Banksy directs “Simpsons” show intro

British street artist/prankster Banksy “directed” the intro to tonight’s episode of The Simpsons. It’s provocative, but the statement lacks potency because it was created by the same mass production infrastructure that he’s protesting. A reader on Gawker who goes by the handle “ReelMissing” stated this most eloquently:

“You don’t protest something by indulging in it. That’s the opposite of the point. Banksy was in part protesting Fox animation’s brutal treatment of its animators, but guess who animated the sequence? Fox animators did.

“It’s like killing a kitten and writing ‘ANIMAL CRUELTY IS WRONG’ next to the corpse in the dead animals’ blood. Maybe not on that scale of evil, but you get the point.”

UPDATE: The New York Times talks to Simpsons producer Al Jean about the Banksy intro.

UPDATE: Fox made a copyright claim and forced YouTube to remove the video from Banksy’s personal YouTube channel:
Nelson Muntz

UPDATE: Credits for the sequence VIA:
Character layout by Greg Checketts, Manny DeGuzman, and Jeff Johnson
BG layout by John Liu
Effects animation by Brice Mallier
Timing by Larry Smith
Color design by Dima Malanitchev
Digital magic by Steve Mills
Storyboard by Luis Escobar
Designs by Eric Keyes, Ricky Manginsay, Kevin Moore, Debbie Peterson, Hugh MacDonald, and Jefferson Weekley
Animation by a buncha nameless Koreans


  • desantoos

    I found it confusing because it went from slightly hyperbolic to draw attention to a cause to ultra-hyperbolic for the yuks. I guess the message was at the beginning, and the rest was humor to keep it from becoming heavy-handed.

    Whatever people feel about it, at least they feel something. That’s quite an accomplishment for a show that’s lost relevance throughout the past decade.

  • Hobart

    While I can appreciate the sentiment of that quote, it’s important to bear in mind that Banksy almost certainly didn’t have any say in that part of the production process.

    He was invited to guest direct the opening title sequence, and he took advantage of the opportunity to make a comment on a disturbing and far too comment practice. Yes, it would have been great if he could have done so while simultaneously altering it. But realistically, how could he? Doesn’t he at least deserve credit for shedding some satirical light on it, and don’t the producers and network, likewise, deserve a little as well for not censoring it?

  • http://www.tarboy.com James Lee

    I think this post kind of misses the point. To me, the fact that the people it vilifies had their hand in creating the work is meant to be ironic, and adds another interesting layer.

    I don’t think this was much of a protest on how Fox treats it’s animators. It spoke more about society’s addiction to consuming, it’s effects on third world countries and how corporations like Fox ultimately end up exploiting for profit.

    The fact that Fox themselves paid for this is a statement on how blatant the corporations screw the world before our eyes, how no one will care and just get back to watching their favorite prime time show.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      This is how I viewed that as well. It’s like we’re already beyond the point of reasoning and simply excuse it without a fight.

      • http://www.lizbernard.com Liz Bernard

        Agreed, but I wonder how many viewers got the message and how many just thought it was weird/funny. I felt that Banksy undermined what he was trying to say with the addition of cheap jokes (e.g.; small mammals are thrown into a wood chipper to create Bart Simpson dolls, a wolf head is used to seal shipping boxes). What are we supposed to make of that? It came across to me, at least, as kind of a “screw you” to the audience for being moved by the somber music and depressing working conditions of the animators/workers. It’s the same kind of nihilistic set up that Family Guy uses to numb its audience to bigoted humor.

      • Thomas Hatch

        It was a dolphin head.

  • sean

    Its clearly not the animators, but the ink and paint department. Which has for the last 20 years until they went to digital, gone overseas.

    Yes, its anti consumerist and… hey! This Banksy book would go great on my bookshelf next to my simpsons books!

  • http://www.doctorwhom.com gavin mouldey

    It’s easier to kill a king from inside his palace. Otherwise you’re just shooting arrows at a wall.

    • http://handdrawnrevolution.blogspot.com/ Rodger

      If we ALL agree that there is no palace or king, then they cease to exist….

      • http://www.doctorwhom.com gavin mouldey

        ha, and oppressed workers, third world poverty, greed, environmental pillage, would they cease to exist too?

  • http://scribblejunkies.blogspot.com/ patrick smith

    stupid.
    hope he got paid a lot.

  • Jackson

    The Simpsons is still on tv?

    • Josef

      I’m surprised too. I thought they were in reruns.

  • Mike

    Wow, not to sound like Grandpa Simpson, but I remember way back when that show used to showcase comedy and not pretentious tripe.

    Vote Quimby.

