As "The Simpsons" enters its second quarter-century, its still getting major notoriety for one minor aspect of the show: the ever-changing couch gag that opens most episodes. Hot on the heels of the Guillermo del Toro-directed Halloween couch gag comes another couch gag with a Del Toro connection.
Sunday's episode, titled, "Four Regrettings and a Funeral," features an extended 90-second couch gag that plays as an homage to "The Hobbit," the trilogy of films that Del Toro was scheduled to direct for many years before moving on to other projects. He still has a co-writer credit on the screenplay.
In the "Simpsons" version of the story, Springfield is a very Hobbiton-like town, nestled on the map amid Shelbyville, Critter Country, the James L. Brook and LAX Self-Parking.
Marge plays a Gandolfian wizard, Homer a bearded dwarf and Lisa, Maggie and Bart innocent Hobbits. They leave their home on an epic quest for the Comfy Couch.
Along the way, they encounter Moe as a Gollum-like creature living in a cave; Barney, Lenny and Carl as giant trolls and Mr. Burns as a cranky dragon.
The Halloween couch gag, released on YouTube three weeks ago, has drawn more than 21 million views.
It isn't the first time "The Simpsons" has traveled in the fantasy realm for its couch gag inspiration. Last year, the series did a version of its opening credits that was a Springfieldian re-creation of the "Game of Thrones" opening sequence.