For a while, nobody thought that the television record set by Gunsmoke would ever be broken — with 635 episodes (running over 20 seasons from 1955 to 1975), the only show that people thought could possibly have a chance was The Simpsons. That chance soon became something of an inevitability, and now it has finally happened.
Last night, The SImpsons aired episode 636, and it broke Gunsmoke's record. It is now the longest running scripted show in television history.
The animated series is currently in it's 29th season, and it is showing no signs of ending anytime soon. Last night's Grampa Simpson-based episode was titled "Forgive and Regret," and began with a very self-aware Gunsmoke parody opening that can be seen here:
Does the animated record-breaker feel old, almost 30 years after it's debut? Well, it is starting to look a bit long in the tooth. Aside from a gradual dip in ratings over the years, the show has also adopted a refusal to change with the times that has recently gotten it into some hot water.
Thirty years and 636 episodes ago, no one thought much of a white man voincing an Indian stereotype that runs the local convenience store. Now, things are a bit different. The show was called out for this in a recent documentary, and the in-show response drew plenty of criticism. The actor in question, Hank Azaria, has shown a willingness to adapt to the modern age — the show's creator, Matt Groening, has seemingly not.
Despite the conflict, the show runs on. It will likely continue to run for the near future, and if it ever does end, the question will be what show, if any, could ever break the new record set by The Simpsons. By the time the whole thing finally runs down, it will be well past episode 636.
Did you tune in last night to witness the record breaking, or did you jump off of this monorail years ago? Let us know in the comments.