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The Simpsons are going to South Park, or at least to some weird, non-copyrighted version of it, for an upcoming couch gag. After the family's living room painting goes "missing," Homer jumps out of the show's animation style to find the culprit, and what follows is a sequence of cameos that can be appreciated by all generations of animation junkies.
After an exchange that manages to spike in a reference to The Big Lebowski, we see Homer exit The Simpsons and jump into a crudely drawn animated world he likens to a "3rd-grade shoebox diorama." There, he's met with a flurry of swears and obscenities from none other than...some generic looking kids meant to resemble the kids from South Park. Ah, licensing.
Homer moves on, only to get into a death match with the California Raisins, who were possibly still popular when The Simpsons first debuted. Finally, Homer finds his painting in the home of another claymation character, Robot Chicken's "Nerd." But Homer's victory comes much to the dismay of the family, who is in the process of replacing the "art," with something better. Marge's reaction is something that would feel right at home on South Park, too.
This is not the first time The Simpsons has spoofed on South Park, and it's honestly not the best homage, either. In total, the series has made mention of their popular animation competitor 3 other times in the series, with my favorite nod appearing in "Oh Brother, Where Bart Thou." In that episode, Bart, Milhouse, Nelson and Ralph don the outfits of South Park Elementary students Stan, Kyle, Eric and Kenny. Ralph, dressed as Kenny, ends up getting hit by school bus driver Otto, who then shouts "Oh my God, I killed Kenny!" which is the classic tagline from the Comedy Central series.
While The Simpsons has poked some fun, South Park dedicated an entire episode to the Fox series. Fans will remember "The Simpsons Already Did It," in which Butters attempts to commit a villainous deed, only to accidentally keep paying homage to The Simpsons. The episode spurred from an inside joke in which writers were trying to come up with ideas for South Park but kept realizing The Simpsons had already done a lot of the ideas they were having. Another episodic reference came when a character resembling Bart Simpson helped Eric Cartman destroy Family Guy. Side note: it looks just as weird and out of place to see a Simpsons family member in South Park, Colorado as it is to see a knock-off South Park character in the Simpsons couch gag above.
For those already gearing up their arguments as to why The Simpsons is better than South Park or vice versa, it's unnecessary. Both shows' writers have a camaraderie between them and have exchanged pleasantries each time references are made. Both have paved the way for primetime animated television and continue to break new ground with each year they are on television.