New <em>Simpsons</em> HDTV opening New <em>Simpsons</em> HDTV opening

New Simpsons HDTV opening

The Simpsons have changed their opening sequence. Tonight’s show opened with a revised version formatted in wide screen for HD, the first revamp of the main titles since 1989. The original version had been the last vestige of the show’s Klasky Csupo roots.

  • Anna

    I very much enjoyed this!
    … except the flying thru the buildings in the beginning part (are my eyes gettin weird, and did those buildings feel flat?)

    too bad the show itself stopped being funny ages ago ;_; polishing silverwear on the Titanic, are we, FOX?

  • Jane

    A nerdy nitpick: The opening sequence actually has been revamped once before, albeit not as thoroughly. The sequence from the first season looked a whole lot cruder than the one we know and did not include recurring characters outside the Simpsons family. While the opening sequence used from the 2nd season on is basically similar, some animation was scrapped entirely in favor of the inclusion of more characters. Exhaustive and exhausting info here:

  • Dimwit

    Wow… People still watch this show?

  • Wow…good bye squash and stretch

  • Matt Sullivan

    Great job! Keeps the spirit of the original and adds just enough new-ness to make it unique.

    I hope THE SIMPSONS keeps going for another 25 years :}

  • I feel like they’re tracing over the old intro, but adding in extra stuff and taking away the good parts of the character animation. Maybe it’s just the frame rate of the YouTube video, I dunno.

  • The original was so much better. This is indicative of the drop in quality of the show. The episode was equally lackluster – about nothing.

  • Actually last episode was pretty funny in my opinion. The script was pretty decent and the visuals also looked better in HD. About the intro, I think it’s a little too overcrowded, there are some nice touches here and there, but it would have been better to change it a little bit instead of adding new characters in every scene of it. It feels unncessary. For example, I think that little gag with Ralph and the statue is funny, but it seems a little out of place when the camera is zooming to show Bart, one of the main characters. It’s not as overcrowed as some Sourh Park intros, though.

  • Pete

    I really wish they’d stop this show already. I can’t bare to watch episodes these days, they’re like an empty shell. I wasn’t impressed by the intro, it’s the same lame jokes and cliche setups that make the show unbearable.

  • Zork Nemesis

    I’m not sure the sound effects/dialogue in the intro were necessary. It felt too much like “who cares about the Simpsons family? Look at all these other wacky people!” Which, coincidentally, is how the show is now too. So it’s very appropriate.

  • The original was so charming, but I guess they might as well change it after all these years.

    I still regard characters like the cat lady and the Texas oilman like stepparents who think they can replace my real parents: “but you’re not real Simpsons characters!”

    “Now, now. Just because Matt Groening let go quality control, doesn’t mean he doesn’t still love you.”

  • s porridge

    What was it Fritz Lang said in Godard’s “Contempt,” something about widescreen being best used to photograph snakes and funerals? The Simpsons may have a such a wider canvas now, but they didn’t do much with it other than fill space this first time out.

    Clearing out some old VHS tapes recently, checked the end of one cassette and found the original 1995 airing of “Homer the Great.” Laughed more revisiting that episode than I have viewing The Simpsons’ current season. Maybe it’s funnier if you’re younger and haven’t lived with it for 20 years.

  • >>I’m not sure the sound effects/dialogue in the intro were necessary. It felt too much like “who cares about the Simpsons family? Look at all these other wacky people!” Which, coincidentally, is how the show is now too. So it’s very appropriate.>>

    Not that this criticism is entirely wrong, cause the show can be pretty wacky now and they use random secondary appearances quite a bit, but I think one of the problems in seasons 14-17 or so was that they were focussing way too much in the family. And there are only a number of conflicts you can do with the family, hence the overusing of Homer and Marge marriage crisis. In more recent episodes after the movie they are using the secondaries a little more and frankly I liked it better that way.

    Of course they sometimes don’t use the right ones, there is a lot of Lenny and Carl and very little of Mr. Burns, Smithers or Barney, and some of the already mentioned new additions like Crazy Cat Lady or Rich Texan can be very obnoxious. But when they use funny secondary characters like Moe or Groundskeeper Willie is more entertaining than seeing Homer’s marriage crisis number 32.

  • simple hilarious: finally also the town of Springfield is growing with the time!

