Treehouse of Horror XX
Directors: Mike B. Anderson & Ralph Sosa
Synopsis: Three tales of Halloween Terror
Discussion: It’s Halloween time again (I swear this comes around every 3.5 weeks…) and Halloween episode #20 is nothing spectacular.
Dial M for Murder or # to Return to Main Menu sees Bart and Lisa plotting to murder each other’s teacher. It’s very Hitchcockian and done (very well) in black & white, but I still didn’t love it. Lisa’s morals are front and centre and don’t add anything to the segment. Get on with the killing, already! It was very much a cat & mouse scenario without any really satisfying elements.
Don’t Have a Cow, Mankind shows how the new Krusty burger turns people into zombies (called “munchers” here). Zombies? Really? Excuse the pun, but zombies have been done to death. Some originality, please.
There’s No Business Like Moe Business is inspired by Sweeney Todd, the story of a barber and his baker girlfriend who kill people and sell their flesh in pies. Here, Homer accidentally dies on Moe’s beer machine and the sweet blood makes the beer very tasty. Moe tells Marge Homer has left her to seek the company of other men and tries to woo her. I like Sweeney Todd and I’m a sucker for musicals, so this segment is the winner in my book. I would have liked it more had it not been a play…
This Halloween offering isn’t anything special. It lacks originality but the general storylines are OK. It doesn’t offer anything funny, new or clever and is missing the satirical views of other Halloween specials. Meh, it’s an average ep.
Treehouse of Horror XIX
Director: Bob Anderson
Synopsis: Three Halloween related stories: Untitled Robot Parody, How to Get Ahead in Dead-vertising, It’s the Grand Pumpkin, Milhouse.
Discussion: As far as Halloween episodes go, this one sucked. Recently viewed seasons’ Halloween specials offered something new and funny. This one was a tired rehash of popular TV/movies and missed the mark by a loooooong shot.
Untitled Robot Parody is, obviously, based on the Transformers movie (as opposed to the TV cartoon). It was the same storyline of two alien robots choosing Earth to fight out their ultimate battle. Yawn. The only amusing line in the segment was Homer’s, “Well, the toaster’s never lied to me before…”
How to Get Ahead in Dead-vertising parodies dead celebrities being used in commercials. Homer, having killed Krusty, is hired to kill more celebrities so the big wig advertising people can use their likeness in ads. The dead celebs take time out from their busy lives in celebrity Heaven to exact revenge on Homer. What? Lame!
It’s the Grand Pumpkin, Milhouse is a parody of a Charlie Brown cartoon I’ve never seen, mainly because Australia doesn’t really celebrate Halloween other than a few costume parties dotted around; it’s not a big cultural thing like the US. Any and all references to the Peanuts cartoon is completely lost on me, so I have to take it at face value of a giant pumpkin coming to life and eats people once he realises humans eat pumpkins. Again… what?
This ep was pretty gory, which is always good, but the rest of it was craptacular.
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.