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With Banksy segment, 'The Simpsons' exits through the gift shop

October 12, 2010 |  2:55 pm

There's no way to know how much this year's Sundance Film Festival hit "Exit Through the Gift Shop" played a part in the emerging mainstream awareness about the enigmatic artist Banksy, but he's certainly gained more notoriety in the past two days. Banksy, who keeps his identity a mystery, directed the opening segment of the episode of Fox's long-running animated series "The Simpsons" that aired Sunday. The opening takes aim at the Asian animation industry, of which the show is a part -- "The Simpsons" outsources animation work to South Korea.

Fox reportedly yanked the video from YouTube but left it up on Hulu. As of about an hour ago, however, the opening is back on YouTube, suggesting that the issue didn't have to do with copyright necessarily, that there may have been some discomfort with the subject matter (though exactly why is hard to fathom -- it already aired on the network).

It's rare to see this kind of subversiveness on the small screen, or in corporate entertainment in general, for that matter. If it's found anywhere, it's usually in indie film -- in works such as "Gift Shop," which stands as the fourth highest-grossing documentary of 2010. But YouTube and the playful "Simpsons" creators have certainly embraced the underground spirit embodied by Banksy in this instance. If you haven't seen the clip yet, check it out below and let us know what you think.

--Steven Zeitchik

twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

 

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