Bart Goes Viral
Claiming copyright infringement, Fox TV on Monday yanked off YouTube a copy of the opening sequence of last Sunday's The Simpsons telecast, created by U.K. graffiti artist Banksy. It was quickly uploaded again by several YouTube users, and the original version reappeared this morning (Tuesday) with the notation that the one-minute, 44-second video has been viewed about 2.5 million times since Sunday. (The entire episode is posted on Hulu.) After Bart is seen writing "I will not write all over the wall" on the school blackboard (and all over the school-room wall), the scene switches to a dark factory where workers with Asian features are drearily drawing animation cells of the show and producing merchandise in sweat-shop conditions. Fox outsources animation work on The Simpsons to South Korea. Asked by the London Daily Mirror about whether Fox had shown any reluctance to air Banksy's opener, producer Al Jean replied "Fox has a remarkable ability to make fun of itself and be gracious." In a separate interview with the New York Times , he said, "I have to say, it's very fanciful, far-fetched. None of the things he depicts are true. That statement should be self-evident, but I will emphatically state it." Jean indicated that Fox had to sign off on the additional cost of the sequence. "I couldn't have just snuck it by Fox. I'll just say it's a place where edgy comedy can really thrive, as long as it's funny, which I think this was. None of it's personal. This is what made The Simpsons what it is."