I haven’t watched a new episode of The Simpsons in years, but when the couch gag from last night’s 26th season premiere hit the web this morning, I was howling with laughter. Check it out above.
The time warp back to Homer’s 1987 look was cute and very well animated, but once Homer zooms forward in time to the year 10535, things take a really messed up turn. In a weird near-acknowledgement of the show’s slow decline and ludicrously long tenure on Fox, animator Don Hertzfeldt sees the devolution of The Simpsons as a descent into a humorless corporate shillfest laden with meaningless catchphrases. It’s trademark Hertzfeldt. It has all the dark, pointed humor that he does so well in his other work. If you’re unfamiliar with Hertzfeldt’s filmography, he’s done a whole bunch of animated shorts, one of which (the uproariously funny Rejected) was nominated for an Oscar back in 2000. He did some segments for The Animation Show that made me laugh ’til I hurt, and has since made a feature-length film called It’s Such a Beautiful Day.
Here are some fun facts from the animator’s Facebook page about last night’s couch gag:
- Most of it was animated digitally, which is new for Hertzfeldt.
- He animated the whole thing from his home in Austin, TX.
- Homer’s time-remote is modeled after the titular Time Machine from George Pal’s adaptation of the H.G. Wells novel.
- He started working on the couch gag in January of this year, and he finished it “sometime in the Spring”.
The following short is another extremely weird glimpse inside the head of Don Hertzfeldt. The ersatz-Scandinavian dialogue gets me every time. May I present: Wisdom Teeth!
All right, chewers: I want your favorite couch gags in the comments, please!