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New “Simpsons” Intro by John Kricfalusi

UPDATE: Read Cartoon Brew’s exclusive interview with John K. about his Simpsons opening.

A new episode of The Simpsons just premiered on the East Coast, and the opening contained a surprise. The reaction on Twitter says it all:

Simpsons Intro
  • Abu

    I can’t believe all these people tweeting about that!

    Eh heh, thanks for answering my question on Twitter about the John K. opening. Is it on youtube yet?

  • I missed the first five minutes, and just saw John K’s name in the credits. Then I rushed here, only to find NO video yet. I’ll give it a few minutes and check YouTube.

  • Clint H

    I actually saw it on TV and it was just great! I’m not a HUGE fan of John K’s work, but his art is pure cartoon gold!

  • Geneva

    I’ve seen it, and it’s really got some brilliant stuff going on in it!! I hope he gets more cool projects like that in the future.

  • mg
  • Toonio

    This should put the John K. stock to 1000 Lasseters a JohnK.

  • Ren and Stimpy was parodied on The Simpsons twice in its fourth season. In the episode “Brother from the Same Planet”, a 15 second clip is shown where Ren starts sampling some of Stimpy’s soup, which turns out to be hairballs and stomach acid. After Ren yells at Stimpy, saying that he is trying to “kill” him, Ren’s eyeballs pop out, spin a few times, and explode goo. Their voices were provided by Dan Castellaneta. In the episode “The Front”, The Ren & Stimpy Show was nominated for an animation award against The Itchy & Scratchy Show. The viewing at the awards ceremony simply read “Clip not done yet”, a comment on the slow production time of the show. The show was mentioned again in the episode “Another Simpsons Clip Show”, while referencing Itchy & Scratchy’s habit of recycling animation to make new episodes; when Bart claims that Ren & Stimpy also did that, Marge replies “When was the last time you heard anyone talk about Ren & Stimpy?”.

    • Daniel J. Drazen

      And then there was “The Front” in the 4th season, where an awards show screened animation nominees and “Ren and Stimpy: The Season Premier” was represented by a text card: “Clip not done yet.”

  • Deaniac
  • Steven M.

    Damn! Now I’m wishing I watched Fox at that time!

  • John K. is my favorite cartoonist of all time. Perhaps this opening is what he needs to get his career back on track.

    I’m praying.

  • The same John K. that criticized vehemently the Simpsons as being a “rip-off” of the Flintstones?… who would have guessed!

    • MBThomas

      I guess EVERYBODY needs a paycheck now a days.

    • Jorge Garrido

      Ever heard of The Life Of Reilly and The Honeymooners?

  • Rufus

    That was so cool! Glad they let him go nuts :)

  • Gobo

    John K. is finally transcending the fake-Terrytoons style and going utterly nuts, and it’s great.

  • Nice to see he’s still active?
    But how can he be working if Spumco is down the tubes?

    • DNAndy

      He has a new company called “John K Enterprises.”

  • Azz

    Wha??? That was so ugly! There was a lot going on but it looks like utter s**t and stuck to none of the principles that John K champions on his blog.

    I’m off to watch S1 of Ren and Stimpy

    • Keegan

      There was absolutely no breaking of the principles. It was just really stylized, which is why I loved it.

      Get your act together, son! Take off them nostalgia-goggles.

    • Jorge Garrido

      Well, I guess to sum it all up, quality is subjective, huh, guys?

  • Jorge Garrido

    That was the greatest thing I’ve ever seen!

    John K is the King of Cartoons!

    • akira

      don’t forget Tex! (even though they’re taking forever to put his best on dvd)… maybe the Dictator of cartoons? (no offense)

  • Ryan Storm

    Well considering the Adult Swim Bumpers, his He-Hog movie pitch, and this intro, I’d say that we’re about to see John K slowly make his way back into the business. With Hopefully an amazing cartoon series.

  • akira

    AWESOME!!!! it makes me want more but also makes me want to rewatch a million times, please, next year beg him to help make a treehouse of horror segment!
    i’ll buy the simpsons’ season on blu-ray just for this!
    thanks you John, and thank you Simpsons for giving him a chance to put his genius to work! (i wonder how much the production costs per minute of this compare with the normal simpsons animation?)

    • HarveryD

      Is this comment for real?

      • akira

        yeah it’s real… why do you think it’s fake? do you want me to forward you my amazon invoice next year when the new season of simpsons come out on bluray? also i hope they make simpsons merchandise of the john K designs, because i want some of that too!

