Original Air Date: Sunday, October 31, 1999
Celebrating Ten Years of Treehouse
Fittingly enough, the 10th anniversary milestone opens with the likes of Kang and Kodos - the aliens from the show, exclusive to their Halloween specials. They come on stage in a couple of "tuxedos" to introduce the show to a completely dead audience with a laugh track, telling horrible jokes.
It then cuts to the couch gag, which is admittedly one of their best ones for the special altogether. It shows different Halloween Special versions of each character - Homer the jack in the box from "Treehouse II", Marge the witch and Bart the Half-fly from 'Treehouse VIII', Maggie the alien from 'Treehouse IX', and Lisa in a simple axe-to-the-head Halloween costume. When Lisa questions what aliens have to do with Halloween, Maggie cries "SILENCE!" and vaporizes her, then it's on with the show.
'I Know What You Diddily-Iddly-Did'
In my opinion, this is another one of the better ones from when the show started to tip downhill. I know it seems like I'm saying this about a lot of segments, but trust me, the downhill stuff is coming. It's a sort of take on 'I Know What You Did Last Summer' with a weird, but suitably Halloweeny twist.
The Simpson family is driving down a foggy road, after supposedly just having a run-in with a bunch of vampires. Marge attempts to pull over when she's unable to see much, but in doing so, strikes Ned Flanders, apparently dead. Homer tries to cover it up by making it look like natural causes, and have Maude Flanders find his body. But soon the family finds a message of "I know what you did", and surely enough, are stalked by a mysterious raincoat-wearing guy with a hook.
It ends with a super weird twist that really takes away from the concept of a parody of the film, and it's honestly pretty dumb. But the rest of the segment is still pretty funny, and it's sadly the only segment in this whole episode that really fits with the whole Halloween theme of the episode. At the very least, it gets a solid pass.
'Desperately Xeeking Xena'
This was actually the first Halloween segment in the show's history that fully bothered me. It seemed to me like an idea they had for the characters in general, sitting around somewhere collecting dust because there was no real room to use it. But hey, why not toss it randomly into a Halloween episode?
This one begins at Springfield Elementary, during Halloween, when the school is holding a Halloween candy inspection... thing. An accident happens with the x-ray machine, and it zaps Bart and Lisa, giving Bart the power to stretch, calling himself "Stretch Dude", and Lisa super strength, calling herself "Clobber Girl". There's a fun song montage attached to it, but it gets away from the whole Halloween thing entirely. Anyway, when Lucy Lawless (guest-starring as herself) is kidnapped by The Collector (aka Comic Book Guy), Stretch Dude and Clobber Girl come to her rescue.
The whole rescue attempt is relatively pointless, however, since Lucy Lawless just takes care of herself. I am happy to have read that Lawless really enjoyed her work on this project, but I can't deny how weak and far-separated from Halloween it really is. The same could be said about 'The Terror of Tiny Toon', but I at least give that segment credit for keeping Halloween going in the background. Once the montage happens in this one, it could take place at just about any time afterward. For me, it's easily one of the weakest segments.
'Life's a Glitch, Then You Die'
While we're slowly separating ourselves from Halloween in this, the 10th Halloween Anniversary Special, why not make one for New Years Eve based on a bug that was most likely never gonna happen - the Y2K computer virus, that was gonna bring the world crashing down at the stroke of midnight on New Years Eve, 1999.
Long story short, Homer screws up on fixing the dates, and causes a chain reaction across the world that brings it to an end. Things start to glitch out, and even attack people. It all ends with a whole plan called "Operation Exodus", which sends the worlds best and brightest to recolonize Mars (because we totally had the technology in 1999) while another rocket ship sends the worst entertainers directly into the sun. Credit to Tom Arnold, however, for lending his voice to play himself on the "bad ship".
The segment simply hasn't aged well at all, and so many other segments are so much better, and even somewhat timeless. 'The Shinning' for instance is considered by so many, including myself, to be one of the all-time greats because it's farcing something completely timeless. All this did was have a sense of humor about a real fear people had at the time - but 'Family Guy' did it a hell of a lot better with a full episode, as opposed to one half-assed segment. It's easily one of my least favorites, despite one or two lightly humorous moments
I remember at the time thinking this did not feel nearly Halloweenish enough for a 10th Anniversary Special. These episodes seemed to be about outdoing themselves with what they could get away with, year after year. But there was nothing like that here. It opens quite casually, and the only segment that fits is the first one. I still remember being so disappointed with this one that I had to tell myself "maybe next year", like a kid who didn't get his PS4 the year he asked his parents for it for Christmas. The bottom line is that while this one has its fair share of moments, it's legitimately disappointing as a 'Treehouse of Horror' episode.
Overall Episode Rating: 40%