    • http://elblogderg.blogspot.com Roberto

      What? You can say a lot of things about modern Simpsons, but this is probably the only ‘pretentious’ thing they have done in a while, and I like it cause at least it shows some satire and ambition. But it wasn’t the idea of the regular staff, anyway, so I don’t see how you could apply any criticism of this intro to the whole status of the show right now. But, if anything, they should try to be more ‘pretentious’ or , at least, ambitious more often. Cause the real problem is they are getting too safe and stale.

      • Mike

        But it was the idea of the staff to bring this Banksy guy in to direct the sequence. Why? I have no idea, which goes to my original point that this show used to be about comedy and not trying to hit its audience over the head with a very special message—a message that doesn’t entirely make sense since South Korea is far from being an oppressive slum. (Look north of the 38th parallel for those conditions.)

        And the real problem with the Simpsons is lazy writing, over-reliance on sight gags, gross-out humor, Family Guy-style stories that go nowhere, etc., etc….

      • http://elblogderg.blogspot.com Roberto

        I think the intro is funny and not really that pretentious, and I wish there would be more things in that vein in the actual show nowadays.

        They do have some of the other problems you mention. But gross out humor and over-reliance on sight gags are not very prominent. They do have stories that go nowhere and some lazy writing.

    • childisfatheroftheman

      Hey four eyes-Vote Quimby! Hey beardo, Vote Quimby!

  • MichaelHughes

    They have real professional studios over there, freaking Korea is a totally modern country with a first world economy.

    • http://www.doctorwhom.com gavin mouldey

      I suspect it wasn’t meant as a literal representation of the South Korean industry. They probably don’t use Unicorns and Pandas either.

      • http://weirdurl.com Zekey

        Pfft. There’s my dreams dashed.

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com FP

    I hardly watch the show any more, so the Brew is where I saw this intro. It’s surprising and brilliant. That it was broadcast with the full awareness it would change nothing is sort of sad, I guess.

    The cel gag seems a bit dated now. I was under the impression SIMPSONS is all digital.

    Anyway, I like the irony and sarcasm that flies almost pointlessly in every meta-direction. It made me larf.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      I felt that way too over the beginning given the way we don’t even use cels anymore, not that showing colorists slaving over PC’s wouldn’t be a better image to use in this case, but I guess seeing it as individual drawings on desks works well as a profound statement (and yet we still sit back and do nothing).

    • Dutchie

      They still make those limited edition seri-cels. They might have been painting those.

  • Dino

    “Protest” seems the wrong word, and an accusation of hypocrisy is missing the point. The intro exposes something that your average Fox viewer might not think about, prompting discussion (see above). Corporate black humor– even as black as this– is interesting in itself, and possibly revelatory to some people.

    Also, funny.

    • Karl Hungus

      Actually, I don’t think it “exposes” anything. The commentary on the cost of producing the Simpsons show and merchandise is hobbled together with tongue in cheek jokes about unicorns and dead dolphins helping produce the product. Laughs dictate the direction of the content and if anything, we are being asked to laugh at the unseen cost of overseas labor. Is that the message he was trying to convey? Was he joking about that angle? Is it a joke or a statement?

      As is the case with most of these “mash up” artists like Sheppard Fairey or Banksy, they put 99% of their effort into self promotion and the rest towards actually providing an intelligent commentary. Their posturing is top notch, but their heads are empty.

      Alas, I remember when Negativeland were intelligent and funny. Can we go back to those days?

    • Dugg

      I think you hit it on the head. I also like what Chris said above.

      Also, the unicorn! Come on! Everyone knows unicorns aren’t that color.

  • Steve

    This is neither a protest nor documentary, this is satire that’s what the Simpsons is about. This intro either succeeds or fails on that basis alone. And to me it succeeds brilliantly as a satirical comment. As for the fact that colorists are not used on the Simpsons that is no more relevant than Jane Goodall not really using chimps as a slave labor force mining diamonds as depicted in one Simpsons episode.

  • Miss. T

    Who gives a shit about Banksy anymore, anyway?

  • http://www.thehungryreader.com Krepta

    Clever, but just not nearly as funny as the Clerks episode with the conclusion directed by the Korean animators.

  • Was my face red

    We did something like this on the Mr Hell Show a decade ago when we found out that some of our animation had been sub-sub-sub contracted to China without telling us, and then we carried on making our show anyhow becasue we were contracted to and had to pay our bills. Oh, the contradictions of life. We all live in the grey areas really.

  • http://animationanomaly.com Charles K. (The Animation Anomaly)

    Two things:

    1) I had no idea Bansky directed this. I saw his name on the billboard at the beginning but never made the connection. I have my doubts as to how much input he had in the whole sequence.