  • I hope this helps him…he’s an unmistakeable talent and he deserves to get the ability to make his art some place that will just let him be himself and pay him to do so. I want to see others who are his close associates also make good. John K. is a singular individual in an entertainment world where an allergy to risk makes people play follow-the-leader.

  • @Deaniac
    Thanks for the link

    Love JohnK’s werk. A shame I don’t see alot of it these days. That made my day.

  • Jessica

    While searching for info about John K’s couch gag I found this:

    So did John K actually animate this, or was it the simpsons animators? Is he starting a new Spumco?

    I hope this means theres more John K around the corner.

  • Dwight

    People complaining that this new stuff doesn’t adhere to John K’s own standards would have been griping about how Miles Davis didn’t play “Round Midnight” exactly the same that he used to in 1988.

    • Jay Sabicer

      and I’m sure he’d be playing it different today, if not for the mere fact Miles has been dead for 20 years.

  • Sarah

    That was awesome!

  • Kyle B

    I always feel so conflicted with John’s latest stuff. I really like the designs of his new output moreso than anything else he’s ever done. But watching it move is a whole other story! It just comes off as way too busy and hectic for me to take, and it seems specifically designed to be watched frame by frame instead of its regular runnng speed.

    I guess he’s just trying to pack in as much as he can into the short running times.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      I often say he’s good in small doses myself.

    • Funkybat

      That about sums up my feelings on John K.’s Adult Swim bumpers and Simpsons couch gag; really cool, freaky character designs and poses, exceedingly squishy, liquid, bizarre animation. It’s like Animated Modern Art. At least it’s a hell of a lot more entertaining than most Modern Art.

      I’d say John K.’s best (semi)recent work was for Weird Al’s video of “Close But No Cigar.” He was definitely pushing things past the “Ren & Stimpy” level, but it was still visually coherent. The most recent animated shorts are so “gooey” they remind me of Odo from Deep Space Nine.

  • Sat

    I think it’s amazing to see his style going in new directions. More, more!!

  • That was great! Loved it!

  • It’s funny, both John K. and “The Simpsons” have taken a number of shots at each other over years, and now they’re working together.

    I gotta give them a lot of credit for burying the hatchet though, as the couch gag was amazing. It’s rare to see that kind of full animation on television today (or ever really).

    Now bring on the John K. “Family Guy” opening!

    • Funkybat

      John K. meeting Seth MacFarlane….I’d pay good money to see that. By which, I mean, the two men actually meeting each other, not (just) the animation of John K. applied to Family Guy.

  • Matthew Koh

    There should be more Simpsons couch gags by independent animators.

    Like, for example…?

    • swac

      Sally Cruikshank?

  • hahaha

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  • Josh

    As a HUGE Falusiphile, my cup runneth over! My favorite couch gag ever! Someone PLEASE give this man a tv show!!

  • Jay Sabicer

    John K. wants to escape from TV’s constraint of ‘limited’ animation, going instead towards ‘unlimited’ animation (just read his blog). Every convention that The Simpsons has been using for over 2 decades was shattered in those 35 seconds: Everything in motion (on 1’s, it looks like), severely off-model characters and hyper-exaggeration, which was dropped after Klasky-Csupo left the production. It’s refreshing, unexpected and takes a chance. While I would have trouble watching a 22-minute episode done in this style, for what it is, it works.

    Done in Flash, wasn’t it?

    • Matthew Koh

      No,it was done in Toon Boom Harmony.

  • I’ll reserve judgement on the clip itself until I actually watch it–as it’s saved on my DVR at the moment–but I do find the news quite surprising, especially considering I recall numerous interviews with John in the early ’90s in which he characterized the show as meritless garbage and how he was morally superior to the “Simpsons” crew because *he* draws real “cartoons”…and then he proceeded to fail to find steady work for the next decade.

    Seriously, this stinks of when Adam Sandler aligned himself with Disney a couple of years ago to make “Bedtime Stories.” Both entities desperately needed a comedy hit on their hands and joining forces seemed like the best idea. In this case, John and “The Simpsons” have each been on hard times lately.

    • Diego

      I don’t completely agree with that. I rather think of it as John K saying “this is what I’d be doing with your show if I were you”. If he gets paid and gets creative freedom, why not?

  • secret goldfish

    Lots of artists/musicians/film makers etc get stale and generic as their careers advance, John on the other hand just keeps getting more demented, this was all sorts of absurd awesome, more please!!!

  • That was amazing and totally unexpected!
    Here’s the intro in better quality, on the official Fox Youtube channel(oddly, it was uploaded two days ago and nobody noticed it):

    It’s even more shocking to see John K. segment when it’s been preceeded by the robotic and lifeless animation in the regular Simpsons intro.