  • Fred Cline

    What happened to the old, snappy timing (aside from that which is still seen in the re-used pieces)? Also, there used to be a common understanding among filmmakers that if you added a gag to a gag that was already funny by itself, then the two gags canceled each other out. The term for this was, “Bananas on bananas”. I see a lot of that in this new title piece. I still enjoy the Simpsons, but there was definitely a glory day which has passed for the series. Maybe they need more Producers!

  • David

    Urgh. It’s so static and lifeless, isn’t it? It lacks the looseness and malleability that the original exuded so brilliantly. Colourful, yes. Alive? No.

  • Charles

    Yeah, the Simpsons haven’t been funny in a while. The comedy is way too stale and all the characters have lost all their, well, character. Love it or hate it, it’s pretty cool that one of the longest running series on tv is an animated show.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    I second Michael Sporn willfully on this one as well. Seems like the excuse here was to add in more characters if anything other than the same routine as usual. The animation didn’t help either, I was hoping for something a little more on par with what they did in The Simpsons Movie. Usually the opening sequences tend to be much more fuller in quality than an episode mind you.

    What’s also sad is having to think of the guy who was credited as the sole animator of the first season opening, but whose animation would still be used for all the others, Kevin Petrilak. I noticed his work early on as I had spotted his name for animating sequences in some Garfield specials of the late 80’s and came to notice his uniqueness for animating characters very fluidly on one’s. Shame if they could not bring him to redo this for HD, but checking out his IMDB, he’s been slaving away on several Disney Channel stuff lately like Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (ho hum).

  • TV SAFE?

    Maybe I am not with the times, but I tried to watched the show on my non-HD TV from 2000 and this show is far from TV safe. Someone really screwed up.

    There were quite a few times when a character was talking and at least half of their body was off-screen. The one I noticed the most was at the end when Bart was delivering his final line. 3/4 of his body OFF THE SCREEN! I heard his voice and saw a hand moving.

    Now this maybe my fault for not updating with technology, but I can’t be the only person in america that doesn’t have an HD TV. Can I?

  • With all due respect, staying on model has never been so boring.

    And with the addition of many residents of Springfield, it only emphasizes that the writers are running out of room.

  • Robert Barker

    I’ve noticed that problem with HDTV too. Are they putting up a wide image that’s being cut off by regular TVs? I watch KCET in L.A. and the E and the T are cut off. Last night’s Simpsons wasn’t bad, but let’s face it, it’s played out.

  • Anne

    The show I once knew and loved is officially dead. *sigh* Oh well. Time marches on.

  • MitchK

    Some of the gags are funny, but the animation is the pits!

  • Ryan

    Blech, don’t like that, nope. Must’ve been a nasty shock to anyone who didn’t see any advertisements for it or anything. Upsetting?

    I watched “One Enchanted Evening” from the first season a couple of days ago, loved it! All those crazy faces they used to pull, Homer’s little mumblings, the way their limbs kept changing size…

    Don’t get any of that no more, nope. I’ll just stick with the repeats and the DVDs of seasons 1-12. Wonder if they’ll ever put out a DVD of all the Tracy Ullman shorts?

  • tom

    I love the Simpsons, and while it’s become harder for the troupe to make new jokes and cover new ground, I’m amazed at how well they’ve been doing these last few years. Each season gets off to a rocky start, but there are good jokes every week, and the characters are as appealing as they ever were.

    Some of the comments here can be read in the voice of the Comic Book Guy, but added hilarity.

  • Pedro Nakama

    Now all they need is new writers!

  • Zork Nemesis

    I wonder if there will ever be a day where people can legitimately criticize the Simpsons without getting a “har har you’re comic book guy” retort. I’m convinced there’s some sort of generational gap going in both directions that prevents us all from reaching a consensus.

    Anyway, the new intro is busy and lazy all at once. It’s a remarkable combination. They couldn’t be bothered to just reshoot the entire thing? They even left in the quick pan across the town before Marge pulls into the driveway– is this even needed anymore, now that they’ve crammed every B-character into all of the other shots of the intro? Weird decisions.

  • Franklin

    Boo hoo! They changed it! There goes my eternal childhood! There’s nothing I don’t have a negative opinion about! Boo hoo!

  • T

    Because of its eternal lifespan, The Simpsons may be the only animated program still airing new episodes that (until the advent of this new title sequence) contained animation done by a studio no longer in existence. That right there should win somebody a donut.

