Sunday, October 02, 2011

Surprise






I'll put some more production art and rough animation tests later in the week.
Meanwhile here's an interview about t with Amid on Cartoon Brew:

http://www.cartoonbrew.com/tv/exclusive-john-k-talks-about-his-simpsons-opening.html#more-50701

I also have a longer version of the same interview that I can put up.

125 comments:

James said...

that was absolutely the biggest shocker ever. i loved it, and knew it was you the minute it started. absolutely awesome, and I love your take on the characters.

CartoonSteve said...

Historic and off-model awesome!!

jeffreyJack said...

The perfect hybrid- JK you crack me up. Its a welcome relief from the Mustard Simpsons. I like my cartoons with bile but not jaundice. Hip without hepatitis.

clowd said...

I saw this and nearly flipped out! Surprise indeed! Thanks!!

Brian Damage said...

I saw tonight's Simpsons intro and went apeshit. Every millisecond was rife with spastic fantastic. I wondered to myself "is this John K?" and then there was your signature spraypainted in neon on the Hindenburg.

Wicked intro. Loved it.

bostonsportsfan said...

haha i saw that and wasn't sure if it was really you at first because theyve taken some joking jabs at you before

Mark Skull said...

That was so awesome!!!!! Great job! It was a joy to see you on broadcast tv again!

Nicholas said...

This is something I never thought I'd see.

How'd you end up doing this? Did they contact you or did you pitch the idea to them?

The Mush said...

Whatta surprise, John! I didn't know you were a Simpsons fan. Fantastic art on Homer and Bart especially.

Nathan J. Yoder said...

So, who are you? I could read your blog further to find out, but I only have enough interest to do this. Think of all the poor, lazy people googling after seeing your name on the simpsons.

AdamLore said...

Wow!!!

AdamLore said...

Is this on today?! There may actually be a reason to watch the Simpsons again...

Wat said...

I knew that style right away. Nice work man.

BlakeJ said...

Hilarious Simpsons! I like how you gave them all really jagged features.

Nathan: You could ask and wait, and he can call you an idiot. Or I could, because you could easily search "John K" in google.

Shawn Dickinson said...

Greatest cartoon moment in Simpson's history! I hope this paves the way for another John K TV show!!!!!

. said...

amazing, Ren and Stimpy guy!

BlakeJ said...

OK, wow! I just found out it was the Simpson's intro! I will be watching FOX's TV schedule like a hawk, and hopefully it will air again soon!

akira said...

you sure weren't kidding about a surprise! (thank god i don't have to sit through a whole night of adult swim) AWESOME JOHN! man, you really know how to keep a secret! THANK YOU!!!!!! Christmas came early this year

tb4000 said...

Haha, you were good to do this one, John. Very well done, man.

Shawn Luke said...

I just heard about this. So....when are they going to let you do a full episode?

S-Harkey said...

Kedzie and I are watching the google feed:

Cartoon Brew

tom said...

Have to copy what Brain Damage said. The whole time, I'm thinking to myself this HAS to be John K. So very disturbing. I loved it!

Kingfish said...

John- I LOVED this. I had it on my DVR and must have watched it 20 times in a row, there was so much great stuff to see. Fantastic!!!

James Sutton said...

That was incredible. Especially when Bart turned into FIRE

It's really great to see you animating again.

Paul B said...

John! Where we can see this? Is this another bumper for Adult Swim?

Steven M. said...

Very unexpected! I should of watched that new episode.

Zartok-35 said...

BEER!!

K-T said...

@Nathan J. Yoder

He's the creator of The Ren & Stimpy Show.

Scott Cardona said...

lol good doodles mr john

Shellybean said...

Wow... I really do miss this... John u really are awesome... instantly reminds me why I got into the animation industry... Thanx for this awesome surprise!!

Cody Clarke said...

That was fantastic! I wish The Simpsons would feature a different artist every week for the couch gag.

just me said...

I was thrilled to see the Simpsons intro tonight!!!!! I felt old when I thought about how long it's been, but great to see the work introduced to a new audience. (i.e. Nathan and the lazy googling generation) :p

Ryan Storm said...

I just found it on youtube, I'd have to say its one of the funniest things you've done this year!

Erik said...

hah, i was like wtf Robert Williams is doing the simpsons? then i saw your name.. cool beans.

akira said...

just saw it! man thanks john for showing americans why hand drawn animation is best again!!!! everything... design, movement... it's just so awesome! i can't even say anything that i could compare it to in terms of cartooniness and energy! THANK YOU!!!! P.S. if they merchandise those designs they're gunna rake in some serious moolah, hope you get a piece of it

technabob said...

