There’s no shortage of dark spins on The Simpsons’ opening credits, but, even counting the one where Bart is left orphaned by the time he gets to the couch, the recently created “The Simpsons. Russian Art Film Version” is the bleakest depiction of the beloved cartoon family to date.
Created by animation channel Lenivko Kvadratjić (Lazy Square), the clip is a pitch black version of the familiar, cheery show opening that reimagines the characters as eking out a miserable life in the gutters of a realist-dystopian hellscape. Like the art film style it pays homage to, the short is scored to dramatic and discordant music and interspersed with black title cards that introduce the cast with biblical declarations of “Son,” “Father,”or “Mother.”
Its alternate Springfield is overcast with grey clouds and barren trees, and its characters are rendered as saggy-bodied, hollow-eyed husks. Homer, ashtray smoldering on a security desk, checks out from work and steals a lamp. Marge argues with the women working a grocery store checkout, spitting on the floor before pushing Maggie out into the industrial wasteland. Lisa busks in a bus station as baton-wielding police advance on her. The whole thing wraps up with the family (sans Lisa, which is eerie) dragging themselves to a filthy couch, Bart tying off in an adjoining room as Homer slaps Marge and she beats him with his stolen lamp. Blood splatters around the television.
If, after this depressing journey through art film despair, you want to cheer up a bit with some slightly less upsetting Simpsons couch gags, maybe watch the cast get horrifically murdered in a claymation short or lose hold of their corporeal forms in a pair of surrealist versions of the opening. We promise they’re more uplifting than Lazy Square’s work.