As the years roll on, “They’ll Never Stop The Simpsons” has become less of a winking joke about the show’s inertia and more of a challenge daring you to do something about it, if you think you’re so big. And if executive producer Al Jean has his way, the series could go on like this for another several decades—until you’re too feeble to recall you’ve already seen Homer disappoint Lisa before winning her back, and too listless besides to tell your Google Implant to switch back to the artificial sunshine. “In show business you always treat every day as your last, but we're guaranteed through 26 seasons,” Jean tells The Telegraph. “The deals are usually in installments of four and the ratings are good, so I can't see why we wouldn't go to 30 . . .and why can't we go to 40 or even 50.”
Of course, there are some reasons why the show wouldn’t go to 30 seasons, let alone all the way to the year 2039, and most of them have to do with its voice cast. Setting aside the pay disputes the show has endured, 25 years from now most of the cast will be in their 80s—or pushing 100, in Harry Shearer’s case—and, if not unable to continue wringing new spins out of old catchphrases, then probably somewhat unenthusiastic about it. By that point, Julie Kavner’s “Marge groan” could be an entirely involuntary tic.
Still, as we’ve seen recently, if you die before The Simpsons does, it can always just change your character’s name a little and move on. And besides, after 26 seasons, by now the show must have recordings of its actors saying just about every word in the English language, enabling it to simply cut and paste dialogue for decades—if not centuries—to come. So yes, it’s possible that, as prophesied years ago, The Simpsons could finally get around to Bart owning a bear.