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Posts tagged ‘Halloween’

We have to capture this on film

Treehouse of Horror XXVI

Couch gag: The kids are trick or treating when a horde of souls descends. The monstrous soul of Frank Grimes takes over Homer’s body.

Director: Steven Dean Moore

Guest Voice:
Kelsey Grammer as Sideshow Bob

Synopsis: The annual Halloween episode, divided into three acts.

Discussion: Yay! It’s another installment of THOH, where The Simpsons parody popular culture and turn the event into a long-lasting memory. (Spoiler alert: epic fail)

Wanted: Dead Then Alive It’s what everyone has been wanting to see (apparently): Sideshow Bob finally kills Bart. Several times, too. He kills Bart, doesn’t know what to do with his life, reanimates Bart and keeps killing. It’s a total anticlimax for this scenario.

Homerzilla Homer as Godzilla in a parody. What? We’ve seen this before? Surely you jest! This time the parody focuses on Godzilla’s reboots, spin-offs and sequels that no one wanted to see. Just a heads up, it’s likely no one wanted to see this either. It seemed like the writers wrote 3 minutes, then realised they had 7 more minutes to fill and just wrote random words on the paper to make a “plot”. It was nonsensical and booooooooooooring.

Telepaths of Glory is apparently based on something called Chronicle, which I haven’t seen. Milhouse, Bart and Lisa are out hiking, Milhouse falls down a hole, Bart and Lisa follow, and somehow Lisa and Milhouse end up with telekinesis (not telepathy). It was interesting for about two minutes.

Unfortunately this episode SUCKED. It was badly thought-out, badly executed and the writing was lazy, returning to a bunch of characters expositing what just happened. It was non-sensical drivel that will be forgotten in minutes. Lazy effort from all involved. Yawn.

Welcome, seasonal customer

Halloween of Horror

Mike B. Anderson

Guest Voices:
Nick Kroll as Lem
Blake Anderson as Dickie

Synopsis: Lisa is scared at a Halloween event at Krustyland.

Discussion: This is the first Halloween episode to be canon and not a Treehouse of Horror. Lisa, excited to be old enough to attend a Krustyland Halloween event, is scared by the scene and becomes a Halloween recluse. Homer gets on the bad side of three weirdos who stalk him for the rest of the ep.

This episode was very up-and-down for me. There were some really good moments, such as the ‘Time Warp’-styled ‘Adults of Halloween’ which was both a great song (haven’t seen one of those in years!) and a funny look at the adults enjoying Halloween (and their coworkers, apparently…) The song was right: what is seen cannot be unseen. Thanks Chief Wiggum *shudder*

Anyhoo, Lisa’s fears were real and were explored well. She regressed to having a comfort toy while Homer admitted he’s lied more times than there are stars in the sky. There are elements of every scary movie ever made (I particularly liked the chilling nursery rhyme) and the pace clocked along without getting bogged down.

It’s not the best episode ever, but it is showing that the writers and production team are actually putting some effort into this season.

Welcome, transdimensional visitors

Treehouse 23

Treehouse of Horror XXIII

Director: Steven Dean Moore

Guest voice:
Jon Lovitz as Artie Ziff

Synopsis: A black hole destroys Springfield and takes its residents to another planet; Marge’s deal with the devil comes back to haunt her (literally); Bart goes back to 1974 and prevents Homer marrying Marge.

Discussion: This is one of the best Halloween episodes in the history of the show. The parodies are well done enough as to make it obvious, but not so over done that the essence of the plot is compromised just by having Simpsons characters in the exact same plot as the original source.

The opening sequence takes place in Chitzen Itza, where Homer is being fattened up, ready to be sacrificed to appease the gods. Moe is sent in his place by a scheming Marge, condemning the world to be destroyed in 2012. It’s original and has many amusing moments.

The Greatest Story Ever Holed sees Springfield opening its version of the Large Hadron Collider, which creates a small black hole. Lisa discovers it and takes it home where the rest of the family throw things into it until it’s big enough to swallow the whole town and all the residents. Everyone and everything (except Maggie, whose pacifier killed the black hole) is taken to an alien planet where the inhabitants are celebrating ordinary stuff. Again, this segment is really well done and great fun to watch, even though the science is extremely dodgy.

UnNormal Activity is a parody of Paranormal Activity. Homer sets up several video cameras to record the mysterious goings on while the family sleep. At the end, Maggie is kidnapped by the unseen presence, who is revealed to be a Moe-demon, whom Marge had made a deal with thirty years previously. It’s a good segment, not just rehashing the plot of the PA movies but putting a Simpsons spin on it to make it seem more original, if that makes sense. There’s elements here that work well without having the Simpson family rehash everything about the original source.

Bart and Homer’s Excellent Adventure is a parody of Back to the Future while the title comes from a similarly-themed film, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Bart travels back to 1974 to buy a comic book, but finds himself at Springfield High School in the detention room where Homer and Marge first met. However, Bart causes a fight between them and they don’t fall in love. In the future, Marge has married Artie Ziff and Bart is Bartie Ziff. They are very rich, and it’s a future that Bart is willing to live with. But then Marge realises she should have married Homer anyway and all is returned to normal.

