The Simpsons” will pay homage to the history of stop-motion animation in new, upcoming crossover with “Robot Chicken.”

Stop-motion cartoons through the ages

The opening begins with the family noticing that their iconic sailboat painting is missing. Bart coyly suggests that it could have been stolen, and then admitting he sold it online to an anonymous buyer after family patriarch Homer has run off to find it.

In a sense, the upcoming opening jokes pokes some fun at the history of stop-motion animation. Homer first encounters characters based off of the animated series, “South Park.” The “South Park” characters are notably designed in a way similar to how they first appeared in the show’s pilot, likely a reference to how the show itself is animated with computer-generated animation designed merely to look like stop-motion, except for the original pilot.

Homer then encounters the “California Raisins,” who were created by Will Vinton in the 1980’s to function as an advertising campaign for raising food products.

Homer then finally enters the “Robot Chicken” world, where he encounters a character known simply as “The Nerd,” voiced by series creator Seth Green, who is the one who bought the painting. Despite seemingly getting along with each other, Homer steals back the painting, only to learn the family just replaced it with a parody of "Girl with the Pearl Earring," leading Marge to curse, suggesting an influence from the other shows.

There have been other crossovers before

This is actually the second time the two shows have had a cross-over with each other. The first occurred in a season 24 episode of “The Simpsons” entitled, “The Fabulous Faker Boy.” Once again, the characters were animated in stop-motion animation and had encountered the show’s chicken mascot. The new opening actually features the previously made one in a brief scene being played on a laptop screen.

Added to that, “Robot Chicken,” due to its sketch-comedy nature, had occasionally parodied the long-running show over the years. In one infamous sketch, parodying the show’s famous chalkboard running joke, a doll based on Bart can be seen questioning his inability to age.

The next episode showcasing the second crossover opening, which is titled, "The Cad and the Hat," will air Feb. 19, at 8 p.m., ET.

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