Original Air Dates: Sunday, October 18, Canada / Sunday, November 1, USA, 2020
Political Parody, 2020
This episode opens on November 3, 2020; election day in the US. While Marge is at the polls, she calls Homer, still relaxing in his hammock, to remind him to come and vote. He hesitates, because his horoscope is telling him not to, which may or may not be a callback to the 'G-G-Ghost D-D-Dad' segment of 'Treehouse XI'. Eventually, however, Marge convinces him, and he rushes over.
He hesitates on who to vote for, but Lisa comes in asking him to remember all of the bad that Trump has accomplished in the last four years. This is followed by a long, written list that Homer reads while breaking the fourth wall, and with that, he casts his vote. It's presumably for Biden considering his next line on late night comics not being able to make fun of anyone anymore (they'll find a way), but none of that even matters because it turns out that he dreamt it and has been asleep the whole time.
Marge wakes him up, telling him he missed out on voting. When he asks what the worst that can happen is, things fast-forward to a completely devastated Springfield, along with a visual of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse; Pestilence, Famine, War and 'Treehouse of Horror XXXI' (aka Death). This is a pretty decent opening, and it further pushes the notion that when it comes to political satire, 'The Simpsons' does a pretty good job at squeezing it into Halloween.
With Disney now owning Fox, it was only a matter of time until they started delving into their own collection of classics. Here, they parody Pixar's classic 'Toy Story', and it gets much darker than one might possibly imagine. It all opens with Marge getting Bart to pack up his old toys, but Bart wants a moment to say "goodbye". These "goodbyes" come in the form of sheer destruction, and we see Bart's not so much like Andy from the original film as he is Sid.
Upon getting a new Radioactive Man (with real radioactivity), he immediately goes to work on destroying him too. Before long, the toys get sick of Bart's shenanigans and decide it's high time they fought back. With the help of several other mangled toys, Bart's talking Krusty doll (taking the role of Bart's favorite and most unharmed toy) leads the gruesome revenge plot, and as mentioned before, it gets super dark - almost to the point of hilarity, it's so over the top. It may not be perfectly done, but I have to admit that I enjoyed a lot about this one.
The CG animation is smooth and textured, lending itself to what its parodying, and it's a neat "what if" story, as in "what if the toys really got revenge on Sid in the first movie?" They even have a farcical, twisted Randy Newman song to kick things off here, and to top it all off, it's Disney making fun of Disney, and that's always a bit of a treat for yours truly. It's also interesting to note that this is a bit of a "full-circle" deal as 'Homer³' came out the same year as the first 'Toy Story' film, and was their first attempt as a CG-fueled segment. If nothing else, it's just interesting.
'Into the Homer-Verse'
This is another one of those weird ones that has very little to do with Halloween, other than crowbarring in the idea that it happens to take place on that night. Homer ends up working late at the plant, and Marge calls him asking where the Halloween candy is. No on viewer's surprise, Homer plays back the security tapes that reveal he ate it all while at work.
In a desperate attempt to find more candy somewhere in the massive nuclear plant, he stumbles on something that looks like a vending machine, and tries to stick a coin in the USB slot. When nothing works, he hits it, and opens up a hole in the space-time continuum, bringing in five different Homers; Homer Barbera (who shifts between a Yogi Bear and Snagglepuss type character), Disney Princess Homer (perhaps a little heavy-handed on the self-awareness there), 8-bit Homer, Anime Homer, and Homer Noir. For a while they kinda just do stuff together, but Lisa soon informs them that for some reason they'll keep dying unless they can open up that hoe again and return all of the Homers to their respective dimensions.
It's neat that they actually manage to give each Homer some sort of respective moment, but all in all, it's a slapped together and rushed farce on 'Into the Spider-Verse'. It's another segment that shows a lot of promise for what it is, but the execution is really quite weak. Anime Homer was the only one I really enjoyed here, as he was so over the top, but there's not much laughter to be had with the rest of them. It's a decent effort, but would have been much better as some kind of full, non-Halloween related episode. There's just too much to play with in only about 6 or 7 short minutes.
'Be Nine, Rewind'
In this parody of 'Happy Death Day', Lisa is trying to celebrate her 9th birthday. When she is called down for cake while writing in her log (meanwhile all of her friends and well-wishers are downstairs), she is suddenly struck by a car coming through the front bay window of the house. Miraculously, however, she seems to awaken on the same day to repeat the same process.
She soon finds out that Nelson is actually caught in the same loop, and therefore they decide to work together to figure out how to solve their temporal loop problem. After many times dying over and over again in various, gruesome ways, they eventually seek further help from Comic Book guy who suggests that every temporal loop story between 'Groundhog Day' to 'Edge of Tomorrow' has its own solve, and they have to figure out their own which ends up being super lazy, considering that's what they were already doing.
This segment has a few decent visual gags, but all in all it's very weak. It's pretty bad when even Comic Book Guy refers to the temporal loop storyline as both incredibly ambitious and lazy all at once. That alone seems to suggest that the show is self-aware that it's trying but failing, and it's a bit jarring. A lot of the deaths are actually pretty funny, along with a few one-liners, but it's not something I see holding up for years to come
After the final segment closes out, the credits start rolling on their 31st Halloween show, giving us multiple screenshots of all 90 of the 'Treehouse' segments from previous episodes, working backwards. It's an interesting way to end a well-rounded 31 Halloween episodes (one for each day in October), but it does leave one wondering what the future has in store for these 'Treehouse' episodes. Time will tell in 2021!
Overall Episode Rating: 53%
Original Air Date: Sunday, October 20, 2019
The Episode of The Beast
In what could almost be its own segment, the episode opens up with an homage to 'The Omen' n which Homer and Marge swap out a newborn baby boy with Maggie (they play around a lot with her origin, don't they?). Maggie is pure evil, but according to Homer, "still better than a boy" (largely in reference to Bart's ongoing shenanigans).
It doesn't take long for neighbor Ned to attempt ridding the world of Maggie's evil by trying to sacrifice her inside the First Church of Springfield. He also reveals a "mark of the beast", which at first seems to be a Mickey Mouse shaped birthmark. That's a fairly solid gag, considering Disney buying Fox earlier that year. Another birth mark reveals a "666" in reference to the surprisingly fitting episode number. Maggie then floats up with the sound of an intense accompanying choir, and drops spikes through the chests of Ned, Homer and Marge, forming the "XXX" in 'Treehouse of Horror XXX'.
In a single visual gag further, the camera pans back up to the floating, demonic Maggie, and unveils her "episode 666" birthmark again, along with another that reads "or 667 if Fox changes the schedule". All in all, this is a pretty damn solid opener, and it takes full advantage of both the episode number as well as Disney's new ownership by making a joke about Disney being evil the same way shows like 'South Park' have in the past. It's a Disney joke right up there with the Princess scene in 'Ralph Breaks the Internet' - good on them.
