Burlington woman’s Simpsons couch gag airs Sunday

Katie Hemming, a Burlington-based film student, came up with the idea for the couch gag that is set to appear during the opening credits of Sunday's episode of The Simpsons.

Film student Katie Hemming's sketch involves bubble wrap

The Simpsons is animating Burlington-based film school student Katie Hemming's couch gag idea this month as part of a contest. Part of her prize was a "Simpsonized" sketch of herself. (Submitted)

If you’re watching Sunday’s new episode of The Simpsons, pay special attention to end of the opening credits.

This edition of the long-running cartoon's perennial couch gag — when Homer and Marge and their brood pile onto their living room sofa in an absurd often otherworldly manner, while the show’s loopy theme song hurtles to a close — won’t be the brainchild of some hotshot Hollywood writer.

Instead, the idea comes from Burlington-based film student Katie Hemming. The show’s writers chose to animate her submission to Global Television’s couch gag contest — even though the Toronto Film School student didn’t score first prize.

The winner of the fan-voted contest, which asked Canadian Simpsons fans to come up with a zany couch gag, was Oakville’s Ray Savaya. His prize included a trip to Hollywood to meet the comedy’s creators, an autographed t-shirt, a signed script and an animated still of the couch gag he submitted.

“The writers of The Simpsons liked mine more, so they decided to air mine too,” Hemming told CBC Hamilton in early April. “I entered on a whim and didn’t think anything of it… Now I’m part of the legacy, and that’s pretty cool.”

Her idea goes like this: the yellow-tinted family runs in to find their living room covered in bubble wrap. They spend some time gleefully popping it before jumping on the bubble-wrapped covered couch. When Homer, the show’s portly patriarch, makes his landing, it’ll sound like he let one rip.

As the runner-up in the contest, Hemming didn’t get to fly to California. Her prize haul, not including snagging a writing credit for the show, consisted of a “Simpsonized” portrait of herself from the show's animators and a Season One box set.

The show will air at 8 p.m. ET Sunday on Global. Hemming says her friends and family all know when to tune in because her mother has let everyone know.  

“My mom is making a huge deal of it,” she said. “She thinks it’s really cool.”

With files from Adam Carter