In its 35th season, “The Simpsons” garnered both praise and criticism for its approach to celebrity cameos, highlighting the ongoing debate surrounding the integration of stars into the show’s fictional universe.
Praise for Character Work
Season 35 of “The Simpsons” received acclaim for its shift towards solid character development over flashy celebrity appearances. Critics and fans lauded the emphasis on well-rounded storytelling, marking a departure from the reliance on superfluous cameos that had characterized recent seasons.
Throughout the season, episodes focused more on exploring the dynamics within the Simpson family and the residents of Springfield. From Marge’s struggles to maintain her sanity amid chaos to Bart’s misadventures with Homer, the show delved deeper into the lives of its core characters, resonating with audiences who appreciated the return to character-driven narratives.
The Kylie Jenner Disappointment
However, not all celebrity cameos in season 35 were well-received. The appearance of reality TV star Kylie Jenner in one of the episodes fell flat due to an outdated plot and attempts to maintain topical relevance. Despite Jenner’s acting, the surrounding storytelling failed to resonate with audiences, showcasing a recurring problem with celebrity integrations.
In the episode “Treehouse of Horror XXXIV,” aired in October 2023, “The Simpsons” tackled the NFT craze, which had already faded from public consciousness by that time. The attempt to satirize timely news stories like NFTs highlighted the show’s struggle to keep up with real-world trends, ultimately detracting from Jenner’s cameo.
Jenner’s cameo epitomized a recurring issue with celebrity appearances in “The Simpsons.” When stars play themselves without contributing to the plot or embodying original characters, their cameos often feel like mere gimmicks. This lack of integration into the show’s fictional universe diminishes the impact of their presence and detracts from the overall storytelling.
While “The Simpsons” has a rich history of incorporating celebrity guests into its episodes, the effectiveness of these cameos varies. When done thoughtfully, celebrity appearances can enhance the narrative and provide comedic opportunities. However, shoehorning celebrities into irrelevant or outdated storylines risks alienating viewers and diluting the show’s creative vision.
As “The Simpsons” navigates its 36th season, the debate surrounding celebrity cameos continues. While the show strives for solid character work, it must also find a balance between integrating stars into its narrative fabric and avoiding gimmicky appearances. Only time will tell if “The Simpsons” can strike this delicate balance in future seasons.