In many episodes of The Simpsons or Futurama, a character (usually drunk or sad) walks in the dark with neon signs moving in the background; where does this come from?

A few examples:

  • The Simpsons S17E12: Homer cannot find a shop that sells his favourite blue pants.

  • The Simpsons S05E08 Bart and Milhouse get "drunk" on an all-syrup Squishee sold by Apu and have one of these moments.

  • Futurama S01E03 Bender doesn't drink alcool for a while and has one of these walks:

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I believe the earliest example is the 1945 film "The Lost Weekend". From Wikipedia:

The film also made famous the "character walking toward the camera as neon signs pass by" camera effect.

You can find the relevant scenes in the film from around 01:05:00 onwards.

Purely as a matter of interest, There's an entire tropes page devoted to the genre of 'Drunken Montages'

  • This is also confirmed by The Infosphere: theinfosphere.org/I,_Roommate Nov 26 '15 at 19:05
  • 1
    @DisgruntledGoat - Is that website three times larger than two normal wiki sites?
    – user7812
    Nov 26 '15 at 19:34
  • what on earth do you mean? Nov 27 '15 at 0:02
  • @DisgruntledGoat - I thought you'd spot the reference :-)
    – user7812
    Nov 27 '15 at 0:38
  • 1
    I would say it's a nod to old noire films, myself. Even in Taxi Driver, which is self-consciously noire-ish, there's plenty of great scenes where Travis is driving through the night with neon signs garishly punctuating the darkness of the city.
    – user27684
    Nov 30 '15 at 5:35

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