Banksy criticizes Fox in politically charged Simpson’s intro [UPDATED]

For over two decades, animators and writers at the Simpsons have been able to amuse, delight, and at times provoke their audience within the first few seconds of the opening sequence. Over this past weekend, however, many Simpson’s fans would have noticed a darker-than-usual opening sequence that seemed to offer a poignant critique of consumer culture and perhaps an even more poignant critique of Fox. This sequence, which touches on issues of consumerism, environmental degradation, the exploitation of workers, sweatshop production, and animal abuse, owes its vision to the direction of world renouned british artist Banksy.

The sequence opens with a typical jaunt through Springfield (with the addition of graffiti featuring Banksy’s personal tag and an amusing Chalkboard gag). It is during the sequence’s ‘Couch Gag’, however, that Banksy’s vision seems to take flight offering an extended look at the cartoon and merchandise production process from the inside of a desolate sweatshop operated by Fox.

While this is by no means the first time that the Simpson’s has ridiculed Fox, the network which has carried the show since it’s inception, this hit goes deeper than mocking the network’s conservative bias. It takes aim instead at the fact that much of the real production work for each “Simpsons” episode is  outsourced from the series’ L.A. studio to studios in South Korea.  Earlier today, when asked about the sequence, Simpson’s producer Al Jean indicated that the idea to invite Banksy to create a ‘Couch Gag’ came after watching a film he directed entitled “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” which was released earlier this year.  While Jean noted that the segment was “toned down a little” for airing, “there was nothing unusual from the network in terms of notes or delays.

While it would be have been wonderful to embed this clip for everyone to watch, it should be assumed that it is in fact under copyright protection. Instead, here is an embedded link to a news clip on the Simpson’s sequence by ITN which accredits Fox Broadcasting.  To view the full segment check it out on Youtube.



Enjoy and feel free to comment on the sequence, or on why you think Fox approved this! Or for more information on Banksy check out his website!

[UPDATE] Like many who first heard about this segment my excitement was difficult to contain. In retrospect, however, while the segment was ‘cool’, it is worth questioning to what extent Banksy was able to successfully make a statement, and if so, about what? I could muse on this issue at greater length but of course some have beaten me to it.  For a more critical perspective on this segment please visit Artthreat.net’s article: Banksy’s Simpsons opening: a failed cultural critique.

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