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The creator of the iconic cartoon The Simpsons has admitted he doesn't watch his own show anymore and feels it should end.
"I'm surprised The Simpsons is still on TV, frankly. I think we should have ended it years ago," Matt Groening told KBBL-TV in his hometown of Portland, Ore., when asked about the show's 25th season, which premieres Sunday, Sept. 29.
Groening, 59, admitted that the show's quality, as well as its ratings, has dropped over the years. Even the series' long-awaited movie, he felt, was "disappointing."
"It's cool to reach 1,000 episodes or whatever we're at; but truthfully, I haven't watched the show regularly in about 15 years," he said. "On Sundays I watch stuff like Breaking Bad or Mad Men.
"I did see the episode where it was in the '90s, and Homer fronts this Nirvana-type band. God, those were awful. I hope someone got fired over that."
Since its 1989 debut on Fox, The Simpsons has become the longest-running primetime show on U.S. television. The show -- detailing the animated exploits of the titular family and the residents of fictional Springfield -- is widely regarded as one of the best television shows of all time, although its critical prestige has declined.
"Our first eight seasons or so were terrific; the pinnacle of television comedy," Groening said. "We had memorable quotes, great stories, great characters, cutting satire and genuine heart and emotion. It was based in reality. I was proud of it.
"I don't know why Fox keeps renewing it. The jokes aren't good, the storylines are a mess and episodes are forgettable. I think the staff and co-creators agree. But the money keeps rolling in and Fox says we're better than ever, so what do you do?"
Groening said he was too busy with other projects, including the recently-canceled Futurama, to focus his energy on The Simpsons. "I'm hoping The Simpsons doesn't get renewed again. I have other ideas for TV and movies I'd do instead."
He dismissed claims that The Simpsons "evolved" its style and writing to keep up with the changing tastes of its aging fan base, as well as with younger viewers.
"People who say that are crazy," he said. "When we developed The Simpsons we used to mock all these TV cliches and tropes. We never would have brought Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber on to appeal to kids, unless we had a unique idea like with Michael Jackson. We definitely wouldn't have Homer get raped by a panda."
Groening also criticized rival show Family Guy, which will be doing a crossover episode with The Simpsons.
"I watch Family Guy but that hasn't been very good for the last several years. Family Guy is everything we used to criticize; now there's little difference between the two.
"I think (creator) Seth MacFarlane was right when he said it should have ended years ago. We probably should have done the same."
Spokespeople for Groening and the Fox Network did not return requests for comment.