John: Brilliant work. I hope you post a HD copy of the couch gag for the world to enjoy. (Hopefully, FOX will let you.)

Drewski said...

totally awesome. signature style. I knew it was something familiar. they should let you animate a skit like Halloween Horror Show.

Nate said...

Holy crap, pure awesome. Brings back unbelievable memories of the amazing animation you created with Ren and Stimpy. Thank you and this just makes me want more of it.

Deadheadphonist said...

This completely made my night. I looked at my wife 2 seconds in and exclaimed "John K!."

She laughed and then when the John K sig showed in the last few frames, we burst into mutual laughter and high 5's.

Thanks John... you made my Sunday.

LindsayDianne said...

It was amazing!
Great job, Mr. K!

Timath said...

I have been following your blog for years and never commented, but after just catching tonights simpsons episode by chance, I had to say something. Just like Brian, I went nuts. I knew it was you the very instant your scene started. So fantastic, John. I have been a fan, like many, since I was a wee tot, and it warms the cockles of my heart to see your work on TV again. I can't wait to see more. Keep up the good work! And, the new style you are playing with is a real treat to look at, by the way...

Trevor Thompson said...

Did anyone tape it?

Trevor Thompson said...

I love to watch that woman get beer!

Kyle Valenzuela said...

It's been some time since I been to your site, it was always seen as an underground crash course in animation.

But when I saw the Simpsons opening, it made be want to come back here.

Great stuff, keep up the good work

JMc said...

Nathan J.-

You better be trolling. Sweet Jesus.

kurtwil said...

Congrats, JK!
Now perhaps FOX will let you do an entire Simpsons episode, or at least an original entry for their annual "TREEHOUSE OF HORROR" anthology?

Elana Pritchard said...

Your opening this evening was beautiful and the drawings you posted up here are beautiful as well. I hope someday I'm a fraction of the artist you are. I admire you greatly.

-Elana

Andrew said...

I'm so sad I missed this! Is it available to watch online anywhere? Does Fox have it on their site (Fox video is blocked here in Canada).

Zach said...

What an awesome tribute! I was pretty floored to see that. Animation nerds everywhere rejoiced.

Zach said...

What an awesome tribute! I was pretty floored to see that tonight. I'm sure animation nerds everywhere rejoiced.

Mattieshoe said...

John, You managed to far surpass the amount of visual imagination from the past 19 seasons of The Simpsons put together in a matter of 40 seconds.

They've got some crater-sized shoes to fill now.

The Horns and the Hawk said...

Jesus H. Montgomery, Nathan, this is the man behind Ren and Stimpy! Show some backbone!

Pete Emslie said...

You can't fool me, John. I swear that's not the real Marge Simpson, but rather, the notorious Eddie Fitzgerald in drag!

Sandra Rivas said...

Thank you for the best 36 seconds of my life! Ugggh! I should have watched it on television!

It was awesome! Great job!

Susie said...

Since Bart isn't fire when he grabs the compress, how did the compress get hot? Why doesn't Homer try to leap off of it when he discovers that it's hot? Is there something I'm not understanding about the clip? I watched a youtube version with the crt going up and down the screen in gray bands. Are you going to post it here in quicktime?

Eri said...

this is full of win!

Roberto Severino said...

Whoa! I had absolutely no idea about this, since I haven't watched too much TV in a while and have been busy with finishing high school, but this opening completely blew me away. Excellent work, John. Off-model FTW. Hope you can go through the behind-the-scenes of this in future blog posts.

The Ol' DB said...

That was fantastic. I love surprises.

The Ol' DB said...

That was fantastic! I love surprises!

Was it torture keeping it under wraps, (i'm guessing as per a NDA or something?) because it was a very happy and welcome surprise, to see you work your magic.

It was better than Bansky's, at any rate. ;)

Pedro Vargas said...

Really amazing, John!! I really dug it! Lots of neat stuff all rolled into that small, little intro. So different and unique! I couldn't stop watching it! Really good job!

imaajfpstnfo said...

Heh, nice job! I sure was surprised by that!

Yowp said...

John, I echo Nicholas in that I'd like to know how this came to be produced.

I'm pleased to see that someone paid Cinemusic for the rights to use Jack Shaindlin's 'Asinine' and hope the deal included eventual home video use.

Carmine said...

OMG!! That was great and such a pleasure to watch. You have such an evolved and sophisticated style! That was the best thing "The Simpsons" had to offer in over 12 years. I downloaded the episode after seeing your post, and it was such a sight to behold. The animation was out of this world.

Joshua Marchant (Scrawnycartoons) said...

That was the BEST surprise ever!! Not enough synonyms for "amazing"

Guy Laird said...

