tv meme, day 18: favorite title sequence
This one was probably one of the easiest choices in all the days of the meme. Sure, there are some great opening sequences, mostly of note to me are the recent ones from the Showtime series (United States of Tara, Dexter, Weeds, etc.) and some sentimental favorites (“I’ll Be There for You” from Friends comes to mind), but the truly best one has to go to Danny Elfman’s and the television animators’ wonderful collaboration on the opening for The Simpsons.
First of all, the creativity and sanity to bring a new touch to each and every opening sequence for 464 episodes and counting is astounding. We all know by now the running gag, even those of us who’ve managed to avoid seeing one episode of the show. Each episode Bart writes something new for punishment on the chalkboard, and it’s always worth avoiding the fast forward button. That’s how humorous these writers still are to this day. And then there’s the couch gag – which isn’t always new for each and every episode, but probably for at least half of them. And as the seasons go on, they seem to be more and more elaborate. But beyond the parts of the opening that change for each episode, there are also the wonderful detailed pieces throughout. From Lisa getting kicked out of band practice for wailing on her saxophone too creatively, to Bart skateboarding through a host of local characters, to Homer removing that pesky carbon rod from his safety suit, it’s all a visual smorgasbord.
Perhaps the most fun part of the sequence, beyond the chalkboard and couch bits, are the interactions between mother and daughter, Marge and Maggie Simpson. Starting in the grocery store as Maggie accidentally gets misplaced on the conveyor belt (she’s worth $847.63, fyi, apparently once the cost to raise a baby in the United States for a month), and then an alarmed Marge grabs her and hops in the car. From there you get a glimpse of Maggie maniacally driving the family car, only to zoom out and see that it’s in fact Marge, while Maggie is steering a toy steering wheel. Perhaps the reason I enjoy these two so much is that through it all, Marge and Maggie seem to be the best friends on display in the whole show. So thanks to the quirky fun and now insanely recognizable theme from Danny Elfman and the great attention to detail of the creators of the show, this ranks as my number-one opening title sequence.