The Opening Sequence is one of the most notable hallmarks of The Simpsons.
The sequence differs from episode to episode, usually with a different Chalkboard Gag, Couch Gag, and a Saxophone Solo from Lisa. Since mid-Season 20, the title sequence format has changed, and each episode has a Title Screen Gag, Billboard Gag, and Lisa playing a different musical instrument rather than her sax.
Season 1, Episodes 2-13 (January 14-May 13, 1990)
Because the first season premiere was a Christmas special, the first opening sequence was introduced in the second episode, "Bart the Genius". It is more crudely animated (looking similar to the animation used within the first season's episodes) than Season 2 onwards, and it was done entirely by Kevin Petrilak.
We fade into a dark blue sky with a stratus cloud in the middle. The "Ahh Chorus" synthesizer pad plays (which actually starts playing just before the fade in) as the stratus cloud begins to part, and the yellow text, "THE SIMPSONS", (which is the exact same text that was later used in the Season 2-20 intro, but is somewhat a dark yellow that has a light yellow glow effect to it) emerges from the parting stratus cloud, thickens just after it appears, and begins to zoom in as the cloud continues to part away. Singers intone "The Simpsons..." (NOTE: The Season One version of the theme, arranged by Danny Elfman, was a bit more crude, and more staccato, for lack of a more descriptive term, than the version used later). The cloud disappears from both sides as the text zooms in closer, and the camera moves through the letter "P" into a birds-eye view of Springfield. We swoop over the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant and the Springfield Tire Yard, fading into a street in Downtown Springfield afterwards. We slowly zoom down the street while passing by Semi-Painless Dentistry towards the purple-colored Springfield Elementary School. (NOTE: Season One's Springfield swoop is relatively crudely animated (similar to the animation used within the Season One episodes), and was redone. The difference in perspective is especially noticeable, for instance in the power plant's cooling towers -- which looked quite flat in the Season One opening).
We fade into the school's entrance that the camera zooms onto for a bit and then pans by it to an open window. We zoom in through the school window, and Bart is seen in a classroom writing a unique phrase repeatedly on the chalkboard as punishment. In the classroom, the walls are either gradient purple or gradient blue-violet, and a bulletin board with three crude drawings is hung next to Bart. He stops writing and looks at the board unamused. As the school bell rings, Bart turns towards the door, happily grins and leaves the classroom. The camera zooms out of the room and pans towards the school's entrance, where Bart happily bursts out of the front doors on his skateboard, flies past the flag pole, dives back down, and skateboards past a big field with trees (which is obviously drawn very crudely, similar to the backgrounds of Season One episodes) while going farther away.
Then it cuts to inside the Power Plant, where Homer is seen working on a carbon rod in his hazmat suit. The quitting whistle blows, much to Homer's glee as he hears it, so he gleefully removes his hazmat suit helmet, puts down the tongs and leaves the building not realizing the carbon rod that accidentally bounced into his back. Behind him, a bald co-worker is holding a sandwich with tongs, and takes a bite after the whistle blows. The caution sign over Homer's head has two holes on the right side, both blank.
The scene then cuts to Marge and Maggie checking out at a supermarket. In the check out line, Marge reads her Mom Monthly magazine with an ad for Frosted Krusty Flakes on the back. Maggie is inadvertently scanned along with the groceries, without the cashier noticing. The cashier rings her up at as $847.63 and Maggie is mistakenly packaged in a brown bag after the camera pans towards a different shot of Marge and the cart. Marge wonders where Maggie is while turning her head from the left. Maggie pops out of the bag, and Marge sighs in relief as she and Maggie exit the supermarket. The scene cuts to the school once again, where Dewey Largo's band is practicing. Students in the room (right to left):
Back row: Lewis' lookalike (cymbals) ready to crash, small pupiled African-American boy, a well groomed boy playing tuba, thin girl with purple hair playing French horn (on shoulder?), bulgy eyed boy holding blue trombone, nasty looking buck-toothed boy with green trumpet, large girl with bulgy eyes and a large nose holding a trumpet(?), hidden student, Lewis Clark, Beethoven's bust on cabinet.
Front row: Sophie Jensen playing clarinet (front of Lewis' lookalike), Boy with shades playing clarinet, thin girl, with a large nose playing a green horn, nerdy boy wearing glasses and a green shirt playing horn, red head girl wearing a Lisa-like dress playing clarinet, Milhouse playing horn, Sherri and Terri playing flutes, and Lisa playing sax.
Lisa interrupts the rehearsal and plays a loud saxophone solo (The Simpsons theme song). Mr. Largo stops the band and points Lisa out of the door, due to her unacceptable playing. As the other students look on, she dances her way out of the classroom as she continues playing.
On their way to their house at 742 Evergreen Terrace, the members of the family weave dangerously through traffic and in between fellow Springfield citizens. Homer is first seen, driving down the street while leaving work, and uncomfortably discovering the rod in his back. He pulls it out and throws it out the window as he drives away with dust covering the screen. The dust clears, and the rod is bouncing near Moe's Tavern. Bart comes by on his skateboard, with pursed lips in a half grin. His right foot sticks off the board, as he grabs the lamp post to help him make the corner. He skates past a pet store, and a TV store with many Krusty the Clown faces, which Bart turns and looks at. While passing by bored residents waiting for their bus, he grabs the bus stop sign and takes it with him. On the passing bus, a banner on the side says "Can't get enough of that wonderful Duff". The people in the bus include:
Bored bus driver, (first seat) dark skinned man looking out at camera, and primmed up Bart-looking man, (second seat) red haired, white skinned lady, (third seat) man rolling his eyes, woman with light blue hair, (fourth seat) tall, spindly woman with light blue hair and a pointy nose, (last seat) stocky man with purple hair.
The bored residents notice their bus in shock, and chase after the bus as a smiling Marge and Maggie turn the corner in Marge's red sedan. (NOTE: When the residents start to pass by the pet store, a tree appears. On the other half of the tree, the background is a different road with different scenery when Marge and Maggie turn the corner, but the previous shot of Moe's Tavern can still be seen behind the trees).
Inside the car, Maggie is shown steering the wheel. With tires screeching, the car passes by a farm and makes a tight curve. As the car approaches another road, the camera cuts back to Maggie as she steers again, and the car makes another turn. The camera cuts back to Maggie, revealing that the wheel is just a toy for her car seat, as the camera pans out to show Marge driving. As the camera is zooming out, Maggie looks at Marge, then back at the road. Then, they both look at each other, and honk both the car horn and Maggie's horn twice (NOTE: These honks were short and high, unlike other series where they were long and changing pitch).
The camera cuts to a slightly low shot of Lisa, wobbling back and forth on her bike while on her way home, with a large stack of books in her bike's basket and her saxophone case behind her. She hits a bump, and all the books fly into the air, and then land safely back in the basket. She makes a turn (to our left) down the street passing by a tree, and finally arriving at the Simpson house. In a view showing the driveway, she jumps off her bike in the driveway, grabbing her books and instrument case. The bike moves into the garage as the garage door opens for both the bike and for Homer's car, as Lisa runs to the front door. Homer's car comes from left to right, makes the turn into the driveway and stops as the camera zooms in onto the car. From the right, Bart one-hops his skateboard across Homer's car. Homer gets out just in time to see Marge's car. He screams, and runs into the garage as her car pulls in behind him. Frightened, he looks behind his left shoulder, then behind his right, and then opens the door leading into the downstairs hallway of the house (In "Bart the Genius", Homer's scream is absent).
