It looks like the producers are mixing things up for ‘The Simpsons’ which just kicked off its 25th season. They recently featured a ‘Couch Gag’ (what they refer to their opening title sequence as) directed by Guilermo delToro that paid tribute to classic horror, fantasy and sci-fi movies. Now their back at it, this time with a lengthy tribute to ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’, wherein the classic animated family embarks on a journey to find “The Comfy Couch” and along the way, encounter “Simpson-ized” takes on various characters from Tolkien’s Middle Earth, including a certain bartender standing in for Gollum and another amusing character cast as Smaug.
As you can see from the illustration, the kids and Grandpa are hobbits, Homer is a dwarf and Marge is a wizard/Gandalf.
This opening will air before the November 3rd episode, ‘4 Regrettings and a Funeral’. Sadly, that title is suddenly “regrettable’ coming just days after actress Marcia Wallace who voiced Bart’s teacher Edna Crabapple passed away. (The character will be retired.) Producers had previously teased that they planned to kill off another character from the show, but said that this was not the episode in which that happened.
You can watch the extended Couch Gag below:
Toward the beginning, a title card reads “Part One of Six.” I’m not sure if this is a reference to the fact that eventually there will be six Tolkien movies or if ‘The Simpsons’ intends to further explore this realm or if it simply means that over six episodes, the show will feature different opening sequences. I think the latter is more likely, as I can’t imagine them going back to the same gags for six weeks.
The show has been on for 25 years– there is an entire generation that never known a world without ‘The Simpsons’– so I think it’s kind of cool that they are freshening things up and staying innovative.