'The Simpsons' Futuristic Opening Credits Explained

Showrunner Al Jean reveals the origins of the credits sequence

Fox's The Simpsons kicked off its 26th season Sunday with what may have been one of its best couch gags ever.

Created by Oscar-nominated animator-filmmaker Don Hertzfeldt, the couch gag jumped far into the future — aka "Septembar 36.4, 10,535" — with a nod to the show's incredible longevity.

Read more 'The Simpsons' Postmortem: EP Talks Surprising Character Death

Showrunner Al Jean told The Hollywood Reporter that the show's supervising director had the exec producer screen Hertzfeldt's Academy Award-nominated short Rejected. Impressed, the producers called Hertzfeldt and asked if he'd like to create his own couch gag for the show.

"It's his creation and he did some of the voices. It's his window that he photographed so all the credit goes to him," Jean says. "It's a great commentary — and it wasn't intended this way after the marathon — on the longevity of the show and it comes at a perfect time."

Check out Hertzfeldt's opener below. And check out what Jean had to say about Sunday's surprising character death here.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit