The Openings of the
The Simpsons opening sequence is one of
the show's most memorable trademarks. Almost every episode opens with a title
shot coming through the cumulus clouds and into the school where Bart is writing
sentences on the class chalkboard, presumably set as a punishment by one of his
teachers for some mischievous deed or wayward comment; Homer is shown leaving
the power plant, with Mr Burns and Smithers in the background (second season
onwards); Marge and Maggie are shown checking out at the supermarket with Maggie
travelling across the scanner, ringing up at $847.63, the then-annual cost of
raising a baby (although a 'trivia question' shown as a wraparound for
commercials during the episode "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular" claims
that the register says "NRA4EVER" — National Rifle Association For Ever,
ironically and comedically portraying the liberal writers of the show as
The sequence then introduces Lisa (who leaves a band
rehearsal, usually playing a different saxophone solo); the family is then shown
on their way to their house at 742 Evergreen Terrace (the address varied in the
beginning, but the writers now use 742 Evergreen Terrace exclusively). The
members of the family weave dangerously through traffic and in between fellow
(and, from the second season onward, familiar) Springfield denizens, all
miraculously reaching home at the exact same time. Upon entering, they all speed
towards the family room couch where, in comedic parallel with the audience, they
settle to watch their "must-see" TV show.
For each episode, the sequence includes four
variations: Bart writes something different on the chalkboard, Lisa plays a
different solo on her saxophone, Homer screams in a different way (only done in
the first couple of seasons), and the family attempts to sit on the couch as
something goes awry in an often surreal manner.
In the syndicated version, part or all of the
opening sequence is usually cut in order to include more commercials in the
show's allotted timeslot.
The "couch gag" sequence is frequently used to
help show staff make the show longer or shorter, depending on the length of the
episode itself. Most couch gags last only about five seconds, but the longest
one on record lasted 46 seconds.
The first season opening sequence featured a
number of differences from the later seasons, including a shot of Lisa riding
her bike on the way home and Bart's way home consisting of snatching a bus stop
sign, forcing several dazed Springfieldians to chase the bus, rather than just
riding past a number of well-known characters.
The series' distinctive theme tune was
composed by musician Danny Elfman. The current arrangement is orchestrated by