Wanted your weekly dose of The Simpsons with a dash of dark commentary regarding its reliance on overseas labor and its owner, 20th Century Fox? Then you must have enjoyed last night's opening title sequence for the long-running animated show. The Wooster Collective says, "In what has to be one of the most closely guarded secrets in TV history, the 'couch gag' opening of tonight's episode of The Simpsons was storyboarded and directed by none other than Banksy."
There is a Simpsons-inspired Banksy in New Orleans.
UPDATE: Finally, some more details about Banksy's couch gag. Arts Beat spoke to The Simpsons' longtime executive producer Al Jean, who explained that he got the idea to approach the secretive street artist after seeing Exit the Gift Shop and that, no, the animation cels produced overseas are not produced under conditions shown in the sequence. Here are some of the questions and answers:
Q. Were you concerned that what he sent you could get the show into hot water?
A. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about it for a little bit. Certainly, Fox has been very gracious about us biting the hand that feeds us, but I showed it to Matt Groening, and he said, no, we should go for it and try to do it pretty much as close as we can to his original intention. So we did. Like we always do, every show is submitted to broadcast standards, and they had a couple of [changes] which I agreed with, for taste. But 95 percent of it is just the way he wanted.
Q. One of the things Banksy is known for is disguising his identity. How can you be sure that you were dealing with the real him?
A. The original boards that we got from him were in his style and were certainly by an extremely proficient artist. We were dealing with the person that represented him making the movie. I haven’t met him, I don’t even know what he looks like, except what the Internet suggests. And he’s taken credit for it now so I’m pretty sure it’s him. We went through the people that made the movie so I assume they would know how to get to the real him.
Q. Has Banksy’s criticism made you reconsider any of the ways you do things at “The Simpsons” in terms of producing the show or its merchandise?
A. I have to say, it’s very fanciful, far-fetched. None of the things he depicts are true. That statement should be self-evident, but I will emphatically state it.
Q. A lot of the show’s animation is produced in South Korea, but not under those conditions.
A. No, absolutely not.
Q. And even that closing shot of the 20th Century Fox logo surrounded in barbed wire?
A. Approved by them. Obviously, the animation to do this was pricey. I couldn’t have just snuck it by Fox. I’ll just say it’s a place where edgy comedy can really thrive, as long as it’s funny, which I think this was. None of it’s personal. This is what made “The Simpsons” what it is.