On Sunday night, Simpsons fans got more than they expected from the series’ “couch gag” (what happens in the intro when Homer, Marge and the kids hit the sofa before the credits), as famed, enigmatic U.K. street artist/activist Banksy directed the scene and took it in a distinctly dark direction. The extended sequence took viewers to an Asian sweat shop, where children work in toxic waste, kittens are murdered to stuff little Bart and Lisa dolls, and a malnourished unicorn is enslaved to poke holes into Simpson DVDs.
Wow. Yikes. … Awesome!
If you haven’t yet watched the dark, depressing and amazing Bansky intro, check it out below. And then see five more epic couch gags from Simpsons past. Though it’s hard to say now whether any of them live up to the epic subversion that Banksy was able to convince The Simpsons to air at the expense of its own name.
Banksy Intro: Abused pandas, dolphins, unicorns and children await. Watch at your own risk.
The Universe: Viewers got a chance not only to see where Springfield is on the map, but a trippy trip through the universe all the way back to the atoms in Homer’s head.
Homer Evolution: Before Bansky, the intro that tracked Homer’s evolution from a single-cell organism all the way up to his current couch potato state (complete with Bart and Lisa dinosaurs!) was the epitome of epic couch gag.
Treehouse of Horror V: The annual Simpsons Halloween special always has a spooky intro, but the fifth time around, when the family showed up all Frankensteined out, with their heads on each others’ bodies, was pretty effin’ rad in its day.
Tik Tok: Why, of all the songs of all time in all the world, did Matt Groening choose Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok” to make into a Simpsons intro music video? We may never know. But the move was totally unexpected, and the addition of all our favorite Springfield residents does make the song more tolerable.
Runaway Couch: Tired of getting sat upon for so many years, the trusty old couch went rebel on the family in this episode, leading them on a cat and mouse chase through several countries and even into space.
Want More? Check out this high-speed compilation of lots of Simpsons intros through the ages. They’ve spoofed everything from The Beatles to sea monkeys to TV through the ages. And watch for my personal favorite couch gag (for which I could not find an individual video) at around 3:27: When the family’s couch comes alive and tries to attack them, leading them through town on a chase until Homer tries to find solace in a store called Couch World–in which he is then bombarded by an army of angry couches.
There’s also a list of every Simpsons couch gag on Wikipedia. Thanks, Internet!
What’s your favorite Simpsons couch gag? Did you like Banksy’s dark take on the title sequence?
(Image courtesy of FOX)