Simpsons Couch Gag “Music Ville” Pays Homage to 1930s Disney Animation [UPDATED]

While the limited animation of The Simpsons is no match for the lush rubbery beauty of 1930s Disney theatrical shorts, the show’s opening couch gag this week is a fair homage to the extraordinary creative spirit of classic Hollywood animation. Dubbed a “Silly Simpsony,” Music Ville is a riff on the Disney “Silly Symphony” Music Land:

If the Simpsons opening manages to introduce a few more people to the original 1935 short, then it will all have been worth it:

[UPDATE]: Simpsons consulting producer David Silverman has posted some of his designs for the Music Ville opening on his Twitter account @Tubatron. Click to enlarge:


  • Pieter

    I can’t remember how often I’ve watched “Music Land”. I still regard it as one of the best shorts of all-time. Lovely tribute by the Simpsons.

  • Erik Butter

    Nice tribute but the animation isn’t getting any better here…

    • Mr-Famicom

      If your asking for better animation, just give the show to Japan rather then Korea (to say nothing about Pierrot”s SNAFUs on Korra due to bad outsourcing), A studio like TMS, Madhouse or The Answer Studio will love to take it off of Film Roman’s/Rough Draft’s/Akom’s hands, heck I’m still waiting for a couch gag from TMS from guys like Toshihiko Masuda, Kazuhide Tomonaga and ect.; Even a couch gag from the likes of Studio Trigger or Kyoto Animation will be lovely and will go nice with John K’s couch gag (TMS will still be the best one to pick for this IMO).

      Anyway, great job Film Roman/Rough Draft (if any Film Roman staff members are reading this, did you guys ship this off to Akom or Rough Draft (it looks like Rough Draft), or did you guys do this in house like the HD opening?).

      • TRl

        Then how come 99% of anime looks less fluid than a Jay Ward cartoon?

        • Mr-Famicom

          Small budgets and only a week (for said 90% (not 99%)) to make the episode, higher brow anime like Dennou Coil takes 2 to 3 mouths to make.

          TMS back in the 80s & 90s did a beautiful job when the studio was doing western stuff (as well as 2009′s Green Lantern First Flight), especially with Disney & Warner Bros; Kyoto Animation is also a step above the others with bigger budgets but only because of Kyoto’s cheaper rent, the studio is also unbalanced (The A-unit dose not do mainstream stuff, the B-unit (Air, Haruhi, Hyouka) dose great work, the C-unit (K-On, Tamako Market) however tend to be sloppy & blobby (but it’s the unit’s art style, so just go with it) and the D-unit is so bad that they make Akom (Feat Of Clay Part 1) look like TMS/Telecom (Feat Of Clay Part 2)) with the studio getting $300,000 (C-unit) to $500,000 (B-unit) per episode because of Kyoto’s cheaper rent, but because of a recent Japanese tax hike http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-01/abe-proceeds-with-japan-s-first-sales-tax-increase-since-1997.html ( 5% for Tokyo tax to a nation wide 8% tax) said studios need to start making their shows for the US like what TMS did in the 80s 90s for Disney & Warner Bros, just for the bigger budgets, plus English dubs will be there day one for said show’s US broadcast.

          The Simpsons moving away from Korea to Japan will be one of the greatest things to happen for the show, alot of people seem to hate the newer episodes (not me however), firing the current staff and giving this to TMS will do wonders for the show (it worked wonders for Tiny Toons, Batman:TAS & Animaniacs) and will help TMS in the long run as well.

          • Funkybat

            TMS kicked serious ass on shows like DuckTales, Tiny Toons and Animaniacs. I wasn’t sure if they were even still in business (or doing any western animation) as I haven’t seen their signature style on anything in 15 years.
            The Simpsons improved their writing (somewhat) right around the same time they made their animation even more polished yet lifeless with the HD “upgrade.” Somehow, Futurama managed to escape this when they went HD. Ahh, Futurama….the Groening show that rarely fell below B- terrirory in its entire run(s)….

