The 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: