*The following post is my contribution to Esoteric Rabbit's Simpsons Blog-a-thon. It might be considered somewhat of a lazy one (since all I've doneis basically post a bunch of youtube clips), but, once again, my Spielberg experiment is keeping me somewhat busy. Enjoy.
I remember that I was in Jr. High when The Simpsons first aired on Fox and I very quickly fell in love with it (though it took a while for my parents to come around). I had not yet seen The Simpsons Christmas special (otherwise known as "Simpsons Roasting On an Open Fire") nor had I ever seen any of the original Matt Groening-animated shorts on The Tracy Ullman Show, so the debut episode ("Bart the Genius") was my first real exposure to the fictional town of Springfield (the real one being only a 50-minute drive from my house) and one of the first things that left a major impression on me was that fantastic intro sequence (one of the best in television history IMO). I was immediately engaged by its simple, yet brilliant, manner of introducing the show's main characters to the tune of that memorable main theme composed by the great Danny Elfman.
Here is the intro as it first appeared in 1989 (minus the sound effects):
As you can see, the original intro was slightly different than the one that eventually came to be used for most seasons:
Here is a much beloved live-action version (shot in England) that they used for the opening of the show's 17th season:
Just for the sake of curiosity, here is The Simpsons intro in reverse. Bizarrely enough, it still works:
And finally, just in case you're sick of hearing the main theme, here is the thing that most people like about The Simpsons intro: the couch gags. Along with a different message being written by Bart on the chalkboard (although not every intro includes that beginning), every episode features a different joke involving the family's couch... and there are a LOT of them. Here is just a sampling of them (a couple of my favorites are the Get Smart parody and the Men in Black-esque camera pullback revealing that the entire universe is just a molecule on Homer's head):