Upon entering their house, they run towards the living room couch, with a different gag occurring (with the exception of "Bart the General" and "Life on the Fast Lane"). In the living room, the walls are gradient magenta, the floor is gradient teal, the couch is brown, a mouse hole is seen to the left of the couch, a light purple lamp with an orange lamp shade is on a teal side table with light purple drawers and blue drawer knobs (both are next to the right of the couch), and the painting above the couch is a crooked nature painting of a pond (which is only seen in Season One episodes). As the theme song ends, the camera cuts to the Simpsons' television set that displays the first two opening credits in a wiggly yellow font similar to the "THE SIMPSONS" text from the beginning (Created by Matt Groening; Developed by James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon). The TV set is light orange-brown, with an antenna on top of the TV on the top left and a gradient blue screen. At the bottom of the TV (from left to right), there are two green dials, two small buttons, and an extra green dial (NOTE: The TV set in the Season One opening sequence is not the same TV set used within the Season One episodes).
The only two episodes with the short version of the opening are "Bart the General" and "Life on the Fast Lane". However, this short version used in both said episodes is completely different than the Season 2-present short version where it goes from the "P" to the driveway. This opening retains the title card and the Springfield swoop, but after the shot of the street with the school in the distance, it fades into an exterior shot of 742 Evergreen Terrace (the Simpson home), which is the infamous three-quarter front view of the house for "Bart the General", and a front facing view of the house for "Life on the Fast Lane", and cuts to the first scene of the episode, therefore starting it from there. As for the theme, it starts out normally with the "Ahh" choir, the chorus and the dramatic beginning of the theme for the title, and the usual tune for the swoop, but the main melody becomes a more bombastic fanfare as the street fades into the Simpson home exterior shot. The first six notes are played with a couple of horns instead of xylophone dings, then the seventh note is drawn out, with a drum roll leading to a quick repeat of that note, and the start of the episode.
On some broadcasts of "Life on the Fast Lane", the opening goes from the "P" directly to the TV credits. The theme goes from the first few seconds (0:01-0:06) of the theme leading directly to the last few seconds (1:19-1-27) of the theme.
On some broadcasts of "Some Enchanted Evening", at the power plant, the top circle dims red and the bottom circle dims green.
On the VHS release from 1990 the words “In Stereo,Where Available” appear under the words “The Simpsons”.
Season 2-20 (October 11, 1990-January 25, 2009)
The sequence once again opens with the show's title (which is directly ripped from the Season One intro, but is in light yellow, has light-orange outlines around the letters, and, as it zooms in closer, has the rest of the intro superimposed inside the hole of the "P" which then reveals itself as the camera goes through the "P") zooming in on the camera and going through the "P" while clouds part away. But this time, the sky is light blue, and the clouds are now beige-colored cumulus clouds (similar to the clouds in the backgrounds of Season 2-early Season 20 episodes, and here, the clouds are painted so their paint streaks are noticeable). As the camera swoops over Springfield, we see the power plant, welcome sign, and Springfield Prison behind the plant. We fly over the power plant and tire yard, toward downtown Springfield. Semi-Painless Dentistry is now replaced with Candy Dandy as we move towards Springfield Elementary School, which is now orange with purple accents instead of just purple. The infamous streetlamp glitch happens as we move toward the school—it snaps violently to the right (this is only in a handful of episodes from seasons 2-early season 20).
The sequence of Bart writing the Chalkboard Gag is also redone. The walls are now dark-green, there is a clock showing 4:00 PM, and a wastebasket is seen near to Bart's right side. A portrait of George Washington hangs on the right side of the chalkboard, and a bookcase full of books sits behind him. Bart stops writing for a second and looks at the chalkboard unamused. When the school bell rings, he happily opens his mouth as he looks towards the door, runs out of the classroom, skateboards out of the school while grinning, flying gleefully past the flagpole (NOTE: The episode "Little Orphan Millie" has Bart laughing as he runs out of the classroom), falls back down, and passes by a three-story glass/concrete building, a four-story orange building, trees and bushes. The animation used during this scene (which looks similar to the animation and backgrounds used in Season 2-8 episodes) is much smoother and the perspective problem is solved. The scene cuts Homer, once again working on the rod and leaving the plant while the rod bounces into his back as the quitting whistle blows. There are two differences in this scene for this version of the intro: The co-worker is replaced with Mr. Burns and Smithers, looking at a layout plan. When the quitting whistle blows, Mr. Burns puts his watch up to his ear and shakes it, as if he believes it has stopped. The caution sign over Homer's head has a green light on top, and a red light on the bottom.
It then cuts to the supermarket, where Marge is reading the same Mom Monthly magazine (with the same Frosted Krusty Flakes ad on the back cover) from the previous intro. The supermarket's ceiling and walls are orange instead of red. Maggie's arms are also now straight down instead of her hands on her hips, and as she is checked out, the cash register flashes $847.63. Back at the school, Lisa is shown at band rehearsal, with a slightly deeper sax solo (either the Simpsons theme or, since Season 3, a different tune). Also, the colors of Lisa's saxophone, the background, and the school band characters are ripped from the Season One intro, but look much nicer than in the previous intro.
Afterwards, Homer is seen driving home from work and throwing the rod out of the window after he uncomfortably feels it, but does not bounce near Moe's Tavern. Bart skateboards in with a big grin, passing by a store with an "Open" sign as he turns into a corner. He makes a better turn, with both feet on the board. He then passes by Helen Lovejoy, carrying bags from the Springfield Mall, passes a book store, dodges to the right, and passes by Apu Nahasapeemapetilon walking his pet dog. Bart then dodges left, passes by Moe Szyslak, holding a towel and standing in his tavern's entrance, passes by an approaching Barney (who belches) on his left, passes by Jacques (who's walking right) carrying a bowling ball and dodges left. A TV store with Krusty the Clown faces on the TV sets appear in the window. Bart looks at it for a second, then grins again. He passes by Bleeding Gums Murphy, who's standing on the street with his sax around his shoulder. Bart finally passes by Clancy Wiggum standing by the corner, who yells and shakes his baton at Bart as he leaves the screen (NOTE: The episodes, "Little Orphan Millie" and "Husbands and Knives" has some voices accompanying the people Bart skateboards past). The Springfield Town Square with the Statue of Jebediah Springfield is seen in the background. Marge's car comes from the right and turns towards the street that Bart crossed.
Since this version of the intro, Marge's car is her orange-colored station wagon instead of her red sedan. The low shot of the car approaching doesn't appear after the car's first turn and before Maggie steering the second time; instead, the low shot of the approach is seen right after Maggie steers the second time (NOTE: The shots of Maggie steering, the shot of the car turning, and the low shot of the car approaching are directly ripped from the Season One intro). In the next scene, Lisa's bike sequence was removed. Instead, the camera very quickly pans over a static landscape shot of various Springfield locations and a mix of both familiar and relatively unknown characters. The zip-pan to the Simpson house includes, from left to right:
The highway, kids playing in a yard, Milhouse playing baseball with Lewis and Richard, Nelson and the Weasels bullying a kid in a trashcan, Jimbo and Kearney threatening Martin, Mr. Winfield and Mrs. Sylvia Winfield in rocking chairs, Patty and Selma suntanning in bathing suits with cone-shaped bikini tops, Kent Brockman reporting, a cameraman filming Kent, Sherri and Terri holding hands, Herman, Grampa holding a book, Jasper, the Springfield Retirement Castle, man reading the retirement castle's sign, old folks walking out (like those that Marge sees holding hands in "Life on the Fast Lane"), a man giving a thumbs up, Lou and Eddie behind a barricade, Marvin Monroe writing while holding a clipboard, Wendell with his head out of the bus ready to puke, Dr. Hibbert comparing notes with Monroe, White-Haired Girl, Girl with glasses, Otto chilling next to his broken school bus, unnamed white-haired girl with blue dress, the same buck-toothed boy from the band, an unknown mountain in the background, 744 Evergreen Terrace, Maude (looking at a bluebird), Todd, Ned (with another bluebird on his hand), and 742 Evergreen Terrace.
The Simpsons all arrive home at the same time. This time, there is oil stain on the driveway, and Homer arrives home first. Also, after Bart lands on the car roof with his skateboard, the garage door opens as Homer gets out making a face at Bart while closing the car door. He quickly dodges Lisa on her bike and yells, "D'oh!" as she rides her bike up to the front door. He steps back out and screams as Marge's car approaches. He looks over his left shoulder, then his right, and he runs into the house. (NOTE: The shot of Homer running away from Marge's car and into the house is directly ripped from the Season One intro). This is followed by the Couch Gag. In the living room, the painting above the couch is a crooked sailboat pic (which has been seen within the show since Season 2), and, sometimes, the living room rug can be seen (which was sometimes used in the couch gag for some episodes, but is now frequently seen in the couch gag since the mid-Season 20-present intro was introduced). The TV set is blueish purple. Dials on right of set: two on top, blue speaker below, on top of the TV a blue VCR and the antenna on top (NOTE: In "Marge vs. the Monorail", entire characters including Martin Prince, which will be not in sax solos until the 2009 opening). The theme music was composed by Alf Clausen and has been composing the theme since Season 3.
This section is about the original prototype version of this opening, as used in Season Two episodes. Danny Elfman was called back to re-arrange the theme for the second season. This version sounds slightly similar to the first season music, and is louder and more bombastic than the other versions, with the school band sounding slightly distorted. Also, Bart's chalk still squeaks, unlike later episodes onwards. The final use of the chalk squeaking was in "Homer Defined." The tune when the quick pan is seen and when Homer arrives at the driveway is different (sounding similar to the tune heard in the Season One intro when Homer pulls into the house's driveway), and Homer's scream is more high-pitched. Also, during the driveway scene, Homer's "D'oh!" was muted for almost the first half of the season, when Lisa bikes past him. It was eventually added, starting with "Bart Gets Hit by a Car". A variety of different screams were also used throughout the season, when Marge pulls in. A slightly longer and lower-pitched scream was used in "Simpson and Delilah", while Homer's scream from the season 1 opening was reused in "Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish", The Homer's "D'oh!" is used alongside the original season 2 scream in "Bart Gets Hit by a Car", having Homer scream once: when Lisa drives past and when Marge pulls in. For the last four episodes of season 2, starting with "Lisa's Substitute", a slightly alternate take of the season 2 scream was used, sounding somewhat similar to the season 1 scream.
In "Bart Gets an F", a variety of darker and brighter colors were used alongside Elfman's rearrangement (which is unknown for why the different color varieties were used for said episode and not for the rest of Season 2, but it's possibly because it's a prototype version of the opening visuals, similar to the visuals of the episode such as Bart's shirt being salmon-colored and not orange. In FXX reruns of said episode, the color varieties exist except during the TV credits since it is plastered with the regular season 2-20 version). During the rest of the show (until Season 20's "Lisa the Drama Queen"), starting with "Simpson and Delilah", everything remained the same and the colors are in their correct hues, except for the music and the colors in Bart's classroom. This version with the Elfman rearrangement was used in all of season 2 (except for "Bart Gets an F", which didn't use the correct color hues and instead used the different color variations due to the intro for that episode being a prototype of the opening visuals that Only appeared in said episode) as well as in "When Flanders Failed", a season 2 holdover that aired during season 3.
Since season 3, the show has used an arrangement of the opening theme by Alf Clausen, which is less staccato and more polished compared to other versions. This season was also the start of Lisa's variable saxophone solos (previously, she always played the main theme melody), and Homer's exclamations at the driveway were changed to their more well-known versions (the newly recorded "D'oh!", and the alternate take of the Season 2 scream). Also, the colors in Bart's classroom remained the same, since the animators used computer animation to rewrite each chalkboard gag. This version of the theme was first heard in its condensed form on the season 3 premiere "Stark Raving Dad", though the full-length version did not debut until "Saturdays of Thunder" on November 15, 1991.
Season 20, starting with Episode 10 (February 15, 2009-present)
This new HD sequence opens once again with the show's title zooming in on the camera while moving forwards through clouds (here, the clouds look extremely similar to the clouds seen in the backgrounds of mid Season 20-present episodes, and the title is the same color as the Season 2-early Season 20 title, but the letters look better, cleaner, and more three-dimensional, but they're not as wiggly as the Season 1-early Season 20 title). A crow with three eyes flies by as the chorus sing the title. The crow caws as the camera goes through the "P", and it continues to swoop over Springfield where it goes by the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant and the Springfield Tire Yard. Then we see Jimbo Jones and Kearney Zzyzwicz saw off the head of the Jebediah Springfield statue in front of the town square (a reference to The Telltale Head, when Bart cut it off). You can see Springfield Town Hall, The Android's Dungeon, Krusty Burger, Phineas Q. Butterfats Ice Cream, Pawn Shop and other buildings in the background. The head then falls off on Ralph Wiggum, about to eat an ice cream. For the first twelve HD episodes, he said different things after getting the head on him, but this was stopped since Season 21.
Panning behind Ralph, the camera passes by The Android's Dungeon and a Lard Lad Donut Statue (where the crow lands) on the left and a new Billboard gag, that changes every episode, on the right. The scene continues to zoom in through a window of Springfield Elementary, where Bart is writing the Chalkboard gag. (NOTE: The newest opening spends a lot more time on the previous gags, so the pan to the Springfield Elementary School to Bart's classroom is quicker, with slightly less time to read the gag before it's all in view). In the classroom, the portrait on the wall is of Homer as an astronaut instead of George Washington. The bell rings and Bart zooms out of the school, onto his skateboard, and lands into a pile of leaves Groundskeeper Willie just finished raked up. As Bart jumps off the pile, Barney Gumble is revealed under the pile and belches drinking. The next scene shows Homer getting ready to head back home with a uranium bar stuck on his back. In the background, Lenny Leonard and Carl Carlson were putting up the number three over the number two on a sign that says 'Days Without An Accident.' However, they fall off the ladder as they hear the whistle for the end of the shift.
The next shot shows Marge reading an magazine with a commercial on the last page with a Absolute Krusty Vodka (it's a parody of Absolute Vodka) and Maggie, with Selma Bouvier and Patty Bouvier purchasing Laramie cigarettes. The items on the conveyor belt include Tomacco juice and Mr. Sparkle power clean detergent (labeled in katakana). When a box of Krusty-O's is scanned, the total amount on the register changes from $236.60 to $243.26, which means the price of the cereal is $6.66. Maggie is inadvertently scanned too, which doubles the register total to $486.52, and she is mistakenly packaged with the groceries. The cashier's race has also been changed, from the original yellow representing Caucasians, to a darker color, possibly indicating an African-American. Marge looks mildly concerned but smiles well as Maggie pops out of the bag. Maggie then sees Baby Gerald and shakes her fist at him as Gerald does the same. During Lisa's sax solo, more "common" characters are shown in the orchestra. Recognizable characters include (back row, right to left) Wendell, Database, Martin Prince, Jessica Lovejoy (the daughter of Reverend Lovejoy), Richard, and Lewis, and (front row, right to left) Janey, Milhouse, Sherri and Terri, and Lisa. Sherri and Terri are now texting on their phones instead of playing their flutes. Also, Largo dismisses Lisa earlier, showing her longer. At the end of her solo, she ducks inside briefly for a flourish and smiles. This part may be of variable length, and a split second longer than the previous opening. Also, there is an additional picture of Bleeding Gums Murphy on the wall. Starting with "Judge Me Tender," Lisa occasionally plays different instruments, aside from the saxophone. In three episodes, Lisa plays a trumpet. In a season 22 episode, Lisa plays the violin, while in "Bart Stops to Smell the Roosevelts," "At Long Last Leave," she plays a tuba. Lisa also plays a harp in "Monty Burns' Fleeing Circus."
Meanwhile, after Homer discards the uranium bar, it lands on Otto Mann (this time there is no dust when the rod bounces away). Otto, not knowing what it is, eats it. Bart skateboards by and turns the corner with a muted whoosh. He passes Sideshow Bob, who tries to kill Bart by swinging a machete, Helen Lovejoy, Apu and his eight children, Moe (at Moe's), Comic Book Guy, Disco Stu (who protests, sometimes audibly), a window of HD televisions showing Krusty, Eleanor Abernathy (a.k.a. Crazy Cat Lady), the Rich Texan, who shoots his guns and once again, Clancy Wiggum who waves his nightstick. Hans Moleman peeks out the manhole in the street, but Marge's car slams it shut with a clang as it passes by, with Wiggum looking on in confusion due to his nightstick accidentally hitting Marge's car. In this scene, Grampa is seen in the passenger seat during the Marge reveal (but not until then), with Maggie in the middle. When they honk the horn, he wakes up confused and loses his false teeth as he was sitting right next to them in the car. The camera very quickly pans over the same static landscape shot of various Springfield locations and a mix of both familiar and relatively unknown characters like the Season 2-early Season 20 opening, but this time it includes a lot more familiar characters, even God and the Devil. The new shot includes:
Agnes and Chalmers interogating Skinner, Milhouse playing ball with Richard and Lewis, Willie on his tractor, Ralph playing on Frank Grimes' grave, Martin about to be beaten by Jimbo, Kearney, and Dolph, Squeaky-Voiced Teen, Quimby and Miss Springfield wearing each other's sashes, Chazz Busby, Captain McCallister holding a three-eyed fish, Patty and Selma still sunbathing in their suits, Cletus and Brandine with Plopper, Kang and Kodos in their UFO, Burns and Smithers, Kent and a cameraman, Sherri and Terri still texting, Krusty smoking on a wall with "El Barto" graffiti, Bumblebee Man and Luigi watching the UFO, Eddie and Lou at the bus roadblock, Snake stealing Lou's gun, Fat Tony with Legs and Louie burying someone, Miss Hoover changing the flat tire on the broken-down bus, Wendell still leaning out of the bus, kids in front including Janey, Dr. Hibbert with a clipboard (but no Monroe), Duffman, Jessica Lovejoy, Mr. Teeny and Sideshow Mel, God (whose head is off-screen) fighting the devil (who's standing on a tower), and Rod and Todd playing in their yard.
During the driveway scene, there is oil stain on the pavement. Marge is seen driving her car, but inside the car, we can see she's using her telephone as opposed to having both hands firmly on the steering wheel, so she didn't see the road and that she hit Homer. Also, the main change is that instead of running away from Marge's car and screaming, Homer is hit with the car and flattened on the hood; instead of running through the door, he is hurled grunting through it by inertia, leaving a Homer-shaped hole. Upon entering their house, the couch gag follows. The living room is mostly the same, but the TV is now a widescreen HD model, with the antenna still on top. Again, a widescreen set, with four unmarked buttons on the right, speakers below. A VCR or some unit is on top still. As the theme song ends, the HDTV showing the "Created By/Developed By" credits falls off as if it was mounted on the wall, but that was only used in the first few HD episodes. Also, unlike the previous opening sequences, there is no cut to black, and the episode begins immediately. On some episodes, starting with "Bart Gets a Z", the HDTV showing the opening credits stands there for a couple of seconds (does not fall off as if it wasn't hung on the wall) before the episode immediately begins.
The following locations are shown:
- Phineas Q. Butterfat's 5600 Flavors Ice Cream Parlor
- Springfield Nuclear Power Plant
- Springfield Tire Yard
- Springfield Town Square
- Springfield Town Hall
- Aztec Theater
- Skip's Diner
- The Android's Dungeon
- Duff Brewery
- Krusty Burger
- KBBL Radio
- Springfield Sign
- Burns Manor
- Lard Lad Donuts
- Springfield Elementary School
- Evergreen Terrace
- Springfield Cemetery
- Moe's Tavern
Approximately the first half minute of the opening, (until Homer leaving work) remains the same, with a few oddities: the word "BANKSY" is sprayed onto a number of walls and other public spaces, including the billboard gag from "Take My Life, Please". The chalkboard gag "(I must not write all over the walls)" is written all over the classroom walls, clock, door, and floor.
After the Simpsons arrive at home, the camera cuts to a shot of them on the couch, then zooms out to show this as a picture hanging on the wall of a fictional overseas Asian animation and merchandise sweatshop. The animation colour quickly becomes drab and gray, and the music becomes dramatic and similar to that of Schindler's List.
A large group of tired and sickly artists draw animation cels(even though we no longer use cels for today's animation) The Simpsons amongst piles of human bones and toxic waste, and a female artist hands a barefoot child employee an animation cel, which he washes in a vat of biohazardous fluid.
The camera tracks down to a lower floor on the building, where small kittens are thrown into a woodchipper-type machine to provide the filling for Bart Simpson plush dolls. The toys are then placed in to a cart pulled by a panda which is driven by a man with a whip. A man shipping boxes with The Simpsons logo on the side uses the tongue from a decapitated dolphin head to fasten shut the packages. Another employee uses the horn of a sickly unicorn to smash the holes in the center of The Simpsons DVDs. The shot zooms out to reveal that sweatshop is contained within a grim version of the 20th Century Fox logo, surrounded by barbed wire, searchlights, and a watchtower. The entire scene is running on the Simpsons' TV set.
British graffiti artist and political activist Banksy is credited with creating the opening titles and couch gag for this episode, in what amounted to the first time that an artist has been invited to storyboard the show. Executive Producer Al Jean first took note of Banksy after seeing his 2010 film Exit Through the Gift Shop. According to Jean, "The concept in my mind was, 'What if this graffiti artist came in and tagged our main titles?'" Simpsons Casting Director Bonita Pietila was able to contact the artist through the film's producers, and asked if he would be interested in writing a main title for the show. Jean said Banksy "sent back boards for pretty much what you saw." Series creator Matt Groening gave the idea his blessing, and helped try to make the sequence as close to Banksy's original storyboards as possible. Fox's standards and practices department demanded a handful of changes, but, according to Jean, "95 percent of it is just the way he wanted."
Banksy told The Guardian that his opening sequence was influenced by The Simpsons long-running use of animation studios in Seoul, South Korea. The newspaper also reported that the creation of the sequence "is said to have been one of the most closely guarded secrets in US television – comparable to the concealment of Banksy's own identity."
BBC News reported that "According to Banksy, his storyboard led to delays, disputes over broadcast standards and a threatened walk out by the animation department." However, Al Jean disputed this, saying "[The animation department] didn't walk out. Obviously they didn't. We've depicted the conditions in a fanciful light before." Commenting on hiring Banksy to create the titles, Jean joked, "This is what you get when you outsource." Although conceding to the fact that The Simpsons is largely animated in South Korea, Jean went on to state that the scenes shown in titles are "very fanciful, far-fetched. None of the things he depicts are true. That statement should be self-evident, but I will emphatically state it."
Colby Hall of Mediaite called the sequence "a jaw-dropping critique of global corporate licensing, worker exploitation and over-the-top dreariness of how western media companies (in this case, 20th Century Fox) takes advantage of outsourced labor in developing countries." Melissa Bell of The Washington Post felt Banksy's titles had helped revive The Simpsons' "edge," but after "the jarring opening, the show went back to its regular routine of guest cameos, self-referential jokes and tangential story lines." Marlow Riley of MTV wrote "as satire, [the opening] is a bit over-the-top. What is shocking is that Fox ran Banksy's ballsy critique of outsourcing, The Simpsons, and the standards and human rights conditions that people in first world nations accept. It's uncomfortable and dark, and not what's expected from the modern Simpsons, which mainly consists of 'Homer hurts himself' jokes."
