Original Air Date: Sunday, November 7, 2004
'Keepin' It Kodos' Intro
In one of the weirder openers for 'Treehouse', things open in the form of a sitcom called 'Keepin' it Kodos'. The cliché they use for the episode is that their boss is coming for dinner. When an oven is opened, it's revealed that dinner is the Simpson family.
After a satisfying Simpsons meal, the boss suggests he's so full he could burst, and burst he does, spilling out a fully intact Bart Simpson. When Bart realizes he has no family anymore, Kang (or Kodos) suggests he does among them. Then there's a closing credits sequence playing the light-hearted 'Perfect Strangers' theme, and this is how 'Treehouse of Horror XV' is introduced.
'The Ned Zone'
When Homer tries to get a frisbee of the roof, using a bowling ball, he accidentally hits Ned in the head, knocking him out (and apparently a tumor, ironically saving him from Cancer). But when Dr. Hibbert shakes his hand to welcome him back to the waking world, Ned envisions Hibbert, falling to his death. Seconds later, his premonition comes true when Hibbert tries to get Homer's frisbee off the Hospital roof.
As the segment continues, it becomes a parody of 'The Dead Zone'; a film with similar circumstances involving a man who can see the future. Ned eventually manages to foresee Homer's death in the same fashion. This time, however, he actually sees himself making the kill. The rest of the segment consists largely of Ned trying to steer the future in the right direction, but he may need to face off between a decision to shoot Homer and a potential nuclear meltdown that would destroy Springfield.
Once again, this one isn't exactly Halloweenish, but there's enough there to fit ever so slightly. After all, 'The Dead Zone' is considered to be a part of the horror genre. It's actually a pretty interesting take, using Ned Flanders as the one with the powers. Beyond that, it may very well be worth it to sit through this one just to hear Ned Flanders say something you wouldn't think you'd ever hear from him. I can't lie, I actually like this one, especially with Homer's running frisbee joke.
'Four Beheadings and a Funeral'
This parody cross between 'From Hell' and 'Sherlock Holmes' takes place in a horribly stereotyped London in 1890. When the towns prostitutes are being picked off by the Muttonchop Murderer, Scotland Yard's Inspector Wiggum challenges detective Eliza Simpson (Lisa) and her sidekick Dr. Bartley (Bart) to solve the case, even though he claims it to be closed, accusing Apu of being the killer.
One thing for certain, this has never been a favorite of mine. The fake and forced cockney accents they all use here are honestly a bit grating to me, and I may only be speaking for myself here, but 'Sherlock Holmes' doesn't feel altogether Halloweenish. That said, 'From Hell' does, so I can at least give it that. Much like the last segment, it's "just enough". I just don't find it funny at all, and it actually feels like they're trying too hard here.
With all that said, I can at least give this segment one little gag, but it's not enough to save it. At this point I have to bring up that I forgot to mention the "enormous genitals" joke in 'The Fright to Creep and Scare Harms', which was the one and only real laugh I got from the segment. Here, it's a sight gag involving Ralph Wiggum puffing opium smoke rings, which has actually turned into a bit of a meme over the years. But again - the one and only laugh, and a light chuckle at best. This one just feels last-minute thrown together and kinda lazy.
'In the Belly of the Boss'
This one's a parody of 'Fantastic Voyage', and starts with an Invention Expo. Here, we see Frink introduce a "cure-all" kind of pill. It's on display as being rather huge, as it needs the help of a shrink ray to be able to shrink down to the size where you could ingest it. Maggie sneaks inside of the pill, however, just before the shrinking occurs, and is consequently eaten by the greedy Mr. Burns, snatching the pill for himself.
Somehow, Marge hears Maggie's pacifier from within Burns' body, and this leads to the family shrinking down to go in and rescue her. The stipulation is that they only have so much time before reverting back to their natural size. This segment isn't without a moment or two, but there's still nothing really laugh out loud going on here and again, it just doesn't feel Halloweenish to me. I seem to be saying that a lot lately, but it's true, and it's part of the reason the "teen episode" era is so weak.
The segment ends with a visual gag and a musical number involving the song 'I've Got You Under My Skin', and this leads to the closing credits where we hear the 'Perfect Strangers' theme once again. I would have to conclude that overall, this might be the worst one on the list yet, despite liking the first segment quite a bit. There just plain isn't anything else to say beyond that, so for the first time ever, I actually don't even have a closer for one of these. The credits roll, and you're left mildly disappointed, hoping next year's episode will be better.
Overall Episode Rating: 40%