          • Mr-Famicom

            TMS is still alive & kicking http://www.telecom-anime.com & http://www.tms-e.co.jp are said web sites of theirs.

            For more recent efforts, Green Lantern First Flight is a great effort from the studio, however TMS lost so much money from it (read more here http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Trivia/SupermanVSTheElite ) that they did LilPri just to make up all of the money that TMS lost on First Flight, Justice League Doom is like watching a post Dezaki Lupin special, when I did like Doom, the only redeeming thing about it was that parts of it were outsourced to Kyoto Animation (they were above schedule with Hyouka and needed fuller work at the studio, they blew almost all of the money TMS give them for Doom on Tamako Market), Superman VS The Elite was fun but had outsourcing issues (The best part of the whole DTV was the post intro opening that was a throwback to their 70s output like Gusty Frog, Ganba & Tensai Bakabon).

            As for TMS’ signature style, heres a music video TMS did back in 2009 that they did that uses that http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAKnocLqjnQ , one of their best efforts.

  • Roberto Severino

    I honestly wasn’t too big on the intro. It just made the stiff animation a lot more obvious to me. I appreciate The Simpsons crew for trying though.

  • Munro

    All that’s missing is expert internal scene timing. Can’t get that with overseas animation, no matter how much money they toss at it. But the titles look nice.

  • Bruce

    Nice homage to the history of Disney art. It does show how “evolution” does not always “progress” for the better but concedes to the swift and clever. Still a treat to watch in this manifestation.

  • Kris Åsard

    But I thought Disneys policy was to tone down the gratuitous sax and violins in their movies?

  • jhalpernkitcat

    “Music Land” is a definite gem. Cute tribute to it.

  • George Comerci

    I loved the couch gag. Great visuals, animation, and storytelling. And also, the homage to Disney was just brilliant :D

  • Pedro Nakama

    Very elaborate!

  • StephaneDumas

    Cool as Bart would have said. ;-)

    I wonder what’ll come next for the next Simpsons couch gag: tribute to the Fleischers brothers or how about a couch gag filmed in “Supermarionation” as a tribute to the late Gerry Anderson? ;-)

    • Mortimer

      In januari there’s a Ghibli one coming up, as well as the 3rd one done by Plympton

      • Mr-Famicom

        “In January there’s a Ghibli one coming up”

        Where did you hear that, I have seen nothing about on Nausicaa.net/The Ghibli Wiki, nothing on Crunchyroll and nothing on Anime News Network (2Ch maybe, I don’t know for 2Ch’s case), but if Ghibli is doing a couch gag (wonderful if true), it might be Hayao Miyazaki’s last work as a director (he said that he is retiring from features, he said nothing about shorts or bumpers, the couch gag falls under the later), and if that’s the case, it might be his way of saying “Sorry that The Wind Rises ended on a sad note, heres something happy to end my career as a director”, Isao Takahata will also be a good Idea, but I see The Tale of Princess Kaguya as his last project since Takahata is older then Miyazaki.

        Most likely (if true), it’s most likely going to be directed by either Goro Miyazaki (Up On Poppy Hill was a huge improvement over his last film, Tales Of Earthsea) or Hiromasa Yonebayashi (he directed The Borrower Arrietty), and if were lucky, Ghibli might outsource this to Telecom (TMS) and have Atsuko Tanaka and/or Kazuhide Tomonaga (and the like) to do key animation for it, but still, I really what this alot, something to match up to John K’s couch gag.

  • TJR

    Cool tribute to the Disney Silly Symphonies…..of course, when I watch The Simpson’s I am not expecting Disney level animation…..The only thing about this clip that bothers me, is that as someone who appreciates Classical music; I find it disheartening to see it portrayed as the “Villain” music. Or the music of elite snobbishness. As if people who like classical music are intolerant of all other music.

  • Mr-Famicom

    I see, not to be mean but did they learn anything from John K’s couch gag, at least give it to Telecom (TMS) who Ghibli outsourced almost ever film they made to them (to a extent).

    Anyway, I’m sure that it will be great in the end.

  • TERM8ER .