The first Simpsons ‘couch gag’ was simple and straightforward: when the family converges on the couch, Bart is popped off and lands flat on his back in front of the TV. It was hilarious, and The Simpsons has continued to push the envelope with its episode introduction throughout its nearly 25-year—and counting—lifetime. Some of the most awe-inspiring intros have sprung from the minds of guest directors and animators, temporarily altering the entire character and style of Springfield, U.S.A.
Creator Matt Groening has drafted household names like Banksy and Guillermo Del Torro to conjure couch gags for the animated sitcom powerhouse, but other amazing artists have contributed in the past, as well.
Recently the less well-known—but obviously talented—Polish animator Michal Socha set his pen to the Simpsons’ living room, taking us on an Asimovian ‘fantastic journey’ through Homer’s innards, where the entire population of Springfield seems to have taken up residence. Homer shares a beer with Barney on his own liver, and his digestive system cuts off Marge’s hair, to name just a few moments of internal brilliance.
The other examples of imported intro interpretations range from Bill Plympton’s love story between Homer and the family couch to The Triplets of Belleville creator Sylvain Chomet's depiction of a French Simpsons’ escargot-infested living room. See some of the best artist cameos with our favorite four-fingered family below:
Guillermo Del Torro
Robot Chicken's Team
Bill Plympton Love Couch
Bill Plympton Gangsters
Bill Plympton Reality Shift
Aside from the guest-directed couch gags gathered above, Groening used two fan-submitted shorts for the Season 24 finale, ‘Dangers on a Train.' One, submitted by California native Cheryl Brown, turned the Simpsons into dandelions, which the TV blows onto. Hundreds of each character’s heads explode onto the screen in true dandelion fashion. The other, drawn by Ray Savaya, aired in Canada, and featured a slew of hockey tropes that make perfect sense for a self-aware Canadian audience.
We love when legendary artists collaborate on our favorite animated shows. Worth adding is when Adventure Time was guest directed by David OReilly, creator of the fictional video games in Spike Jonze's "Her," producing the critically-acclaimed episode ‘Glitch is a Glitch.' Similarly, Yuasa Masaaki is set to direct another upcoming episode. Based on his trip-and-a-half of a short film ‘Mind Game,’ it’s going to be a doozy.
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