The last great season of "The Simpsons" was the seventh, which ended back in 1996. There is no disputing this. It is not even the fault of the makers of "The Simpsons"; seven years is probably about as long as anything can go before it starts to feel stale and repetitive, a problem the show itself acknowledged with the "Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie" episode of the mediocre eighth season. (This problem can occasionally be avoided; a good example is "Cheers," which essentially got a fresh start in its sixth season, and bought itself a few more years of creativity.) So the news that the show may finally be near the end feels a little overdue, no? They should have wrapped it up before they did that stupid Rodney Dangerfield episode.