HomeFashionThe Simpsons Showrunner Explains Hiring Fans To Create New Couch Gags

The Simpsons Showrunner Explains Hiring Fans To Create New Couch Gags


The Simpsons showrunner Matt Selman discusses hiring fans to create new couch gags. Selman started off on the show’s writing staff, eventually becoming an executive producer in 2005; as of 2020, he serves as one of The Simpsons’ co-showrunners. Groundbreaking as the first successful adult animated series since its premiere, The Simpsons is currently airing season 34.

Now, Selman explains to GQ why The Simpsons sometimes hires fans to create new couch gags, a running visual joke during the show’s opening credits. He emphasizes how important it is to “embrace” fans and their ideas and how it allows the show to stay connected to a “new generation” in a meaningful way. One example he shares is of a gag in which the Simpsons family members are depicted as teenage versions of themselves throwing a house party. See Selman’s full quote below:


Another cool thing we’ve done with the couch gags is to reach out to fan artists. I feel like it’s really important to embrace people that love the show and love to reinterpret it in their own personal style. Like we had a young gentleman who lives in Venezuela, he used his designs of the teenage version of The Simpsons for a couch gag on an episode. And I think it connects us to a new generation of Simpsons fans in a really special way.

You know, David [Silverman] animated a classic Simpsons sequence of Homer eating his way through New Orleans, then these Swiss superfans recreated it themselves, eating the food, the exact food, in the exact way that David animated it. […] They now do couch gags for us. They’ve done a couple: they did one with, like, potato stamps of The Simpsons, they did one like a Google doodle.

Related: Why The Simpsons Season 34 Keeps Changing Its Opening Credits

Simpsons Couch Gags Have Been Some Of The Show’s Most Creative Moments

An image from The Simpsons couch gag designed by Banksy

Viewers often look forward to the couch gags, which are invented anew in almost every episode. A few standouts include a crossover with The Flintstones; the family in frog form; and a live-action flipbook of hand-drawn scenes. The possibilities are limitless, given that the gags are not bound by the storyline of any given episode or arc. The concepts range from normal to outlandishly absurd, as do the types of media and animation, including one in claymation and another one famously in the signature style of animator and director Sylvain Chomet. The Simpsons couch gags have consistently acted as one of the ways in which the show is able to stay innovative and unpredictable, even in their formatted recurrence.

Why More TV Shows Should Hire Fan Artists

The Simpsons as a Swiss army knife in a couch gag

Other shows should take note of The Simpsons’ outsourcing of animated sequences to fan artists. In addition to allowing fans to pay tribute to something they love, hiring fan artists keeps shows connected to their base and introduces a free flow of ideas that can prevent rigidness and repetition from setting into a show’s structure. It’s also a great way, content-wise, to add a new set of eyes and minds to make surprising and refreshing content. Finally, it extends crucial opportunities to previously unknown artists.

Hopefully The Simpsons will continue to inspire other shows in its approach to hiring fans, as it has provided ample inspiration to other media – the list of which includes shows like Family Guy, The Office, Malcolm in the Middle – in a myriad of ways. The show has a larger-than-life legacy, evidenced in the many records it holds, including as America’s longest-running animated series, sitcom, and scripted primetime television series. There are no signs of stopping, either, with The Simpsons season 34 currently on its midseason break and set to return in January 2023.

More: Which Seasons Were The Simpsons’ Golden Age (& When It Ended)

New episodes of The Simpsons air Sundays on Fox

Source: GQ


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Denis Ava
Denis Avahttps://bizgrows.com/
Denis Ava is mainly a business blogger who writes for Biz Grows. Rather than business blogs he loves to write and explore his talents in other niches such as fashion, technology, travelling,finance,etc.

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