This one's a parody of 'Stranger Things', season 1 with a pretty delightful 'Simpsons' twist. Some regular kids take the place of several roles; Bart as Mike, Lisa as Eleven (weird to think about), Milhouse as Will and Nelson as Dustin. As far as poor Luke goes, Martin is there in the beginning, presumably taking his place, but just sort of goes away afterwards.
After a night of playing Atari's infamously bad 'E.T.' in bart's treehouse, the four boys part ways, and Milhouse is nabbed by some sort of strange creature and taken to the "Over-Under". Lisa makes an attempt to find him by using a sensory depravation device. Meanwhile, Milhouse's Dad goes off his rocker, attemtping to communicate with Milhouse in a similar way as Joyce Byers from the show. What they do here is okay, but they try to cram in a lot and it does feel a bit messy at times.
The similarities to the show, and several 'Stranger Things' related gags are decent enough, and to the segment's credit, they do manage to end it on a funny albeit sort of abrupt note. For as much as I love 'Stranger Things', this particular farce doesn't quite reach the caliber of segments like 'Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace' or even the recent 'The Exor-sis'. But it's still not without its charm, and decent enough for trying to cram a whole season into a less-than-ten-minute segment.
'Heaven Swipes Right'
Opening up at the Springfield Atoms Stadium, Homer ends up choking on a hotdog and dropping dead because of it. When he gets to Heaven, he finds that he has died before his time and is therefore offered to be sent back to live the life of a man due to die that day. Homer chooses a football player, and returns to Marge, bringing a new spice to the relationship.
The next morning, Homer has already ruined the body by eating too much, and the rest of the segment involves Homer finding new bodies to live in for various reasons. This includes Superintendent Chalmers at one point, for example, helping Bart to get better grades. But how long can Homer possibly keep this up until Marge puts her foot down? In case you can't tell already, the segment is definitely weak for a Halloween show, and it's generally unfunny overall.
I don't really have any other way to put it than it was pretty lame. It's yet another non-Halloween themed Halloween segment that just feels like it doesn't belong. It's a parody of 'Heaven Can Wait'; a movie well-known to be a romantic comedy, making this perhaps the least Halloweenish segment I've seen yet. At best, there's a light giggle or two, but nothing about it really sticks out at all. It's incredibly forgettable, and even a bit confusing at points.
'When Hairy Met Slimy'
In a weak parody of 'The Shape of Water', Selma gets a janitorial job at the nuclear power plant. When she goes into a mysterious room to sneak a smoke, she comes across Kang, and they fall in love with each other. But we find out that Mr. Burns wants to dissect him for whatever reason, so she implores Homer to help her and Kang escape by bribing him with the idea of her going to a far-off planet forever.
The gist of the story here is close enough to the original film that you get what's going on. The problem here is that it's a little hard to care. It seems every time Kang and/or Kodos show up to be featured predominantly in a segment, the segment is weak. That said, they are the poster boys for 'Treehouse of Horror', so what's the deal? There are some passes, like 'Citizen Kang', but there are probably more flops. Between the two main characters here, it's kind of just hard to care.
This one feels pretty rushed, unfunny, and I just don't have anything else to say about it. By this point a lot of critics are claiming these episodes to be the same old song and dance for 30 years. And for the fact that a Halloween episode ends up being episode #666 with a very promising opening, what follows is generally one of the weaker ones of the collection. By all means, this should have been something much more special than what it was.
The whole special ends with both Patty and Selma living seemingly dysfunctional love lives with Kang and Kodos, and it plays on the whole idea that after people fall in love, it's only a matter of time until the nagging starts. The title re-enters the screen, accompanied by a collage of various 'Treehouse' moments. It adds a nice touch to this oddity of a milestone, but for as good as the opening and closing are, they just aren't enough to really save the overall episode.
Overall Episode Rating: 33%
Original Air Date: Sunday, October 21, 2018
Opening in Fogburyport, birthdplace of Green Clam Chowder, the Simpson family arrive on a vacation, as a book suggests it to be one of several places to visit before they mysteriously disappear. However, it all turns out to be a trap, and they are soon to be sacrificed to the mighty Cthulhu.
As Cthulhu goes to devour Homer, Homer retaliates by saying he was promised an oyster eating contest. In a seemingly hopeless situation, Homer and the monster take each other on, and Homer ends up being the victor. Cthulhu then tells him he can have anything he wishes, but his wish ends up being to eat Cthulhu. Then, as the beasts head is stewing in a pot, Homer pokes one of his ink sacs that spills out the title 'Treehouse of Horror XXIX', and the opening credits roll.
'Intrusion of the Pod-y Switchers'
In this parody of 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers', things begin in a 'Bond'-style underwater base of "Mapple", where late founder Steve Mobbs comes on screen to talk about the new MyPhone. It is revealed that Steve's replacement is a plant alien on some sort of mission. While everyone is occupied with their new phones, the aliens fire spores from their planet to land on Earth, turning everyone in Springfield to plant versions of themselves.
During the spore launch, there's a solid visual gag where the spores pass the Futurama ship, waving a banner saying "Bring Back Futurama". That's solid enough, but out of nowhere, the Orville comes along and destroys it, seemingly claiming it as yesterday's news (but honestly, I'd still always accept a 'Futurama' comeback). But while things on Earth are getting terrifying, no one really knows what happens to the original host until the end of the segment, where all is revealed.
This one has a few good gags, but it's a bit of a jumbled mess at the same time. It really feels rushed, and that's sort of unfortunate, because its underlying lesson is actually pretty noteworthy. That said, to some, it may also feel a little heavy-handed. It makes its point, but it's a point we've heard and ignored time and time again, so it's a positive message that won't ultimately be taken to heart. I can appreciate its effort, but I still find it to be pretty weak overall, and something that could have turned out much better.
In what seems to be a parody of 'Split', Lisa captures and holds Bart, Nelson and Milhouse captive. She manages this by drugging a few bottles of Sunny-D that were mysteriously delivered to them while at Milhouse's for a sleepover. No one really knows what she's got going on, but Lisa enters, imitating a series of characters from her own mind.
When Bart finally asks what happened to her, Lisa recounts him changing the answers on one of her tests to insult Ms. Hoover, resulting in a failing grade. This apparently leads her on a bloody rampage of revenge. However, knowing how rational Lisa tends to be, this whole concept is pretty hard to buy into. Bart's stunt apparently sends Lisa off the deep end enough to kill, and what they do with Lisa here goes so against the grain on her usual character it's a bit jarring, even if this is completely non-canon.