Overall, it’s one of the better Halloween specials with plenty of laugh-out-loud moments and fun to be had. I’m not usually a fan of the specials, but I’d happily watch this one again.

Hey Mr Positive, shut the hell up


Treehouse of Horror XXI

Director: Bob Anderson

Guest Voices:
Hugh Laurie as Roger
Daniel Radcliffe as Edmond

Synopsis: Three Halloween stories: Bart and Milhouse play a Satanic board game which causes all their other board games to come to life; Marge and Homer are on a second honeymoon and rescue a stranded mariner, who may or may not have killed his crew; Lisa falls for a vampire named Edmond.

Discussion: Another Halloween brings yet another ‘Treehouse of Horror’ trilogy. This season’s offering was enjoyable enough to watch without being satirical or scary on any way.

War and Pieces found Bart and Milhouse playing a Satanic board game which made all their other games come to life. It was part Jumanji, part every kid’s fantasy of playing life sized games (what? You didn’t?) It was interesting enough to explore what would happen ig games came to life but that’s all it was; it lacked story.

Master and Cadaver saw Marge and Homer having a romantic second honeymoon on a rented boat and rescuing a stranded mariner. His story of escaping a ship in which all passengers were dead makes Marge think he was the murderer. It’s the least interesting of the three stories, saved only by the revelation that it was all Maggie’s imagination. Normally the “it was all a dream” scenario is the ultimate in piss-weak endings, having Maggie dream it up makes it actually quite funny. We know Maggie has a wicked sense of humour and she’s exploring it a bit more here.

Tweenlight is a parody of Twilight. There’s a new kid at school and Lisa immediately falls for him, finds out he’s a vampire and ends up wanting to be bitten so they can be together forever. Yawn. I am most definitely not a fan of the original series and found this parody to be tired, treading well-worn ground for few laughs. The exception is Homer serving Ned for dinner, which garnered a chuckle from me. There’s a certain irony in having Daniel Radcliffe portray the vampire Edmond, because the Harry Potter vs Twilight saga would always divide fans of the supernatural in much the same way as boy bands would always divide fans.

It wasn’t a terrible installation of the series, but by no means was it the best either. it was entertaining enough to keep watching, but not so much that I’m going to remember it tomorrow.

Slice her like a bagel


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.

I’m getting hungry so I masticate


Treehouse of Horror XVII

Directors: David Silverman and Matthew C. Faughnan

Guest voices:
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.

The boredom is excruciating


Treehouse of Horror XVI

Director: David Silverman (credited as Godzilla vs Silverman)

Guest voices:
Terry Bradshaw as himself
Dennis Rodman as himself

Synopsis: Bart is replaced with a robot; Mr Burns invites residents to a hunting expedition; A witch turns Springfielders into their costumes. 

Discussion: We begin today’s terrifying episode with Kang and Kodos watching baseball. Yeah, I don’t get it either. Moving on…

Bartificial Intelligence: Bart winds up in a coma and the family adopt a robot to replace him. Bart wakes up and exacts revenge. Yawn. The only amusing part was Homer’s quip, “This stinks! I’ve got stubby little robot legs and an ass not equipped for an adult diet!” 

Survival of the Fattest: This was produced long before The Hunger Games, but one could be forgiven for thinking this is a parody. Mr Burns invites a few male townspeople to a day of hunting, but it turns out they’re the ones being hunted. As always, Lenny and Carl are the best bits. I suppose my reason for not liking this part is because I really dislike The Hunger Games (that’s a whole other rant).

I’ve Grown a Costume to Your Face: Who isn’t hearing Sideshow Bob singing this right now? In a whole town Halloween contest, a witch wins best costume until she reveals she’s not in costume. She turns the whole town into the costumes they’re wearing; so Sideshow Mel becomes Spider-Man, Grampa becomes an ape, Dr Hibbert becomes Dracula etcetera and so forth. Maggie, who was dressed as a witch, is enlisted to reverse the spell but she turns everyone into a pacifier instead. And then there’s some crap at the end about adult illiteracy (don’t worry, illiterate people can’t read this anyway). The most amusing part about this segment was Apu D2. 

I’m not the biggest fan of Halloween episodes and this one doesn’t float my boat either. There have been some other pretty good Halloween eps, but sadly this one won’t be joining those ranks. 

Let the commencement beginulate


Treehouse of Horror XV

Director: Tell-Tale Silverman

Synopsis: The Ned Zone sees Ned Flanders given the ability to predict how people will die. Four Beheadings and a Funeral has Bart and Lisa in Victorian times solving a series of murders in England. In the Belly of the Boss, Maggie is shrunk and accidentally swallowed by Mr Burns, leading the rest of the family to be shrunk and rescue her.

Discussion: Despite me saying that I’m not a huge fan of Halloween specials, they’re growing on me in the past few seasons. This one isn’t particularly clever, but it’s enjoyable enough and doesn’t drag on like some episodes I could mention (hello season 15 finale).

