The Disturbing Simpsons Couch Gag Fans Thought Was Way Too Depressing


With more than 700 episodes in The Simpsons’ history, guest artists have created a number of couch gags, including Ren & Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi and animators Steve Cutts, Don Hertzfeld, and Bill Plympton (who has done it many times ). . There was even a “Robot Chicken”Claymation style couch gag. While some were weird and disturbing, few were as controversial as the gag used at the start of the show’s 22nd season. For the third episode of the season, titled “MoneyBART,” the creators hired the elusive and unidentifiable graffiti artist Banksy for the couch gag. Famously known for his anti-establishment pranks, Banksy’s sequence has targeted the animation and merchandising industries and the Fox network.

As the Simpson family sits on the couch, the camera zooms out to reveal a dark, grimy factory filled with human bones, hazardous waste, and ailing animators toiling at hand-painted animation cells. We tour the sweatshop and witness horrifying human and animal cruelty, including a barefoot child with a vat of chemicals, a chained panda, and a doomed unicorn used to make Simpsons products. Though it was controversial when it aired in 2010, when real South Korean animation workers protested misrepresentation of their terms and Fox itself took down YouTube clips for copyright infringement, showrunner Al Jean told the New York Times that everything went according to plan. “Obviously the animation was expensive for that. I couldn’t have just stolen them from Fox,” Jean said. He added, “I haven’t been fired yet, so that’s a good sign.”

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