EVERY. TREEHOUSE OF HORROR. EVER. [REVIEW] (Pt. 5)

HOLY CRAP. I DID IT. I WATCHED THEM ALL. Before reading my thoughts on the final segments, read Pt. 1, Pt. 2, Pt. 3 and Pt. 4 now. NOW, I SAY! I’m so happy this is over and I’m so happy to have discovered so many cool segments of the show that I had no idea I’d enjoy so much. Oh, and I hate all of you who told me I should do this. Seriously? What’s wrong with you? Without further delay, here’s my rundown of the final five episodes!

treehouse of horror xxi tweenlight simpsons

Treehouse of Horror XXI (Season 22, Ep. 4)

Funniest Credits Nickname: “Eh, let’s go with yank my area again.”

War and Pieces” – Marge interrupts Bart and Milhouse playing video games to make them clean the attic where they find a spooky board game called “Satan’s Path.” BADASS. The game transports them to a world where popular board games run rampant, much like Jumanji, but with board games. Form Monopoly to Battleship to Operation, the kids must navigate their way to safety. Milhouse sacrifices his life to help Bart, who uses violent methods learned in video games to destroy the threats, and finally confronts the final game, Mouse Trap. Despite the cage never actually falling correctly, Bart manages to escape and restore Milhouse. The two then play Hangman and die. I don’t know about laws and stuff, but I’m glad that this segment used actual games instead of just off-brand parodies like they did for “Attack of the 50 ft. Eyesores.” When you see Operation, they call it Operation. Highlight was someone riding in on a train and exclaiming, “There was a bank error in my favorite and I’m spending it all on Oriental Avenue prostitutes!” Haha, because prostitution is funny.

 

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Master and Cadaver” – The segment starts with a shark puking up Homer, only for Homer to say, “Man, it’s been a crazzzzzzzzzy morning.” THAT’S AWESOME. He and Marge are sailing the seas when they rescue someone from a lifeboat. This stranger claims everyone on his boat was poisoned and he was lucky to escape alive. Something about the stranger makes Homer suspect he might be a threat. Homer kicks the survivor off the boat, but when he and Marge come across another boat, they realize the stranger was telling the truth. Then everyone on the boat is alive and…ya know what? It doesn’t matter. The segment ends with the reveal that this whole thing was dreamed up by Maggie while she was playing with toys in the tub. You all know how I feel about plot twists like that, right? I AM NOT A FAN. But you know what else? Homer getting puked up by a shark was pretty funny.

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Tweenlight” – Lisa develops a crush on a new kid in school who, for some reason, likes her back. He wants to turn her into a vampire, but Homer doesn’t want that so he goes to Dracula-Land to find the boy’s father. They all confront one another and Homer gets the vampires to bite him and absorb his cholesterol and die. THE END. Remember when Treehouse of Horror did a Harry Potter parody, most likely only because of how popular it was? This just felt like the Twilight version of that. Oh yeah, and there was a scene where a character exclaimed “You’re tearing me apart!” in reference to The Room, which really solidified how much this segment relied too heavily on pop culture trends. I don’t really remember why, but at one point Homer danced with Santa’s Little Helper, and that’s about as funny as this segment got.

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Overall Thoughts – I should have known I wasn’t going to enjoy this installment as much as previous years from the opening gag alone. There was a bit about using DVR technology to fast forward through the whole episode, only to change the channel to a version of The Office but with monsters? I enjoy The Simpsons for its timeless references, so I think this one just relied too heavily on things in popular culture at the time. Really, do people think about The Office anymore?

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Treehouse of Horror XXII (Season 23, Ep. 3)

Funniest Credits Nickname: The Cabinet of Dan Caligari-neta

The Diving Bell and the Butter Ball” – Homer falls off the roof while decorating for Halloween and also gets bitten by a black widow, causing him to be paralyzed. Lisa tries reading him “The Brothers Karamazov” but he farts to get her to leave him alone. This is how he communicates. With farts. Homer gets bitten by another spider, but this time it grants him the power to shoot webs like Spider-Man, despite still being paralyzed. This was a parody of the movie The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, but I’m curious how many people knew about that movie, even back in 2011. It felt like a really bizarre choice, because it’s not really a “horror” movie, and the whole segment feels weird. I don’t get it, guys.

