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TV's Creative Types Strike Back (with Help from Banksy)
by Bart Weiss 30 Nov 2010

Guest blogger Bart Weiss says over the weekend, the creative side of television got a chance to poke fun at its corporate overlords.


Guest blogger Bart Weiss is the director of the Video Association of Dallas and VideoFest.

Ahh, television – that medium that is so often so medium to poor, so often uninspiring, so corporate. But sometimes, brilliant stabs come out and give us hope.

Indeed, there is brilliant TV out there, but rarely do those shows attract lots of corporate support.

Robert Smigel tackled the issue with a short film he did for Saturday Night Live, which he showed here at the Dallas Video festival. The film, Conspiracy Theory Rock, is a rant on why corporate sponsorship of the media ruins television. It is truly amazing that it ever aired. It’s more effective than most overly long books about media literacy and power.

I got to thinking about it after watching this Sunday’s episode of The Simpsons, which originally aired in October. The opening features a dark vision of a sweatshop producing the show and its related merchandising toys, etc. If it reminds you of the work of Banksy, it’s because he designed it.

Only long standing shows like SNL and The Simpsons can pull back the curtain and get away with it.

In the Simpsons opening, which you can watch below, I love the depressed unicorn punching holes in the Simpsons DVDs as they are packaged. Next time you pick one up, think about the hole.

  • Robert and I created the Saturday TV Funhouse series for SNL and “Conspiracy Theory Rock” is one of my favorite ! It so raised the ire of NBC that it was mysteriously missing from the delayed broadcast to the west coast that evening. It was kept under wraps until the Sat TV Funhouse DVD came out several years ago. . . I arranged for original “Schoolhouse Rock” artists to work on this cartoon, since we had produced actual episodes of the classic children’s shorts in the early 90’s. . .
    J.J. Sedelmaier / J.J. Sedelmaier Productions, Inc.