    2) The show has already covered this practice with a much more subtle and provocative scene when we see Kent Brockman reporting from Korea in Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie. That scene was a much more realistic sweatshop complete with armed guards but was done in such an offhand manner, it forced you to stop and think for a minute.

    • http://www.facebook.com/dylan.h.king Dylan King

      I highly agree (I remember that episode!). This was a bit over-dramatic… and probably the most darkest thing I’ve ever seen The Simpsons do.

    • Mike

      And it’s mentioned on that episode’s (Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie) commentary that the animation team in South Korea was highly offended by it. Go figure.

      • Jeff

        There was an interview with Nelson Shin (of Akom) online that I read several years ago that said the same thing.

    • http://www.sneezemeaway.com Ryan G

      Armed guards is a more realistic view of animation produced in South Korea? Have you ever been to this country? I live in Korea and the wild lies and total crap that often gets made up about how animators are treated here and what their working conditions are like is getting old fast.

      Sure the pay might be on the low side even compared to Korean wages, but it ain’t a concentration camp, it’s just a normal job, like working at a 711.

  • the kids

    That was pretty disgusting.

  • Dutchie

    There was a similar scene in “Itchy & Scratchy: the Movie” where Korean animators are working in a dump while being poked with guns. They refused to animate this scene in Korea, because they were insulted, so maybe they didn’t animate this either.

    • http://ramapithblog.blogspot.com David Gerstein

      Like that scene, this one came across—IMHO—as more a finger-pointing mockery of the exploited characters than as any kind of sympathetic treatment.

      Either way, it’s easy to imagine average viewers laughing at the sequence much as they laugh at the idea of sweatshops in real life, or at “Drawn Together’s” images of Mexico as squalid and primitive (obviously meant as a parody of a parody, but I can’t imagine everyone gets the extra level).

      “People living in a shitty place. Heh-heh. Losers.”

  • joecab

    To quote Sideshow Bob:

    “By the way, I’m aware of the irony of appearing on TV in order to decry it. So don’t bother pointing that out.”

  • http://www.bromc.co.uk Myles

    Can someone give more specific detail about this whole Korean animator exploitation thing? All I knew was they produced the animation out there because it made financial sense. I know next to nothing about their working conditions, their pay and how little or generous it is (both in relation to animators in the rest of the world, or in relation to their own national average wage). Would be good to know more about the actual facts because it’s difficult to have a meaningful response to this intro (which seems a little clunky to me at the moment) without knowing a bit more. Ta.

  • http://www.base14.com Tyler

    They stopped using hand-painted cels back in the late 90s. They say so many times on the DVD commentaries. And only a few unicorns had to die for me to learn that!

  • http://Human-dog.com Chris Weagel

    Amid forgets the context Banksy had to work within. He compromised enough to accept the job so he worked within those boundaries. Could he have animated the whole thing by hand himself? Hard to say. I doubt he could have any control over their production pipeline. So he did what he could. Maybe he could have rounded up artists in places with decent labor protections and gotten them to animate it. Did he have that authority?

    I like it and really appreciate it within that context.

    The fact that the show is colored digitally now is besides the point. The painting of cels is a far better visual and adds to the hyperbole. Are conditions truly that bleak for Korean animators working on the simpsons? I’m sure they are for people making the worthless merchandise.
    Regardless workers in distant lands from the US are used because of their relative poverty, lack of labor protection, lack of power and lack of environmental protections. Further they’re employed to prevent first world workers from achieving economic stability and thus forming any kind of threat to giant corporations.

    Yes it’s a compromised position to work from but given that, I like what Banksy did with it. He certainly wasn’t going to get a larger immediate audience for such work anywhere else, Internet included.

    I like the grand pullback from the Fox logo at the end. In a way it answers many of the criticisms about this piece as it presents the giant immovable invincible corporation so sure of itself it can reveal its ugliness without fear of losing its power. Banksy rubs it in that Fox knows it’s audience is powerless to stop it and wouldn’t want to stop it anyway. We llaugh right along complicit in the giant joke that is free market capitalism.

    Maybe a stronger ending would’ve been for the sequence to loop back in on itself ending with Homer watching the slaves animating himself on his own tv and laughing at their misfortune. Although, the ending already does.

    • random

      there’s absolutely no way Banksy a non animator animated this entire thing by himself, are you kidding me? That’s the worst argument starter you could have made, perhaps you should do some research first before you get on a rant.

      • MichaelHughes

        If he did the layout I’d be impressed.

      • http://www.human-dog.com Chris Weagel

        @random

        Obviously he couldn’t have an animated the entire thing alone. That wasn’t what I was getting at.

        I doubt he could’ve even put together his own team of animators. He could’ve offered though. He had to work within the existing pipeline.

        According to the NYTimes interview, Banksy gave them a set of boards which the production team followed pretty closely.

        I’ve been thinking about this open all day. How much can you work within the system before you’re corrupted? A few steps? Just a toe? Does the smaller evil of working within it justify the larger good of shaking up the comatose audience that ultimately is responsible for this lust after cheap labor?

        The Simpsons entire run has been a test of this entire run. Maybe a reflection of its Baby Boomer creator, having his cake and eating it too.

  • Scarabim

    It. Was. A. Joke.

    And the day The Simpsons starts seriously preaching at me is the last day I ever occasionally watch the show.

  • greg m.

    Hmmm, I’m a fan of banksy, but in this instance would have rather have had the episode had a banksy side story and at the end it’s revealed that banksy is Bart (or something along those lines). But this just didn’t work for me.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      El Banksy was here! ^_^

  • Chandra Butkis

    That was great! I think you’re missing the point – the animators are blinking S-O-S from inside the prison walls. I think it’s brilliant. If you actively work in the system you should get it.

  • http://invaderpetblog.blogspot.com Brandon Pierce

    I don’t understand…. are they trying to make us feel BAD about Korean animators? Because, it’s not working.

  • http://arschblog.blogspot.com/ Steffi-Alien

    Back then the Simpsons used to be cool, unique and entertaining, now all they do is try to get attention(no matter how!) to keep the show alive.
    But they don’t realise that the Simpsons are dead years ago.:(

  • http://www.mistertoast.com Dan Goodsell

    No one listens to the screaming protester. By using humor, the point gets across and it will be remembered by the viewer. That is all you can expect to do. The world does not change from one Simpsons cartoon.

  • http://thelift.kohrtoons.com Robert Kohr

    Loved it it is very Banksy in that he is using the medium and system that he is protesting against to produce a commentary against itself. I also appreciate the over exaggeration.

  • Marvin

    No, it won’t change the world. But this show is still a bully pulpit and the only avenue they had, so they used it. Once Bansky got done plugging his own name the satiric jibes he (or whoever) did made their point. If you think it’s blunted because it was okayed by the people controlling the program, ask yourself “Would Warners EVER do this?”

  • Bill

    Its just like any of the new intros but with an overexagerated, sappy end bit to it.

    What this guy did was the equivalent of what Hollywood writers do, make big cooporations look bad while using one themselves.

  • Jon Hanson

    I laughed, but I’d venture to guess that the Koreans he’s standing up for would be way more insulted than appreciative. South Korea is a world power, and while it has a ways to go every Korean I’ve met is proud of their country and what they have been able to achieve. In fact one of their biggest complaints about America is that we still see them as a third world country.

    I’ll have to ask one of my friends to watch this and tell me what they think.

  • Cyber Fox

    COMEDY FAIL!

    I’m sorry but i don’t find that funny
    It’s rather depressing IMHO!

  • Jorge Garrido

    I’m more offended that anyone takes this idiot Banksy seriously enough to bother arguing about him.

  • Mark

    Isn’t banksy the “artist” who destroys personal and private property by spray painting on it? What a crook.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      It might only seem refreshing for some to know not every one of his ‘masterpieces’ stays around for very long before someone paints over it!

  • purin

    I realize it’s a much better visual, but the fact that so much of it is devoted to old fashioned ink and paint really takes away from it.

    Are couch gags this extended really so necessary? They really are best when kept short. It probably could have stayed short, using only one of these gags and tying it in with the couch better.

    Is it really protest or is it just another slave labor joke? It’s not the first time The Simpson’s has done that.

  • oh geez

    So we’re supposed to know what a Banksy is?

    • Jeff

      Yeah, I don’t know either who he/she is anyway. Based on the comments here, it doesn’t sound like searching for information about him would help explain the intro, anyway.

  • Dan Acton

    I also don’t know much about the actual working conditions of Simpsons animators, but the South Korean entertainment industry in general is actually hugely successful throughout Asia and getting more attention around the world. Since the opening mostly depicts people creating merchandise, I guess maybe it’s supposed to be China? Although Japan seems to have the market cornered on dolphin abuse, so maybe that person was Japanese. Thank god all those people over there are interchangeable so Banksy and I don’t have to worry about it! I feel as if I’ve helped the cause of human rights just by watching that video.

  • http://www.sexymecha.com Hal

    I don’t actually think he’s making that big a stand, just taking the piss. Simpsons and Futurama have been sticking it to Fox for decades now – this is nothing new. If one can direct an animated sequence that takes the brutal process of overseas animation into Kafka-esque territory, I say go for it. The end result was quality, I was laughing throughout and today NOBODY is talking about last night’s actual SIMPSONS episode but EVERYONE is talking about this opening – this was a home run and actually jolted decades of stagnant viewing when the collective jaws of numerous households hit the floor at 8:02pm, 10-10-10.

  • http://www.sexymecha.com Hal

    I don’t actually think he’s making that big a stand, just taking the piss. Simpsons and Futurama have been sticking it to Fox for decades now – this is nothing new. If one can direct an animated sequence that takes the process of overseas animation into Kafka-esque territory, I say go for it. The end result was quality, I was laughing throughout and today NOBODY is talking about last night’s actual SIMPSONS episode but EVERYONE is talking about this opening – this was a home run and actually jolted decades of stagnant viewing when the collective jaws of numerous households hit the floor at 8:02pm, 10-10-10.

  • http://ixintro.newgrounds.com Ixintro

    Wow what DOESN’T go over your heads guys, it was a joke.

  • http://elblogderg.blogspot.com Roberto

    I don’t get why they do the couch gags so long these days and they don’t try to include this experimental things in the actual episode. A very long couch gag could be funny once in a while as it’s something unexpected but they do it a lot recently.

    That said, I loved this one. I think it’s funny and while it’s true it’s not the first time they do it they kind of make it even more exaggerated and sharp this time. I’ve no idea who this Banksy guy is, though.

    • purin

      Unless the show itself is a lost cause and now the couch gag is now an animated short of some sort….

  • Toonio

    Reminds me of sideshow Bob trying to destroy television by delivering his message through a jumbo tron.

  • Hayden

    Bansky storyboarded the sequence.

    • Mark

      I doubt that. he can’t draw that well.

      • Was my face red

        What’s your evidence of that? I’ve seen lots of his work and it’s cleasr he’s a decent graphic designer with a knack for an iconic image.

  • http://mrscriblam.tumblr.com/ mrscriblam

    my god how can so many people miss the point so badly

    the point is that we watch cartoons and buy products that were produced by 3rd world labor and if we must continue exploiting these parties we might as well know how they are made

    in other words, you should probably know were your sausages come from before you eat them/feed them to your kids.

    • SouthKoreans are poor apparently

      Since when is South Korean a third world country? I have to say that’s a nice bit of racist there mate.

      Sausages are made from meat and spices.

      • http://www.human-dog.com Chris Weagel

        Why aren’t the cartoons and toys produced in the continental US?

        Because we’d rather exploit the lower living standards of people too powerless to fight back than stop consuming for even a second.

      • http://www.sneezemeaway.com Ryan G

        Australia and Canada have a lower living standard than the US? When did that happen?

        South Korea isn’t the only country that gets outsourced work in animation, you know.

      • http://mrscriblam.tumblr.com/ mrscriblam

        ok my bad

        outsourced labor*********

        and it’s not just about animation im pretty sure.

        sorry that jokes fly over your head

  • http://strangespanner.blogspot.com/ Lazarus Lupin

    Some here would say he “sold out.” He might say, “He bought in.”

  • pheslaki

    Did it bother anyone else that you don’t lick packing tape?

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Funny I didn’t think about that (let alone what would they be using for rubber stamps at that place).

    • Keith Paynter

      You do if it’s paper based…

  • Topes

    You guys. This is gonna be my guess, but it honestly seems like he just did this as sort of a casual “FUCK YOU” to get them off his back and they just animated it anyways.

    Either way, it’s just a bit of silly satire and the fact that it’s gotten this much news has proven how effective it was.

    You guys need to chill out a bit.

    Also, anyone who’s complaining that it shouldn’t be on cels and should be on computers instead are missing the point entirely.

  • http://animationinventory.blogspot.com/ Teodor

    I do not care.
    last good season was sixth.it was so long ago

    • e

      Agreed – Simpsons ran out of steam years ago – remember when it was fresh and original?

      • http://hunteachother.com Max W

        I know this is the general consensus these days, but you should give it another chance. Sure it’s had it’s ups and downs… but I think that the past few seasons have been pretty damn funny all over again.

      • Mike

        I pretty well gave up on the Simpson about ten years ago, but after seeing their recent Apple (Mapple) parody a season or two ago, I haven’t completely given up on the show.

  • Rebecca

    Here’s the link to it on Hulu: http://www.hulu.com/watch/184819/the-simpsons-banksy-opening

    Anyhow, it was pretty funny and definitely felt like something Banksy would do. But, I don’t think Banksy knew who he was making fun of, or that his morals have changed because FOX has been made fun of several times by it’s own shows (i.e. Family Guy, King of the Hill, and American Dad). So if he was really trying to make a statement (which I don’t think he was) he failed.