  • Steven Finch, Attorney At Law

    There’s a whooooole lotta tweening going on around here!

  • Jamie B

    The fact that Homer is whacked by the car rather than being chased by it sums up everything that makes me sad about the direction the show has taken. Ralph getting hit by the head of a giant stone statue does the same job – these characters used to be believeble as human beings in an alternate universe. The day they became ‘cartoon characters’ ruined everything to be honest.

    PS. I just watched it again, and realised that Jebidiah Springfield was made out of metal, but it still doesn’t change the first impression it made for me. It’s sad not to see any funny drawings in there either, and gags shoehorned in on top of other gags spoil the flow rather effortlessly (but I guess if the aim was to represent the episode content that follows afterwards, then…)

  • Killroy McFate

    The animation of the show itself hasn’t resembled the opening titles in over a decade.

  • doug holverson

    What’s almost scary is that is probably not the longest or most elaborate couch gag ever.

    Not a lot of sense of history, because an early episode had Bart sawing the head off that statue and the hoodlum characters here were appalled by it.

    OTOH, I liked Otto eating the fuel rod.

  • Jason

    I love the Simpsons characters. I loved the Simpsons movie. But I HATE the writing in the show now. It SUCKS!!!! Can’t they find better writers? I thought it was bad when they hired writers from Harvard. Where are the writers coming from now, Ding Dong School?

  • well, any heart the show had left is now gone.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    What Ryan said about what he saw in that first season episode and with the Ullman shorts sums up what my first experiences were with the series some 20 years ago. I think the appeal I had with it was based on what I liked seeing in animation then, and the look of the show reminded me a lot of those clever National Film Board of Canada films like The Cat Came Back or The Big Snit. Namely a show that didn’t have the best design possible, but still animated well within those limitations. I think of it as reality caricatured as a cartoon through experience. They sorta lost that look after some years into the show.

    If anything, I wish i could see more than the 5 minutes worth of Kent Butterworth’s approach to animating ‘Some Enchanting Evening” that was stuck on the first season DVD’s, it’s a lot more like the Ullman shorts than the series that evolved since then (I nearly thought Marv Newland worked on this it just felt so dead-on)…

    I get the impression Comic Book Guy has shaped how commenting online has turned out to be. It’s sad to be labeled that way when comments like mine are still very valid, but perhaps it was inevitable that it was bound to become a standard of our lives.

    To answer Jason’s comment, I often said time after time how I felt The Simpsons is more a writer’s show than a cartoonist’s one based on how the writing had evolved over the years with the Ivy League guys they’ve brought in. I still feel there needs to be a more equal balance between story and the animation in the show than to lean towards the story all the way.

  • Seann

    uggghhh, guys? Are you not getting the main premise of the joke, that its an HD intro, and you now “see more” of the intro? Of course, theres no more to see of the intro, as it was animation, tightly constrained. But its a joke. About HD. and seeing more. Its not supposed to be “we added stuff that wasnt there” its “HD allows you to see stuff that ‘was always there'”.

  • Thomas Roberts

    I think that it would be more worthwhile if the naysayers would say something more than “it’s terrible!” and “it’s no good anymore”. The thing that makes some people sound like the comic book guy is that they offer nothing in the way of solid, reasonable criticism. They only parrot one another’s negativity.

    Just sayin’.

  • BT

    Well, I enjoyed it. I don’t really understand the complaints about “gags on top of gags” and being “too busy.” Obviously it’s intentionally dense with detail because 1. it’s an intro, you watch it over and over again and hopefully will still be able to notice new things 2. it’s a revamp of an intro that has been on for 20 years and that most of the viewers have seen literally thousands of times and 3. it’s The Simpsons, the show that invented the idea of putting in jokes you could only find by recording and pausing (long before the notion of “easter eggs”).

  • Alfons Moline

    They waited two seasons to change the Flintstones opening titles way back in the 60´s… and now they waited almost TWENTY seasons to change the Simpsons titles!!!

  • G

    Man, it looks so stiff and cold compared to the old one. Less cartoony, even.

  • Bob

    TVSAFE, you’re not the only one. I first noticed this a few weeks ago while watching “Heroes”. On last night’s episode, only 2/3 of the episode title was visible onscreen. Ridiculous.

  • J Lee

    Bet a year or two from now in syndication this is edited in as the de facto opening for all 20 seasons worth of episodes, when they re-do the syndicated prints (and crop off the top and/or bottom of the image) for the HDTV aspect ratio.

  • Jeff

    From a lifelong Simpsons fan, it hurts to see the animation mirroring that of Family Guy.

  • the change its ok, no problem with that.

  • Wow. Bland, unlikeable and sterile – just like the show itself now.

  • jim

    I kind of like it, it has more of the movie feel. Some of the layouts and sequences in the show itself were pretty well done too. A tad more cartoony. Im glad that at least they are trying, these fox animations have a huge budget and they should try to push there medium more since they have the means to do so. Im glad 2-d animation is meetin the digital age and i have watched it every sunday since i was a kid.

  • Dr. Pepper

    Why does everyone think the old one was so great? Because it’s old?

  • vzk

    HD gag aside, as someone who has skipped most of the newest episodes, I have one question:

    Are the citizens of Springfield still unaware of Jebediah Springfield’s dark side?

  • Keith Paynter

    The new opening credits have put the nail in the coffin of the show’s roots in cel animation. What I dislike about the look of the series (and the film), and the new digital opening, is that I keep thinking that the journey towards the Dark Side is now complete. (Although I did like that Marge bought ‘Tomacco’ at the grocery store…)

    Maybe now it won’t take months to get topical. I’m going to get ripped for this, but I was amazed that FG was able to get the Christian Bale reference in so quickly (as cheap as the gag appears in terms of limited animation).

  • The biggest thing I didn’t like was some actions were out of character for some people. Like the twins playing video games in band practice, and Otto eating the inanimate carbon rod.

    I did like the tv at the end.

    What was the couch gag in reference to?

  • Tom

    Keith: don’t you think that Bale reference will age like fresh cream? I’m all for topicality ala South Park, but the Family Guy references all feel very temporary to me.

    The Bale thing feels very “Chocolate Rain” to me already.

  • Daniel Mata

    Its all about the gags. There is no chase or destination in this. There is no more punchline.

    Also, it looks like they just moved around cardboard characters. There is no more softness. I miss soft animation. I don’t like this.

  • Keith Paynter

    Tom – I’m sure I will, but it’s just another topical reference, albeit a month old, but 2G1C is still dangerously funny, and how old is it now? Besides, I hate having to admit I’m old enough to have lived through all the 80’s references…

    “You watched it – you can’t un- watch it!”

  • Jeff

    Regarding all of the “stuff is cut off on my 4:3 screen” comments, the producers probably assumed that by now all of the show’s viewers would have either an HDTV or a DTV converter box, since analog signals were originally supposed to have ceased by now.

    You should be able to push the zoom button on your DTV box and set it to 16:9 mode to see the whole image.

  • purin

    Wow, I’m surprised they bothered, considering that TV show intros these days are a maximum of what, five seconds long?

    All the sound effects and not-main family gags were distracting, if you ask me. Some of them seemed well worked in, but others were more like shout outs and pauses from the flow of the things.

    However, the part at the end where they tracked the chair was pretty funny.

  • KarmaRocketX

    Great job!

    Now the intro perfectly matches the unfunny, bland, pointless, unoriginal, effortless, blithering stupidity and overwhelming pointlessness of the Simpsons today and of the last nearly 10 years.

    This intro is supurb….

    …that is, if their intent was self-parody on the virtual unwatchability of the “still-beating-a-dead-horse” and eternally dry and withered up Simpsons still utterly wasting a half hour slot that could be used for actually worthwhile programming.

    But hey, on the bright side.. it’s STILL better than any part of Family Guy.

  • Marbles

    I don’t believe this. This is a bunch of animation lovers and hardly any of you seem to be bothered by the incredible stiffness, coldness, and HARDNESS of this animation? (If you can even CALL it that.)
    I mean, just look at this. You can’t possibly get any more stiff or robotic. Especially in the Maggie/Marge grocery scene. What on earth is that?
    How on God’s green earth could anyone prefer watching hard pieces of metal float through space instead of soft, squishy clay? That’s what comparing the two intros is like. There is absolutely no life in this sterile, bloodless new intro. The way standards of animation have been dropping is really breathtaking. It’s not even like the last doldrums of the 1970s, where the main culprit was low budgets—-nowadays people don’t even seem to CARE.