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D for Diddly” – While Flanders drives through a bad part of town, a voice that he thinks is God instructs him to kill bad people. He does this through the whole episode. BUT WAIT! It’s not actually God, it’s just Homer telling Flanders to kill his rivals. God intervenes and strangles Homer. What I can tell you is that, if you are a fan of the show Dexter, you might have liked this segment, because apparently it was a parody of it. As someone who has seen a few episodes of Dexter, I had no idea what the hell was going on. Maybe I missed a lot of jokes and references to the show and fans would have enjoyed this segment more, but it really wasn’t for me.

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In the Na’vi” – THIS IS A PARODY OF AVATAR. Bart plays the wheelchair-bound guy who becomes an avatar to interact with native people, who look like Kang and Kodos. Bart impregnates one of the aliens or something and someone is mad? GUYS, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT HAPPENED. Again, Avatar had such a huge cultural impact, it was hard to avoid, but it really bums me out that the “horror” part of “Treehouse of Horror” gets ignored for the opportunity to do a parody. They should call it “Treehouse of,” I guess? But that wouldn’t make sense. Also, Avatar is like 15 hours long, so trying to distill everything that happens into a coherent 7-minute sequence only made the story that much more confusing.

 

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Overall Thoughts: Bad news: I didn’t really like anything about this episode. Good news: this is the first whole episode where I never really liked any segment that much! And I’m 22 episodes in! That’s actually surprising to me, since I figured I would have been burned out on the show much earlier on. I should also mention that the opening to the episode had a scene that parodied 127 Hours, another example of how being timely could seem like a great idea in the moment, but lose relevance just a few years later.

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treehouse of horror xxiii unnormal activity simpsons

Treehouse of Horror XXIII (Season 24, Ep. 2)

Funniest Credits Nickname: Halloween Name

The Greatest Story Ever Holed” – A Large Hadron Collider creates a black hole, which Lisa is somehow able to take home and keep in the basement. As it’s sucking up things nearby and causing destruction, Homer calls down to ask if it’s a stray dog. When Lisa responds that it’s worse than a stray dog, Homer asks, “Two stray dogs?” HOMER, YOU GOOF! Lisa warns the family that they can’t throw things into it, otherwise it will grow bigger and destroy more things, the family doesn’t listen. Homer promotes a business called “Magic Craphole Waste Removal” and the whole town brings their junk. The black hole grows so big that it consumes the whole town, until Maggie’s pacifier gets sucked in and plugs it. On the other side of the black hole, the residents of Springfield learn they’ve been transported to another world and an alien race considered all of these items offerings. Hey, how about that? This wasn’t too bad! The whole town got destroyed, Milhouse’s first home run got sucked into a black hole (stupid Milhouse), and they even managed to slip a jab about Zunes in there. Things are looking up for Treehouse of Horror!

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Un-normal Activity” – In a Paranormal Activity parody, Homer decides to record the strange events happening in their house while everyone sleeps. Footage captures Marge standing over Homer while he sleeps, and when he sees her, he tries to sleep with her. Haha, classic Homer! Much like the film series, a supernatural entity tries to take Maggie and Marge reveals her origins with the supernatural being, which involves her, Patty, and Selma worshiping Satan as kids. THAT’S SO BADASS! When the demonic force appears, he agrees he’ll leave the family alone if he can have a three-way…with him, another demon, and Homer, to which Homer agrees. WHOA. WHAT THE HELL!? That’s pretty wild. That’s the kind of crazy stuff I like seeing thrown into these episodes. Another bit that I laughed way too hard at was Marge spying on Homer while he’s peeing, and in Paranormal Activity fashion, time-lapse footage shows him peeing for an hour and a half. Haha, stupid big-bladdered Homer!

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Bart and Homer’s Excellent Adventure” – In a Back to the Future parody, Bart travels back in time to 1974 to buy a comic book. He bumps into his parents and inadvertently prevents them from falling in love, but when he looks at a photo he has with him, he realizes his life would be better if they didn’t get married. When Bart travels back to the present, Marge has married Artie Ziff (once again voiced by Jon Lovitz) instead of Homer. This won’t stop Homer! He uses the time machine to get a bunch of versions of himself throughout history to confront Artie, and although he loses the battle, Marge realizes she loves all of these versions of Homer and they all live happily ever after. Not too bad, but most of what charmed me about this segment was the return of Artie Ziff! Great job, buddy!

