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Posts tagged ‘Halloween specials’

Hell! Damn! Backside!

treehouse 22

Treehouse of Horror XXII

Director: Matthew Faughnan

Guest voices:
Aron Ralston as the 911 dispatcher
Jackie Mason as Hyman Krustofsky

Synopsis: Homer is paralysed by a spider bite and can only communicate by farting; Homer tricks Ned into killing people; a parody of Avatar in which the secret source is hilarium.

Discussion: This installment of The Simpsons Halloween specials sure divided the critics. Some loved it and some hated it. But since this is my blog, their opinions don’t matter. I liked it, for the most part, although I don’t really think it fit with the overall themes explored in other Halloween specials. Sure, there are the movie parodies we’ve come to know and (sometimes) love, but where’s the blood, gore and violence?

Opening Sequence shows Homer giving the kids’ candy to overseas Americans fighting for their great country, but falling down a crevasse and having to chew his arm off a la 127 Hours. Once able to reach the bag of candy, he discovers it’s full of vegetables; Bart and Lisa switched the candy and are happily munching on it at home. Real life survivor Aron Ralston voices the 911 dispatcher.

Diving Bell and the Butterball is about Homer’s paralysis after being bitten by a spider. Lisa discovers his only way of communication is by farting. Yes folks, this is a classic Simpsons storyline which is ultra classy and probably better off as a stand-alone episode, disgusting as it is. I can see Homer’s adventures at work and at Moe’s if all he can do is fart his thoughts. i wouldn’t say the segment is hilarious, the joke wears thin after a minute or so, but considering the recent quality of the series, a whole ep about farting seems about par.

Dial D for Diddily shows Ned being persuaded to kill people by the voice of God coming through the Bible. “God” turns out to be Homer, tricking Ned into killing all his enemies. This part is OK, but falls fast and miserably with a fight between the devil and the real God, and Maude rocking up in a negligee inviting the devil back to bed. Riiiiiiiiiiight. Moving on…

In the Na’vi is an obvious parody of Avatar, which was interesting enough. In particular, the writers managed to condense a three-hour-plus movie into just seven minutes. That alone is an impressive feat. Anyhoo, Bart and Milhouse’s avatars resemble Kang and Kodos, which was a funny and pleasant change from the blue aliens normally associated with the film. The critics noted that this parody came two years too late, but because I’m viewing it 2.5 years after the original airing, it doesn’t matter to me. In the aftermath of the film’s release, there were so many parodies of it anyway that one tired of them very, very quickly. In 2014, you don’t see many references anymore although I did read recently about James Cameron’s progress in making the sequels, the first of which is due in 2016. Anyhoo, I digress. I enjoyed this parody and thought hilarium was a perfectly cromulent element to harvest from the planet. I do question Bart’s impending fatherhood as he still is a 10 year old boy despite his apparently pubescent avatar.

Overall, I thought it was mostly enjoyable, buoyed by the Avatar parody.

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Out of my way, mysterious skank

Image

Treehouse of Horror XVIII

Director: Chuck “Bloody” Sheetz

Synopsis: Bart finds Kodos in the shed; a parody of Mr & Mrs Smith in which Homer and Marge are hired assassins; Ned teaches the kids of Springfield why they should follow the word of God. 

Discussion: In the 18th annual Halloween special, Marge opens the show by trying to announce the three gory stories but is interrupted by in-show ads for other shows on the Fox network. The ads all meet their demise in gory ways (yay!). On a side note, it’s frickin’ annoying to have in-show promos for other shows on the same network. There, I said it. 

E.T. Go Home is a parody of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial where Bart finds Kodos in the shed with plans to destroy humanity. Fair enough too, we are a bunch of gluttonous, lusty sloths… oh wait, that segment was later. This story was quite entertaining, if only for the multitude of exploding heads. Let’s face it, it’s Halloween, you wanna see some exploding heads. It’s tastefully done with not a lot of blood if you’re one of those people who are so squeamish you can’t even stand cartoon blood. 

Mr & Mrs Simpson  is a parody of Mr & Mrs Smith. Homer and Marge discover each other to be hired assassins and they fight it out in the their living room. Again, quite entertaining except for the bit where they make love over Chief Wiggum’s corpse. I found that part to be really gross. But hey, whatever floats your lust boat. 

The final segment, Heck House, is probably the weakest story of the three. Milhouse, Lisa, Bart and Nelson are trick-or-treating and find Agnes Skinner to be quite unpleasant in not wanting to “treat” them, so they “trick” her and find it’s much more fun. After “tricking” most of Springfield, the kids find the church nicknamed Heck House, and enter because they’re not scaredy cats. Inside, Ned transforms into the devil to show them what Hell is all about and the 7 deadly sins that will earn you a place there. Being irreligious, scaring me into the atrocities of Hell isn’t going to work but I would have liked to see Lisa’s skepticism burn a little brighter. 

This ep is one of the better Halloween episodes. Funny that while the regular episodes are mostly average or flat out garbage, the Halloween specials seem to get better as we go on. Having said that, I’ve probably jinxed it and season 20’s offering will be crapola. 

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