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All Hail the Lord of the Twin Moons: A Look at Last Night’s SIMPSONS Couch Gag

Last night’s couch gag on The Simpsons might go down as one of the oddest in the history of the series. The 26th season opener propels the “Sampsans” into a grey null space of protoplasmic, shriek-talking figures and might just be mainstream America’s first real introduction to Oscar-nominated animator Don Hertzfeldt.

The deliberately off-putting (and lengthy) clip blends live-action and animation while pitch-shifting the voices of The Simpsons clan beyond recognition (although I kind of think Yeardley Smith is voicing the tentacled Marge). Set in the year 10,535, it’s like Hertzfeldt boiled off all of the joy from the long-running animated series and skimmed the broadest cultural signifiers off the top. Then had aliens animate it.

The 38-year-old animator has quite a healthy list of credits to his name, starting with his first animated short, Ah, L’Amour. He went on to write, direct, and produce a half-dozen more shorts of before adapting his 2011 short “It’s Such a Beautiful Day” into a feature film of the same name in 2012. That experimental work picked up a couple of awards including the second place price from the Los Angeles Critics Association.

His most well-known work, however, was 2001’s “Rejected” (which you can see below). The premise is that the animator was recruited by the Family Learning Channel to create a series of shorts. However the final products – a collection of non-sequiturs assembled over the span of five weeks – were handily rejected. It might have had something to do with the octo-pig, or maybe the profanity. Who knows?


You can watch It’s A Beautiful Day in its entirety via Vimeo’s On Demand service.



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  1. Sam W says:

    What is the font they use in the video?

  2. Was first introduced to Hertzfeldt at a Spike and Mike’s Sick and Twisted Animation Festival at the Alamo Drafthouse…let’s just say my life has never been the same since.   He is a must for anyone who appreciates animation with a side of sick sense of humor.  And despair.  

  3. Juan says:

    you failed to mention that he won an academy award for rejected

  4. mike says:

    that is amazing

  5. I was so intrigued that I had to record the episode to share it with my husband.  After reading your article, I realize I was watching a really disturbed genius.  More, please!  

  6. smartbunny says:

    People on The Twitter were ever so confused.

  7. Ahneemaytor says:

    This is so psychotic and obtuse that they both scare me and make me want to laugh so hard that it hurts.

  8. Bryan says:

    I I I I have no words and hope to NEVER see such crap ever again.