Sunday, October 10, 2010

Homer Simpson Has Something to Say Besides D'oh!

Well, not exactly.

For 22 seasons, The Simpsons have ended the title sequence with a trademark "couch gag". This time, however, they invited the mysterious street artist Banksy, to take the reins as the storyboard artist and director of the sequence. What follows is the couch gag for the episode that aired on 10.10.10. It's not what you will expect, and I will leave it at that.



Those who know Banksy's work know that he has a unique social commentary. That's not what amazed me of the sequence. The depictions of child labor, animal abuse or the veritable business practices of the corporate world did not surprise me. Neither was the fact that the producers of The Simpsons helped make this happen (they have poked fun at FOX and Rupert Murdoch plenty of times). No, what amazes me is how this animated commentary made it to prime time. Did FOX approve this? Or did Banksy create the sequence thinking FOX would never run it? Did the Korean studio appreciate the Temple of Doom depiction of their industry or did they just animate what they were paid for? Was this simple black humor?

Is this a classic case of Don't bite the hand that feeds you? Or is this corporatism knowing that anti-corporatism sells? You tell me.

TB


19 comments:

Netza Huipe said...

I saw the link earlier on Hypebeast.com. I like it, its pretty cool. I never been a fan of the Simpsons, but I'm a huge fan of Banksy and have been following his work for years.

Brad Johnson said...

I actually saw this when it aired. I think if it ended when the kid dipped the cel into the chemicals, it could have made a bigger statement. But the panda and the unicorn bit said to me this was black humor. I don't think there will be any backlash and this could be the simpsons producers trying to get notice for a show that hasn't been the same for a decade. The fact that it is still on surprises me more, but I appreciate that they stepped outside of the norm. This was a lot better than the stupid Kei$ha intro they did recently. If FOX has anything to say about this itll happen tomorrow morning when the video has made it's rounds through the interwebs. I like that you're trying new thing on the blog.

Tanoshiboy said...

@Brad You might be right. This could just go away and not be anything at all. But I really enjoyed this different approach. I love to think that art, in all it's forms, can make a statement on the state of the world or social issues. Sometimes it can be done in way that simply shocks, but it can also make you think. I have been a fan of the Simpsons for many years, and the show suffered for awhile there, but I have been watching this season and have been really happy with the level of writing. This couch gag, surprised me for the reasons I mentioned. And I think it WAS done because it's "cool" to cause controversy and reap the benefits in this information age of ours. Regardless of the true reason, I really appreciate the ballsy move on behalf of the producers to air this. I have a respect for the show that I do not have for any other animated series. It has always been funny (some times more so than others), but it has been successful in cleverly making social commentary with its characters and stories, without being overly crude and raunchy. I hope something does change because of this couch gag and that it creates some hub bub. I've been feeling like the only thing that ever makes headlines is the debauchery-laden exploits of Hollywood's "it" crowd.

Derek said...

I think your right on. Fox would only allow something to go to air if they knew it was going to work for them. It's already gone viral so now people will tune in to see what they do next.

Skylar said...

I promise to be brief this time. I personally enjoy a good 3rd world sweat shop as much as the next American. Especially when it's juxtaposed against the US' freedom of speech to graffiti-ize/tag a bldg in a form of self-expression/rebellion against conservative corporate authority. Oh, wait, this is a FOX presentation we're jawin' about correct? Hope they don't "outsource" to Kim Jong Il's neck o' da woods.

Tanoshiboy said...

Ya, the FOX network has been known to try out outlandish ideas on their audience. I remember the short-lived reality show Temptation Island where couples are sent to see if their relationship can last more than a weekend against a house full of sex-crazed extras. I don't think Il will be getting any business any time soon, but I do think FOX has gotten what it planned for which is for everyone to be talking about it and hopefully selling more ad space.

Skylar said...

Banksy Storyboards x Directs The Simpsons

http://www.juxtapoz.com/Current/banksy-storyboards-x-directs-the-simpsons

Tanoshiboy said...

It's what pop culture lovers are talking about today. Especially on twitter.

Nate Sankey said...

The Simpsons have always bitten the hand that feeds them. It's what makes them the simpsons. They're just having fun and they'll always do that. My question is why Banksy? Why a street artist? The Simpsons never had an agenda and it seems Banksy has always had one. Isn't this him selling out? I think so.

Tanoshiboy said...

@Nate I don't think this is a sell out. It's a collaboration. You should check out the film he produced this year. Exit through the gift shop. Very well done. Would you say this was also a sell out considering he made a film for profit? How else is an artist supposed to fund his own crazy ideas?

Also, this article with show runner Al Jean explains the story behind the Banksy collaboration.

http://tiny.cc/xl10i

Heather Fonseca said...

It looks like the clip has been pulled by 20th century fox. I would have love to have seen it! I do so love the Simpsons.

Susan Oakes said...

Would love to leave a deep and meaningful comment or add to the comments Dennis but as Heather said it seems to have been pulled.

Susan Oakes said...

Dennis, Thank you for going to the trouble of helping me see this. You watch it but it is only if you get to see it again that you take in the message. Maybe that is what the producers wanted.

Tanoshiboy said...

From what I read here. http://tiny.cc/xl10i

It's all just a gag. Nothing more, but with Banksy invloved you just never know. The funny part is, no one, including the Simpsons does traditional cel animation anymore. It's all gone digital.

KeepUpWeb said...

As someone who never watches the Simpsons, I would not have seen this. Interesting. Do they normally try to make statements?

KeepUpWeb said...

As someone who never watches the Simpsons, I would not have seen this. Interesting. Do they normally try to make statements?

Tanoshiboy said...

Yes, through humor, but never like this.

AJ's Beautiful Disposition said...

I think when it comes down to what values the show would produce vs the marketing phenomena and value the show will receive will pay off for Fox in the end. the fact that it hasn't been changed and to bring in someone as unusual like banksy, I would feel it was perhaps even Fox who pushed for it and asked him to go wild.

Tanoshiboy said...

Well, from what I read in the article where Al Jean, the showrunner, is being interviewed, they reached out to Banksy and he agreed to do it. He delivered his storyboards and the producers went almost shot for shot. Fox approved and it got on the air. So I think it worked in FOX is favor as were both claiming. Thank, AJ.