After season 1, there were several different edits done for this opening. The two original edits (condensed and short) had their own musical arrangements done by both Elfman (season 2) and Clausen (season 3-present), and the cut-and-condensed version also had its own Clausen arragement. Others were edited from longer versions of the opening. FXX reruns (that are part of FXX's weekly Simpsons block and not part of FXX's Simpsons marathons) also have edited season 1 openings, though they are also edited versions of the longer opening.
The camera goes from the "P" of the title card directly to the classroom with Bart's chalkboard gag, skipping the swoop through Springfield and the pan of the school's exterior. After the bell rings and Bart runs out of the classroom, the scene cuts to Homer at the power plant, thus skipping Bart skating out of the front doors of the school. After Lisa's sax solo, the scene goes straight to the driveway, where Homer pulls in.
The version with Elfman's arrangement debuted on January 24, 1991 ("One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish"), and was used several more times during season 2. The version with Clausen's arrangement was used frequently during season 3 (starting with "Stark Raving Dad" on September 19, 1991), and occasionally during seasons 4, 5, and 8. It has only been used sporadically since then. It has also been the only short version of the theme to be released on CD.
Another version of this opening (with the Elfman arrangement) exists in syndication, muting all sound and vocal effects (the chorus singing "The Simpsons", the chalk, the school and work bells, the skateboard whooshes, the carbon rod's ding in both the plant and on the street, Maggie's pacifier sucking, the cashier beeping, the car noises for both Homer's car and Marge's car, the swoosh when Bart grabs the pole, the skateboard wheels on the street, the car and baby wheel horns, the bump when Bart bounces onto Homer's car roof, the car door opening and closing when Homer gets out, Lisa's bike bell and wheels, and Homer's "D'oh!"), until Marge pulls in.
In this abbreviated version of the opening, the camera goes directly from the "P" to the driveway scene, followed by the couch gag. "Lisa's Substitute" (from April 25, 1991) was the only episode to use this opening with Elfman's arrangement. The version with Clausen's arrangement had its first "official" appearance in "Lisa the Greek" (January 24, 1992), though it appeared on some FOX reruns of earlier episodes in order to make room for events, such as music video premieres.
This version began to be used more frequently during season 5, and again from seasons 7-9. It was not used during seasons 10-12 (aside from season 9 holdovers), but it made a comeback in season 13 and has remained in regular usage since. Additionally, this opening (with the Clausen arrangement) often replaces longer openings in syndication and reruns (including regular non-marathon FXX reruns) for extra commercial time. This version was also used in the original airing of "Sideshow Bob Roberts", before being replaced with a more shorter version for reruns and the Complete Sixth Season DVD. It was even used on some airings of "Treehouse of Horror X", the only Treehouse of Horror episode to use the short opening. However, on syndicated airings on some stations, they cut out this opening.
Cut and condensed version
This opening goes from the "P" of the title card to Bart's classroom, then cuts directly to the driveway scene after Bart exits the classroom. Since it debuted in season 5, it has normally featured Clausen's arrangement, which has markedly different instrumentation than other Clausen versions during the classroom scene.
This version debuted on December 16, 1993 in the episode "$pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)". It was used frequently during seasons 5-7, occasionally during seasons 8-9, and only sporadically since then. It was used again in Season 16's "On a Clear Day I Can't See My Sister," although the TV uses the tune from the short version.
There is an Elfman version of the cut and condensed theme, but only in FXX reruns of "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?".
More short versions
A very short version was used on syndicated airings and reruns of "Sideshow Bob Roberts", as well as the Complete Sixth Season DVD print of the episode. It goes from the "P" of the title card directly to the "Created By/Developed By" TV credits, with a slightly different arrangement of the opening theme's last few notes (which may be one of Elfman's score cues). This short version appeared five seasons earlier on some broadcasts of "Life on the Fast Lane", and returns in HD in the Season 26 episode "The Musk Who Fell To Earth", using the Clausen short version arrangement.
In "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular", a special version of the cut and condensed opening retains the Springfield swoop, although still cutting from Bart exiting the classroom to the driveway scene. This is followed by the couch gags from "A Streetcar Named Marge", "Lisa the Beauty Queen", "Marge vs. the Monorail", "Homer's Triple Bypass", "Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk", "Homer Goes to College", "A Star is Burns", "Homer the Great", "Homer Badman", "Lisa's Rival", "Bart's Comet" and "Lisa's First Word". During all of this, the full version of the theme song plays. A variant of this is used in many FXX reruns of episodes starting with "Homer's Night Out" and "Krusty Gets Busted" with the episode's couch gag. This version is very common in FXX versions of seasons 10-12.
A version exists where it retains the Springfield swoop, but after Homer at the power plant, it cuts to the driveway scene (to Lisa's bike sequence and the driveway scene for FXX reruns of Season 1 episodes). This is found in FXX reruns of a few episodes, starting with "Bart the Genius" and is common in Season 4.
"Barting Over" and "Homer's Paternity Coot" used similarly edited versions of the full opening, cutting from Lisa's sax solo to Marge and Maggie in the car. "Barting Over" also featured an extended classroom sequence with Bart using an axe to chop the chalkboard, while "Homer's Paternity Coot" featured a slightly shortened version of the Marge/Maggie sequence. Also in "Barting Over", part of the closing theme plays between when the school is shown and after Bart finishes axing the chalkboard. It returns in HD in "Fland Canyon".
"Million Dollar Abie" introduced a version of the opening that had a similar sequence to the condensed version, but was edited from the full version. It retained the Springfield swoop and Bart skating out of school, but cut from Lisa's sax solo to the driveway. This also appeared on many FXX reruns of episodes like Blood Feud. It has been used occasionally since season 17. "G.I. (Annoyed Grunt)" uses the same version, but cuts from Lisa's sax solo to Homer's scream in the driveway when Marge pulls in. In "500 Keys", the opening cuts out the supermarket scene with Marge and Maggie. This opening was used very frequently in seasons 22 and 23, alongside the short opening. The full opening even became absent after "Homer Scissorhands". It eventually made a comeback in "A Test Before Trying". Some FOX reruns of "Homer Simpson, This Is Your Wife" would use this, but FXX reruns of the episode uses its own opening with the Marge/Maggie sequence shortened in a similar way to "Homer's Paternity Coot".
In FXX versions of "The Crepes of Wrath" and "Husbands and Knives", it retains the Springfield swoop but after Bart skating out of the school, it cuts to Lisa's sax solo then to the driveway scene. This also appears in some HD episodes.
A version similar to the cut-and-condensed opening, but shorter, was used on "The Sweetest Apu". It cuts from Bart exiting the classroom to Marge's view of Homer running away from her car and into the house.
In "Replaceable You", the opening goes from Bart skating over Barney to the driveway scene. Some episodes, starting with "The Ten-Per-Cent Solution", used a shorter version of this opening, in which after the bell rings in Bart's classroom, we cut to the rest of the driveway scene, after Homer has pulled in. This reappears in Season 28's "A Father's Watch" using the condensed opening theme.
"The Ned-liest Catch" introduced an extremely short version which goes from the "P" of the title card directly to the beginning of the episode, and therefore skipping the rest of the opening. This has been used occasionally for several episodes of seasons 23 and 24, and has made a comeback in the Season 28 episodes "The Town", "There Will Be Buds", part 1 of "The Great Phatsby", and Season 29's "The Serfsons" and "Springfield Splendor." In the 30th season, it appears in "Heartbreak Hotel", "Werking Mom" and "Krusty the Clown (episode)." In "The Great Simpsina," the entire opening, including the title card, was completely skipped.
