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The Simpsons HD opening credits

From February 2009, The Simpsons is aired in High Definition and widescreen. Due to this new format, the opening credits sequence had to be reanimated. While the credits largely follow the same pattern, there are many differences, including new characters, scenes and running gags! We've meticulously listed them below.

Pan into Springfield

In the very first scene, a three-eyed crow flies past. It caws as we move into a sweep over the power plant - this is the same crow we've heard from every past establishing shot of the plant.

From there we go past the tire fire and to Springfield Town Square, where Kearney and Jimbo saw off the head of Jebediah Springfield. It lands on Ralph Wiggum.

Next we follow a road towards Springfield Elementary. Look out for: The Android's Dungeon and Baseball Card Shop, Phineas Q. Butterfat's Ice Cream Parlour (with Marge-esque cone on top), Lardlad Donuts (the three-eyed crow sits atop the donut), and a billboard. Initially the billboard said Krusty: Now Doing Funerals but it has become a new running gag, changing every episode.

Bart's Blackboard Gag

This is still largely the same; however, notice the framed photo of Homer as an astronaut on the wall. When Bart flies off the school steps, he lands on a pile of leaves, which it turns out are covering Barney. He lets out a belch as Groundskeeper Willie shakes his fist.

Power Plant

Homer still leaves work with plutonium stuck to his back. In the background, however, Burns and Smithers are absent: instead, Lenny and Carl try to add a day to the "no accident" count, but Lenny falls off the ladder.

Supermarket

Patty & Selma buy a trolley-load of cigarettes. When Maggie is scanned, the running total on the checkout doubles from $243.26 to $486.52 (i.e. she 'costs' $243.26), as opposed to her previous price of $847.63. Matt Groening stated the original figure was the monthly cost of raising a baby in America - does this mean that 20 years later, it's much cheaper?

Among the magazines are Donut Fancy, Anxious Mother and Peephole. An advert on the back of Marge's magazine reads Absolut Krusty. Marge is buying Frosty Krusty O's, Mr. Sparkle, and Tomacco Juice.

When Maggie is plonked in the trolley, Gerald (the monobrow baby) is in the neighbouring trolley. They shake their fists at each other.

Lisa's saxophone solo

Back at the school, several new kids have joined the band practice:

  • Martin Prince
  • Database
  • Ham (one of the Superfriends)
  • Cosine (one of the Superfriends)
  • Richard (an old character from the first Season!)
  • A Jessica Lovejoy look-a-like, with purple hair and clothing
  • Colin (from the movie)

A photo of Bleeding Gums Murphy is on the wall behind them. Sherri and Terri are playing handheld consoles instead of flutes. Lisa does her usual solo, but now she pops her head back round the door after leaving.

Round town

Otto catches and eats Homer's plutonium when Homer throws it out the car.

As Bart skateboards past the shops, there are some character changes. Sideshow Bob swipes at him with a machete. Bleeding Gums Murphy and Jaques are no longer present, and Barney has been replaced by Comic Book Guy (since Barney was busy sleeping under some leaves!). Helen Lovejoy, Apu, Moe and Chief Wiggum remain - though Apu is with his eight kids (previously he was walking a dog). Disco Stu, Crazy Cay Lady and Big Rich Texan are new. (Why those three characters were chosen I'll never know!)

As Bart skates across the road, Hans Moleman lifts the manhole cover and pops his head up from the sewer. Marge runs over the cover, pushing Moleman back down.

Maggie still appears to be driving the car for a few seconds, however, on the pan out, Grampa is also in the car. When Marge and Maggie toot their horns, he wakes up startled and his teeth fall out. Also note Maggie's upgraded Krusty brand steering wheel.

Pan across Springfield

The super-fast pan across Springfield appears to be more-or-less the same, but there are quite a few differences. A Duff blimp flies at the far left of the scene, and El Barto graffiti is on the wall.

Characters removed

  • Random kids playing at the far left
  • Nelson and his goons.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Winfield
  • Grampa, Herman and Jasper (plus the retirement home and other oldies)
  • Dr. Marvin Monroe
  • Otto
  • Maude Flanders
  • Ned Flanders

Characters added

  • Skinner, his mother and Superintendent Chalmers
  • Groundskeeper Willie, with tractor
  • Ralph Wiggum (playing in the sand on Frank Grimes' grave)
  • Dolph joins the bullies picking on Martin
  • Squeaky-Voiced Teen
  • Mayor Quimby and Miss springfield (sashes interchanged)
  • Cletus and Brandine
  • Ballet teacher from Smoke on the Daughter (an odd choice!)
  • Plopper/Spider-Pig
  • Mr. Burns and Smithers
  • Captain McCallister (holding Blinky)
  • Kang and Kodos (in spaceship)
  • Krusty
  • Bumblebee Man and Luigi (the chef)
  • Fat Tony, Legs and Louie (burying a body)
  • Snake (stealing Lou's gun)
  • Ms. Hoover (replacing Otto, and trying to change the bus' tire)
  • Duffman
  • Jessica Lovejoy (now back to her non-purple self)
  • Sideshow Mel and Mr. Teeny
  • God and the devil (in the distance, shaking fists at each other)
  • Todd Flanders (with Rod and their woodpeckers)

Driveway & Couch gag

On the driveway, instead of being comically chased into the living room by Marge's car, she now hits Homer and he goes flying through the wall, leaving a cartoony outline.

The couch gags appear to follow the same format - though the first HD episode's couch gag in extremely long and convoluted. The notable change here is that the family are now watching a HD widescreen television - though it falls off the wall and smashes!

Alterations

The second HD episode, How the Test Was Won, made a few changes to the opening sequence:

  • At the very beginning, the crow flies right-to-left instead of left-to-right.
  • When the statue head falls on him, Ralph says it's dark! instead of aah!
  • There is a new billboard (we assume it will be changing every week).
  • Barney says hey! instead of belching when Bart lands on him.
  • Jessica Lovejoy is no longer purple in the school band scene.
  • Disco Stu says whoa as Bart skates past (previously silent).
  • The television doesn't fall off the wall at the end.
Cloud opening