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Watch The Don Hertzfeldt Couch Gag for Tonight’s ‘Simpsons’ Season Premiere

Tonight Don Hertzfeldt will join the ranks of directors who have created an opening “couch gag” for The Simpsons. Other artists who have created the openings include Sylvain Chomet, John Kricfalusi, Michael Socha, Bill Plympton, Banksy, and Guillermo del Toro.

Simpsons exec producer Al Jean revealed in an interview that the stick-figure maestro has created “a brilliant couch gag” and warns that “you’ll really be sorry if you miss it.”

UPDATE: Here’s the official embed of Hertzfeldt’s opening, which confirms that The Simpsons (soon to be The Sampsans) indeed have a bright future ahead of them:

  • blandyblottschalk

    I remember being in elementary school and watching one of his shorts on the Spike and Mike Sick and Twisted Animation Festival DVD. I was near dying of laughter with my best friend. So nice to see his vision brought to the iconic couch gag.

  • guestymcguest

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  • Ant G

    I watched it just to see Don Hertzfeldt’s work, and tried to continue watching it but I couldn’t, really over Simpsons (or family guy) and not attached to any of the characters anymore.

    I’ve been reading reactions online of the couch gag and it seems pretty bipolar, either love or hate it. I was confused if anything. Don’s work are usually interpretable on first watch, this one (maybe I’ll have to watch it again) seemed to just jump on the “weird nonsense is cool” bandwagon. And after my teenage years, I honestly don’t care for cynicism anymore. The whole “consume/buy the merchandise” subliminal-but-not-really-because-you-can-read-it messages were probably trying to make a point (we are all consuming sheeple, ooooo), but that point’s been made and heard loud and clear for years, anymore of it is just beating a dead horse.

    • Brad Hoehne

      I’m not sure it is “nonsense” though. It seemed to me a clever imagining of what the Simpsons, which has been on the air for the better part of two decades- a very long time- would be like if it continued on for thousands of years. Humanity has evolved, perhaps long past the singularity, and we think in abstract code. However, the essence of the show “we are a happy family despite our differences” remains. It’s the logical extension of the Simpsons long run. I don’t read this as cynical- I read it as a comforting acknowledgement of the immutable core nature of humanity.

      It also works in a a sly commentary on the nature of language evolution, where the “Simpsons” becomes “Sampsons” and the names of objects and concepts become more literal.

    • applemeh

      I read this just to see an interesting/original comment, and tried to continue reading it but I couldn’t, really over ex-Simpsons fans (or usually family guy fan boys) and not remotely interested in what they have to say.

    • BushyHyde

      So you are saying you didn’t like it?

      • Ant G

        Didn’t understand it. But after a second watch here and reading Brad Hoehne’s comment, I’ve warmed up to it a lot more. I wouldn’t describe it as nonsense anymore but still could do without the “consume/buy the merchandise” bit

  • I look forward to seeing it! Don’s a genius!

  • “really be sorry if you miss it” – Yeah, I’ll have to watch it on YouTube the next morning instead :P

  • Depro Nine

    all animals can scream

  • jonhanson

    I really enjoyed it, it wasn’t as funny as I was hoping it would be but it had a weird poignancy.

    I have to say that it reminds me of the internet meme where you draw mutated versions of the characters spouting nonsense:

  • This is great, a return to classic Don Hertzfeldt humor but still retaining the poignant story telling from his later works.

  • otterhead

    Funniest thing Don’s done in years.

  • Snowspot

    I thought it was really sad and depressing … he messed up and fast-forwarded to the future episodes of the show, where the future has become so different that almost nothing is recognizable… and then he remembers how in the past, even as they were losing their minds, they still loved each other. At least that was my interpretation. At the end, he says DOH because none of them remember him, and they are completely different, and he’s all alone in a weird computer world :P

    I think the time machine was supposed to work on his TV, but instead, breaks the fourth wall and starts fast-fowarding the Simpsons TV show.

  • Tom

    That was a crushing disappointment, really. Charmless, unfunny and incredibly long. I usually really like Hertzfeldt, but this was terrible.

    • grainy

      I found it incredibly captivating, amusing, and visually fun.

      De gustibus non est disputandum!

  • boom

    i thought the message was clear. the distant future isn’t subtle about merchandise marketing, random phrases are random with shock value while relating to nothing, emotional dialogue relates to nothing, and catchphrases are eternal. so futurely speaking, the simpsons will turn into family guy with better artwork

  • tredlow

    I don’t know whether I find it bleak or heartwarming. On one hand, Homer will be stuck with his family for all eternity. On the other hand, their love for each other will never die.

    Man, the couch gags used to be simple.

  • PMP

    “What the hell was that?” — Krusty

  • Kris Åsard

    Let’s be clear about this: the Simpsons have been making self-deprecating in-jokes about their own merchandizing since season 1. That is a running gag more native to the show than, say, “Nelson Ha Ha” or Ned Flanders.
    So we just had Homer flash through a future where the coach is japanese pastry and he grows fur, then a next-gen version where someone has put post-it stickers on assorted faces in the family portraits, and end up in a world wich worships the God of the Two Moons.
    And yet some commenters here think the plot in this clip hinges on the aside about merchandize. Really now?

  • Picassosaurus

    I hope they get David Firth to do one if they’re continuing this route of indie animators. Or they could go back to their Klasky Csupo roots and hire Igor Kovalyov.

  • Roberto Severino

    I’m not a big Hertzfeldt fan but this is honestly more interesting than the show nowadays and it kinda makes me really sad on the inside.

  • JaceA113

    QUESTION: Do you think Herzfeldt should/can/will write for a mainstream animated TV show?