Treehouse of Horror XXV
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%
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