he video: Though Fox's "The Simpsons" rarely plays it safe, last night's episode began with a uniquely subversive and "controversial" 90-second intro created by political street artist Banksy. A response to reports that "The Simpsons"' animation chores are largely outsourced to South Korea sweatshops, the intro depicts oppressed Asian factory workers grinding out "Simpsons" animation cells and tie-in merchandise in a hellishly un-charming factory. As a panda bear lugs back-breaking loads and an emaciated unicorn's horn is reduced to a tool, the sequences fades out to a 20th Century Fox logo.
The reaction: "Are we supposed to laugh at this?" says Tanner Stransky in Entertainment Weekly. "Should 'The Simpsons' be co-opting criticism of their show and making light of it?" It was Banksy's idea, reveals a Simpsons' executive producer in a New York Times interview, noting that, although Fox does outsource to South Korea, the "far-fetched" sequence is meant to poke fun at inaccurate reports of the labor conditions. Still, airing the sequence is hypocritical, says Mof Gimmers at HecklerSpray. "This weak-wristed attack on mass-production will no doubt end up on a Simpson's DVD at some point, made in some unpleasant warehouse somewhere." That may be, says Max Read at Gawker, but it was "funnier than anything that's been on 'The Simpsons' in a long time." Watch it for yourself:
- The secrets of happy families
- 4 secret societies you probably don't know about
- Did God have a wife?
- How to stick it to the poor: A congressional strategy
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- Will John Kerry's foreign policy successes undercut Hillary Clinton?
- Why U.S. and British spies have moles in World of Warcraft
- 10 things you need to know today: December 9, 2013
- Cue scary music: Cockroaches that can survive New York winters reach the U.S.
- Why Republicans shouldn't get too excited over Obama's stumbles
Subscribe to the Week