Column: It's time for the 'Simpsons' to call it quits

My life would not be complete without television. It helped raise me.

It kept me out of the sunlight and out of trouble or any basic physical activity. So, my parents seemed pleased to have the flashing box with loud noises to do what it does.

While television has been a staple of my life, "The Simpsons" has been a staple of television in my lifetime.

The show's touch on American culture is undeniable. Homer's "D'oh!" has penetrated the English vernacular.

I honestly know more about Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie than some of my immediate family members. The show debuted in 1989 on Fox, and I've been watching since they hit the airways when I was 6.

And it won't end. The main voice actors reached a four-year deal with 20th Century Fox TV, Reuters reported earlier this week.

I'm not hear to complain about the nearly $400,000 per episode the top actors will be paid. As a loyal fan of the animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for as long as I can remember, I'm calling for an end to the show.

Hey, 19 seasons is a good run, and I guess we might have to put up with 23. Can't they be happy with their more than 20 Emmy Awards? Oh, those were the times.

But, can anyone remember when "The Simpsons" was actually funny? It's been a while for me.

It could have been the loss of Conan O'Brien from the staff or a generation of writers who, like me, were raised on the parody the show provided, but it seems to have lost its luster.

Maybe Groening has become complacent with the millions and millions he has accrued because it seems the show has lost its bite. Granted, they will never be able to cross the line "South Park" can on television. They proved, given free rein, they couldn't even pull it off with "The Simpsons Movie."

Don't get me wrong, I use my digital video recorder to save every new episode and watch at my convenience. It's more of a comfort issue than an entertainment one.

It helps that the main voice actors have remained on this extended run, though I missed the late Phil Hartman and the nuggets he provided.

I'm tired of the blatant pop culture references in the episodes.

Really? "The Debarted" episode is a parody of "The Departed" movie? How clever.

I enjoyed having to tap the data bank that is my memory for the reference of Hans Moleman's name, which was displayed as "Ralph Melish" on his driver's license, as a reference to "Monty Python's Flying Circus."

It's not always about the subtle though. Who didn't enjoy Tom Arnold playing himself as a part of a group of celebrities, including Rosie O'Donnell, getting fired into the sun for being so obnoxious?

Maybe I'm not the only one to think the end is near. Fox hasn't ordered the show beyond the upcoming 20-episode season No. 20. Here's to hoping that this year is their last.