The segment isn't without its moments, but altogether it's actually pretty lame. I think they could have had so much more fun doing this with, say, Homer's multiple personalities, and they could toss in his 'Shinning' persona as a little Easter Egg. It's also weird that they use this particular title, when they parodied the movie 'Multiplicity' in 'Treehouse XIII'. There's a few giggles here and there, including a pretty great Homer quote towards the end, but it's just not quite enough to save it
Usually there's at least one good salvageable segment in these episodes, but this last one just drives it into the ground. It's just a forced farce of 'Jurassic Park', using the name 'Geriatric Park', which shows like 'Bobby's World' did in the early 90s already, among several other shows. Even 'The Simpsons' itself had 'Itchy and Scratchy Land'.
To the segment's credit, it opens well. Mr. Burns proposing opening a facility that will rejuvenate the elderly using untested dinosaur DNA. A year later, the Simpson family heads to said facility while flying over the ruins of all of the 'Jurassic Park' locations up until that point. While visiting with Grampa, he complains a bit about how they keep it cold, leading Homer to turn up the thermostat which... leads to all of the old people turning into dinosaurs, and the segment goes from pretty funny to very unfunny very quickly.
One also has to ask why it took them this long to make a 'Treehouse' segment based on 'Jurassic Park', considering the year the original film was released was the same year 'Treehouse IV' was released. I will give it credit for a few solid jabs at the 'Jurassic Park' series in the beginning, but the way it starts to go downhill is a bit too sharp and weird and it's just a bit much, even for a 'Treehouse' episode. This one is a simple matter of being too little too late. It caps off a rather disappointing episode altogether, and once again, I have no closer for this one, as it cuts to the credits as soon as this segment ends. The last episode was pretty good... what happened?
Overall Episode Rating: 40%
Original Air Date: Sunday, October 22, 2017
'The Sweets Hereafter' Opener
In a Halloween candy themed opening sequence, we're given a solid CG interpretation of Simpsons characters as various Halloween treats. The "Barterfinger" has a fear of being taken, and is consoled by the "Marge Bar" while the "Oh Homer!" bar adds that even the raisins will be taken before him ( a pretty humorous jab at Bart's former lifestyle as a Butterfinger spokesperson).
Meanwhile an apple, representing Lisa, complains that no one ever wants the apples. So, I dunno if that's some weird vegetarian flip where healthy food wants to be taken while sweets don't, or what, but that's what I'm gonna go with. Anyway, the whole family gets left behind after the trick-or-treaters do their thing, and set up on a shelf with a forgotten chocolate Easter Bunny at the end of his rope. Homer suddenly starts eating him, and soon the rest of the family joins in (I think that counts as cannibalism). It pans to the wall where 'The Simpsons Easter Special' is splattered over with chocolate goo, fairly representative of blood, dripping down the words 'Treehouse of Horror XXVIII'. It looks really good, but the execution is just okay.
Now this is more like it! A farce on a well-known horror movie that flows rather well, this one tackles 'The Exorcist' - a personal favorite. It all starts when a Pazuzu (the demon from 'The Exorcist') statue is dug up, and sent to the Simpsons house through Amazon. It turns out Homer ordered it, thinking "Pazuzu" was "pizza".
Maggie's fear factor is cranked to eleven when the statue possesses Homer, and he sings an incredibly disturbing lullaby before putting her to bed, along with the Pazuzu statue in her crib. Much like in the film, the next day, the demon makes its presence known at a cocktail party downstairs. As the segment unfolds, it leads to the eventual exorcism from a priest played by Ben Daniels (who plays Father Marcus Keane in the 2017 reboot). It ends on a funny note involving Bart that I won't spoil, but it got a good laugh.
By far the best part of this segment for me was Maggie's possessed voice (done by Bart's Nancy Cartwright). Some of the stuff that came out of her mouth got a good laugh, especially her demonic interpretation of what a duck says. The segment is further punctuated by a great score, reminiscent of the film, and maybe even a bit more intense at times. It fits the Halloween theme perfectly, and another great example of 'Treehouse' at its best. As an 'Exorcist' fan, I really enjoyed their take on it.
This one opens with a visual gag that god a solid genuine laugh from me, where Maggie still has a touch of Pazuzu and vomits the pea soup that was missing from the previous segment. You kind of have to see it for yourself, but the timing was perfect. Anyway, it continues to be a parody of 'Coraline' where, in Lisa's room, the family cat Snowball V comes across a secret passage.
Snowball V soon also gains a voice by none other than Neil Gaiman, and he takes her through the secret passage into a world that mimics a perfect version of her family. The catch is that they have button eyes, and in order to stay there forever, that implies sewing buttons onto Lisa's eyes as well (much like in the movie). I won't spoil what happens, but it definitely takes a different route than 'Coraline' did. It does have a pretty damn weird ending though, and once again we have a segment that starts out really good, but sort of falls apart as it goes.
I will give it strong credit for the animation above all else. They really did a good job here of making the characters look almost like plastic toys, and they even added a bit more style to their details. I've always considered 'Coraline' a very Halloweenish movie as well, so it works well in that regard. It's not exactly perfect, but still does the parody pretty well with that does of 'Simpsons' humor. I do think it could have been executed better, but in the long run, I enjoyed it for its overall style and the reference to the previous segment.
We are given a rather humorous warning as this one starts, with Lisa coming onto a stage to warn us about how gruesome the following segment is. She mentions that it's so gruesome that we'll want to tune into 'Game of Thrones' to calm down (something that is completely untrue, but funny to think about). This one is a loose parody of Stephen King's 'Survivor Type' in which a man resorts to eating his own body parts to stay alive.
It starts with the rest of the family going away on a vacation with Patty and Selma while Homer is left alone with the house to himself. At first, he lives like a king, eating whatever and wherever in the house he pleased. It doesn't take long, however, until he's left with a whole lot of nothing, save for a single hot dog wiener in the back of the freezer that he brings outside to barbeque. But while cutting the wiener, Homer cuts off his finger, which lands on the grill, and his hotdog goes to Santa's Little Helper. Out of options, Homer decides to try eating the finger, and finds a whole new world of flavor he didn't know existed. This leads to a montage of him cooking various different parts of himself and eating them. Eventually he's caught by Marge, however, and taken in for help.
This one brings in another very out of the blue guest appearance by Mario Batali. But interestingly, it gets balanced with 'Exorcist' director William Friedkin as the voice of Homer and Marge's therapist, thus bringing that 'Exorcist' theme sort of full circle. As cool as that is, however, the segment itself is far from being my favorite. It's not even that it's gruesome, it's just not very funny, and the previous two segments were more entertaining. I think this one's really just weird more than anything else, but an A for effort on the whole "gruesome" thing, considering that apparently this segment did get to some people - which might mean it did its job. It just didn't quite hit with me, personally.