OH man - just saw this week's "couch gag" on YouTube - Holy Flirking Shnit! As I've already quipped to a few other believers, if ANYONE could breathe life back into that tired old franchise, it would be John K. God bless!

Laylassong said...

Marge was my favorite! i knew it was johns work right away!I wish i would have known this was coming on the simpsons. I was totally surprised!Im so happy i get to see johns amazing cartoons again!

David Germain said...

That was a lot of fun to watch indeed. I love how you took the simple act of using an ancient gag like the whoopie cushion but then adding some brilliant movement and expression to it to make it much funnier.

Did they give as much leeway as you wanted with this or was there any amount of interference from either the Simpsons producers or Fox?

Isaac said...

Forgive me for being an armchair critic about this for a moment.
John K keeps talking about visual entertainment in animation in his blog, but this "couch gag" Simpsons intro is far from visually entertaining to me. It's saturated with poses and faces and crazy animation, but none of them "work", they all float by, the jokes are drowned out with too many things that move around at once.

Mark said...

Amazing! When are they going to let you direct an entire episode?

Frank said...

Set aside the style of your animation, it's unbelievable that they let you express your views on the characters to that extent.

But I guess they couldn't get you to do a couch-gag unless you had full visual and creative control :)

Again, loved it and looking forward to more of your work

Kirk said...

Huzzah!

Cotton Gin said...

Great Stuff. I wonder what the executives at Fox thought. I wonder what 95% of of the people who watched that could have possibly thought was going on. Could have possibly at any point looked at that insane/resplendent spectacle and have any clue how fucking amazing it really was.

Lavalle Lee said...

WOW! that was so great to watch, congrats John!

Jason G. said...

I thought you hated The Simpsons.....

CartoonFreak95 said...

This was an awesome surprise, if I can be honest with you! =) I love how you drew the characters, especially Homer, just fits right in with his character!

Keep up the good work, man-

Zac L.Super

JohnK said...

I love animating them, especially when they let me draw them off-model.

Timefishblue said...

Susie, it was a whoopie cushion, not a compress. Homer didn't get hot from sitting on it, he was just embarrassed and then "hot" in a "steaming mad" sort of way.

Anyway, this is amazing amazing amazing. Best thing ever to happen on The Simpsons.

Adele K Thomas said...

Well done John! Had to watch it via youtube but it was great to see your take on it.

Sven Hoek said...

The most fun looking simpsons ever. I couldnt get enough, I watched the intro about 30 times, had to get my fix of John K. trix. Like a sugary cereal for my eyes.

Roberto González said...

I thought it was interesting. I'll be sincere and say I didn't completely love it, but there were some cool things about it. The music was great and some of the poses kind of reminded me of the old Tracey Ullman shorts which were funnier to watch. As a couch gag it was nice I guess but it doesn't totally make a point about the show being more entertaining when more animated.

I hate the super stiff models they use in the show nowadays but this is the opposite, so many movements and wackiness that I find it a little distracting. Also they tend to make Marge more sexy these days, but she also looks dumber in this clip while Lisa and Maggie didn't do much, though I quite liked how you drew Maggie.

And though I actually like this coloring more I still think they look more iconic in their usual yellow aspect.

My point is it could have been a chance to show how the show would work with more fluid animation, but it's more like a crazy reinterpretation, entertaining but so different from the real thing that it's almost an entire different universe.

But there are some really cool drawings and animation there and it was an interesting take.I'm amazed they actually contacted you. I wish they went a little more off model from time to time in the actual show.

zillustration said...

Where i dig the visuals, the animation looks like it's following a scripted dialog (close-up of Homer at 60 sec mark). Would have loved to hear your voice talent ideas, too! Great piece, John.

Skid Knee said...

I'm so bummed I missed this last night!!

lizzie said...

best couch gag EVER! totally loved it!!!!

Kali Fontecchio said...

Teddy Roosevelt was a nice touch lol.

Jeremiah said...

Beautiful. Hilarious. I can't stop watching it.

MultiBaller said...

When you suggested watching it last night, I had no idea that this was coming in. Nicely done.

I'm still curious about the software used by animators. I understand that you use Harmony, which is a version of Toonboom. You've also talked about how it took some adjustment to get used to how a tablet "interfaces" with humans (over how, say, a textured sheet of animation paper looks/feels). A lot of those tools were in their infancy during the mid-90's and it took about a decade for those tools to mature.

Inks and paints were made by artists. Software is made by programmers. Photoshop took about 8-10 years to mature, and much of this was because photographers found early versions useful enough that they'd use them as they were while asking Adobe to make the software more accessible to them and their needs. Eventually the industry made changes to accommodate them, and today Kodak no longer produces camera film.

