Banksy leaves his mark on ‘The Simpsons’
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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