    I think The Simpsons has run it’s course and should have been ended a while ago. They should save what little dignity is left of it and start a new adult cartoon series. I know this would mean the end of many animators jobs, but come on! They’re having Glee and Kayne West as guests on the show!!! The shark has continually been jumped and needs to be put down…

  • http://www.sexymecha.com Hal

    I love that couch gag so much I want to take it behind a middle school and get it pregnant.

  • J Lee

    …and 10 months from now, this episode will be available on DVD at Walmart.

  • Blasko

    I think this is embarrassing stuff all the way around for the producers of The Simpsons. As Jean is quoted in the article link above, “We were thrilled. It was funny.” I guess that’s the litmus for entertainment over at Fox. While I agree that I don’t go to prime time TV for my spirituality or morality, I also don’t feel good about a society that indulges in the spoils of cheap labor and then gives themselves a good chuckle over it.

  • diego

    I like the opening, its contradictory and beautifully absurd. A serious remark that can’t be taken seriously and at the same time a sad joke! pure genius!

  • http://bakertoons.blogspot.com/ Charles Brubaker

    To give credit where its due…from the TAG blog

    http://animationguildblog.blogspot.com/2010/10/behind-scenes-at-simpsons.html

    Directed by Karen C. Johnson

    Character layout by Greg Checketts, Manny DeGuzman, and Jeff Johnson

    BG layout by John Liu

    Effects animation by Brice Mallier

    Timing by Larry Smith

    Color design by Dima Malanitchev

    Digital magic by Steve Mills.

    Storyboard by Luis Escobar

    Designs by Eric Keyes, Ricky Manginsay, Kevin Moore, Debbie Peterson, Hugh MacDonald, and Jefferson Weekley.

  • http://www.copernicus.ca Murray Bain

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k66MUSNlBJM
    doesn’t seem so bad to me.At least they get to draw on paper, not push digital puppets around.

  • Dr. Ivo Robotnik

    I like when a show tries to break tradition and preach to its audience. Someone up there mentioned that Family Guy has been numbing its audience to bigoted humor. I agree, and I don’t think it ends with FG.

    When they constantly crack jokes about real problems, like racism or homophobia, they claim that anyone who takes offense at their offensive joke is “too sensitive” or that we “can’t take a joke.” Really, this is how people become desensitized to these things. We’re being told that the issue being joked about isn’t important enough to actually talk about, that if we try we’ll be ostracized, thus by belittling it they’re encouraging people to ignore it.

    There are some things we can laugh at, but a lot that we need to take seriously and I like it when a show, whether through parody, metaphor, or allegory, has the stones to get people to think about real-world issues.

    Even if they supplement it with unicorns and dolphin heads.

    • The Gee

      I know it isn’t cheery to state it but I don’t think that most of the today’s practitioners of satire and parody are as good at it as they could be. And, by not being as good as they could be that affects what the audience understands what satire and parody are.

      There seems to be an understanding that you can approach it as just ridicule and do so any which way. And, it can result in some of the more formal elements being in place so that people know what they are experiencing and can “read” it properly to get the point.

      For instance, look at those one panel cartoons that Jerry posts in the “Sunday Funnies.” It is as if they almost work. If the cartoonists were better at parodying things then the comics might be a lot better and not a bit ambiguous or groan-worthy.

      Throwing rotten tomatoes has its place in lampooning, ridicule, satire, mockery, etc.. And, throwing them can be as fun or as funny as a pie fight. But, from a creative standpoint, it seems like too many just throw them with the belief all will hit the target and stick. I think the point Dr. Robotnik makes is a great point worth making. It is a result of how our culture approaches such things these days.

      I hope this makes enough sense. Most people I know don’t seem inclined to discuss these types of things so I might be expressing gibberish. ha ha.

      For what it is worth: The couch gag is captivating. It makes some good points but in the end isn’t it is sort of like Wall-E in the point(s) it made about wastefulness? Saying it doesn’t change tomorrow because the process being ridiculed is all about making money so that the production can go on tomorrow.

  • secret goldfish

    I thought this was great but still have mixed feelings regarding something that both depresses me and makes me belly laugh at the same time, maybe that, along with the number of different sentiments posted here, somehow partly validates the intro.
    Then again maybe its also kinda lame how low Fox is willing to go to prove to us that it is ‘hip’ and ‘cool’ like the funny kid at school who everyone laughs at not with.

