I speak of a brief section of the intro that occurs directly between Marge and Maggie’s simultaneous horn-honking and the arrival at Casa de Simpson that segues into the weekly couch gag. The camera pans away from Marge’s car and, if only for a few seconds, over a Springfield panorama, featuring various characters. It’s pretty hard to see the whole of it with the naked eye, and it wasn’t until the arrival of the Simpsons DVDs a few years back that I could actually see who was there by scanning frame-by-frame. For whatever reason, I was suddenly motivated last week by the urge to reproduce this scene in full in a way other people could see by Photoshopping the frames together. The result is below.
It may be even more fulfilling to see the full-sized version.
I like how this image, jagged edges though it might have, presents a cool Simpsons landscape that most people haven’t ever gotten a chance to appreciate, despite “seeing” it every time they watch the show. I’m also struck by the strangeness of who actually appears: It’s a mishmash of familiar regulars, anonymous background characters, characters who once were prominent on the show but are no longer, and finally characters that I don’t think ever appeared on the show, to my knowledge.
Here they are, in order of appearance, starting at the left at moving right, more or less.
- Some anonymous girl
- Some yokel-looking boy
- Milhouse, throwing a baseball, despite his established suckiness at sports
- A blonde, pig-tailed girl who is Bart’s class but has no name
- The two look-a-like thugs who initially henched for Nelson in “Bart the General” but have more or less vanished from the show. (Wikipedia says their names are Weasel #1 and Weasel #2.)
- Nelson himself
- Richard, Bart’s weirdly gray-haired friend, who’s since become less prominent
- Lewis, Bart’s black friend, who was never all that popular
- Martin Prince
- Unless I’m mistaken, Mr. and Mrs. Winfield up in the chairs. They’re the Simpsons neighbors who move to get away from Homer in “New Kid on the Block.” (In their absence, Ruth Powers moves in. In looking them up, I found this list of bygone characters from the show’s first season depicts the Winfields, in case you’re interested.) However, the woman is also a dead-ringer for Miss Feesh — the church organist and a character whose existence doesn’t seem to be well-documented online.
- Jimbo Jones
- Jimbo’s flunky Kearny, whose last name Wikipedia states is “Zzyzwicz.”
- Patty and Selma
- Kent Brockman
- Sherri and Terri, looking more like the twins from The Shining than ever
- Above the twins, from left to right: Herman the military antique store owner, Grandpa, and Jasper, the last of whom apparently has the last name “Beardley”
- In front of the Springfield Retirement Castle: four old people I can’t identify. The first looks a little like Jerry Seinfeld.
- Below, some anonymous Channel 6 cameraman
- Officers Eddie and Lou
- Dr. Marvin Monroe, who was dead and then wasn’t
- The chronically nauseated Wendell Borton, hanging out of the bus window, likely puking
- Dr. Julius Hibbert
- Some blonde girl I’ve never seen before
- A girl with green glasses who is in Bart’s class but has never been named.
- Otto Mann
- Some creepy, happy-looking girl, who I’ve never seen before
- An equally unfamiliar kid who looks seriously messed-up
- And then finally the Flanderses, only minus Rod