If you haven’t seen the Banksy intro from the recent Simpsons episode, you’re in for a treat.
But first, a word from Salon.com
It’s a bold move to the let one’s own troops fire upon oneself. But what would entertainment be without the master taking on a bit of public whipping from the servant? Conan O’Brien’s “Tonight Show” came to vicious life when the host’s “toxic” relationship with NBC became grist for his late-night barbs – just as David Letterman’s show did likewise in its waning Peacock network era. Anybody can make a talk show. Saying you’re putting that talk show up for sale on Craigslist takes a special kind of awesome. Similarly, is “30 Rock” ever better than when it’s taking potshots from within the belly of the beast, imagining a network strategy of “reality content made exclusively for your mobile phone” that doesn’t sound all that different from GE’s own “diversification strategy that includes aggressive cable acquisition, global expansion, investment in film, and the development of innovative digital distribution.” And if Geffen hadn’t told Weezer to give them something a little more commercial, we’d be living now in a world without the bird-flipping delight of their reply, “Pork and Beans.”
Despite the numerous compromises artists make along the road to commercial appeal, the strange wonder of Banksy’s collaboration with “The Simpsons” – and by extension, Fox – is a reminder that envelopes are made to be pushed. And sometimes, somewhere in the highly charged space between the outpouring of creativity and the opening of purse strings, something tense and strange and fascinating emerges. And it looks like a chained up unicorn.
- Mary Elizabeth Williams
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