    Interesting that Fox actually decided to run this but didn’t think twice about removing the intro where Bart mentioned solidarity with the South Park guys when they were threatening to show Mohammed.

    I guess that using less fortunate people somewhere else in the world to make a joke isn’t anything to worry about when they’re not exactly in a position to make a complaint heard and lack the ability to make death threats, (which actually do seem to work)

    I think this sort of thing is much funnier when done by someone who isn’t actually employed/paid by Fox. When Fox actually fund and approve it themselves the joke is unfortunately even more ironic for not necessarily the right reasons.

  • http://www.littleaaronandfriends.com Aaron Hughes

    Bet he was feeling warm and fuzzy as he was cashing his big fat check from FOX.

  • http://nickmould.blogspot.com Nick

    Bansky hasn’t stopped with The Simpsons either….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2INOXf-YGI&feature=player_embedded

  • http://www.apiteyourface.com tony mines

    Why aren’t the Banksy tags, Banksy tags? Did Fox pay for the name but not the branding?
    Are they trying to highlight a problem, or trivialise it with Raiders jokes? Which problem are they trying to highlight again? Isn’t South Korea a 1st world economy? Isn’t animation made on computers, by animation artists? Is that really the same thing as a sweatshop? Are they suggesting that all outsourced manufacture is the same, and that the world outside of America is uniformly a dessert of exploited wookies? Hey, killing dolphins. But isn’t that mostly an Asian thing? Wait. What? Poor people, right? Elsewhere. That bad thing that happened. The Aids Tsunami or whatever. That thing in Africa. DON’T YOU WATCH THE NEWS!?

    But it’s got me asking questions, yeah? Except all of those are rhetorical.

    And now I have to endure this pantomime about Fox ‘removing’ the video from Banksy’s site and other outlets.

    Banksy has truly become the George Lucas of himself.

  • Mr. James

    Another comment that I found ironic was this one in the yahoo.com post about the Banksy opening:

    “executive producer Al Jean’s comment on the disturbing sequence was, ‘This is what you get when you outsource,’”

    Odd since most of America’s animation is being outsourced now isn’t it?

    Correct me if I’m wrong please.

    • http://mrscriblam.tumblr.com/ mrscriblam

      ——————>the joke
      you <–

      does nobody appreciate hypocritical humor anymore?

    • Bill

      I think our flash and CGI are done here, but thats about it.

  • Ape of Hate

    The Crow at the beginning is carrying a Banksy Rat.

  • Ape of Hate

    I watch the comments on here and in the press with interest. Agree with some disagree with others. The thing I find most interesting about this whole affair is that Fox may not realise how much they may have shot themselves in the foot.

    The Simpsons have a history of lampooning Fox, but it has always been on the ‘aren’t we on a shitty network ho ho’ level and not really not that much of an affront and easy to laugh off.
    Here though we have these fairly major claims (and they aren’t just about Fox) ‘This show you love to laugh at may have some darker secrets behind the curtain’ ‘That doll you love might not be as wholesome as you thought’ ‘Our merchandise is not American made and may not be ethical’ ‘our network exploits foreign labour’.

    This is not ‘ho ho’ laugh it off and forget about it, this is ‘ho ho ohhh’ laugh it off and think about it. And the thought processes it prompts and inevitable outcomes are not good. Whether what Bansky portrays in the opening is true or not THAT seed has been planted in the viewing publics psyche and it will be hard to remove.

    What is even more interesting is the responses from execs over the issue ‘this is what you get when you outsource’ is a dry witty response but also almost alarmingly translates as ‘im a little bit racist’.

    So this whimsical self parody may cost Fox more than it bargained for. Yes it has everyone talking about it, and for the issues raised (exploitation of foriegn labour, foxes position in that etc etc) that can only be a good thing, but whether that talk puts Fox in a positive light remains to be seen. Personally, and even justifiably, I dont think it will. Fox has happily danced into putting on the mask of ‘Tyranical overlord’ for comic effect, sadly they may find that mask hard to shake off .

    And as for Banksy I think he is either cleverer than we all realise and truly subverting from within or is just a corporate whore like the rest of them. Despite the coffe table book and movie deal I still would like to think the former rather than the latter.

    • http://www.human-dog.com Chris Weagel

      >>Here though we have these fairly major claims (and they aren’t just about Fox) ‘This show you love to laugh at may have some darker secrets behind the curtain’ ‘That doll you love might not be as wholesome as you thought’ ‘Our merchandise is not American made and may not be ethical’ ‘our network exploits foreign labour’. This is not ‘ho ho’ laugh it off and forget about it, this is ‘ho ho ohhh’ laugh it off and think about it. And the thought processes it prompts and inevitable outcomes are not good. Whether what Bansky portrays in the opening is true or not THAT seed has been planted in the viewing publics psyche and it will be hard to remove. <<

      That I think is the bigger point. That a large portion of gluttonous Americans' endless carnival culture comes at the direct expense of other, unseen people.