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Overall Thoughts: Solid throughout! I might have enjoyed this episode more than I had reason to because of my disappointment with the previous installment, but whatever, at least I laughed at stuff! Again, the last segment was just another opportunity to do a movie parody, but it could have been much worse. Was there some sort of press release that explains why they just do a bunch of parodies now? Maybe I’ll never know.

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Treehouse of Horror XXIV (Season 25, Ep. 2)

Funniest Credits Nickname: World War B – with Animal Zombies

Oh, The Places You’ll D’oh!” – Homer is “The Fat in the Hat” in this Dr. Seuss parody. It’s Halloween night and he comes to take Bart, Lisa, and Maggie on a Halloween adventure. Yo….straight up…I don’t know what the hell was going on. SO MANY THINGS WERE HAPPENING ALL AT ONCE. In that regard, I guess it was an authentic tribute to Dr. Seuss stories/animated specials? There was rhyming and a Dr. Seuss animation style, but I’m not a huge Seuss fan so I wasn’t at all interested. Remember how I didn’t like “There’s No Business Like Moe Business” because it was a musical? I assume this segment might be near and dear to someone’s heart, but definitely not to mine. Fart.

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Dead and Shoulders” – While flying a kite near an airport to annoy planes, Bart gets decapitated when he ties the kite string around his neck. His only option is to have his head sewn to Lisa’s and go along on her daily activities. When Bart learns he can control her body when she goes to sleep, he attempts to chop her head off. Both of their heads get chopped off and the only option is for Lisa’s head to attach to Krusty’s and Bart’s head to attach to Selma’s. I….didn’t really like this one either. Not because it was too gimmicky or anything, it just felt kind of tacked on. Remember how I didn’t like “Homer’s Nightmare” back in Treehouse of Horror II? Well, this is the same thing. It just…exists. Dang, this is bumming me out. Can I be done yet?

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Freaks No Geeks” – In a parody of Freaks, Mr. Burns runs a carnival where Springfield residents are given freaky attributes. Homer is the strongman and Marge is engaged to him. I don’t know if this is an actual line or just a note I took, but apparently “Moe is the ugliest freak!” Way to be on your game, Wolfman. Anyways, when Moe falls for Marge, Homer plots to get her to marry Moe, only to kill Moe and take his fortune or something. Things don’t work out that way and the freaks turn on Homer and turn him into a duck/man hybrid and kill Mr. Burns. The segment cuts to the present where Homer says, “And that, kids, is how I met your mother!” because apparently they really wanted to reference that sitcom. A pretty good homage to a really disturbing movie, but seeing the Springfield residents animated as sideshow freaks was more of a bummer than a joy. Also, Freaks in general is pretty disturbing, so it’s no surprise that even this version of that story is pretty unsettling.

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Overall Thoughts: Dammit. Maybe I let my hopes get too high after the last episode, thinking the worst of times was over, but that’s what I get for having hopes. On a positive note, the opening was directed by Guillermo del Toro so we got to see the classic opening with a bunch of characters from his movies thrown in there! WE EVEN SAW A PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE REFERENCE! Why couldn’t that have been an entire segment? Does anyone have a time machine?

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THE SIMPSONS: Horror film "The Others" is spoofed in the all-new "Treehouse of Horror XXV" episode of THE SIMPSONS airing Sunday, Oct. 19 (8:00-8:30 PM ET/PT) on FOX. THE SIMPSONS ª and © 2014 TCFFC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Treehouse of Horror XXV (Season 26, Ep. 4)

Funniest Credits Nickname: See No Evil. No Wait… There She Is

School is Hell” – Bart gets stuck in detention for a really long time and uncovers a desk that’s a portal to Hell. Bart and Lisa accidentally travel through the portal to Hell’s elementary school. While there, the two attend classes that encourage demons to be as evil as possible, so Bart excels for once! Bart and Lisa travel back to earth but, after being such a good student, Bart asks if he can go back to Hell. He does, and his final test is torturing Homer. We’ve seen Hell in other Treehouse of Horror installments but never quite in this way. It’s generally just for a few scenes, but a big chunk of this episode treated Hell like an actual location and not just a gag. Another note I took was that apparently Nelson says, “I wanna see boobs in the soup,” at some point, but I have no goddamned idea what that means anymore. Oh yeah! And at one point, the demon version of Superintendent Chalmers yells, “Skin him!” when he gets upset, instead of his classic, “Skinner!” So far, so good.

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A Clockwork Yellow” – By my count, this is the third time a Treehouse of Horror segment has referenced A Clockwork Orange! This one is MUCH more direct, in that it’s a retelling of the movie. Moe leads the gang of Homer, Lenny, and Carl, and they do bad boy stuff. When Homer gets invited to Marge’s house, the time-lapse sequence that mimics one in A Clockwork Orange just shows Homer eating all of Marge’s food. Ya know, because he’s fat. Moe gets kicked out of the gang and becomes a bartender. The famous eye clamp scene is recreated with Moe being forced to watch programming on FOX. Take THAT, TV network! Nelson and his pals take over the gang activity years later, but Moe asks his former pals to join him in one last confrontation. Moe’s gang infiltrates an Eyes Wide Shut type of orgy and the ensuing fight includes parodies to Full Metal Jacket and 2001: A Space Odyssey. The segment ends with Stanley Kubrick watching his creation and saying he wants to burn it and start from scratch. I really like how this segment, much like “Dial ‘M’ for Murder or Press ‘#’ to Return to Main Menu,” went all-out in parodying one specific filmmaker. It feels like they won’t make thinly-veiled references to Kubrick anymore because they did such a good job with this one. Also, the music was awesome because it’s the same music as in A Clockwork Orange.

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The Others” – When the Simpson family finds frosty chocolate milkshakes in their house and the only thing on TV is Married…With Children, they realize something is off! After some investigating, they realize they’re being haunted by their former selves. Not, like, dead versions of themselves or anything, but haunted by their counterparts that haven’t been seen since appearing on The Tracey Ullman Show! Trouble arises when Homer falls for the alternate version of Marge, forcing the current Marge to compete for her husband’s attention. Thinking Homer is just attracted to ghosts, current Marge kills herself to seduce her husband from beyond. Tracey Ullman Homer gets mad that Homer is seducing his wife and kills current Homer. A whole bunch of characters all start killing each other and it’s complete madness and then more and more versions of the family show up! There’s a Pixar style family and an anime style family and an Archer style family and a Minions style family and oh my god it is just insanity. From a plot standpoint, this segment was a mess, but from a conceptual standpoint, it was pretty creative. Merely having the cast recreate their vocal styles from their original incarnations was cool enough, but seeing the family in all these different styles was neat and came from an organic place instead of a gimmicky one. It also gave the creators the opportunity to pay respect to other current animated shows, like Adventure Time and Archer. What a bunch of nice guys!

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Overall Thoughts: I was apprehensive when the show started because it was a late night talk show format introducing all these special guests and I figured they cashed in on a bunch of nonsensical cameos, only for these “special guests” to have been bodies nailed to a wall to spell out a seasonal message. Haha, fooled ya! Well, fooled me, not ya. Would that be “ma”? Whatever. Since last year was a little rocky, I thought this one was much better and hopefully signals more good times to come, and fewer movie parodies.

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THAT’S IT. IT’S FINALLY OVER! I am free of my curse! What did I learn? Well, I guess I learned my prediction was accurate about how the earlier seasons were going to be more solid, but that made the quality segments really stand out in later years. I’d say my absolute favorite installment, start-to-finish, would have to be Treehouse of Horror VIII. Come on, “Homega Man”? “Easy Bake Coven”? Those were unstoppable. Outside of that episode, these are my top ten favorite segments through the whole series, in chronological order:

  1. “Terror at 5 1/2 Feet” – Treehouse of Horror IV
  2. “Time and Punishment” – Treehouse of Horror V
  3. “Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace” – Treehouse of Horror VI
  4. “The Thing and I” – Treehouse of Horror VII
  5. “Night of the Dolphin” – Treehouse of Horror XI
  6. “Reaper Madness” – Treehouse of Horror XIV
  7. “You Gotta Know When to Golem” – Treehouse of Horror XVII
  8. “E.T. Go Home” – Treehouse of Horror XVIII
  9. “It’s the Grand Pumpkin, Milhouse” – Treehouse of Horror XIX
  10. “Dial ‘M’ for Murder or Press ‘#’ to Return to Main Menu” – Treehouse of Horror XX

That’s it! Thanks for checking out all of these reviews, if you did. If you’re only reading this sentence, how the hell did you manage that? I also have to say that this past Sunday’s Halloween episode of The Simpsons was a lot of fun and hopefully that becomes a tradition as well. Having a longer time allotment to tell a story really helps the show and makes things feel less rushed. Happy Halloweiner, everybody!

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