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Posts tagged ‘Treehouse of Horror’

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.

Even I forget what this is a reference to

Treehouse of Horror XXV

Director: Matthew Faughnan

Guest Voices:
John Ratzenburger as CGI Homer

Synopsis: Bart and Lisa attend school in Hell; Moe runs a gang and the Simpsons meet their former selves

Discussion: What the actual hell?? The past few ‘Treehouse of Horrors’ have been half decent and watchable but this year we’re presented with some half-arsed conceptual crap that may have sounded good in the writers’ heads but did not translate well on screen.

School of Hell sees Bart and Lisa transported to Hell, where they attend school and Bart actually wants to learn things. It sounds like a good idea but is so poorly executed (‘scuse the pun) that the segment is barely worth watching. Actually I only watched it for posterity.

A Clockwork Yellow has Moe as the leader of a gang which disbands once Homer leaves to marry Marge. I think Comic Book Guy says it best when he utters, “Even I forget what this is a reference to”. It was probably the most lamest of all lame parodies I have ever seen. The only thing I half smiled at was a reference to Kubrick wanting to re-shoot the sequence.

The Others has the original Simpson family (from the Tracy Ullman Show) “haunting” the house of the present-day Simpsons. I was hoping for some original content, as in funny stuff the “old” family did or said and a self-reference from the new family about how great the old days were and how funny they were back then… But no. New Homer falls for Old Marge and somehow they all die and become ghosts. What? The Simpsons as characters from other shows/movies was mildly interesting (especially as the minions from Despicable Me) but there’s really nothing to offer in this segment.

If I had to give a rating, I’d rate it half a star out of 5. It sucked more than my Dyson.

All pumpkins are racist

Image

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.

Women and seamen don’t mix

Treehouse of Horror III

couch gag: Skeletons of the Simpson family run in and take their place on the couch.

Director: Carlos Baeza

Synopsis: The Simpsons are having a Halloween party and each tell a scary story. Story 1 involves an evil Krusty doll who wants to kill Homer. Story 2 is a parody of King Kong, where Homer is the giant ape and Marge his romantic interest. Story 3 sees Bart and Lisa trying to resurrect their dead cat, Snowball I, but instead resurrects all of Springfield’s dead people into zombies.

Discussion: A bit of a yawn-fest this time around. The King Homer act is definitely the best, and the whole episode has some classic lines. Being Australian, I’ve never seen the source material for “My baloney has a first name, it’s H-O-M-E-R” but I’m led to believe it’s from a very famous American advertisement. Must be, there are eleventy billion other parodies of it both in this series, other TV shows plus movies as well.

Let’s start with the evil Krusty doll. The biggest problem with this plot is the simple flick of the good-evil switch on the back. Really? This is a Halloween episode- surely the writers can think of something better than flicking the switch to good Krusty! How about an exorcism?

King Homer, as mentioned, is very good. I’m impressed with the entire segment being in black and white and the essence stays true to both the original King Kong and The Simpsons. Again, the ending falls a tad short with Homer eating Marge’s father at the wedding. The best quote of the episode comes from Smithers: “Women and seamen don’t mix”.

The third story involves Lisa and Bart creating zombies in Springfield. Typical zombie fare without the flair of The Walking Dead. Best quote from this section is when the Simpsons are fleeing and zombie Flanders approaches. Homer shoots him.
Bart: Dad, you killed zombie Flanders!
Homer: He was a zombie?

I don’t love the episode, but the memorable quotes save the day.

Bad corpse, bad corpse!

Treehouse of Horror II

Director: Jim Reardon

Synopsis: After eating too much Halloween candy, Lisa, Bart and Homer each have a nightmare. Lisa’s nightmare involved Homer buying a magic monkey paw which granted wishes. Bart’s nightmare saw him having powers to do anything he wished and the world feared him. Homer’s nightmare was being turned into a Frankenstein-ian robot built by Smithers and Mr Burns.

Discussion: The usual Halloween offerings from the writers of the show brings little new. This was the first time the Halloween special employed familiar things like the “scary names” bit in the opening credits, plus a return appearance of the aliens introduced in the first Halloween special, Kang and Kodos.