      What's also interesting is FOX's other branch, the News Network spends its time getting moron Americans angry about their collapsing society but completely misdirects their anger away from the true culprit: Giant Corporations like themselves.

      Maybe it's all an elaborate joke. Maybe Groening is consulting with Murdoch on the whole thing.

  • ivan

    Speaking of the Simpsons… did anyone else catch this:

    http://www.cleveland.com/tv/index.ssf/2010/09/katy_perry_to_guest_star_on_th.html

    I love how the characters look as live-action puppets!

  • Jess

    Yanno, I really feel this is a more accurate comment towards China,rather than South Korea.
    Even if this isn’t what’s going on EXACTLY with their show production, it’s going on like this in China for sure. Especially with merchandise.

  • Keith Paynter

    (apologies to Will Smith as Agent Jim West)

    “That…is a dolphin’s…HEAAAAAADDDD!!”

    (no apologies to the movie “Wild Wild West”!)

  • http://deleted OtherDan

    Haven’t read all the comments. But, I think it’s more powerful because it’s a statement (an ironic one) made in the belly of the beast. Question is, why would they do that? It’s a slap in the face?

    • Keith Paynter

      “The Simpsons” makes Fox a fortune in merch and syndication…they don’t care…they sleep very well at night, “on top of a big pile of money, with many beautiful girls”.

      • http://deleted OtherDan

        Yeah. That’s what gives them the ability to slap in the face. I think Guz down below said it succinctly.

  • tonma

    I used to love the simpsons… :(

  • http://guzforster.com Guz

    I didn’t think he was protesting against Fox brutal treatment of it’s animators. I thought he was protesting against the use of cheap labor overseas by Fox…

  • Maxie

    Fox brought the video back, realising that Banksy uploaded it, and he created it for them.

  • Josh H.

    Here’s my take: the idea that 20th Century Fox is airing a protest against themselves is protest enough. Banksy is showing their stupidity, which is helping his cause.

    • Mr L

      Someone’s been made a fool of here, and it’s not Fox. This is so stupidly over-the-top and unsophisticated (and *racist*) it loses any possible impact; if you’re making those old Plucky Duck Toxic Revenger shorts look subtle you’re doing something very wrong. Those giant BANKSY flybys would be considered obnoxious even if he hadn’t built his reputation mocking exactly that.

      This reminds me yet again why I don’t like Banksy – he’s *boring.*

  • Daniel Spencer

    Do you not think this parodox was intentional? As usual, Americans fail to see the irony in the humour.The fact that the korean animators are actually the ones who are producing the animation is the whole point.

  • Daniel Spencer

    ”Irony, I would say, signifies the state of mind of people or of an age which has lost faith. They conceal their loss, or even flaunt it by laughter. You seldom get irony except from people who have been somehow more or less cleaned out.”

    Alfred North Whitehead.

    http://www.danwallacemusic.com/2010/01/20/american-irony/

  • http://Bigdaddyanimation.com Big Daddy

    Brilliant!

  • chalmers

    I just don’t like it because this is another thing in a long line of recent attempts to try and show that The Simpsons is still relevant. Al Jean and co. know that the adult animation throne was taken over by Family Guy and South Park long ago, and by doing things like this, working with some mysterious figure and causing a bit of controversy along the way, they are hoping they will get attention(this is evidenced by the fact that an interview with Al Jean popped up the same night the episode aired). And the worst part is that it worked. Many major news sources and most major animation sites have been buzzing about this issue this last week, and all it’s going to do is give Jean more fuel to do more. Just look at the Christmas episode they have on the schedule, with Katy Perry appearing in live action alongside puppet versions of Simpsons characters parodying a certain incident on Sesame Street.

    Sigh. I miss the days when The Simpsons didn’t have to work so hard to get our attention.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      I just miss what the show had been back in it’s genesis.

  • Jacob Zaborowski

    I have to say that this opening is not only heavy-handed, but poorly animated. Furthermore, I must say that the couch gag is partially anachronistic in depicting the production process. Any potency this half-baked satire might have had is nonexistent. This opening does not hold a candle to the original opening done by David Silverman and Co. back in the early nineties. Banksy might have done better to satriize the multitudes of hacks who are being paid to denigrate the Simpsons here in the States, and my heart goes out to the animators overseas who must work with low-quality layout, direction, design, and even story.