Television: Take over the most famous sofa in the US

Simpsons fans can now submit 'couch gags' for the show's opening credits. It's the best seat in the house

Most iconic television credit sequences build their reputations because of repetition. But for 22 years, the opening credits for The Simpsons have instead made a virtue of variation. With every episode comes not only a new storyline, but also a new "couch gag": as the Simpson family converge on their home in suburban Springfield, they are greeted each time with a new visual route to the sofa.

It might be conceptual: one celebrated couch gag showed the evolution of the Simpson patriarch, from a D'oh-ing amoeba, to dinosaur fodder, to Homer sapiens. It might be post-modern and referential: in season four, the family arrived home to find the Flintstones on the couch; in season 14, Homer, on waterskis, jumped over a shark, just like Fonzie did in Happy Days.

There have been Lego and claymation couch gags, and, as if to demonstrate the show's firm grasp of the zeitgeist, a couch gag iPhone app, which Homer used to assemble his family in season 21. Perhaps the most celebrated couch gag of all came in 2010, with season 22, when the programme-makers invited graffitti artist Banksy to create his own. The credits sequence began as normal, but with Banksy spray tags visible all over Springfield.

The climactic, couch-based scene was shown projected on to a screen in a Chinese underground sweatshop, overseen by 20th Century Fox (property of Rupert Murdoch), in which small children painstakingly dipped each new animation frame in radioactive chemicals, or manufactured merchandise by hand, with the help of abused pandas, chained unicorns and dead dolphins.

Now Matt Groening and his fellow Simpsons writers are asking for contributions again – not from a celebrated artist, but from fans. "Submit your written idea for a couch gag (100 words or fewer) to appear in the opening credits of The Simpsons," suggests a message on the Fox website (fox.com/thesimpsons/couchgag), "and if your idea is selected as the winner, we may actually animate it."

The winning contribution, Fox claims, may even be aired at the beginning of next season's finale in May 2013. Says Homer: "We are looking for a brilliant, original way to get my butt on a davenport."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - Sheffield - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer position with a...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Advertising Sales Consultant - OTE £30k

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Gloucestershire's most innovati...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Advertising Sales Consultant - OTE £40k

£18000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Gloucestershire's most innovati...

Recruitment Genius: Advertising Sales Consultant - OTE £50,000

£24000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Gloucestershire's most innovati...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders