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The Simpsons go out on a Limb with Banksy

Tuesday 12th October 2010

Last Sunday in the U.S., The Simpsons TV show aired an episode which had a particularly special opening-credit sequence featuring a "couch gag" story-boarded by Banksy. For those who didn't see it, here is what you missed:
 
 
The sequence depicts an evil sweatshop churning out Bart Simpson dolls using the fur from crushed up cute animals, rows and rows of regimented workers churning out the animation itself and the bones of dead workers lying about the caves where other workers still pack up boxes of Simpsons goods using a decapitated dolphin head with its tongue hanging out to seal the boxes. Then at the very end there's the tortured unicorn, whose horn is used to pierce the holes in The Simpsons DVDs.
 
As a giant mockery of the shows producers, Fox, it seemed particularly edgy and a little bit dangerous for the makers of the show to make such an opening for the long running show, so much so that members of The Simpsons team have stepped forward to talk about what was going on.
 
The New York Times spoke to Al Jean and published the conversation in the Art Beats blog yesterday, which gave an insight into how Banksy got involved with The Simpsons and how everyone has managed to keep their jobs despite the visual commentary Banksy provided. 
 
The overall tone of the interview seems to be that Fox has been very gracioius about allowing The Simpsons creators to use their name and company in this way, and Jean is quick to point out that of course the comedy accusations made in the opening credits are not true. Everything was ok'd by Fox and given approval in terms of broadcast standards.  Jean makes the poignant comment that "I think that we should always be able to say the holes in our DVDs are poked by unhappy unicorns."  If that doesn't' set the tone of this whole event, I don't know what does. 
 
Banksy is well known for his scathing critique of the system and the story boards that he designed for The Simpsons are a perfect extension to his usual working style; it's a little bit far fetched, and plays with amusing imagery, but ultimately conveys a point of view that's worth considering.
 
To read the whole interview, visit the New York Times Arts Beat blog

Posted on October 12th 2010 on 07:02pm
Labels: illustration

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