still discover something--a visual nuance, a throwaway reference--that you missed in earlier viewings. Lately, though, there are no layers. What you immediately see and hear is everything you get. The show's bratty Bart and once bankable Homer humor are flatter, the gags often labored and belabored, and the characters inconsistent. [Ö] [Itís] as if Groening and this season's writers have mislaid some of the old magic formula's herbs and spices.
For reference, that was written three months after Cape Feare aired. But oh well, Iím sure history will bear you out, Mr. Liu.