To me, it’s not a standout episode of either the season nor the Treehouse of Horror episodes. Don’t get me wrong, there are some very good moments, particularly in Homer’s nightmare and I love the monkey paw sequence. The animation in the third nightmare is particularly good and that is actually a standout of the season. I think the main issue I have with the Halloween specials is the parodies; I’m not a fan of parody anyway, and now that I think about it, my favourite segments from these specials are the original ideas (having said that, my ultimate fave is Homer in 3D, but we’ll get to that eventually).

Hey Poindexter, it’s Halloween

Treehouse of Horror (aka The Simpsons’ Halloween Special)

Directors: Wesley Archer, Rich Moore & David Silverman

Guest voice: James Earl Jones as the moving guy (segment 1), Serak (segment 2) and the narrator (segment 3).

First appearance of: Kang and Kodos

Synopsis: The episode is split into three segments, each dealing with a scary story.

The first segment sees the Simpson family move into a haunted house. The house tries every trick to get the family to leave but they stand their ground. Told that the Simpsons were staying, the house opted to self-destruct instead.

In the second segment, the Simpsons are kidnapped by aliens and promised a life of unimaginable luxury. However, Lisa suspects the aliens are planning to eat the family as soon as they land on their planet. The aliens are shocked that this was a possibility and assure the family of their intentions to treat them as gods on their planet. The family are returned home.

The third episode is based on Edgar Allen Poe’s narrative poem, ‘The Raven’. Homer plays the lead character while Bart portrays the raven.

Discussion: Here lies the seminal Halloween episode, loved by millions. Forever remembered as the pioneer of all Treehouses of Horror episodes.

The first segment, The Bad Dream House, was based on several horror films including The Amityville Horror, Poltergeist and The Exorcist. It’s fairly run-of-the-mill horror stuff, bleeding walls, voices telling you to kill your family, Indian burial grounds etc. The twist is, given the ultimatum that the Simpsons are going to live there “so get used to it!”, the house opts to self-destruct. Sagely, Lisa notes that “you can’t help feeling a little rejected”. Aww, the Simpsons aren’t that bad!

Kang and Kodos make their first appearance here. Traditionally seen in every Halloween special (sometimes just as the token cameo), they have a full story here. They’ve kidnapped the Simpson family and Lisa suspects the family are to be eaten as the feast back on the home planet. The segment is based in part on a Twilight Zone episode named ‘To Serve Man’. It’s a cute visual gag which works well and reinforces Lisa being too smart for her own good.

Of course, ‘The Raven’ isn’t the first time The Simpsons have paid homage to Edgar Allen Poe. The poem is kept largely intact but with added bits such as interjections to the treehouse where Lisa is relaying the story, plus Homer’s trademark “D’oh!” and other assorted Simpsonsisms. James Earl Jones’ voice is perfect for the poem’s narration, grounding the segment so it doesn’t get too carried away with Simpsons antics. Lisa’s remark that maybe people were easier to scare back in 1845 is pretty funny; ‘The Raven’ segment reminded me of a cross between Paranormal Activity and Hitchcock’s The Birds. Paranormal Activity was based around some bumps in the night (big deal) while The Birds was about a town being bombarded with thousands of birds. Neither movie (in my humble opinion) was scary so ‘The Raven’ wasn’t going to scare the pants off me either. However, intellectually speaking, I can see the scare factor. A guy has lost his wife (Lenore, seen in this segment as a painting featuring Marge) and the raven is a symptom of his deepening grief, sadness and loneliness. What goes on in your head is often more frightening than external forces, just ask anyone who has suffered depression or anxiety.

It’s a good episode, worthy of season 2’s finest accolades. I’ve basically grown up with The Simpsons, so I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen these early episodes. It’s great being able to see them again with fresh eyes, knowing how the rest of the seasons pan out and how these episodes fit into the canon. I suppose if I didn’t feel this way, there’d be no point in watching Simpsons every day!

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