Establishment iconoclast Banksy just took his next step into the mainstream. The street artist, known for his pranks that stretch from painted urban walls to film, has directed the opening sequence for The Simpsons television show.

The animation is an interesting vehicle for Banksy given its massive reach, the TV equivalent of a well-placed wall tag; it’ll reach millions of viewers for sure. The question is, what can viewers take away from Banksy’s latest work?

Similar in tone to his other work, Banksy takes on The Simpsons with a healthy dose of cynicism and a decidedly dark sense of humor. The narrative of the opening sequence is a kind of an uncovering of the classic TV show, exposing a dark underbelly of animation sweatshops and factory lines, which the Daily Mail explored:

The extended sequence was apparently inspired by reports the show outsources the bulk of their animation to a company in South Korea, according to the BBC.

The street artist claimed his storyboard led to delays, disputes over broadcast standards and a threatened walk out by the animation department.

‘This is what you get when you outsource,’ joked The Simpsons executive producer Al Jean.

Still, it’s less marxist critique and more high school joke.

Our rating: 7.5/10 for excellent juvenile humor, but lacking art historical references. We suggest reading up on your Walter Benjamin.

Related: The NYTimes Artsbeat blog talks to Al Jean, Executive Producer of The Simpsons.

Fox forced YouTube to take down the segment but thankfully Hulu has it up … for now.

Kyle Chayka

Kyle Chayka was senior editor at Hyperallergic. He is a cultural critic based in Brooklyn and has contributed to publications including ARTINFO, ARTnews, Modern Painters, LA Weekly,...