FXX has a special opening for their reruns of "Homer Simpson, This Is Your Wife". The opening still contains the Springfield swoop, the chalkboard gag, and Homer at the power plant, but after that it cuts to Lisa's sax solo. It continues to Homer driving home and Bart skating over the citizens, but the Marge/Maggie sequence is shortened in a similar way to "Homer's Paternity Coot". The rest of the intro is the same.
In "A Totally Fun Thing That Bart Will Never Do Again", "Paths of Glory", "Super Franchise Me", "The Cad and the Hat" and "Looking for Mr. Goodbart", the opening goes from the "P" directly to the couch gag ("Looking for Mr. Goodbart" goes from the "P" directly to the Tracey Ullman short "Good Night" due to the Simpsons' televised debut turning 30 years old eleven days before this episode's original airing, but only shows Marge singing "Rock A Bye Baby" to Maggie, and then the couch gag). In "Pulpit Friction" and "Whiskey Business", the TV credits are skipped, going straight to the episode. (The couch gag from "Pulpit Friction" actually becomes part of the episode's plot.)
In "Gone Abie Gone", the opening goes from the "P" of the title card to Bart's chalkboard gag, which goes directly to the couch gag after Bart bounces on Barney.
In "Moho House" and "Dogtown", the opening starts immediately with the couch gag, thus skipping the rest of the intro that was shown prior to the couch gag (unlike "Dogtown", in which the opening from the title screen gag to Bart bouncing on Barney is shown after the TV credits). Also, in both episodes, the last few notes of the opening theme when the TV credits are shown are the last few notes of the current end credits theme. These are the first two episodes of the series to use this opening.
In "Dogtown", after the episode immediately starts with the couch gag and TV credits, the opening continues from the TV credits, but with a differently arranged version of the theme. It retained the title screen gag, the Springfield swoop with the billboard gag, and the chalkboard gag with Bart, but cuts from Bart bouncing on Barney to Homer driving home from work. However, after throwing the carbon rod out of the car, Homer gets stuck in traffic, and uses his EZcape app to help him get through, thus starting the episode. This is the first episode of the series to start it in the middle of the opening sequence.
It was the second time they had done so, the first being in September 2000 as part of a weekend celebrating the 10th anniversary of the show premiering in the UK. Except for the very first shot with the "THE SIMPSONS" text appearing out of the clouds, every piece of the opening is present in this version, with even multiple chalkboard and couch gags filmed. Attached to the end of this sequence is the message "Come home to The Simpsons on Sky One." A version was also made for cinema distribution. Because the live action sequence was made in the UK, there are some slight cultural differences, such as Homer and Marge driving on the left in a right hand drive car, the actor playing Chief Wiggum wearing a British police uniform, and the quick swoop between the Marge and Maggie and Homer car sequences has been removed.
The sequence was used instead of the regular intro in "Homer Simpson, This Is Your Wife", first broadcast on Fox on March 26, 2006 with the shots during the driving scenes mirrored so that the cars appeared to be driving on the right side of the road with the steering wheel on the left side of the car. This intro was produced by Pipeworks Software and directed by Chris Palmer.
For later reruns of the episode, the second version of the condensed opening from "Million Dollar Abie" was used.
Unlike several of the Treehouse of Horror episodes, this episode uses a Halloween-style version of the cut-and-condensed opening. At the beginning, the sky is eerily dark with redrawn versions of the clouds, thunder and lightning. The "THE SIMPSONS" text is somewhat the same, except that it's golden-yellow and is redrawn. The camera goes through the "P" to the classroom as usual, but the speed of the text zooming in is somewhat slower. In the classroom, Bart writes "The Simpsons Halloween Special IX." in blood (dipping the brush into a jack-o-lantern bucket when it's time for a refill). After he exits the classroom, Homer pulls into the driveway. Bart skateboards in from the right, jumps the retaining wall, and bounces off the roof of Homer's car only to land with a thud in the driveway. Lisa races in on her bike and slams into Bart's battered body. The impact launches her from the bike, and Lisa is firmly lodged into the wall of the garage, just above the door. Marge and Maggie cheerily drive in, beeping their horn, but Homer is too slow in getting out of the way. He becomes a permanent hood ornament for Marge's car. Meanwhile, in the Simpson living room Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees wait vainly for the family to arrive. Freddie glances at his watch, and says they should have arrived by now. Jason just shrugs and takes things in stride. Ironically, Homer being hit by Marge's car would later be incorporated into the mid-Season 20-present opening (although obviously without Homer being killed or becoming a permanent hood ornament.
Christmas (Kill Gil, Volumes I & II and The Burns and the Bees)
A Christmas-themed version was animated for "Kill Gil: Vols. 1 & 2" and later reappeared in "The Burns and the Bees". It begins with two lines of instrumental "Jingle Bells" and then the normal theme song begins. This version is similar to the normal version, except for several key differences:
- Everything outside is covered with snow.
- Bart's skateboard has been replaced with a snowboard.
- Everyone is wearing winter clothes.
- Mr. Burns and Smithers have been replaced by a Scrooge-esque Burns and Ghost of Marley-esque Smithers, and there are several Christmas banners in the plant.
- Lisa's saxophone solo is a jazzy version "Deck the Halls."
- Bleeding Gums Murphy, who is now deceased, has been replaced with Jasper in a Santa costume. Maude Flanders and Marvin Monroe however, remains in the pan across Springfield, despite having also passed away.
- Marge and Maggie's supermarket and car sequence have unfortunately been cut.
- Wendell is in the sax solo part.
- Patty and Selma are making snow angels.
- Wendell is talking to a girl outside instead laying out sick on the bus.
In the end, the family sits on the couch and the camera then pulls out to reveal that the family was reflected in a Christmas ornament, which rests on a Christmas tree.
The sequence was completely remade for The Simpsons Movie and features the orchestrated version of "The Simpsons Theme" as adapted by Hans Zimmer, which is slightly different from the first track of The Simpsons Movie: The Music CD. The pre-sequence scene is displayed in a 16:9 television aspect ratio, with black matte bars at either end of the screen. As the sequence begins with the "The Simpsons" text (in the Cartoonist Simple font) appearing out of the clouds, Professor Frink flies past in one of his inventions carrying a banner marked "MOVIE" and singing "Moo-vie! On the big screen!!" (on the DVD and Blu-Ray versions, he says "Moo-vie! On the small screen!!"). When he hits the bar on the left side, both it and the one on the right nudge out of view so that the image fills the entire screen.
Instead of going through the P of "SIMPSONS," the camera goes through the O of "MOVIE" as the banner falls loose. The camera zooms in on the town, with several major landmarks popping-up. The camera then zooms in to Mr. Burns, who is holding a toothbrush in his bathroom with Smithers who gives him toothpaste, the extra weight of the toothpaste causes frail Mr. Burns to collapse. The camera then zooms past Moe's Tavern into the Kwik-E-Mart where Apu is secretly changing the expiration date on one of his products from 2006 to 2008. Next the camera cuts to Springfield Elementary where Jimbo, Dolph and Kearney are hoisting Martin up a flagpole by his underwear and saluting it as if it were a flag. The camera then zooms through the window where Bart is writing lines for detention "(I will not illegally download this movie)" before finishing with Green Day who are hosting a concert at Lake Springfield, playing their version of "The Simpsons Theme and using a teleprompter to get its "lyrics" right.