    • I liked the version that was filmed off the tv better. I liked the tighter staging, and this version doesn’t seem to have voices.

      • It makes me wonder if there were supposed to be voices in there in the first place, or if that’s something John decided unilaterally to add.

        Been a while since I’ve watched Simpsons, are there usually voices and the like in the couch gag?

    • I don’t know why the only HD copy of this on the web is the one that FOX decided to butcher by eliminating the voices and sound effects from. Hopefully, they’ll fix this and repost it for all of us to enjoy. Otherwise, we’ll have to live with the original, shakycam version.

      • D’oh, it really lacks the voices and sound fx! I was watching it at work with the sound turned off and haven’t noticed it. There are three different “shakycam” clips at the moment, and I hope better quality version will eventually appear. Perhaps John K. will post the high quality Quicktime video on his blog? Can’t wait to analyze and dissect this thing frame by frame.

  • Isaac

    The animation is all over the place and it doesn’t manage to deliver its gags.

  • 2011 Senior Citizen

    Has John’s style evolved where he constantly puts in more mouths than is necessary in a shot from now on?

  • DNAndy

    I thought the couch gag looked pretty neat. It wasn’t as ugly as John has been drawing lately, and I liked the way he drew Bart and Homer.

  • Confusion

    This guy’s work has steadily become the animated equivelent of abstract art for me. All the other animation afficionados are busy gushing about how beautifully crafted and genius it is, while I watch on, trying in desperation to ‘get it’ and come to a conclusion other than ‘it’s ugly and all over the place’.

    • Yeah, between this and the Adult Swim stuff, I’ve been seeing a John K who pays way more attention to individual drawings than to the moving whole. So folks who are really into animation and go frame-by-frame will have loads to see, but people watching this on TV (or YouTube) will just see this squishy mess.

      Animation for animation geeks.

  • crabjuice

    I feel that John K is trying too hard to make everything ‘move and look funny’ by sacrificing timing and making it confusing. It’s just too much, and not in the ‘I CAN’T TAKE THIS MUCH GENIUS’ way… The timing is really amateurish… John’s a talented guy, but he needs someone to direct him and give him constraints… And anyone else thought there were wayyyy too many colors everywhere? It just doesn’t read anymore…

    • Keegan

      I honestly love animation that warrants two or three more viewings just so you can grasp what is going on. It’s fun.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Someone mentioned the link to Fox’s own copy on YouTube sans the voices/sound effects, I hate to admit I liked watching the hand-cam version someone else stuck up earlier myself since I felt it added character to the whole thing (or else reliving those days of watching horrible copies of the Ren & Stimpy episodes I thought I’d never see in pristine quality again).

    If there’s one thing to be taken out of this that felt like The Simpsons to me, it’s probably the whole Bart-does-something-stupid-to-Homer-and-gets-strangled routine. That served the show well in it’s earlier seasons as well as the Tracey Ullman shorts, but certainly something that kinda faded out over time.

  • Thad

    Forgive me if I’m mistaken, but John K. seems to be of the mindset that the principles Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston outline in The Illusion of Life are the tools every animator should use, though they should not become an end in themselves.

  • Wow! I feel bad for not catching it last night. Being both a Simpsons and Ren & Stimpy fan, I should’ve taken a break from Homework and caught it last night. Well, at least I got to watch the episode ‘Haunted Mansion.’

    Anyway, that’s really cool John K got to directed a segment for the Simpsons. I had a hard time deciding if he were a fan or not. I remember catching in a mid 90s interview that he was kinda half and half on the show.

  • tommy

    John K. hated The Simpsons because of a lot of things it did and didn’t have… things that aren’t and are in THIS. This is John K. trying to make a version of The Simpsons that he wishes existed, like he did with the Jetsons (another cartoon he didn’t like).

    • I thought he liked the Jetsons. He said on his blog that he had a lot of fun working on the 80s revival and intended on saving the cartoon when he supervised layout art.

      • tommy

        IIRC he liked the premise of The Jetsons but thought it wasted its potential. (I’m just talking about the original here.)

  • I am left wondering how this is received among people who aren’t deeply invested in animation. Your average viewer, that is to say.

    Not sure how you’d find that information, though.

    • Richie

      From what I’ve gathered from Youtube, forums and Facebook messages, the general reaction is “What the hell did I just watch?”

  • Nice idea getting him involved but ultimately I personally think it’s a bit of a mess!