On Sunday night's episode of "The Simpsons", the show rolled out it's first all-out overhaul of the credits since, well, the 1980s.
And while there's some stuff I didn't love (like Marge's car actually hitting Homer and a random bird flying across the opening clouds), there were a lot of subtleties that I really liked.
Here are 11 pictures of those subtle moments I liked... and, in most cases, I have them accompanied by a screen grab of the same moment in the old "Simpsons" opening. Enjoy.
The detail in the Springfield overview. This is a great improvement thanks to the HD. The power plant is souped up (and doesn't have the antiquated handwritten sign)... the tire fire is actually on fire... plus the generic buildings have been replaced by landmarks. And the Duff Brewery, KBBL tower and Springfield Hollywood sign are added.
Homer the astronaut. This is a really subtle one that makes perfect sense. The photo in Bart's classroom is of Homer in his astronaut gear. So logical. A town this size would totally hang a photo of its most successful local hero in the elementary school classrooms. And for all of Homer's accomplishments, being an astronaut remains number one. (Doing Poochie's voice is number two.)
The grocery checkout. When this scene was first drawn, "The Simpsons" didn't have 20 years of history to draw from. Now they do. So generic groceries have been replaced with Krusty O's, Mr. Sparkle detergent and Tomacco juice. And the new magazines have all been featured during the run of the series... as has the Absolut Krusty ad (which was on the side of the building Bart lived in as an emancipated minor).
The price of Maggie. Back in the day, everyone paused their VCRs to figure out how much Maggie scanned for. It was $847.63, which was the price of raising a baby for one month back in 1989.
Now, they changed things. The groceries add up to $243.26 and when Maggie's scanned, she doubles that to $486.52. Those numbers don't have any particular significance... but I love it because it sure gives the Internet lots of room to speculate.
Is it a commentary on how today's fat children double the cost of your grocery bill? How today's lazy parents spend three-and-a-half times less on their babies every month? How much it now costs to raise a baby for a week? Is this somehow connected to the "Lost" numbers? Who knows.
The orchestra. I like three main things in this scene. One: Adding all the traditional nerdy characters to the orchestra, replacing the old generic kids. Two: Having Sheri and Teri playing Game Boys (or possibly texting) instead of playing instruments, which totally fits today's kids. The only thing better would've been them playing Guitar Hero.
And three: As much as no one liked Bleeding Gums Murphy, adding his photo to the wall was a nice, appropriate touch.
Apu's responsibilities. Good character update here. Apu originally was happy and walking a dog. Now, 20 years later, he's got octuplets and he's miserable with them. Quality switch.
The Cat Lady and Rich Texan. Over the course of the series, "The Simpsons" has shed minor side characters that didn't work and brought in new ones who do. The crazy Cat Lady (who I like) and the Rich Texan (whom I *love*) were very good switches for Jacques and Bleeding Gums.
I also like the TVs that show Krusty have gone from old school TVs to flat panels.
The missing statue head. Nice bit of continuity. At the beginning of the credits, Kearny and Jimbo saw the head off the Jebidiah Springfield statue. Then, as Marge speeds down the street, you can see the statue in the background... and the head's still lopped off.
The quick pan of characters. The quick pan over a ton of characters (generally visible only in slow motion) has been seriously updated... and for the better.
Rather than just some random kids, we now have highlights like Willy on his signature tractor, Ralph making sand castles out of Frank Grimes's grave, Mayor Quimby and a mistress and Spider Pig.
God versus the Devil. So weird! They took a random, never-discussed mountain from the original credits and decided to use it to stage a fist-shaking battle between God and the Devil. This is the most random thing in these new credits... and I'm on board.
They also took Maude Flanders out and just have Rod and Todd releasing birds.
The TVs. And finally, the TV is more modern than before... but only slightly. They still have rabbit ears... just buttons instead of dials. And when it eventually falls out of the wall, it has the red, yellow and white cords... meaning it's not HD, it's just a little more modern than before. Which is really fitting here.
This post was originally published on Wednesday, February 18, 2009 at 12:01:00 AM under the category TV.