Original Air Date: Sunday, November 4, 2007
Marge vs. Fox Ads
As Marge begins to open the show in a kindly manner as the host, she keeps getting interrupted by those irritating on-screen ads Fox has all the time. Once again, in a bit of a fourth-wall break, Marge plays the audience as she becomes annoyed enough with these ads to start picking them off one by one, including throwing House in the microwave, and sticking Jack Baur to the fridge with a magnet.
Things cut to Marge serving up what seems to be a loaf of some kind, and as she slices into it, the title is introduced, using various body parts from, presumably, other unwanted TV ads that Marge killed off. We then see Homer eating the "Developed by" credit and exclaiming is famous "Mmm..." phrase, and the show begins. It's not among my favorite intros, but I have to admit that I enjoy the idea nonetheless. There are worse.
'E.T., Go Home'
When Marge sends Bart to the storage shed for some butane, he finds Kodos hiding in there, revealed by Bart throwing a baseball at his 700 testicles. As this parody of 'E.T.' continues, Kang tells Bart that he was sent to spread a message of peace. Now abandoned, Kang expresses his desire to "phone home". Bart and Lisa team up to help Kang with this, but little do they know that he has other plans for what they are helping him build.
This one isn't too bad, and it has been a while since we've the aliens as part of an actual segment, as opposed to being an intro or a closing to the show. It plays with the concept from 'E.T.' just enough, yet still ends up being its own things. It's more of a "what if" scenario involving a destructive alien in the lovable E.T.'s place. The results aren't exactly knee-slapping hilarious, but it's not without it's charm either. It could be better, it could be worse.
With all of that said, the end is a little abrupt (yeah, we're back to that) and it's actually sort of jarring. The best of the segment probably comes from Kang, himself, as he's one of those characters whose speech is so annunciated and clear-cut that it's funny, especially when he's being sarcastic or cute. Whenever real alien or scientific words are thrown in, that just adds to it.
'Mr. & Mrs. Simpson'
Among my most disliked of the 'Treehouse' segments is this particular farce of 'Mr. & Mrs. Smith'. While at what appears to be a marriage counseling session, the couple recounts a fight they had. It all begins when Homer comes home only to head to the bathroom and communicate with Mr. Burns through a hidden monitor. Burns tells Homer his next target is Kent Brockman. He tells a cover-up lie to Marge before leaving, and heads out on his mission.
While on his assignment, Homer ends up having his victim taken from him when a mysterious blonde woman takes Brockman out first. The woman is soon revealed to be Marge, and the couple lying to each other results in a firefight in the family household. By the end, things are resolved between them, and we find out their counseling session was just them talking to Principal Skinner, who initially brought them in to discuss Bart's behavior.
Once again, we have a segment that plain and simply doesn't belong with a Halloween show. The only thing about this even close to Halloween is the killing involved, but even with that, it's a parody of 'Mr. & Mrs. Smith'; a movie reveared as an action, comedy, romance. If it had become a part of a different segment-based episode of the regular show, it would be more forgivable. This was one I just didn't get, and I believe it's the furthest apart from Halloween a segment has felt yet.
Inspired by 'Seven Footprints to Satan', this one opens with Bart, Lisa, Milhouse and Nelson all go trick-or-treating. They stop by Agnes Skinner's house, who refuses to give them candy and even spits in Milhouse's bag. As a result, the four kids start a night full of Halloween pranks, taking it out on Agnes first with water balloons, then doing everything from rolling pumpkins down a hill to blowing up the Springfield Hotel; meeting place of the Republican Presidential Debate.
With the kids out of hand, a neighborhood outdoor meeting gathers in which Ned Flanders suggests that he'll be able to scare these kids straight for the damage they've done with their pranks. This ends up being the transformation of the Springfield Church to "Heck House", where Ned hopes to host a "Hell House". When the first little skit doesn't work, Ned asks for God to grant him the power to strike fear into them. He then transforms into basically Satan and shows the kids a variety of gruesome potential deaths having to do with the Seven Deadly Sins.
This one stands as one of the better, and even slightly scarier (as far as 'Simpsons' goes) segments that 'Treehouse' has to offer. It's almost as if the episode heard my complaints of the previous segment not having anything to do with Halloween, and suddenly handing out something that's just about as Halloweenish as you can get with one of these. It not only takes place on Halloween, but gets into concepts like Hell as well. As a treat, even the pig from the movie released earlier that year shows up. This does what it needs to do quickly, leaves us with a little gag at the end, and it fits the mood of what I generally seek out in these episodes. So things on a stronger note here.
When the final segment ends, Ned closes the episode by telling us all that we're gonna go to Hell for watching Fox, as well as FX, Fox Sports and The Wall Street Journal. The joke is that he's doing it in his typical friendly way. It honestly leaves the viewer with a slight sense of unease, despite the fact that it's a 'Simpsons' Halloween show. Do I dare say that the way this episode ends is actually uncomfortable enough to consider it a good episode?... Well, maybe if it wasn't for that stupid middle segment, we'd really have something. Finally, the credits roll with a call-back to the time they used an 'Addams Family'/'Munsters' theme in 'Treehouse of Horror IV'; easily one of the best.
Overall Episode Rating: 53%