Now in its 28th season on FOX, The Simpsons is still going strong. The venerable animated comedy series, which is both the longest running sitcom and longest-running animated show in the history of American television, may have cycled through numerous writers and showrunners in its nearly three decades, and upgraded technologically in various ways, but Homer is still Homer, Bart is still Bart, and the family is still the family. Fans will have a chance to celebrate their favorite family again this Thanksgiving, with the broadcast of a second, even longer Every Simpsons Ever marathon on FXX.
Currently, The Simpsons certainly isn’t as big a part of the cultural zeitgeist as it was at various times in its past, especially the early 1990s. But it still does two things in particular that continue to bring it widespread attention even in the era of social media and viral video - the annual Treehouse of Horror Halloween episodes, and the occasional, very imaginative couch gags in the opening credits of each episodes. And now, the two will be combined in a unique way for The Simpsons’ upcoming milestone episode.
Fox announced that, for the series’ upcoming 600th episode, The Simpsons will offer the couch gag in virtual reality. The episode is Treehouse of Horror XXVII, which is scheduled to air Sunday, October 16. The virtual reality experience, titled Planet of the Couches, was developed in conjunction with the Google Spotlight Stories team and Google Cardboard. The first 25,000 fans of the series to sign up at simpsonscardboard.com will receive a “Free Extremely Limited Edition SIMPSONS Google Cardboard,” in order to view the experience along with the iOS and Android Google Spotlight Stories apps.
The press release even includes a wonderful quote from Homer Simpson himself:
“At first we had concerns about working with Google because we didn't know who they were, but then we googled the company and were very impressed"
You have to hand it to The Simpsons for keeping up with the technology of the times; the series, after all, is more than a decade older than Google itself. In recent years especially, the couch gags have been among The Simpsons’ most creative material, which have brought the series its most attention.
Sure, the latest iteration of virtual reality has yet to capture the public’s imagination in any meaningful way or gain mass adoption. But the technology is still young, and The Simpsons' effort in particular is offering the relatively cheap Google Cardboard product free of charge to 25,000 early adopters.
The Simpsons’ Planet of the Couches and the rest of Treehouse of Horror XXVII will air Sunday, October 16 on FOX.