Over the past few weeks, Vulture has been holding its “Sitcom Smackdown” tournament, pitting a bunch of amazing shows against each other in a bracket to determine the best sitcom of the past 30 years. The Simpsons won yesterday, narrowly beating Cheers. Seinfeld, Community, Roseanne, Arrested Development, and Sex and the City also made it pretty far in bracket. Vulture’s Matt Zoller Seitz wrote the argument for why Simpsons is the better of the two excellent, very different shows:
A decade-plus past its prime, The Simpsons has a stronger presence in American life than Cheers, Seinfeld, Community, or any other sitcom you can think of. Since Matt Groening’s show debuted in 1988, not a week has gone by that I haven’t thought about it, quoted it, or heard someone else quote it … Cheers is a flawless pearl glinting on a beach. But The Simpsons is the beach. It’s bigger than Cheers, bigger than sitcoms, in some ways bigger than television. It’s our virtual Smithsonian and Library of Congress, our collective data cloud, the Force, or Farce, that surrounds us, binds us, and holds the galaxy together.
Vulture also had some fun Cheers and Simpsons stuff to commemorate the end of the competition. Ken Levine, who served as a writer/producer on Cheers throughout its 11-season run wrote a piece reminiscing about filming the show’s finale:
My partner David Isaacs and I have what we call the “Prince of the City” theory. Simply put, it means the moment you think you’re hot shit is the moment you will be cut back down to size. It never fails.
So it’s about 2 a.m., I’m walking back to the hotel … And I’m reflecting on the night and how this little show I’ve been involved with had become a national phenomenon. And I allowed myself to think I must be a pretty damn good writer to be a part of it. Just at that moment, a passing truck roared through a big puddle and I got completely drenched. I mean, sopping wet, soaked to the bone. And I had to laugh. Hail to thee, Prince of the City.
Finally, the Simpsons writers picked their 10 favorite songs from the show for Vulture with longtime showrunner Al Jean writing about each one. “Stop the Planet of the Apes I Want to Get Off” from Troy McClure’s Planet of the Apes musical won, beating out “Everybody Hates Ned Flanders,” the Stonecutters anthem “We Do,” “See My Vest,” and a lot of great stuff that’s not on the list.