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The Simpsons are Reusing twenty year old Episodes?

Did anyone happen to see The Simpsons this past Sunday night?  I was surprised to see that the prime time showcase was not a new episode.  In fact, it was not even from any recent season.  They went back in the episode vault, and pulled out the fourth season episode, “Maggie’s First Word.”

This episode was first aired in 1992.  For as long as I can remember, the Sunday night episode has featured episodes from either that current season, or at the mosta season or two prior.  This makes sense, because the older episodes are lost in an endless loop of syndication. 

That is why seeing “Maggie’s First Word” seemed so odd.  I started to wonder if the writers had finally given up, with the result being that the network went into the archives in order to have something to air.

But this couldn’t be.  I think that corporate mandates, copyrights, or DVD contracts would get in the way of this practice.  I could be completely wrong about that, I have no familiarity with how that business functions.

What’s funny though is that I actually remember this episode originally airing.  I was still years away from my teens, yet I remember the FOX commercials promoting the fact that Maggie was finally going to say her first word.  Even back then I liked the show enough to make sure that I would see Maggie’s moment.

And I was disappointed!  I think I had anticipated more than just an episode that ended with her muttering that first word; “Daddy.”  They had built it up, and being a kid, I was let down.

Nineteen years later, it was interesting to see the stark contrast between an episode from the writers’ glory days, versus the garbage that the modern Sunday night episodes have become.  I kept going over this in my head, wondering the reason that the pattern had become so broken.  Could this really be the writers throwing in the white flag and calling it quits?

No, that couldn’t be it.  Matt Groening and staff have shown that they will beat the show into the ground if it means they can keep getting new contracts.  I couldn’t stand it anymore and I finally googled the episode name.  I didn’t even have to click a link; I instantly understood what was going on when scanning the different results the search had yielded. 

Elizabeth Taylor had supplied the voice of Maggie.