This ep’s opening sequence shows Kang and Kodos in a fictional sitcom called Keeping it Kodos. It’s really funny and a great way to open the episode. The theme from Perfect Strangers plays in this sequence as well as over the closing credits. It’s a wave of welcome nostalgia.

The Ned Zone finds Ned Flanders having premonitions of people’s deaths. After seeing himself kill Homer, he tries to avoid it but circumstances lead a different path. The play between Flanders and Homer is always enjoyable, much more so when Ned is having ethical issues. Not a bad segment although the first 5 minutes (i.e. two-thirds of the entire story) is taken up by the opening credits. Bad form.

Four Beheadings and a Funeral has the potential to be the most boring piece of shite ever, but surprisingly, it’s not. Lisa (as Eliza) and Bart (as her assistant, Dr Bartley), are hot on the trail of the Muttonchop Murderer, based on the tale of Jack the Ripper. The story moves along nicely but encountered some censorship and rating issues in various countries by depicting Ralph smoking opium: here in Australia it was rated M for audiences over the age of 15.

In The Belly of the Boss is based on Fantastic Voyage and sees Maggie shrunk and accidentally swallowed by Mr Burns. The Simpson family have just 30 minutes to rescue her before stomach acids dissolve her. Marge gets to wear a revealing swimsuit, which dissolves even more as the acids get to her but, as Marge notes, they certainly know when to stop.

Overall, it’s a worthy addition to the Halloween specials and an above average episode on its own. Welcome to season 16!

I’m going smorgasbord on these poindexters


Treehouse of Horror 14

Director: Steve Dean “Morbid”

Guest Voices:
Jerry Lewis as Frink Sr
Jennifer Garner as herself
Dudley Herschbach as himself
Oscar De La Hoya as himself

Synopsis: Homer becomes the Grim Reaper; Prof Frink wins a Nobel Prize and reanimates his dead father; Bart and Milhouse buy a stopwatch that stops time.

Discussion: I’m not normally a fan of Halloween episodes, but I quite enjoyed the three stories of this one.

In ‘Reaper Madness’, Homer becomes the Grim Reaper in much the same fashion as Tim Allen became Santa in The Santa Clause. Life is good until he’s handed the death order for Marge, so he does what any normal person would do and tries to trick God by using Selma instead. It’s a pretty good segment, highlighted by the use of Yakity Sax, which is known to Aussie and UK viewers as the Benny Hill Theme (and recently used in ‘A Star is Born Again‘).

‘Frinkenstein’ is another gem. Professor Frink is awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics and dearly wishes for his deceased father to witness the occasion, but there’s a problem: Frink Sr was partially eaten by a shark whilst testing blood-based sun lotion. Frink Jr reanimates his father, who then harvests organs from others. It’s all bloody and messy and doesn’t stop even at the awards ceremony. Voiced by the legendary Jerry Lewis, Frink Sr is a fun character. He’s mean, but when harvesting organs he becomes a villain you can’t help but love, like Freddy Krueger.

Bart and Milhouse buy a magic stopwatch in ‘Stop the World, I Want to Goof Off’. This stopwatch has the ability to stop time for the world except for the person/s holding the watch. Cue mischief and mayhem… until they break the watch. I’m not entirely satisfied with the ending in which Lisa tinkers with the fabric of time, sending the Simpson family into all sorts of weirdo characters and situations, but up until that point, it’s a fun segment.

It’s about this season where I stopped watching and don’t remember a lot of episodes. This is one of them. I’ve probably caught a few of these ones on TV at various times but I haven’t gone out of my way to watch them. So, this is where the journey really begins: watching episodes I’ve not ever seen before.

Yank my teats and harvest my milk


Treehouse of Horror XIII

Director: David Silverman

Synopsis: Send In The Clones has Homer cloning himself through a magically evil hammock. The Fright to Creep and Scare Harms sees Lisa protecting the long dead with new gun control, which has devastating results. The Island of Dr Hibbert finds the residents of Springfield being turned into animals by a manic Dr Hibbert. 

Discussion: As far as Halloween episodes go, this one is pretty good. Homer cloning himself is actually really funny and inspired. Who else would do all those chores and murder Flanders? Go Homer! The Homer Horde, who aren’t as smart as the original, are lured to their deaths by giant doughnuts. In all, it’s a fantastic segment.

The second segment is probably designed as a satirical view highlighting the ongoing gun control debates in America. Lisa discovers a grave with an epitaph bemoaning gun violence, so she decides to rid Springfield of all guns. The young man killed by guns turns out to be Billy the Kid, who, along with his dead cronies, happens to still wield their guns and they take over the town. I just want to add that gun control isn’t about taking away rights or freedom, it’s about protecting your life and values. This segment is the weakest of the episode.

The last segment sees a manic Dr Hibbert making mutant animals using the people of Springfield. Again, this segment is really good and the illustrators have done a fabulous job of turning people into animals.

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