just looking at the drawings and animation style, you see how the simpsons is genius
take this frame for instance. it is a realistic perspective of the elementary school teacher, drawing a stark contrast to previous more-cheery portrayals. she is a middle-aged-woman who has had 'had it' with life and the kids she teaches -- and she shows it. it is funny to see a cartoon show it in this subtle way.
ralph... the oblivious idiot of the school is the only one who appears happy while watching a documentary on sand.
most of all, the dullness of the animation magnifies the comedy.
now, do you know why the NEW simpsons is not funny?
take a look at the animation style. it's all so bright and cheery... too happy. a direct opposite of the aforementioned.
it's all tongue-in-cheek now. look at ms hoover as happy as can be. but why would she be so happy reading instyle? i don't buy it for a second.
and look at ralph, the oblivious idiot, seemingly NOT happy. but why? he's moronic he SHOULD be happy. the simpsons, now, just doesn't get it.