Back in the 90's, you suggested that computer animation was the future of independent animation. I'm curious about whether the communication between artists and programmers has improved.

What are your thoughts about the situation today?

Cotton Gin said...

When you were approached to do this, where you contacted by Matt or the other producers? It makes sense for Matt to contact you because you know each other but I always thought he was much more hands-off with the Simpsons since the mid 90's. And I know they had to bring back Al Jean after Mike Scully nearly ruined the show. . The reason I ask is because I know this is a big dead. Besides Banksy, I think your the only other person they outsourced a couch gag from in the last 20 something years.

Vincent said...

I think you've been possessed by Milt Gross. Which is a lovely lovely thing!

Ryan G. said...

Looks Great! Could someone post a link for those who missed it?

I found one on FOX's Youtube channel but it doesnt have sound FX or VO.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=supC7YdR0ps

Cotton Gin said...

Just found the interview. Please disregard my last comment. I am a dope.

Erik B said...

that was crazy :P

this realy made my day!

how did you get the guys from the simpsons so far to let you do this?

three cheers for john k! :P

Raf said...

Great work John. You made it fresh and exciting to watch. I wish The Simpsons would go back and learn from how they use to animate that cartoon. Up until around 2003-04, they had really funny storylines, animation wasn't perfect but it was unique, you could tell still hand drawn in a lot of ways. Today's Simpsons is basically Family Guy. I don't know how they work it out, but it's obvious that the same creative team behind Family Guy is slowly working their way into Simpsons, even with the way they lean on having guest celebrities now in almost every episode, to the gags that somehow remind me of Family Guy. What happened to originality?

Chris Ledesma said...

Hi John,

Chris Ledesma, SIMPSONS Music Editor here.

It was a pleasure meeting and working with you the other night. My daughters and I have been big R&S fans since the beginning.

I write a blog about working on THE SIMPSONS and I posted this morning about your visit to the dubbing stage including photos.

You can see it here: http://su.pr/1HlabV

Thanks again for your brilliant work and for being so gracious.

Archie said...

I was surprised to see The Simpsons let you do what you wanted to.

Trevor Thompson said...

Did any of Jim's drawings make the cut?

Neil-W said...

Brilliant ! . Had to watch it on YT as this wont be shown in the UK for weeks maybe months but i had big dumb grin on my face while watching it .
I thought damn ! John K's pushing it all the way to the edge and back again .Totally inspiring!

Carmine said...

Once again, great job! After watching it countless times, my only minor complaint is it would have been nice to see Lisa animated and in on the fun. But just awesome!

JohnK said...

She's animated in one scene but it's so fast you can barely see it. She watches Homer's brain fly out of his head.

Hard to get everything into a 30 second spot, but I tried. Some are complaining that there's too much going on.

Archie said...

I think everything is nicely balanced.

Any chance you could work with Matt Groening in the future on the simpsons or even futurama?

Trevor Thompson said...

Please put up the longer interview.

Will Finn said...

Hi John--Lamentably late congratulations on this revolutionary piece. Loving every frame of it.

Everybody who declares the end of 2D should see this. It's amazing what animation can do when the "factory settings" are turned off and the imagination runs wild. It's those tired habits that are dead, dead, DEAD, not the medium.

I hope bigger and better things are coming your way from this treat...

Ryan said...

Great stuff. I think what I love the most about the spot is the energy. You can really tell John was having a blast animating it.

I particularly loved the animation of Homer screaming "Beer!" It's the character of Homer distilled down to his basest instincts.

Between this and the Adult Swim spots, John's being producing some of his best work in a long.

Malik said...

PLEASE PUT UP THE LONGER INTERVIEW!!! :D

Trevor G. said...

As soon as I saw it I knew it was you from the first frame XD Either that or they were going to make fun of you. It was a HUGE surprise!

Joshua Kahan said...

That. Was. Bloody. Awesome.

Could you upload the key frames for that? It'd be really great to see it broken down without having to keep pausing the video.

Stephen Worth said...

The only functional TV in my house is in my bedroom, so Aualynn, JoJo, Eddie and I hopped onto my bed and watched the best 40 seconds on TV. It was a fun party even if it was very short.

Sex Mahoney said...

Fantastic couch gag. I guess you guys buried the hatchet after a quarter century.

Dave Mackey said...

You used "Asinine". You rock. Good show.

Roberto González said...

Even though I'd probably like to see some more clear poses here and there I think most of it is understandable and I got most of what was happening the first time.

But I had to rewatch it several times to get the word "D'oh!" coming out of Homer's mouth. Not sure if that's a good or a bad thing, but the fact that this happens at the same time of his brain falling off makes it really hard to read.

Lisa playing the saxo could have been pretty cool in this style, but yeah, you didn't have time for everything.

Jeremiah said...

Having to watch something more than once isn't a bad thing.

Chloe Cumming said...

John! Congratulations! This makes me very happy for some reason!

K-T said...

Yes please, John! A longer interview would be lovely.

Congrats again!

Cotton Gin said...

" Some are complaining that there's too much going on."

They are wrong and here is why:
You already eschewed every grain of predictability that can possibly be milked out of cliched Simpsons industry and over turned the stale-water of comfort that people nostalgically feel from watching a show for 20 years and have a understandable, yet lazy and combative resistance to something they are unprepared for and cannot understand. That is the mentality that can subconsciously sabotage an artist. My motto- do something great and then completely self destruct before anyone can fucking comprehend what just happened.

If there was less "going on" the same people who were sitting in their filthy tin-shanties, eating hour old damp McDonald-fries off a lifeless bounty paper towel, who turned on FOX early to catch Family Guy, in Shit Town USA would not appreciate it just as much as before. But for "us", it wouldn't be as perfect. It would be a half measure. It wouldn't be your vision without compromise. I assume of course.

I'm also going to assume that you, knowing the demographic of the audience that you were going to be animating for, was looking to put on a subversive and bar raising spectacle. - bill

JohnK said...

It's actually not that complicated.

It was only about 30 seconds long and I just wanted to get as much animation in it as possible. Something to freeze frame for later.

If I was telling a story in say 5 minutes the pace would obviously not be so frenetic

it's just supposed to be a bit of goofball candy surprise

Like you said, if I had paced it like a story cartoon, there would have been not much to see in a mere 30 seconds

Adam Gunn said...

Good stuff! I enjoyed the animation and the interview.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

I saw this at Steve's house and was flabbergasted! I knew it would look good, but I didn't know it would look THAT good. It was the best animation ever made for a TV show. I feel like i watched history being made.

I also saw a YouTube version that lacked vocal and sfx tracks. I wonder what happened there? Anyway, heartfelt congratulations!

Trevour said...

Loved it! Like many, I've watched it over and over dozens of times already. It celebrates so much in so little time... my only complaint is that it wasn't longer! Congrats John, and the crew that made it happen!!

John Will Balsley said...

Jesus fucking Christ, that was just wonderful! A beautiful celebratory nightmare of intense creation!

It was everything you do in just a few seconds, WOW!

Cheers! I really love it, I love what you do.

Thanks.

Jessica Trojan said...

The two things that inspired me most to be a cartoonist growing up was the Simpsons and the Ren & Stimpy show. Watching this the other night actually made me tear up. Since then I've watched this short a couple of dozen times, freeze framed all my favorite parts, and doodled your interpretation of my favorite TV family. Easily the best Simpsons couch gag ever.

AdamLore said...

I'm gonna have to agree with Eddie Fitzgerald on this one. Watching your new animation, it feels like watching history in the making.

Whether everything worked exactly as anyone else had expected is besides the point. I don't think I have ever see anything I have wanted to study every single frame of like this before.

This new experimental extra super visual style is that much more striking in a time where everything else so incredibly bland and boring and repetitive and contrived.

As soon as the intro was over and it went back into the standard animation, I looked away and cringed and turned to tv off. I'm willing to bet I'm not the only one.

Great work, John! Seriously.

Alison said...

if I had known that this was going to happen in advance, I would have deliberately watched the Simpsons for the first time in years! Lovely.

hurricanedylan said...

That was the best Simpsons couch gag i've ever seen! Fantastic work John!

lastangelman said...

Fun, fun, fun, fun, that's all you can say about this goofy couch spot. I almost can swear this looks completely hand drawn, but the signature at end looks like it was done with computer.
It made think of Family Guy episode "Road To Multiverse" where they did myriad animation styles even Disney. Man, would it have Killed them to have you do fifteen seconds of Brian and Stewie and Peter Griffin?
I'd give anything to see 23 minutes of a John K directed and animated version of Simpsons ... totally off the wall and original.

Frank said...

The Fox video on YouTube now has voices and sound effects :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=a5RflXVhaCQ#t=49s

(Timed to skip to the good stuff)

YuiYamana said...

When I saw this aired I went: "That looks like something from John K.' then I saw the sig and I geeked out!! I started screaming at my boyfriend and yelling 'JOHN K DID THAT AND I RECOGNIZED IT!!!'

I love your style. I love it when cartoons are this goofy. That's what makes them cartoons