The Simpsons is full of brightly colored characters cracking jokes and providing goofy sight gags, but as fans are well aware, this is a show that is not afraid to get abstractly dark and disturbing when the time calls for it. For whatever reason, the time came calling for the couch gag airing with this weekend's new episode, and what we have below is one of the most morbid sequences in The Simpsons' long history. Enjoy?
Making waves in the last week for its years-ago prediction that Donald Trump would be President of the United States, The Simpsons has put out a couch gag that is as profoundly dismal and off-putting as just about anything the show has delivered in its 28 seasons. (Including that whole "real" Seymour Skinner fiasco.) In case you didn't watch and just automatically assumed that "Bart Finally Gets Control of the Remote" was signifying optimism, know that Bart only got control of the remote at the end of the couch gag because the rest of his family is dead. ("Dead tired of baby-proofers who don't provide a free estimate...")
After things kicked off somewhat ominously with a creepy, dead-eyed Homer balloon floating through the sky, we got a fun reference to the 600-episode marathon for the chalkboard gag, but that's when it became clear things were off. Barney is no longer willing to forgive and forget Bart landing on his leaf-covered stomach, and the drunkard breaks Bart's skateboard in half. And then Homer accidentally ingested the carbon rod in the power plant, causing this self-choking bit that one has to assume Bart would love to watch vengefully.
One could be fooled into thinking this was just a lark, but then came Lisa's oh-so-familiar band class moment. Instead of exiting the classroom as she's done for almost three decades, Lisa gets hit by the door, with her saxophone landing on her head hard enough to kill her. Then came a pure nightmare scenario for any parent, as Marge wakes up in the backseat of the car as Maggie drives through a barn (picking up a chicken passenger) and into a body of water, where only Marge's and the chicken's bodies float to the surface. It gave me all the Sideshow Bob groans.
I mean, WTF? I love the darkness, mind you, so I'm not complaining. But I'm not used to The Simpsons making my skin crawl like that. For both of these last two parts, the most effective part is how the camera remains staid for just a second or two too long. I need a shower or something. We've seen some really odd couch gags from the likes of animators Bill Plympton and John Kricfalusi, but this one takes the cake. (And it's likely a funeral cake.) It still can't beat this fan-made version, which would give inanimate objects nightmares, but it's effective nonetheless. I'm really, really glad this wasn't the one they put out in VR.