Publication Details

Middlemost, R. "The Simpsons Do the Nineties." M/C Journal 21 .5 (2018): 1-2.


Now in its thirtieth season, in 2018, The Simpsons is a popular culture phenomenon. The series is known as much for its social commentary as its humour and celebrity appearances. Nonetheless, The Simpsons' ratings have declined steadily since the early 2000s, and fans have grown more vocal in their calls for the program's end. This article provides a case study of episode "That 90s Show" (S19, E11) as a flashpoint that exemplifies fan desires for the series' conclusion. This episode is one of the most contentious in the program's history, with online outrage at the retconning of canon and both fans and anti-fans (Gray) of The Simpsons demanding its cancellation or "fan euthanasia". The retconning of the canon in this episode makes evident the perceived decline in the quality of the series, and the regard for fan desires. "That 90s Show" is ultimately a failed attempt to demonstrate the continued relevance of the series to audiences, and popular culture at large, via its appeal to 1990s nostalgia.