The Simpsons Movie callback
For "He Loves to Fly and He D'ohs", the first new Simpsons episode to air after the release of The Simpsons Movie, a callback sequence was animated. The sequence begins with Bart writing lines on the chalkboard, writing "I will not wait 20 years to make another movie." The school bell rings and he skates outside the door, showing Groundskeeper Willie, Seymour Skinner, Edna Krabappel and other residents of Springfield restoring the town after the events of the movie. The Multi-eyed squirrel from the movie is seen jumping onto Bart's shoulders, but is hit by a wrecking ball into a billboard of "Burns' Constructions," suggesting that Mr. Burns is attempting to regain his lost wealth by making money from the incident.
The camera then pans on a large shard of glass, a piece from the destroyed dome. Bart rides on the piece, and weaves in between characters from the movie; President Schwarzenegger, Colin, Moe Szyslak (in his "Emperor" attire and shouting "Hey!"), Russ Cargill, and the Medicine Woman, who waves her hand in a similar manner to Chief Wiggum and shouts "Why you..."
The family arrives home to 742 Evergreen Terrace, which is shown to be still under construction. Homer's car arrives with the Pig Crap silo strapped on top. The family arrive to sit on the couch, where Plopper is currently sitting, with the first few notes of the "Spider-Pig" song being instrumentally played in the background. Homer then grabs Plopper, proclaims that he is his "summer love", and Plopper oinks.
In the opening to "To Surveil With Love", the Simpsons characters lip sync to Ke$ha's "Tik Tok" as part of the "Fox Rocks" event on the FOX Network. This is the first canonical episode that does not feature the original theme song in the opening sequence in any capacity, in the show's history. The sequence features the characters performing actions that relate to the lyrics of the song.
It begins with Lisa waking up in her room and sings "Wake up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy", and Bart opens a door from behind and says, "Yo, what up girl" in his voice, rather than the original. The bedroom set is pushed out by children and it ends up being outside of Springfield Elementary School, and Lisa sings, "Grab my glasses, I'm out the door, I'm gonna hit this city" while stealing Milhouse's glasses, and Bart shows up again saying, "Let's go" in his voice. Groundskeeper Willie walks in with a Jack Daniels in his hands and sings "Before I leave, brush my teeth, with a bottle of Jack." Edna Krabappel comes in to the shot when Willie starts to walk into the school, and sings "Cause when I leave for the night, I ain't coming back," pulling Willie into one of the classrooms.
Sherri, Terri, and Martin are seen with pedicures on their toes singing on a bench and sing, "I'm talking pedicures on our toes-toes." It pans to Ralph in the lost-and-founds basket, covered in clothes, singing "Trying on all our clothes-clothes." It goes to Skinner and Chalmers dancing and Jimbo, Kearney, and Dolph blowing up a phone as the lyrics "Boys blowing up our phones-phones" is sung. It goes to the music room where Dewey Largo sings, "Drop-topping, playin' our favorite CD's." The camera pans to outside of the school and shows Otto pulling up to the school in a bus and he sings "Cooling in at the party, trying to get a little bit tipsy," and falls to the ground.
It turns to Nelson, who is on the bus, fist-pumping, with Richard, Lewis, Melissa, Rod Flanders, and Todd Flanders in the background, and sings "Don't stop, make it pop, DJ blow my speakers up". The camera rapidly pans outside of the bus and zooms into Moe's Tavern, where Sam (barfly) is fighting a random man, Larry (barfly) is fighting Barney, and Lenny and Carl are strangling each other. Moe and Homer have their arms over one another's shoulders singing "Tonight, Imma fight, 'til we see the sunlight." Marge comes in, tapping her arm where her watch is and sings, "Tik tok, on the clock". She pulls Homer away from Moe and out of the bar while Homer nervously sings, "But the party don't stop, no". Snake Jailbird's car passes by and he sings, "Whoa, whoa, oh oh!" Chief Wiggum's police car passes by, with Lou in it with him, and they sing "Whoa, whoa, oh oh!"
As Marge and Homer walk home, we see Apu, Manjula, and the octuplets outside of the Kwik-E-Mart, singing, "Don't stop, make it pop". It goes to Comic Book Guy who sings, "DJ, turn my speakers up" while holding a hot dog that is stolen by Santa's Little Helper before he can eat it.
As the lyrics "Tonight, Imma fight, 'til we see the sunlight" are sung, we see Santa's Little Helper run to play with Snowball V, Abe Simpson and Old Jewish Man on scooters, God and the Devil making out, Ned Flanders with a finger over his lips to tell everyone to be quiet, Dr. Hibbert break dancing, Surly Duff, and Patty and Selma doing luau dances.
Marge and Homer get home where Bart, Lisa, and Maggie are dancing and singing "Tik tok, on the clock." During the lines "But the party don't stop, no," the Simpsons run into the living room and sit on the couch, which is then lifted into the air by several other characters celebrating their arrival, who are Milhouse, Willie, Skinner, and Krabappel once again, as well as Krusty the Clown, Nick Riviera, Rainier Wolfcastle, Dredrick Tatum, Jonathan Frink, Duffman, Mr. Burns, and Smithers.
The song ends with the Simpsons tired out on the couch, with Maggie notably sucking her pacifier. The TV set is in a different angle.
In "My Fare Lady", the opening is conducted in an 8-Bit synthesizer, while the animation was reminiscent to a sixteen-bit video game. The overall opening is similar to the Season 2-20 opening sequence, although with the following differences:
- Bart when landing on the pavement on his skateboard does not land on a pile of leaves.
- Frank Grimes has a brief cameo as an angel peeking from behind a corner watching Homer angrily.
- Luann Van Houten can be seen in the line behind Marge.
- Instead of regular grocery items, Marge's segment has as part of her checkout line a Super Mario Bros. Mushroom, a Chaos Emerald, and a bit coin alongside Maggie. The cashier who scans Maggie accidentally is Apu, unlike in the original who was an unidentified cashier. In addition, instead of the price for Maggie, it just shows a smiley face on the price display for the scanner when Maggie is scanned.
- Dewey Largo's band, except for Lisa, are playing with handheld gaming systems.
- The rod Homer discards on the way home makes direct contact with Bart, which powers him up and gives him 100 points, whereas in the original opening, it does not actually touch Bart at all.
- In addition, Bart drives past Ned Flanders as well as Maude Flanders' ghost, Princess Kashmir, several dogs, and bounces on Moe's head and gains 100 points, unlike in the original opening where those characters save for Moe aren't bounced on. Also, the Be Sharps have a brief appearance during Bart's stunt. Near the TV store are Poochie, Hans Moleman "deprogrammed" during the events of Burns' Heir, Roy, and Chief Wiggum, the latter of whom is the only character who appeared in the original opening. In addition, the Lard Lad statue briefly comes to life and winks just as Bart passes by and Marge drives up.
- During the driving segments for Marge and Maggie, the screen shows an overhead view, with cameos during the first outside car segment including Truckasaurus, the Egg Council Guy, and Ben the bear, and the second segment including Stampy, one of the Seven Duffs, and Number One of the Stonecutters. When it cuts back to inside the car, besides Marge and Maggie, it is shown that Santa's Little Helper and Snowball II are in the car as well, and when they honk their horns, Santa's Little Helper barks and Snowball II meows along with the horns.
- The crowd shot is mostly the same, although it also includes Edna Krabappel, the snakes from Whacking Day, Agnes Skinner, Seymour Skinner and Gary Chalmers talking with each other, Leon Kompowsky and Sideshow Bob, Pepi, McBain, Hank Scorpio, Lyle Lanley, Capital City Goofball, Troy McClure, Jacques, John, Joe Quimby, Prom-era Artie Ziff, Mindy Simmons, Kang and Kodos, Bobo, Charles Montgomery Burns, Waylon Smithers, Jr., Sir Oinks-A-Lot, Horatio McCallister holding Blinky, Krusty the Clown smoking, Mr. Teeny, She's the Fastest, the lamb from "Lisa the Vegetarian", Lionel Hutz, Fat Tony with a shovel, Phillips, Lurleen Lumpkin, Roger Meyers, Jr., Bart's "modified" weather balloon, and Jebediah Springfield. In addition, during the scene showing Martin Prince being bullied by the bullies, Kearney Zzyzwicz's son, Kearney Zzyzwicz, Jr., is seen with him. The characters from the original opening who are absent are the Winfields, Jasper, Abraham Simpson, Nelson Muntz, and some kids near the street. Maude is also absent, with Ned instead showing his kids a sign saying "left pwr."
