Shout all you want that The Simpsons hasn’t been good for the past [insert number less than or equal to 16] years; either way, you can’t deny that the show’s recent spate of elaborate, extended couch gags has led to some dazzling, audaciously creative stuff.
This is especially true when The Simpsons turns over its opening to famous animators and filmmakers like Michal Socha, Guillermo del Toro—and, most recently, indie idol Don Hertzfeldt, beloved for absurdist fare like the Oscar-nominated short film Rejected. (Contrary to semi-popular belief, he has nothing to do with those lookalike Pop Tart commercials from 2011; as the F.A.Q. section of his website states, “Unfortunately it seems to be the vogue these days for creatively bankrupt corporate types to copy his work, which is why you may be noticing an abundance of vaguely familiar, cowardly lifeless parrots parading around selling Pop Tarts or mobile phones.”)
Hertzfeldt’s mind-blowing, 90-second opus—which Simpsons executive producer Al Jean calls “definitely the most insane one we’ve ever done”—has to be seen to be believed. Suffice it to say that the “gag” starts out with an amusing look at the show’s origins before venturing into a trippy vision of a distant future in which all remaining sentient beings hail the dark lord of the twin moons and television is beamed directly into an eager public’s exo-skulls. (Naturally, The Simpsons—er, Sampsan—is still on.) Seriously, just watch it:
And just in case you can’t get enough of Hertzfeldt, here’s “Rejected”: