For more than three decades, The Simpsons has been one of the most iconic TV shows on the air. After so long, it might be too late to end the series in a satisfying way with a definitive finale episode that brings the stories of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie to a natural conclusion with a real sense of finality. Simpsons fans have enjoyed more than 700 episodes across 33 seasons, and it’s still going strong with a 34th season on the way.
It’s by far the longest-running primetime scripted series in the history of US television. The Simpsons was one of the many valuable assets that Disney picked up in its very expensive acquisition of 21st Century Fox. Since the Mouse House wants some bang for its buck, it probably won’t let the producers end the series any time soon. but The Simpsons has already aired a few episodes that would’ve made a fitting series finale.
Simpsons fans would’ve missed out on a lot of great Golden Age episodes if this was the last one, but season 4’s “Lisa’s First Word” would’ve marked a heartfelt conclusion to the Simpsons’ story. The episode fleshes out the story timeline as flashbacks fill in the early days of Bart and Lisa’s childhood. Bart and Lisa are always fighting, but the underlying sweetness of their dynamic is that, deep down, they love each other. “Lisa’s First Word” encapsulates that perfectly. When Lisa is born, Bart is initially resentful of the attention his new baby sister receives, but warms to her when she says her first word – “Bart” – and he realizes she looks up to him.
Maggie’s own first word, uttered in the final scene of this episode, would’ve been the perfect ending for the series. The running joke of Bart and Lisa calling their dad “Homer” is paid off with one of the most poignant, tearjerking moments in the show’s history. After Homer puts Maggie to bed, she takes out her pacifier and says, “Daddy.” This ending resolves the other dramatic underpinning of the series: Homer is pretty hopeless as a husband and father, but he genuinely loves Marge and the kids and would do anything for them.
Not only is season 8’s “You Only Move Twice” praised as one of the greatest Simpsons episodes ever made; it also would’ve made a great series finale. Homer takes a job working for a James Bondian supervillain and relocates the family to a new town. It would be appropriate for the finale to feature the voice of regular guest star Albert Brooks (or, as he’s always credited on the show, A. Brooks). Here, he plays Hank Scorpio, the charming megalomaniac who hires Homer as the chief motivator in his corporation’s nuclear division. Scorpio is one of the show’s most memorable one-off characters.
Homer settles into his new career nicely, but every other Simpson struggles to fit in at their new home in Cypress Creek. This storyline hammers home that Springfield is exactly where the family belongs, which would’ve been a lovely sentiment to end the series on.
The season 7 finale, “Summer of 4 Ft. 2,” could’ve been the final of the whole series. It kicks off with a natural narrative conclusion – the end of Bart and Lisa’s school year – and the ensuing storyline refreshingly breaks away from the formula by sending the family away from Springfield. The Simpsons spend the summer at Flanders’ beach house, where Lisa is determined to change her life. “Summer of 4 Ft. 2” wouldn’t necessarily be a perfect ending for the entire Simpson clan, but it would certainly make a perfect ending for Lisa’s character arc. She adopts a new personality to make friends on vacation, but ultimately realizes she was fine just the way she was.
Season 11’s “Behind the Laughter” is the most self-aware episode of The Simpsons. It reimagines the entire show as a show within a show. In a sharp spoof of the VH1 series Behind the Music, “Behind the Laughter” is a mockumentary about the “real” Simpson family, who are supposedly celebrities who star in their own eponymous sitcom. This meta riff would’ve been an outside-the-box way to conclude the series.
according to TodayAl Jean said in an interview with former Simpsons writer Conan O’Brien that the season 23 episode “Holidays of Future Passed” was written as a potential series finale. The voice actors were renegotiating their salaries and the writers had to come up with a feasible ending in case those negotiations fell through and the show couldn’t continue. When the episode aired, critics agreed that, if that had been the case, it would’ve been a satisfying ending for the series.
“Holidays of Future Passed” is a flash-forward to the future in which Bart and Lisa struggle to connect with their own kids. One emotionally captivating scene in particular – a heart-to-heart between Bart and Lisa in their old treehouse – would’ve made this a perfect series finale. The Simpsons started with a Christmas episode way back in 1989, so it would be fitting to end on one.
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