'The Simpsons' Pays Tribute to 1930s Musical Cartoon

Springfield and its citizens become musical instruments in this week's charming couch gag

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The Simpsons are going to MusicVille! The show has released this week's opening couch gag a few days ahead of its Sunday airtime, and it's a charming homage to the 1930s Disney cartoon "Music Land," part of the studio's Silly Symphonies series.

Re-dubbed Silly Simpsony, the "MusicVille" short finds the citizens of Springfield redesigned as anthropomorphic instruments – Chief Wiggum as a bass drum and Ralph as a bongo are particularly fitting – and features a number of goofy music gags, including the Lard Lad donut boy shaped as a lute and re-named "Bard Lad" and King Toot's Music Store redone as King Toot's People Store (located right next door to "Bow's Tavern").

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In the clip, Lisa (appearing, of course, as a saxophone) hops out of the Simpson-mobile and follows a sign for a jazz festival before she's stopped by the classical music overlords, Mr. Burns and Smithers. The pair release the xylophone hounds on Lisa and soon after, the entire town is taken prisoner and must perform for Burns, their draconian bassoon-shaped conductor. At last, Lisa breaks free of her chains with the power of music and leads the entire town in an explosive performance that blows Burns all the way over to his personal hell, Metalville.

In other Simpsons news, the show just inked a lucrative deal with FX's comedy spin-off network FXX, giving the cable channel exclusive broadcast and streaming rights to the show's humongous back catalog of 24 seasons and 530 episodes. New episodes will continue to air on Fox, and the show was just renewed for a 26th season. Called "the biggest off-network deal ever," estimates place the sale of broadcast rights at about $1 million per episode. Ay carumba!