Once again it ends with no real closer, so there's nothing really to add after this segment's review. But I will at least leave off in saying that to the episode's credit, I haven't given a rating this high in a little while. 'The Exorsis' segment alone might very well be a new favorite.
Overall Episode Rating: 80%
Original Air Date: Sunday, October 16, 2016
The Episode #600 Milestone
In America, where "everything is early", things open with the Simpson family exploring a Christmas tree lot on Halloween. They are then locked in and ambushed by a "furious four" of Sideshow Bob, the Leprechaun from 'Treehouse XII', the ghost of Frank Grimes and Kang. Their reason for ambushing the family is due to every battle they've fought over the years with Homer resulting in Homer besting them somehow.
As they move in for the kill, however, a Clockwork Orange (again) dressed up Maggie kills them all, spilling out purple alien blood from Kang that spells out the title for 'Treehouse of Horror XXVII'. The ghost of Frank Grimes (not really able to be killed) asks if anything can stop the Simpsons, and the screen proceeds to load with clips from every previous episode (filling the screen 20x30) with Grimes suggesting that in Hell they make you watch them all in a row. But hey, the intro isn't over yet.
The 600th episode milestone marker is followed by a couch gag entitled 'Planet of the Couches' in which a tribe of sofas captures the Simpson family and... doesn't realy do anything with them, but apparently still pose a threat. Homer then knocks the couch out while on the beach, and the family sits and watches the waves from the ocean instead of the TV. It's not my favorite couch gag, but the overall opening is quite humorous.
This one is a bit hard to appreciate unless you can appreciate the farce of a three-part story being split into four movies within a near-five-minute spoof. The parody here is mainly 'The Hunger Games', but it also touches on 'Mad Max: Fury Road' as it collectively portrays a community without sustenance of some sort. In this case, it's water, which has all but drained from Springfield due to a drought, but Mr. Burns hogs the last of it.
Burns announces a battle in which the children of Springfield will fight each other to the death just for a chance to spend a day swimming in Burns' personal reservoir. Lisa is selected to represent "Nevergreen Terrace", and has "Homish" as her coach. However, Lisa tries to convince the kids to band together and fight Mr. Burns for his water instead of just competing to the death for a day of refreshment. The whole thing is split into four quick parts, and sometimes visually hilarious - my personal favorite being Willie representing that crazy guitar guy from 'Fury Road' at one point.
As a whole, I have to admit that the segment is a bit of a mess. But I almost feel that for this one, in a way, it's supposed to be a mess. As mentioned before, it pokes fun at the seemingly unnecessary extra money-making film at the end of such franchises as 'Harry Potter', 'Twilight' and of course, 'The Hunger Games'. In that regard, it's a mess you can appreciate, like paint splatter on a canvas. I think I've seen worse. It just passes.
In a bit more of an original segment, several people who are close to Lisa start to die off in various gruesome ways. She talks to a therapist, but even she is mysteriously killed. While Chief Wiggum suspects her to be the culprit, Lisa soon finds out that the deaths are due to a jealous imaginary friend from her past named Rachel (Sarah Silverman).
The next morning, there's another murder on the school bus, which leads to Lisa's arrest. In jail, Lisa mentions that her mother was right about not needing Rachel anymore, which leads Rachel on a rampage, seeking out Marge and everyone else Lisa cares about, which, knowing Lisa, is generally everyone in Springfield. With the help of Bart and her imagination, Lisa sets out to find and stop Rachel from doing any more damage. Also brought into the picture, eventually, is Homer's imaginary friend, Sergeant Sausage.
This one also gets a solid pass. It's nothing awesome, but the story flows nicely, and the gags are at least decent. Sarah Silverman also brings her own touch to the homicidal Rachel, and even Drew Carrey shows up for a brief moment to give a eulogy. It's no knee-slapper, but it's not without a few giggles, and some relatively creative kills. It doesn't really parody anything specific either, and sometimes an original work is just fine.
I actually did enjoy this one, despite the fact that it doesn't entirely fit the Halloween theme. This one is a mixed parody of 'Goldfinger' and 'Kingsman: The Secret Service'. In the opening, Bart is running from Jimbo, Dolph and Kearney, and tries to hide in the back room of Moe's bar, through the back door. They catch up, but just as they are about to pummel him, Moe comes to the rescue.
Moe then reveals to Bart that this whole time, he and the rest of the regular barflies actually work as secret agents. Due to Homer's recent death in action, Moe asks Bart to step up to the plate and take his place. His first mission involves helping them to thwart Remoh Industries, who are plotting to buy up all of the world's beer. The plan is to strike during a free concert Remoh Industries is putting on, featuring Steely Dan, at their recently purchased Duff Stadium. This is all followed by a generous twist, which I won't spoil. To be fair though, you may already still see it coming.
I have to admit that I had quite a bit of fun with this one. It's pretty off the wall, and fits the 'Kingsman' concept pretty well. It's another example of a not-so-Halloweenish segment that gets my attention as a pretty good parody, regardless of whether or not it fits with Halloween. It still does what it's trying to do well, and though it's not laugh out loud hilarious, it's still perfectly enjoyable. I particularly enjoyed just how half-assed the explanation regarding Remoh buying up all the world's beer was.
If there's no other reason to end on a 'Bond' farce, it's so that it can end in a 'Bond' style, complete with its own 'Bond' song, '600'. Its soul purpose is essentially to call out all of the bad shows that have gone under over the years that 'The Simpsons' has lasted. It even goes so far as to take a jab at 'Futurama' and "Untitled Seth McFarland Show 2017", which eventually turned out to be 'The Orville'. In my opinion, a well-earned ending, even if it does boast its milestone.
Overall Episode Rating: 67%
Original Air Date: Sunday, October 25, 2015
John Kricfalusi's Couch Gag
John Kricfalusi is probably best known for his animation on 'Ren & Stimpy'. He provides us with perhaps the strangest 'Simpsons' couch gag I think I've ever seen. It all opens with Kricfalusi's versions of Bart, Lisa and Maggie trick-or-treating. Suddenly they start getting chased by a bunch of Halloween ghouls, which includes a Frank Grimes monster (that I sincerely do not get Frank Grimes from), hungry for souls.
These monsters chase the Simpson children into their house, where Homer and Marge are on the couch, presumably already watching TV. The Grimes monster, failing to capture the kids for their souls, settles for Homer's soul instead. From there, Marge introduces "the cartoon", and the credits roll. I believe for the first time, there's no title card for this one.
