'The Simpsons’ to air 768th episode

May 19, 2024 8:55 am

[Photo Credit: CNN Entertainment]

Toward the end of its 35th season, “The Simpsons” made a move that rankled some fans: It killed a longtime resident of Springfield.

Larry the Barfly died in Moe’s Tavern, where he’s been a mostly wordless mainstay since the 1989 pilot. Even longtime “Simpsons” fans would be forgiven for never learning Larry’s name –– Homer and the other Moe’s regulars certainly didn’t know anything else about their drinking buddy, as was made mournfully clear at Larry’s poorly attended funeral.

And though Larry made little-to-no impact on Homer and his family over 35 seasons, “The Simpsons” gave him a moving sendoff anyway and even a reason for being. In death, he brings the men of Moe’s together outside of the bar to reaffirm that they do, in fact, like each other — even when they’re not drunk on Duff.

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After a winding journey to scatter Larry’s ashes at a waterfall they assume he liked (they barely spoke to the man, after all) and narrowly escaping jewel thieves and a fall off of a cliff, the men return Larry’s urn to the place they’re sure he loved: Moe’s.

Episodes like “Cremains of the Day,” which aired on April 21, are part of why “The Simpsons” endures –– it’s still mining depth from characters we’ve known for decades and finding new stories in the corners of Springfield that viewers think they know well.

Viewers have followed the buffoonish Homer, devoted Marge, mischievous Bart, socially conscious Lisa, observant Maggie and their hundreds of eccentric neighbors for more than 30 years. There have been hundreds of couch gags, celebrity guest stars and strangling incidents that have inspired a cultish obsession among protective fans. It birthed a 2007 film that made over half a billion dollars worldwide and rides at two Universal theme parks. Oh, and it popularized the now-booming subgenre of the adult animated comedy.

But the trick to keeping “The Simpsons” relevant and exciting all these years later, Selman said, is to keep the show’s tremendous legacy out of mind as much as possible.