Some commentators say the show is political in nature and susceptible to a left-wing bias. Al Jean admitted in an interview that "We [the show] are of liberal bent." The writers often evince an appreciation for liberal ideals, but the show makes jokes across the political spectrum. The show portrays government and large corporations as callous entities that take advantage of the common worker. Thus, the writers often portray authority figures in an unflattering or negative light. In The Simpsons, politicians are corrupt, ministers such as Reverend Lovejoy are indifferent to churchgoers, and the local police force is incompetent. Religion also figures as a recurring theme. In times of crisis, the family often turns to God, and the show has dealt with most of the major religions.
Main article: The Simpsons opening sequence
The Simpsons' opening sequence is one of the show's most memorable hallmarks. Most episodes open with the camera zooming through the show's title towards the town of Springfield. The camera then follows the members of the family on their way home. Upon entering their house, the Simpsons settle down on their couch to watch television. The opening was created by David Silverman, the first task he did when production began on the show. The series' distinctive theme song was composed by musician Danny Elfman in 1989, after Groening approached him requesting a retro style piece. This piece has been noted by Elfman as the most popular of his career.
One of the most distinctive aspects of the opening is that three of the segments change from episode to episode: Bart writes different things on the school chalkboard, Lisa plays different solos on her saxophone and different gags accompany the family as they enter their living room to sit on the couch. On February 15, 2009, a new opening credit sequence was introduced to accompany the switch to HDTV. The sequence had all of the features of the original opening, but added numerous details and characters.