« Previous | Culture Monster Home | Next »

Banksy leaves his mark on 'The Simpsons' [Updated]

October 11, 2010 | 10:56 am

The artist known as Banksy is famous for his stealth graffiti projects that mix social commentary and subversive street art. In keeping with his rebel persona, Banksy's guest "appearance" on "The Simpsons" on Sunday night was an unpredictable affair that mixed the anarchically humorous and the deadly serious.

Banksy helped to design the opening credits for Sunday evening's episode. The sequence normally features a comic survey of Springfield's residents and a "couch gag" featuring the titular dysfunctional family. In Banksy's version, the artist's name was scrawled stylishly on some of the town's billboards and buildings in a nod his habit of leaving his signature in public places.

For the couch gag, Banksy created an extended sequence that took viewers on a hellish tour of sweatshop labor in Asia. Workers are shown toiling away on animation cels and merchandise tie-ins for the hit Fox series. (It just so happens that "The Simpsons" outsources much of its animation to South Korea.)

The final image shows the Twentieth Century Fox logo standing big brother-like over a militarized police zone.

Who knows how many rounds of corporate approval were required to get the sequence on air. But if it's publicity that the suits at Fox wanted, they certainly got it. Check out the opening credit sequence in the clip above.

[Updated 1:40 p.m.]: It appears that Twentieth Century Fox's good-sportsmanship has its limits. On Monday afternoon, YouTube removed a video clip of Sunday's episode of "The Simpsons" citing a copyright claim by the studio. The video featured the opening sequence of the animated series that was designed by Banksy. The clip had been posted to YouTube by an account holder under the name "banksyfilm." TechCrunch found the Banksy clip here on a foreign website and the full episode is above from hulu.com.

-- David Ng


Comments () | Archives (9)

That was sincerely the best Simpsons opening I've ever seen.... better than the Halloween ones, better than any of them! LOVED IT!

Tell me The Simpsons isn't funny or is no longer relevant and I tell you you just haven't been watching it.... or you have ZERO sense of humor.

God bless you, Matt Groening. You have single-handedly brought more laughs to my family and me than every Dean Martin Roast combined.

Much ado about Fox hype. If "buzz" is the latest gage of TV show popularity then the Simpson's peaked about 1995. The Simpsons long ago jumped the shark. It is no secret that most animation long ago went to Asia when it comes to Saturday morning kids cartoons or Sunday evening Matt Groening retreads.
It's really about cashing in because TV shows die it's not because they are controversial, it's when no one is tuning in. What FOX and Groening and company are doing is creating artifical "controversy" to get folks to watch.

Banksy was funny until he painted a live elephant for one of his past LA appearances. The poor creature was finally cleaned off.

Since he thinks it's OK to cover in paint fellow animals, how about we paint Banksy?

Maybe the same skin tone as Krusty's?

Now that, as they say, would be funny.

Maybe he can take a joke as well as he hands them out.

The elephant sure wasn't amused.

Best opening sequence ever. Unfortunitly, never to be seen again. Not even in reruns.

Aye Yah Yah!! Los niños en los cabos de China se trabajo mucho por muy poquito dinero! Que lastima!

I loved it and the music as well.Very ingenuis of Banksy and the producers.I love satire.

They already pulled the "we outsource animation production to Korean sweatshops" joke like 10 years ago and it was inaccurate then. Otherwise, it was mostly bizarre left-wing FUD like most of Banksy's work.

Simpsons is OK, but been passed up by South Park, once they finaly grew up with the Chef, Super Adventurers Club episode. And Boondocks, which is similar but from a black America point of view, post Chapelle. People now feel free to criticisize their own by revealing disturbing truths, as Tosh.0 does also. The Simpsons still more of a one liner mentality, while comedy is now an ensemble production of complex yet simplified language mixed with physical humor, as with 40 Year old Viregin and their crew which has passed the Will Ferrell/Adam Sandler type comedies.

And ALL animation left for South Korea long agao, they are hardly a third world country anymore, and not sweat shops. But have disciplined artists for a good price, and get their stuff done on time with no drama. Can't say that about American artistes, now can we?

art collegia delenda est

Glorifying vandalism. That's what passes for brilliance in the entertainment community.


Recommended on Facebook

In Case You Missed It...


Explore the arts: See our interactive venue graphics


Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.