After a brief freakout following a Danny Elfman interview this week, The Simpsons fans are back to normal after executive producer Al Jean said on social media that reports about the show coming to an end are untrue. Framing it as a Thanksgiving announcement ("We are all thankful that the following article is NOT TRUE"), Jean had no follow-up comments about why Elfman might have thought it was ending or whether there had been any discussions of doing so. A sudden end would come as a surprise since the series was renewed back in February for two additional seasons. That might actually be where the misconception began, since it's not uncommon for people to hear "it's back for two more years" and think it's ONLY back for two.
This renewal will carry the season through Season 32 and set it up to end in 2021. It remains the longest-running animated series of all time and one of the longest-running primetime series of all time.
Nobody expected to be having this conversation; the Elfman interview was not about The Simpsons in particular. While speaking to Joe about his career, the subject of The Simpsons came up, and Elfman was asked about the debate surrounding the show's quality in the later seasons. He answered that question by basically saying it doesn't matter because the show is on its last leg.
"Well, from what I've heard, it is coming to an end," Elfman said. "So, that argument will also come to an end. I don't know for a fact, but I've heard that it will be in its last year."
Of course, it seems like maybe Elfman isn't the best judge of The Simpsons's prospects. During that same interview, he admitted that he never expected the show to be a success.
“I’m so flabbergasted and amazed that it has lasted as long as it did," he said. "You have to realize, when I scored The Simpsons, I wrote this crazy piece of music, and I expected no one would hear it, because I really did not think the show had a chance in hell.”
Instead, The Simpsons has become a piece of media so popular and culturally-relevant that it has gone from commenting on popular culture to being constantly commented upon by popular culture.