Treehouse of Horror XXII
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%
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