Sunday, February 15, 2009

Way to Phone It In, Sarah Wiggum

Post title notwithstanding, the opening credits to The Simpsons appeared tonight for the first time in hi-def, completely redrawn and altogether for the better. It looks resembles the show’s early years less so and more like the refined look of The Simpsons Movie. I mean, hell — there’s shadows.

I’m happy, despite even how much attention I once gave the show’s more familiar opening credits.

The rest of the episode aired in hi-def too, but at this point well-polished opening credits beat even a halfway decent episode. Among the non-aesthetic pluses of the opening scene: Bygone characters like Jacques the bowling pro and Bleeding Gums Murphy are eliminated in favor of a more up-to-date character roster that includes Apu’s octuplets, evil Baby Gerald, Disco Stu, Crazy Cat Lady, Rich Texan as well as such non-human Springfield inhabitants as Mr. Sparkle and Lard Lad. And, finally, the crow whose call punctuates every establishment shot of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant is for the first time depicted. (To you, I’m sure this sounds lame. For lifers like me, it’s strangely validating.)

As for the episode itself, I can at least say I was happy to see the return of Principal Dondelinger, the appearance of Al Gore on a show for which his daughter wasn’t a staff writer, and the debut of Debbie Pinson, a previous never-seen from Homer’s high school days. Also, the notion of Homer still being a high school student in the 1970s apparently eliminates that episode that had him being freshly graduated in the 1990s, which I have to like, even if it means Homer and Marge nearing are nearing their 60s.


  1. Not sure how I feel about the new opening, but I think I have to enjoy it. I missed the episode, so hopefully I can catch it on Hulu. (But the King of the Hill episode was classic) I appreicate the Mr. Sparkle reference more than anything else (the commerical is shockingly not easily found on youtube).

    The 90's episode was good, but what are they going to do if the show goes on another 10 years? I really don't think they expected the show to go on this long that they had to make up a whole another decade that they met.

  2. Did Dondelinger sound that much like Chalmers in earlier episodes? (Or would it be Chalmers who sounds like Dondelinger, since the principal appeared on the show earlier on?)

    One thing in particular I've always wondered about with the aging is whether it's still at all realistic for someone Skinner's age to be a Vietnam vet.

  3. I was wondering what your opinion of the HD opening would be.
    Honestly, I had you pegged as a purist. So, you've gone and surprised me.
    Not in a bad way, in any event. Just curious.

  4. Jenn: King of the Hill was great, and yes, if The Simpsons continues, I think they'll be making fun of the 2000s. I would hate it, but I can see it happening.

    Nathan: Yes, I think Dondelinger did sound like Chalmers way back when, to the point that I now wonder if Dondelinger was a proto-Chalmers.

    Bri: I'm a fan, and I have purist tendencies, but the way the old opening had grown to look so dated had started to get on my nerves.

  5. Anonymous5:45 PM

    Two things of note: one, the Simpson's TV is now an HDTV as opposed to the old CRT that they used to have which keeps in theme with the opening, and now you have to do another compilation of pictures to see who is in the quick scan.

    ~Nathan A.

  6. Well, the Simpsons DID win a big screen flat-panel TV in the Ricky Gervais episode, didn't they?

    ~Nathan D. (or at least that's what they called me in first and second grade {g})