Since there was no new episode this week, I decided to push this up a week. I know I should have done Midnight Towboy here since I missed it on Friday, but I elected for this instead. Now, this is going to be a segment where I take a look at something done in the modern episodes and explain how they either stray away from the classics or remain rather close. So without further ado, let's take a look at how the show handles technology. (Note: I'm sure I'll miss a couple of examples that could help my point, if you can think of anything I missed, just post them in the comments)
The two biggest examples that have been drastically changed in my opinion is the car and the TV.
The car was basically a piece of junk that a lower-middle class American would probably drive; bent fenders, occasional tailpipe falling off, manual locks, roll-down windows, etc. but perhaps the one change that rubs me the wrong way the most (Not going to throw a fit about it though, just annoys me) is the change from them having an 8-track player to CD player. Now having a CD player isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I can't help to feel that the CD player was a springboard to the GPS, IPod, and other modern technology (Heck there was even a subplot where Homer had a car just for the sake of the writers to throw in as much technology as possible). Really, the 8-track really defined how crappy the car was in my opinion and they kept it for a long time, which really helped to represent how rather poor the family was. This leads me into the TV argument.
The TV change really symbolized just how badly this show did not belong past the 90's and just how out-of-place it feels today. The rabbit-ear antenna again was an icon of this show, it really represented the 90's rather well, being a kid of the 90's, rabbit ears were a huge part of growing up, fidgeting with them and having no two channels getting the same reception with a certain alignment. But with less and less need for them including the forced change to DTV, the need for rabbit ears was dying and thus the show changed as well. They scrapped the rabbit ears, along with the bulky TV for an HD flatscreen... this is the same family that would go hundreds of miles to shop for 'Panaphonics' and 'Sorny' the idea of them having a flatscreen is just so very wrong and the additions they added (Tivo being the worst) just really shows us that this is a show out of its time era.
Now those are the two biggest, but I'll go over some of the smaller points in smaller detail
Just... NO! Why don't we just resurrect Animaniacs or something and throw Wakko or Yakko texting pictures of their junk to the censors as pranks (Although that would be funnier than any texting-based jokes this show has attempted). The point remains as this is another out-of-place reference that the writers just don't understand how to integrate naturally with the show (Seriously, cell phones are never just a side object of a scene). You can call this point as a "It's different so it sucks" but really, seeing characters like Mr. Burns using a cell phone or seeing something like a family member texting just doesn't feel right.
Video Game systems:
Yes I know that Bart basically had an Atari 2600 in season 1 (Moaning Lisa), but again, the writers just don't get how to incorporate this and make it funny. If you didn't know it already, I HATE the Wii references in this show, fortunately there haven't been too many, but when they're placed in they are terrible and miss out on SO many jokes. Or how about video games in general, remember that "Bart playing WoW" episode (Because I don't, it was very forgettable) or how about in that oh-so clever 9-0-2-1-0 'parody' where Homer spends about 30 seconds teabagging a guy in a not so subtle Halo knock-off? Moaning Lisa had some clever jokes about Mike Tyson's Punch-Out that poked fun at the game, now? They just find footage on Youtube of people playing these games and do exactly what they do.
RIP Steve Jobs, now that we have that out of the way, let's talk about this a bit more in detail. How many times between season 1-10 can you recall a family member using a portable CD player or tape player? Now, how many times in the last 5 seasons alone can you think of an Apple product of some sort being used by one of the family members? From memory (Correct me if I'm wrong) the latter wins here, heck there was an entire episode dedicated to Lisa having an IPod, was it funny? Did it make fun of the IPod? Did it satirize how dependent people are becoming of their portable MP3 players that losing it would cause most people to go into a state of panic? The answers to all of those questions is a resounding no, it was just "Lisa has an IPod and we reference a huge IPhone bill" (Rule of comedy; make sure your references make sense, just because they're both Apple, doesn't mean they connect).
Really all I have to end this on is just this thought; The writers are losing their audience by the week and losing touch with the modern world. So instead of going back to what made them so great, they will just throw in as much technology and references as possible hoping in vain people will watch and say "Hey I know that event" or "Hey I own that item" or even "Hey I knew that thing". The reality is that it dates the episodes miserably, and it's not that enjoyable the first time around. With all that, I'll see you guys again later.