'Wanted: Dead, Then Alive'
While playing on the school playground, Bart gets a text from Milhouse's phone suggesting that the music teacher, Mr. Largo, is stuck in a harp and it looks hilarious. When Bart gets to the music room to check it out, however, he is attacked and finally killed by his old nemesis, Sideshow Bob. Bob then takes Bart's body home and uses him for various things, like a mini putt hole for example. Soon though, he realizes his pursuit of Bart was what gave his life meaning.
Bob eventually constructs a sort of "Frankenstein" machine that can restore things back to their original form. This provides Bob with a whole montage of Bart kills, more than making up for every single time Bart thwarted him. That's quite literally all this particular segment is, and it seems to glorify killing a ten-year-old kid over and over and over again. That said though, as a Halloween segment, it's a neat little fantasy for those of us who sometimes wanna see a villain succeed. At this point, Bart and Bob's rivalry is right up there with the Roadrunner and Wyle E. Coyote.
The whole thing ends pretty much how you'd expect it to, but the execution of it is kind of funny (if not a little gross). The segment itself is very self-aware as well, considering a couple of jokes they throw in; one mentioning Bob's 24-year pursuit of a 10-year-old boy, and another where Homer points out the animation on him looks fine when reading the "Reanimate" label on Bob's Machine. It's fine for something if you wanna see Bob have a good day, but... you're still watching a 10-year-old kid get brutally murdered over and over again, and on the whole, it's really just not that funny.
Although this one is a little sloppily thrown together, I couldn't help but get a good laugh or two from the overall satire that this segment tackled. Being a parody of Godzilla, it also mixes well as a back-to-back segment with 'King Homer' (although 'King Homer' is miles better). It all starts in a Simpson character fueled Japan, and the footage is black and white, covering older 'Godzilla' films.
Grampa Simpson is constantly made fun of for his daily routine of making the perfect donut to drop into the ocean in order to appease a huge seas monster with the potentail to destroy the city. However while making one, Grampa chokes and dies on a sprinkle. This provides Homerzilla with no donut, and he rises up out of the water to wreak havoc on the city of (presumably, due to the original films) Tokyo. Then things get super weird as it cuts to present day where a bunch of studio executives who are watching the segment suggest remaking it because it's old and cheesy and deserves to be remade.
To everyone's surprise, the film is an absolute flop, except for one ticket purchased by Comic Book Guy who only got it to get a good seat for the upcoming 'Star Wars' film (which would have been 'The Force Awakens' at the time). It then ends with a bit of a twist, but all in all, it's pretty rushed and messy. Despite that, a lot of the jabs at either 'Godzilla' remake are pretty hilarious, considering how big time studio execs seem to constantly think. Again, one of those things we can laugh at even more now that Disney owns them. It passes, but only just barely.
'Telepaths of Glory'
Once again, we have an idea that was going so well until it hit the very end of things. Here, 'The Simpsons' parody what is probably my favorite found footage film, 'Chronicle', in which a group of teenagers gain telekinetic abilities. The kids involved here are Bart, Lisa and Milhouse, who start the segment off hunting butterflies near a deep hole. Milhouse gets knocked down the hole, Bart and Lisa go in after him, and soon, a toxi blast from the chemicals buried in the hole gives them a variety of superpowers (except Bart, who really takes a back seat here).
Lisa and Milhouse start using their powers to theri advantage, but where Lisa is using it for things like creating music and fixing Bart's graffiti, Milhouse is using it to get back at his bullies, and taking things a bit too far. The film does the same sort of thing, exploring how someone who can ace his ability could potentially become a real threat to others. But instead of exploring that, the segment just takes this bizarre and rapid turn that pretty well ruins things altogether. I won't say what it is, but it's so lame and out of left field that it just makes things bad for something that started with real potential. Not a first, but still no less irritating.
The segment isn't without a few solid visual gags that you have to kind of catch when they happen. For instance, out of nowhere, Skrat from 'Ice Age' runs by for some random reason, and we also see the 'Flintstones' car when going down the hole after Milhouse, but just because they get a laugh doesn't mean they mean anything. It doesn't happen too often, but sometimes these segments go from good to bad so rapidly that it kind of angers me. It's just another example of them running out of time and having to wrap things up fast, and it feels cheap and lazy. Once again, full potential flushed right down the toilet. But at least the first half is somewhat entertaining
The episode ends similarly to the way it did in 'Treehouse XI', with Kang and Kodos complaining about being left ut of the Halloween episode, only to provide a remote cameo at the end. As a result of their complaints, the aspect ratio suddenly goes fro 16:9 to 4:3, followed by Kang saying "just because it looks like season 4 doesn't make it season 4", which makes no sense at all considering this similar scene was from season 12. The only thing I can figure is that it's a reference to 'King Homer' and its similarity to 'Homerzilla'
Anyway, as whole, this is definitely one of the weaker attempts at a 'Treehouse' episode. It's not without its moments, ut the way it's thrown together does feel like an overall last-minute mess. The segments are okay at best, and the few laughs it provides just isn't quite enough to save it. Things were starting to level out nicely, but this sadly brought it back to some of the poor quality "teen" years.
Overall Episode Rating: 47%
Original Air Date: Sunday, October 19, 2014
The Kang and Kodos Show
This episode opens in the form of a talk show special, apparently hosted by Kang and Kodos. The intro passes through a whole bunch of clips from previous 'Treehouse' episodes, and either Kang or Kodos lists off a wide variety of guest stars that seems too obviously good to be true. However, as the curtains open to present the title 'Treehouse of Horror XXV', every celebrity listed has been dismembered and rearranged to form the letters of the title.
It's not the best opening for a 25th Anniversary show, but one could argue that to its credit, it's quick and to the point, giving the show a chance to dive in. Sometimes these intros can sort of drag, and this one doesn't, plus it provides a bit of nostalgia going through the old episode clips from previous years. It marks the 25th anniversary milestone well enough, and the del Toro intro we got last time will forever be hard to top anyway.
'School is Hell'
We open with Bart being punished for the umpteenth time by being placed in detention by Principal Skinner. While he casually he brushes off his punishment, he does begin to get bored and start playing around with whatever's in the room. This includes a desk with a bunch of Aramaic text carved into it. Even upon just touching it, flames burst from it, and it's pretty far-fetched that it hasn't been discovered by anyone yet.
Lisa helps Bart translate the text out loud, which sends them to a version of Springfield Elementary that resides in Hell. The text also turns both Bart and Lisa into hoof-footed, horned demons for fitting in, and roles are reversed as Lisa just wants to go home but Bart is an ace when it comes to forms of creative torture. They eventually return to Earth, and in a weird twist on things, Bart asks if he can switch schools, bringing the Hell school to the attention of his parents and the fact that it makes him want to learn. Oddly enough, they accept on the basis that it fuels Bart's integrity.
I really like the concept here, as well as the potential role reversal between Bart, Lisa and their schooling (which admittedly has been done before in 'Separate Vocations'). The way they play around with the characters being different demons gets pretty creative, and it fits the Halloween theme incredibly well. The only thing that I'm iffy on is the fact that Marge and Homer are so supportive of Bart, literally learning how to torture people, and even impressing various demons as he goes. So, it ends on a really weird note. But the concept is creative enough to pull it through for a solid pass.
'A Clockwork Yellow'
In London, a 'Clockwork Orange'-style gang consisting of Moe, Homer, Lenny and Carl runs the streets. Homer soon falls for local girl, Marge, who convinces him to quit the gang, leading the gang to fall apart. They parody a lot of the visuals and sequences from 'Clockwork Orange' pretty well here, right down to the ominous music, and it carries through to the end.
Years after the group breaks apart, Moe gets attacked by a group that seems to be a copycat of his old one, consisting of the Springfield bullies. This has Moe ask Homer to get the gang back together and get back into their old, troubling ways by attacking an 'Eyes Wide Shut'-style party which parodies several other Kubrick films as it unfolds. The segment leaves a fictional world, bringing us to a real one where Kubrick writing in an editing room, asking for it all to be reshot because it wasn't quite right.
Considering how often they've actually parodied the 'Clockwork Orange' costume, it was only really a matter of time before they parodied the whole film - plus other pokes at other Kubrick works. It plays out okay if you're a fan of the film, but otherwise it's just kind of weird, and again feels a touch thrown together. It's an interesting balance of good and bad, but much like the last segment, it manages to squeak by a pass considering how well it captures the original movie, even if it is a little rushed and convoluted.
This is a weird one. As far as the overall concept as well as some of the creativity at the end goes, I really enjoy it. But the execution of everything is a tad redundant, and it's really just a new take on Homer and Marge's ongoing marital problems. It's a loose parody of the film of the same name, but the only real similarity about it is that it has to do with ghosts. So at the very least, it fits with the Halloween theme quite well.
It begins with strange occurences such as the TV only able to get different versions of 'Married with Children', and mysterious chocolate milkshakes being left around the house. This eventually leads to a séance where Homer tells the spirits to show themselves, and the spirits happen to be the older, Tracey Ullman versions of them from the late 80s - before 'The Simpsons' took off and became its own show. One could also say they're reflections of the first season versions of the characters. Anyway, present day Homer and ghost Marge seem to be drawn to each other which starts a disastrous domino effect of death within the household.
It all ends with something kind of awesome, as Lisa starts wondering about other incarnations of themselves. Thins brings along a tacky, modernized CG version of them along with an anime version, followed by versions representing 'Adventure Time', 'South Park', 'Archer', Lego, 'Despicable Me', the 'Island of Dr. Hibbert' animal versions of themselves and one I can't quite wrap my had around, but a bit of homework suggests 'The Triplets of Belleville'. It's nothing special, really until that end scene, but still manages to get a pass, making this possibly the most average 'Treehouse' yet.
The previous two episodes left me with not a whole lot more to say, as they didn't exactly have a closing sequence to them and just dove into the end credits as if to say "we just ran out of time". This one, however, ends with a gag involving old school Homer trying to get a picture of both Simpson families. Of course, as history has it when it comes to Simpson family portraits, the photo is ruined for various reason including making faces, ignoring the camera altogether, and even starting fights. It leaves things on a touch of nostalgia, and it's a nice little gag that reaches into our collective past to mark 25 years of 'Treehouse'.
Overall Episode Rating: 60%
Original Air Date: Sunday, October 6, 2013
Guillermo del Toro's Couch Gag
Okay, these 'Treehouse' intros definitely have their ups and downs, but good God, this has got to be the best intro I've seen yet. It is simply amazing the way it's put together, and it's all conceived by none other than Guillermo del Toro; a master of monsters. He brings a whole bunch of his own films into the mix while referencing a ton of other things. It's the 'Simpsons' Halloween opening of my dreams. Consider it officially bookmarked as my favorite.
It generally plays out as a take on the classic intro, but watch this breakdown of references from beginning to end: Zombie movies, 'Pacific Rim', 'The 7th Voyage of Sinbad', 'The Birds', 'The Shining', 'Hellboy', 'Blade II', 'Godzilla', 'Pan's Labyrinth', 'Mimic', 'The Phantom of the Opera', Cthulhu, Universal Monsters, several references to earlier 'Simpsons' moments and episodes, and that's about half of it. Even the Hypnotoad from 'Futurama' shows up here. And the beautiful thing about it is how well it all flows, and doesn't just feel like a jumbled mess. I am hearby awarding this episode with a "gimme" of one extra point to add to the overall percentage, just for this sequence alone. It's one of the best 'Treehouse' moments in the history of the show.
'Oh, the Places You'll D'oh!'
I almost hesitate to say it, but I actually loved this segment. The way it's put together as a farce on Dr. Seuss material works very well. The rhyming they use here isn't lazy at all, and quite creative, and the designs of the settings and characters are very reminiscent of classic Seuss animation such as 'The Cat in the Hat', which is what the segment is spoofing the most.
Taking place on Halloween night, the Simpson kids are home sick with the mumps and can't go trick-or-treating. But when Marge leaves to a costume party, the "Fat in the Hat" (aka Homer) shows up to give them all vaccinations, cure them, and have them tag along as he runs amok throughout Springfield. As the kids watch in horror, the Fat in the Hat commits crimes of all sorts including robbery and murder, but in the most casual of ways. It's some pretty dark humor, but a welcome change from the usual.
I'll be honest, I found this segment to be one of the very best I've seen in quite some time. It takes place on Halloween night, and parodies the Dr. Seuss material I loved so dearly as a kid. They were fun and innocent books of rhymes that fueled the imagination, and you could tell the writers took their time to not only study the material a little bit but write it well. When I saw what this was going to be, I was absolutely sure I'd have a strong dislike for it. I'm happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised by how fun this one was.
'Dead and Shoulders'
This one opens with Bart and Milhouse flying a box kite in a fly zone near the Springfield airport. We get a few dumb, but funny visuals here involving the aircraft flying in and out of the airport, but the laughs die off pretty quickly with the bizarre stuff that follows. Although this episode starts very strongly, there's something all too familiar about this segment, and it feels unoriginal.