- Instead of the interior of the garage when Homer runs inside to evade Marge's car, Homer is seen running through a green cyberspace corridor before disappearing through a corner.
- During the couch gag, the cyberspace fluctuates before forming a rift that has the family alternating between various forms, referencing various incarnations of them before disintegrating into multiple bits as it shows a surreal pillar showing Mr. Sparkle, Krusty, Kang and Kodos, Bart with an "Eat my Shorts" t-shirt and Lisa as an angel, before finally showing a ghostly Maggie going up to the TV and flying in as it zooms to the TV screen.
Dad Behavior opening
Bart, after writing "I will watch all 600 episodes without sleeping", leaves the school via skateboard, also bouncing off Barney in a leaf pile. This time, however, Barney gets irritated and breaks Bart's skateboard, to Bart's dejection. Meanwhile, Homer is about to take off when the plant whistle blows, but ends up accidentally eating and swallowing a carbon rod, which presumably kills him. Meanwhile, Lisa makes tracks while playing the saxophone as usual, only to accidentally knock herself out. Then Maggie is seen actually driving the car while Marge is asleep in the back seat, causing Marge to, when waking up and realizing what is going on, try to take back the wheel only to drive off a cliff road. Fortunately, the fall wasn't a steep one, causing the car to relatively safely land and plow through a barn, with Maggie putting her pacifier into a chicken. The car, however, runs out of luck when it sinks into a lake, killing Maggie and Marge (the latter turning up as a floating body). Bart, having presumably walked all the way home, then wonders where everyone is. He then grabs the portraits and then arranges them on the couch and mentions he has control of the remote now. It then cuts to the TV screen, which is slightly sliding due to it being balanced precariously on a media center shipping box.
Gone Boy and 'Tis the 30th Season use a unique Christmas version of the opening sequence, starting with a gray, snowy sky and Santa flying past The Simpsons logo in a rocket-powered sleigh. After passing through the "P", it shows Bart as an elf writing on the chalkboard, after which he exits the school on his snowboard after the bell rings. Outside, Groundskeeper Willie is making a snowman, which comes to life (an obvious parody of Frosty the Snowman) and starts to say "Happy Birthday!" but his head is knocked off by Bart's snowboard, followed shortly after by the body, upsetting Willie. At the Nuclear Power Plant, Homer is working on a candy cane and Lenny is changing the number of stock and brick markets remaning from 24 to 23 when the whistle blows, and Lenny falls down, like in the normal opening sequence, and Homer heads for home, unaware of the candy cane in the back of his coat. At the Kwik-E-Mart, Marge is placing groceries to be gift-wrapped and accidentally places Maggie, who gets gift-wrapped as well. After being placed back in Marge's shopping trolley, Maggie glares at Baby Gerald (who has "defective" stamped on his forehead) as usual, but then gives him a tiny present, which makes him happy. Back at school, Dewey Largo conducts the students playing "Jingle Bells" but is interrupted by Lisa playing her sax loudly, so Largo silently orders her to leave, and when Lisa briefly opens the door to play her sax again, the snow above her falls on her. Cut to Homer driving his bobsled, he discards the candy cane from earlier, which Otto Man takes and smokes like a bong, and Bart snowboards past the Grand Pumpkin, who is holding a sign saying "Wrong Holiday", Selma and Patty, who are dressed as Elsa and Anna from Frozen, and Snake Jailbird getting beaten up by a charity Santa. Maggie and Marge are then seen driving a sleigh pulled by multiple Santa's Little Helpers, only to end up in a race with Waylon Smithers and Mr. Burns (pulled by the hounds), the Cat Lady (pulled by her cats), the Sea Captain (pulled by seals) and Krusty the Clown (pulled by Mr. Teenies), but continue normally after Mr. Burns' hounds chase the other sleighs. After pulling up in the driveway, Homer's bobsled is bounced on by Bart, and after Homer narrowly avoids Lisa, he is hit by Marge's sleigh and thrown through the wall.
Parodies within the show
The opening sequence is parodied in several episodes of The Simpsons:
- Additional chalkboard gags are sometimes written by Bart during the episodes outside of the opening. These episodes include "Bart Gets an F", "Bart the Murderer and "Separate Vocations".
- A short parody as "The Thompsons" in "Cape Feare", when the Simpsons go into the witness protection program to avoid Sideshow Bob.
- In "Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie", on Parent-Teacher Night, Mrs. Krabappel gives Marge a full report on how badly Bart has been behaving in school, and then forces her to write "I will try to raise a better child" on the blackboard.
- In "Please Homer, Don't Hammer 'Em", Bart forces Principal Skinner to write "A Baby Beat Me Up" on the blackboard.
- In "Skinner's Sense of Snow", Bart forces Principal Skinner (who is in a dodgeball sack) to write "I ain't not a dorkus" on the blackboard to which Skinner complains it is a grammtical nightmare and about the cramp in his wrist.
- Once as "The Hurricane" in the episode "Hurricane Neddy".
- In "Lisa's Date with Density", Lisa receives detention for snickering at Nelson spraying Groundskeeper Willie outside. In addition to this, she writes "I will not be a snickerpuss" on the chalkboard.
- In the middle of "The Heartbroke Kid", the words "THE SIMPSONS" read "THREE WEEKS LATER", and instead of writing on the blackboard, a fat Bart is putting coins in the vending machine. He then (due to his weight gain) cracks the pavement when he leaves the school, bends the lamppost, runs over pedestrians, hits Marge's car and sends it spinning off screen, and crushes the roof of Homer's car, squeezing him out, before finally stumbling into the living room and apparently having a heart attack.
- In "Little Big Girl", Bart is awarded a driver's license, and a section of the opening sequence is shown with Bart at the chalkboard writing "So Long Suckers". He bursts through the school doors in Homer's car, instead of on his skateboard, and speeds away, doing all the same gags as the opening sequence, but instead of nimbly dodging all of the obstacles, he runs over them. Homer then pulls into the driveway in Marge's car instead of his own and steps out to enter the house, when the other car lands on him, and Bart walks into the house.
- In "At Long Last Leave", when the Simpsons move in to the Outlands, a fake opening begins. Bart uses spray paint, not chalk. Instead of Bart running out of the school, he uses a motorcycle, and the following two sequences are removed completely. When Homer returns home, Lisa has a helicopter and Marge uses a carriage. A fox replaces the TV.
- In "Looking for Mr. Goodbart", after Skinner punishes Bart detention for singing his own lyrics to "Grandpa, Grandma" for the grandparents on Grandparents Day, Grampa points out that Skinner is tough enough to punish a little boy, but is afraid to find out if he's tough enough to punish a Marine Corps veteran (which Grampa is a Marine Corps veteran), so Skinner decides to punish Grampa as well, forcing him to write "I just wrote one and I'm already tired" on the chalkboard. He then moans for being punished.
- Sherri and Terri are huge compared to Milhouse before the new opening sequence.
- Before the new opening sequence, Marge's car is a sedan instead of a station wagon.
- The Uranium Rod that accidentally gets caught on Homer's back looks suspiciously like the Carbon rod from Deep Space Homer.
- When Homer left his car, there aren't any boxes in the garage but when Homer runs away from the car, there are boxes.