Fans of America's most dysfunctional family, The Simpsons, will be familiar with the couch gag that kicks off every episode. From alien invasions to time travel, the famous sofa has been subject to extreme transformations over the course of the animation series. But this quarantine-themed offering, which sees the family fly off on an action-packed adventure around Springfield, is one of the most topical.
Don't worry, no lockdown rules have been flouted here, the fast-paced jaunt takes place within the futuristic world of virtual reality, and the offbeat, abstract animation style deployed totally reflects that. This is Springfield as you've never seen it before. We just hope Homer is using one of the best VR headsets for 2020.
Want to dive into The Simpsons? Try Disney Plus free for seven days.
Bart’s line writing punishment doesn’t seem so bad here
The sequence (below) supercharges the usual events of the opening credits, adding an extreme sport edge to everything the family does. Think Homer skydiving, Bart snowboarding and Marge surfing. Lisa gets to dive in the deep sea, and Maggie's tricycle skills are out of this world. Everything that happens is super-familiar, but not quite as you know it.
It's the animation style that makes the piece so invigorating. The usual warm colours and soft lines are gone, replaced by a much edgier design. The colour palette is vibrant yet limited, while the abstract lines and graphic textures rough things up and emphasise that 'extreme' edge. Plus, the quick and often glitchy transitions offer pure adrenalin surges.
We're all way too acquainted with our sofas at the moment, which this animation reflects perfectly. With a hard-hitting soundtrack, the sequence is fast, free and dreamlike, smashing that slight feeling of claustrophobia that's settled over the world and opening up new possibilities. We've recommended spicing things up with Google's AR app, but this takes it to another level that we'd love to try out.
11 top animation tools for digital artists24 cool CSS animation examples to recreateHow to make an animated video: Expert advice