Above is the new Simpsons intro, to go along with the show’s premiere in HD this evening (which I can’t wait to see). The intro is obviously famous for its constantly updated gags (the couch gag and the chalkboard gag are tracked by Simpsons fans), but it’s become quite the standby of the modern age — Homer getting that piece of nuclear material stuck on his back, Lisa getting dismissed from music class, Maggie getting run through the barcode scanner and pretending to drive with Marge, and the big finale of the family all coming home together and the car chasing Homer through the garage, all set to the rollicking Danny Elfman-composed theme. In fact, it’s spawned quite a few versions, and all of them are pretty interesting in what they add to the original idea.
The Simpsons, Star Wars style
Live action Simpsons (this was an official intro, actually, done for one of the show’s season premieres, I believe)
The Simpsons intro in 3D (looks like a student work)
The Simpsons intro in Line Rider (only partially done, unfortunately)
The Simpsons intro, South Park style (obviously fanmade, but again, it combines all of the important parts)
The Simpsons intro in Lego
The Simpsons intro real-life (made by a bunch of students for a high school channel)
The Ridgeways (made for a family slideshow)
It’s interesting that the minute or so of animation can be so iconic, and that the jokes, even the ones that don’t change (every time, you wonder if the baby really is driving the car), can hold up so well and be so universal that they’re so skillfully and adeptly parodied even by amateurs (talented amateurs, sure, but amateurs nevertheless). Not to mention that the intro itself is really well done — in sixty seconds, we get a clear picture of all of the show’s major characters: Homer is a blue-collar worker who fails at his job, Bart is a troublemaker with street smarts, Lisa is too smart for her own good, Marge is a prototypical errand-running mother, and Maggie (the .5 of the average 2.5 children) can survive anything this family can throw at her.
The more official versions of the intro they make, the more characters are added to it (the HD version, above, has throwbacks to even small jokes in the show, including Mr. Sparkle and Tomacco in the checkout line, and Bart’s first girlfriend). But the central shots and beats remain the same, and as a result, we’ve got a touchstone of the culture.
Posted on Sunday, February 15th, 2009 at 1:57 pm. Filed under general.