Banksy film led to Simpsons scene
The Simpsons producer who invited Banksy to create an opening sequence for the show hit on the idea after seeing the film he directed.
Executive producer Al Jean said he asked the British street artist to create a so-called "couch gag" after seeing Exit Through The Gift Shop, which was released earlier this year.
Banksy's opening sequence took a darker-than-usual turn with Sunday's episode, depicting the animation process for the Fox cartoon series as sweatshop drudgery performed by an exploited Asian underclass.
It began with the sight of hometown Springfield covered with graffiti - and tagged by Banksy himself.
Then, when the Simpson family gathered on their living room couch, that image became a reference shot for legions of workers in a grim industrial complex where they churned out Simpsons merchandise.
That merchandise included Bart dolls stuffed with the fur of kittens tossed into a wood chipper, and DVDs whose centre holes were punched by a forlorn-looking unicorn's horn.
The entire enterprise was housed in a dreary-looking factory sprawl surrounded by barbed wire and identified by the looming 20th Century Fox logo and searchlights.
Throughout its history, The Simpsons has never hesitated to lampoon its network bosses and other Fox programming.
But Sunday's self-inflicted jab was inspired by the fact that much of the production work for each Simpsons episode is outsourced from the series' Los Angeles creative hub to studios in South Korea.
First, the Simpsons casting director had to track down the famously elusive artist, and a few months later his work was submitted.