AVClub: Writing The Simpsons has a built-in safety net. Sadly, it’s also got a built-in handicap that brings writers more or less back to square one. On the plus side, these characters are so well established and—dull internet snark aside—beloved, that fans bring a lot of good will and knowledge to them right at the starting line of a particular episode. Such a circumstance might suggest that all the writers have to do is not screw up in order to keep that goodwill. Unfortunately for those writers (and we’ll get to a very important one in a minute) all that awareness carries not only a quarter-century of expectation but also more than a decade of extremely (and, yes, understandably) lowered expectations, plus the pervading opinion that everything that can be done with these characters and their possible conflicts, jokes, and adventures has been done.