554 Couch Gags from The Simpsons

YouTube / Omni Verse
YouTube / Omni Verse / YouTube / Omni Verse

Since its second episode, The Simpsons has featured a "couch gag," a short segment of the opening credits that changes from episode to episode (though there are repeats). The gag occurs when the family plops down on their couch to watch TV. Over the 26 seasons of the show, the couch gag has evolved into its own art form, testing the boundaries of what can possibly fit in the opening credits of a TV show, and taking that opportunity to show what is effectively its own animated short. If you're curious, Wikipedia has an exhaustive list of Simpsons couch gags, which is suitably epic.

And today, Internet hero Omni Verse has put all 554 couch gags to date into one video, in a freaky grid. (Note that the grid is a little off because the show went widescreen midway through its run.) The video is interesting in part because it shows how many repeats gags run in the early episodes (you can spot them here as tiny squares that look the same). But it's more interesting to see the outliers -- the gags that go on far longer than the others. And it's most interesting (and frightening) to hear the sound of 554 couch gags at once. This is the sound of madness, people. Enjoy:

Don Hertzfeldt took the couch gag to its craziest point last week, projecting the series into an infinite, glitchy future. I love this, but I can see how it might drive viewers into a state of deep insanity. Well, here goes nothing:

And if this kind of exercise interests you, perhaps you'd like to watch 130 episodes of The Simpsons simultaneously. At least for a few minutes.