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Banksy Does 'The Simpsons': Street Artist Creates Title Sequence

by Catherine Lawson, posted Oct 11th 2010 10:14AM
Last night's 'Simpsons' (Sundays, 8 PM ET on FOX), episode marked yet another first for the long-running show: UK street artist Banksy created the title sequence.

'MoneyBART' features an Asian sweatshop, and according to 'The Guardian' newspaper, Banksy was inspired by the fact that much of the 'Simpsons' animation is done in Seoul, South Korea.

It's the first time an artist has been invited to storyboard part of the show, and Banksy said his ideas led to delays, disputes over broadcast standards and a threatened walk out by the animation department. "This is what you get when you outsource," joked executive producer Al Jean.

The minute-long opening sequence involves cute animals being used for their fur or exploited as sweatshop laborers. It opens with Banksy 's tag being sprayed across Springfield monuments, and then a masked Bart writing "I must not write all over the walls" over the walls of his schoolroom.



It closes with a sequence showing dozens of sweatshop workers in a dark, dank warehouse painting animation cells and making 'Simpsons' merchandise. Kittens are thrown into a wood chipper to create stuffing for Bart Simpson dolls, which are then carted off by depressed pandas. An ailing unicorn, chained to the factory wall, is used to punch holes in DVDs, and a severed dolphin's head is used to seal boxes shut.

The titles end with a grim image of the headquarters of 20th Century Fox -- a favorite target of the show -- guarded by searchlights, a watchtower and a barbed wire fence.

The sequence is said to have been one of the most closely guarded secrets in U.S. television. Comparable, even, to the secrecy surrounding Banksy's hidden identity. He previously paid tribute to 'The Simpsons' in a New Orleans wall mural featuring a Bart look-alike writing "I must not copy what I see on the Simpsons" on the schoolroom chalkboard. Now Matt Groening and the gang have repaid the compliment.

Check out the full episode below:

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John

This had to be the funniest shit I've seen on the simpsons in years. the dead unicorn was great.

October 11 2010 at 8:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Scott Sheffer

To those of you who thought the opening was terrible, or had no point, it got you to think didn't it? The producer had the balls to show the world what the majority of you are so blissfully ignorant to. All the cheap crap that you buy that's made in China and other slave labor countries that Walmart and most other retailers thrive on and you people don't read the tags or don't give a damn. This is where all of our jobs are going. The next time you buy a toy or that baby outfit with the cute animals and messages on it, think about the person who toiled for 16 hours a day for 20 cents per making it. This is the reality of globalization.

October 11 2010 at 6:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kiersten Spellman

***ATTENTION OVERLY-RADICAL PERSONS***
I understand that this can be offending to some people but listen to this. There is a secret that very few people know about, a secret that could change the opinions of almost every single person. Are u ready for this? The Simpsons is... a cartoon. I watched that episode and even though I knew it was wrong it got my attention. And you need to realize that any good show isn't a show with good morals. It is something that people will talk about for awhile. And it looks like they got what they were looking for

October 11 2010 at 6:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
pilothouseking

It was EXCELLENT. the "dark side" of art as it were. After all these years the Simpsons still can hit it out of the park.

October 11 2010 at 5:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Frank

Ok ,besides the unicorn what part of the opening isnt the truth ? There are Chinese sweatshops working 24/7 to put out cheap products for the American market . A good example is Apple products . They are made in a walled compound where the workers are only allowed to spend thier money ( THE GLORIOUS SUM OF %2.50 A DAY ) to pay for meals and clothing . But fear not Mr. Jobs the CEO was outraged when he found out that workers were commiting suicide at an alarming rate . He told them to make sure this kind of news didnt get out anymore .
The thing about all this is we Americans have soldout our country to buy this crap and turn a blindeye to it .

October 11 2010 at 5:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Frank's comment
Chris

I commend you for pointing out the facts. We as consumers turn a blind eye to this. The working conditions at that Foxconn plant and many others have to be extremely horrible for people to take their lives because of the environment they work in.

I really can't shoulder all the blame on big business for doing this. Consumers always have to have the newest thing out ,not really caring how it got to us. I'm not saying we are telling these companies to take jobs overseas to make sure we get the latest iphone every year. but with companies always looking to cut cost down to maximize profit this is what happens.

October 11 2010 at 6:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
KD

Am I the only one who thought that opening sequence was kinda beautiful?

October 11 2010 at 5:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ay

Missed the episode and just watched the opening. It does make you think, and I believe that is the point of all the Simpson episodes. This was just less funny, more brutal, and maybe more realistic (minus the fantasy) than we want to know in America.

October 11 2010 at 5:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Julie

What does that have to do with the Simpsons?

October 11 2010 at 4:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Elisa

Will you people please stop spewing unrelated political garbage into every post ever?

October 11 2010 at 4:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Elisa's comment
Chris

I second that motion.

October 11 2010 at 5:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lil'foot

That was a beautifully, twisted intro to a brilliant cartoon series. I would love to buy a Cd of only the openings to the Simpson episodes. That is probably my favorite opening now. It portrays in a dark way the sad reality of many of our consumer products. Remember this is satire. It's exaggerated, but only a little. We all know Wamart gets about 95% of it's products from other countries. Many of these nations use the equivalent of slave labor. And their standards and regulations are not the same as our own. Most products made overseas pretend to be from America by only listing the distributing agent, often in America, and not the manufacturers location. Also, even when the raw material is from America, it is almost always assembled in a cheap third world sweat shop. Check the labels on your own products to see the truth for yourself. I used to work for Walmart Distribution by the way. They are way dirty. And so are others. I love the Simpsons!

October 11 2010 at 4:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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