Treehouse of Horror XVII
Directors: David Silverman and Matthew C. Faughnan
Sir Mix-a-Lot as himself, singing a parody of his hit song ‘Baby Got Back’
Dr Phil McGraw as himself
Richard Lewis as the male golem
Fran Drescher as the female golem
Synopsis: Homer eats some space goo and is so hungry that he eats everything and everyone in his path; Bart finds a golem in Krusty’s props dept and commands it to do his bidding; a parody of The War of the Worlds in which Kang and Kodos attack while the humans still think they’re being hoaxed.
Discussion: We begin the seventeenth annual Halloween special with Mr Burns as the Crypt Keeper, accompanied by a zombie Smithers and tortured Moe.
Married to the Blob has Homer eating some goo he found on a meteorite and becoming so hungry that he eats everything and everyone in his way. Because of the catchy parody of his own song, ‘Baby Got Back’, this segment is by far the most entertaining of the three. Dr Phil makes an amusing cameo when he tries to talk Homer out of eating everything because food doesn’t equal love. I love when celebs poke fun at themselves, and this is a classic example.
You Gotta Know When to Golem is also quite interesting. Bart finds an ancient Jewish artifact known as a golem in Krusty’s props department. Write something, put it in his mouth, and your wish is his command. He soon becomes lonely so Marge fashions a female golem out of Play-Doh and commands her to live. The two golems get married in a traditional Jewish ceremony. It’s different and keeps its pace, but it’s not laugh-out-loud funny.
The Day The Earth Looked Stupid is a parody of The War of the Worlds, the famous radio play by Orson Welles in 1938 which confused several members of the public (reports vary) into thinking there was an actual alien attack. The residents of Springfield act like animals so the aliens won’t attack them, and Lisa informs them that it’s all a hoax. That’s when Kang and Kodos decide to attack, correctly surmising that the humans will suspect this is also a hoax. There’s a not-so-subtle reference to the Iraq War at the end which makes the segment seem better than it actually is. The whole piece is a biting satire, which The Simpsons is very good at.
Treehouse of Horror IX
Couch gag: Freddie Krueger and Jason (from the Halloween films) are sitting on the couch, wondering where the family are.
Director: Steven Dean Moore
Robert Englund as Freddie Krueger
Ed McMahon as himself
Jerry Springer as himself
Regis Philbin as himself
Kathie Lee Gifford as herself
Synopsis: 1) Hell Toupee: Snake is executed and Homer has his hair transplant. The hair tries to kill everyone who witnessed Snake’s final crime, including Bart. 2) Terror of Tiny Toon: Bart and Lisa are zapped into an Itchy & Scratchy cartoon. 3) Starship Poopers: Maggie is revealed to be the daughter of Kang.
Discussion: Regular readers will know that I’m not a huge fan of the Halloween episodes. This one is no exception.
Hell Toupee is a somewhat original idea. There’s this supposed phenomenon where donor recipients can have some characteristics of the donor. It’s an interesting field. Anyhoo, Homer ends up with Snake’s hair and the hair goes on a killing spree. It’s gory, it’s violent and pretty satisfying to a gore fan like me.
Terror in Tiny Toon shows Bart and Lisa zapped into Itchy & Scratchy and trying to get away from the violence. It’s OK, not terrific. A good idea, well executed (heh), love the live action shot of Lisa and Bart falling into the pot of soup.
By far, the best segment is Starship Poopers, where Maggie is revealed to be Kang’s daughter. It’s always good to see Kang & Kodos being used in a storyline as opposed to just appearing briefly because the writers forgot to write them in. Marge was abducted by Kang and Kodos and impregnated against her will. The truth is discovered when Maggie loses her baby legs and grows tentacles. Hilarious! The family, plus Kang, end on up on the Jerry Springer show to fight it out. Brilliant!
The Springfield Files
The truth is not out there
Couch gag: The family use jet packs to fly into the room and sit on the couch. Maggie zooms around the living room before sitting.
Director: Steven Dean Moore
Leonard Nimoy as himself
David Duchovny as Mulder
Gillian Anderson as Scully
Synopsis: On his way home from Moe’s, Homer sees an alien.
Discussion: Life was simple back in the mid 90s. We watched The X Files and believed that the truth was out there. This is a crossover episode; the characters of Agents Mulder and Scully visit Springfield to investigate Homer’s claims of seeing an alien on Friday nights after he’s been at Moe’s. At the time, both shows were top of the ratings and must-see TV.
There’s a ton of references to TV shows and movies, and this episode’s Wikipedia entry has them all listed so I won’t go into it here. But if you recognise the references, it definitely enriches the experience.
The alien is revealed to be Mr Burns, who undergoes rejuvenation treatments once a week, leaving him delirious and joyful. This ending is entirely plausible and not disappointing at all. Who knew Mr Burns could be such a foil?
The main problem with crossover episodes is that they are dated. I’m not aware of The X Files being shown on Aussie TV at the moment, so younger viewers are likely to scratch their heads at Mulder and Scully, and wonder WTF Mulder has a picture of himself wearing only a Speedo. Having said that, it’s still a very good episode, one of the better parodies and providing a genuine mystery for those who haven’t seen it a million times…
Treehouse of Horror VII
couch gag: The Grim Reaper sits on the couch as the family fall dead at his feet
Director: Mike B. Anderson
Synopsis: The first segment reveals Bart has a twin brother, who has been locked in the attic since birth. Second segment shows Lisa’s science project has evolved into life. The third segment is about Kang and Kodos assuming the presidential candidate identities and running for election.
Discussion: Here’s some trivia: This episode originally aired on my 18th birthday.
Let’s get to it, segment by segment. In ‘The Thing and I’, Bart discovers he was a conjoined twin, separated at birth and the twin has been locked in the attic and wishes to reattach himself to Bart. I don’t love it. It’s cliched and trite. Ooh, a conjoined evil twin! Sounds like something you’d find on Melrose Place.
In ‘Genesis Tub’, Lisa’s science project, involving cola and a tooth and some errant static electricity, creates life (Lutherans, apparently). The tooth people view Lisa as their god and Bart as the devil. Despite Bart’s threats to flush the mini-universe, he enters it as his own science project and wins first prize, while Lisa has been “de-embiggened” and is facing life as the ruler of her own people. As far as Halloween eps go, I don’t mind this section. It’s unoriginal, but with a Simpsons twist and OK to watch.
‘Citizen Kang’ is about the 1996 presidential election, which occurred a couple of days after this ep aired (history lesson: Clinton won). The main thing I got out of this segment was that the upcoming 2013 Australian federal election is reminiscent of this particular scene: