The checkout gag in current Simpsons title sequence may boast smoother animation, better-defined ceiling tiles, shading that exists where it didn’t previously, and that random baby with the unibrow who scowls at Maggie, but golddurn if the old title sequence didn’t wear it better, with actual emotion displayed by the characters, particularly Marge, who looks like a robot as her child is snatched away and scanned by a supermarket employee in the new checkout gag.
A blog entry by the Simpsons animator who says the supermarket scene was his explains the process and doesn’t come across as too happy with the result:*
The super market-This whole scene was mine. I didn’t like what they did where they cut pieces of body parts and moved them in the computer ie. Maggie’s head etc. It looks like it was done in flash. About the Marge turn, I had originally done a version where she did a nice head turn but, again, they didn’t want it. “Just have a simple head turn because we want the joke to be Maggie and the unibrow baby,” they told me. I didn’t know they were going to stiffen it up that much, I’m just defending myself because that seems to be the first thing people mention is Marge. They kept my Maggie scan and popping out of the bag though and in my defense they added the fist shaking later, I didn’t do those 2 drawing cycle *eck*
Cartoon Brew [writing not about this animator, but the calcification of cartoon franchises in general]: “If a Hell exists for animation artists, I imagine it would involve having to work on later seasons of The Simpsons.”
(via Cartoon Brew)
*: Normally, we link and source such material as this revealing blog post; however, we have not done so in this case, as the Cartoon Brew commenter from whom we found out about this entry expressed concern that the animator in question would get in trouble with FOX if the network found out. The blog entry quoted here is real, we’ve read it, and you can currently find it with a little bit of Googling.