Bart gets tired and instead of going home, chooses to keep his box kite in the air to keep being a brat. He does this by wrapping the kite string around his neck for an anchor. This immediately results in his decapitation, which leads to his head being sewn onto Lisa's body. This operation extends Bart's life but cuts Lisa's short. The catch is that Lisa still has full control. Bart is then lead to believe he may have to live a life of lame until one night while Lisa's sleeping, Bart figures out he can take control.
It's irksome to me that this literally could have been the follow-up to the way 'Treehouse III' left off. For those who don't remember, that was the episode that involved the nightmares, and Homer's involved the sewing of Mr. Burns' decapitated head to his shoulder. Homer then wakes up to find the nightmare was true, and there's a joke ad for "next week's episode" that carries on the story. This just felt like it took things in the wrong direction by doing exactly the same thing with two different characters.
'Freaks, No Geeks'
Hereabouts, the episode ever so slightly redeems itself with this parody of 'Freaks', taking place in a 1930s circus setting. Homer, as the egotistical strongman talks his lover, Marge the trapeze artist to marry Moe - the most hideous of the circus' side-show freaks. The reason; Homer learns that Moe has inherited and emerald ring from his grandmother on her deathbed.
At the wedding reception, the "freaks" (which include Lenny and Carl as the Pinheads, and Barney as the torso guy) accept them as one of their own, and things end on a different note here than in the original film. Also, far too rapidly. Basically it comes down to a big reveal that ends the episode so sharply that it almost kills what was otherwise shaping up to be a good segment. Although at the very least, it can be said that the scenery doesn't change 100%. If you know how 'Freaks' ends, it's actually kind of funny, but it still catches you off-guard. If you don't know 'Freaks', you'll just be lost at this ending, which further pokes fun at 'How I Met Your Mother'.
Up until that point, however, it's neat to see what they did with the characters for this segment as far as who portrayed who from the movie. I also enjoy the way its animated, reflecting the sepia tone we also saw in 'The Day the Earth Looked Stupid', and giving it those dark tones where necessary. This one's okay, but getting back to how it ends, it once again leaves me with not much to work with for a closing paragraph. The credits in this one actually come up so quickly, you almost wonder if they're playing a joke and there's more to it. But nope. It just ends.
Overall Episode Rating: 73%
Original Air Date: Sunday, October 7, 2012
That Mayan Calendar Thing
Some of us may remember 2012 as one of the primary examples of a world-ending prediction. I confess, I don't really remember how it was determined (I think they ran out of dates on the Mayan Calendar?) but the world was supposed to end back in 2012. Hell, Roland Emmerich even made a disaster movie about it happening. Anyway, 'The Simpsons', knowing better, decided to bring a sense of humor to the whole thing with this intro.
A Simpson character-fueled, ancient Mayan civilization decides they need to sacrifice someone to the Gods. Wiggum says they've been fattening someone up on purpose for the sacrifice, and that someone is Homer. But when Moe comes to collect Homer fo said sacrifice, Marge seduces him and tricks him by putting a bag over his head, and sending him out for a beheading, claiming it's the "Room of Pleasure". This beheading leads to the destruction of the world on Halloween night, 2012.
Once again, we have an opening that completely dates itself with its subject matter. It may have been all right for the time, but even then, the portrayal of the Mayan Gods is is this weird, twisted, superhero fashion, and I'm just not sure I get it. It's not without a laugh or two, though. One scene involves a Mayan God hurling the Lard Lad Donut into space, just missing Kang and Kodos' ship, and it was so out of the blue I got a good chuckle. But all in all, it's pretty "old news" by today's standards.
'The Greatest Story Ever Holed'
To really appreciate this one, you're gonna have to go ahead and check your brain at the door. It doesn't really make sense, but isn't without some solid visual gags nonetheless. It opens on the activation of Springfield's new Particle Accelerator. The money put into it was suggested by Lisa, taking away a potential new baseball stadium. When Frink throws a switch, a whole bunch of nothing happens, and the townsfolk who turned out to witness this event all turn on Lisa.
After everyone leaves, two particles collide with each other and make a miniature black hole. It approaches Lisa, and Lisa is able to guide it with a stick to her house for safe-keeping. The family learns about it real quick, and Lisa has to convince them that throwing trash into it will make it bigger, and that will result in catastrophe. In proper Simpsons fashion, however, the family (namely Homer and Bart) just keeps dumping stuff into it. It's not long before things start to get out of control, and it floats around town, sucking in everything in sight.
I'm not the biggest fan of this one as far as the concept goes. It's just a little too out-there for my liking. But honestly, some of the visual gags are kind of hilarious. This includes Bart shoving Krabappel into the hole out of nowhere, and Homer trying to pet the black hole and getting his fingers warped. There's even a bit where Comic Book Guy throws Disney's 'Black Hole' into the hole, providing a solid rip on their new owners that they were unaware of at the time. It's actually a decent segment, despite a lot of scientific improbability involving the hole, itself.
In this parody of 'Paranormal Activity', Homer sets up cameras to record some strange occurrences that have been going on within the household. As the segment plays out, it tackles various parodies of the first two 'Paranormal Activity' films, namely the fast-forwarded footage, stopping only to play out whatever creepy event is happening. For a while, they have something great going, but its second half just plain weakens an otherwise great idea.
It turns out that their tormentor is a demon who was summoned by Patty and Selma when Marge was a little girl. The demon shows up and grabs the twins by their necks, and they plead to Marge for some help. Marge asks the demon to come back for them later, but the deal is that when he comes back, he's also coming for her "favorite" child. I won't spoil much more but the leads to Homer making a whole new deal and the end result delivers a good laugh, despite the latter half of this segment being otherwise fairly weak.
Again, it bothers me that they really had something going here. All of the found footage stuff takes a bit of a back seat in the second half, and the overall parody just loses its luster. It would have even been interesting for them to play with some other found footage films, and just play with the subgenre. I'll give it credit for giving me a genuine chuckle at the tail end, but if they had stuck to a straight up 'Paranormal Activity' farce, I would have enjoyed it so much more.
'Bart and Homer's Excellent Adventure'
In yet another example of stepping super far away from anything to do with Halloween, here we have a farce on 'Back to the Future' that makes no damn sense. Although I'll credit it for providing an interesting slice of nostalgia, referencing the episode 'The Way We Was' from Season 2 (1991), it's just not enough to save it.
It opens with Bart trying to by a comic book for the original price of 25 cents. However, as comics go, it was worth its original price in 1974 and is now marked at $200. Exiting the Android's Dungeon, Bart sees Frink arrive in a time machine after a successful test. He carelessly gives Bart his car keys to hold on to, and Bart heads to '74 to check out that comic. He also stumbles upon his parents in high school and disrupts their "love at first sight" moment, soon discovering that if his parents never get together, he might actually have it better. He keeps them separate, heads back to 2012, and it turns out that he's the son of Artie Ziff now. How that could possibly work, genetically, I have no idea.
Anyway, it does have a semi happy ending, but all in all this is easily the weakest of the three. Much like 'Un-Normal Activity', they had a solid idea here, but they only followed through half way. The first half is fine, but the second half is just plain weird, out of the blue, and takes away from the farce completely. The difference between the segments brings it down even further as at the very least, 'Un-Normal Activity' fits the Halloween theme of the episode. This is honestly just a 'Back to the Future' parody, and nothing about Halloween, horror, of even thriller enters into it. Everything just ends after this segment as well, so once again I don't have much of a closing for this episode. But as a whole, I can at least say it wasn't terrible.
Overall Episode Rating: 53%
Original Air Date: Sunday, October 18, 2011
Homer's 127 Hours
Things open with Bart, Lisa and Maggie coming back home from a night of trick-or-treating. Marge comes downstairs and takes all of their candy from them, replacing it with "healthy stuff", and has Homer take the candy to be donated to the US Army. Of course, against Marge's wishes, he runs off with the candy (parodying 'Psycho') and heads into the desert where he falls down a hole and gets his arm trapped under a boulder.
Homer's only hope to get to the bag of candy off to his side is to chew off his arm. He succeeds in doing so, only to have the bag revealed to have been a bag full of vegetables the whole time. He cries out in anguish, and things go back to the Simpson house where Bart, Lisa and Maggie are still enjoying their candy. The spelling of 'Treehouse of Horror XXII' comes up in Bart's mouthful of different types of sticky, gooey candy.
'The Diving Bell and the Butterball'
Things open up with a parody of 'The Diving Bell and the Butterfly'. We get Homer's point of view as he seems to be laying on the couch paralyzed. Confused at first, he soon recalls putting up the Halloween decorations and mistaking a real Black Widow spider to be fake. The spider bites him, paralyzing him in the position you see in the accompanying picture.
For a while, things seem a bit helpless until Lisa discovers that Homer can fart at will. The family then uses this to communicate. Out of nowhere, shortly after something a touch poetic (narrated by farts, of course) homer gets bitten by a different spider, leading to a quick farce of 'Spider-Man' whose webs shoot from his butt as well as his wrists. It's just as bad as it sounds, and feels like an idea from some fart-loving fan who wrote in one day. So help me, it's just not that funny unless you have that low-brow a sense of humor. Just fart jokes here, folks.
Whether you're into this one or not is all gonna depend on just how child-like your sense of humor is. Had this been one of the early 'Treehouse' segments from when I was still a kid, I might have gotten more out of it. These all began when I was only 8 years old, and I still loved hearing a good fart noise. But now, there needs to be some sort of cleverness behind a good fart joke. Just using it to communicate isn't good enough though, and this is easily one of the weakest segments yet - if it's not at the very bottom of all that I've seen so far.
'Dial "D" for Diddly'
One thing to point out right away is the fact that these need more originality with their titles. This is now the third time a segment has parodied 'Dial "M" for Murder' in its title, and the last time was only just 'Treehouse XX'. So though the title does fit, it's starting to irk me that they keep coming back to it. This time it's a farce on the hit TV show 'Dexter', and if you ask me, 'Nedster' would have been just fine for a title. But I digress.
Things start with Ned Flanders taking a drive through the seedy part of town with a voiceover. We learn through a montage and further events that Flanders has become a killer of sorts, using the Bible and what seems to be the voice of God himself as his guide to rid the world of sinners. We soon find out, however, that the bible Ned carries has a speaker, and on the other side of it is Homer with a microphone, using Ned to kill all of his enemies. It's a pretty damn dark segment, and they do seem to be playing fast and loose with what some of these characters are capable of.
That said, the segment is pretty well presented as something that fits with the Halloween theme, and takes a jab at something quite popular at the time. The idea of Homer controlling Ned to kill is a bit much, but that's hard to criticize too harshly at this point since in the last episode, Ned was served up for dinner to Dracula and Edmund. I'm not sure how I feel about the sharp turns they take, but at the end of the day, it can all be shrugged off for the non-canon Halloween episode it is. So honestly, nitpicks aside, this gets a pass... the ending is pretty weird though.
'In the Na'vi'
In this parody of 'Avatar' (perhaps a couple of years late), Krusty the Clown sends military forces to Rigel 7 to locate something called "hilarrium"; a chemical that will make his audience laugh, which he's most definitely gonna need for his next act. Bart and Milhouse are recruited to use avatar bodies in order to communicate and befriend the Rigelians and locate this hilarrium.
Now, when I say they spoof 'Avatar', they do it all. This includes going into the avatar itself, trying to bond with a flying creature, a big battle at the end, and even that Na'vi sex scene that no one really knew how to feel about. Yes folks, Bart kinda sorta gets laid here. He befriends kang's daughter, Kamala they do the deed, and she is left with child. How that happens with an avatar body, I have no idea, but there you have it. Anyway, eventually Milhouse sells them out once the hilarrium is found, and the big final battle takes place. All in all, it results in a pretty mixed bag, and it's gonna be one of those segments I enjoy but I'd get if someone else didn't.
There's some humor in here that gets a bit risky, but as a whole, it really fits what they are trying to do. A primary criticism for this is often how it felt like it came late - about 2 years after 'Avatar's initial release. I think those criticisms feel a bit dated though, since so much time has passed since 2011. Nowadays, it works as a look back on something big in pop culture. The humor can be a bit weird here, but I frankly found it to be very creative as it unfolded, and it flows pretty well for something representing a 3 hour movie crammed into a less than 10 minute segment. It's not the funniest segment out there, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy its flow and creativity. It's a pretty damn solid farce altogether.
In one of the weakest endings in 'Treehouse' history, the curtains close on the final segment, and Lisa comes on stage to bid us farewell. The whole ending is dedicated to telling us how Halloween is over, and it's time to go out and stimulate the economy with some Christmas shopping. She's joined one-by-one by various characters from the show as the message is being put across, and it just leaves things on a somewhat bitter note. This may have worked for one of their many November releases, when it was already after Halloween and made sense, but we still had over a week to go here.
With that said, I will say that I got a chuckle from the very last thing that happens. Grampa Simpson comes into the scene dressed up as Nina from 'Black Swan', asking when they're gonna do the 'Black Swan' segment. Everyone looks away, awkwardly, and the credits start rolling. More than anything, it's the randomness of the moment and the way Grampa looks in the outfit. All in all, it's a weaker episode, but still not the worst of them. That final segment saves it for me.
Overall Episode Rating: 53%