Original Air Date: Sunday, October 25, 2015
John Kricfalusi's Couch Gag
John Kricfalusi is probably best known for his animation on 'Ren & Stimpy'. He provides us with perhaps the strangest 'Simpsons' couch gag I think I've ever seen. It all opens with Kricfalusi's versions of Bart, Lisa and Maggie trick-or-treating. Suddenly they start getting chased by a bunch of Halloween ghouls, which includes a Frank Grimes monster (that I sincerely do not get Frank Grimes from), hungry for souls.
These monsters chase the Simpson children into their house, where Homer and Marge are on the couch, presumably already watching TV. The Grimes monster, failing to capture the kids for their souls, settles for Homer's soul instead. From there, Marge introduces "the cartoon", and the credits roll. I believe for the first time, there's no title card for this one.
'Wanted: Dead, Then Alive'
While playing on the school playground, Bart gets a text from Milhouse's phone suggesting that the music teacher, Mr. Largo, is stuck in a harp and it looks hilarious. When Bart gets to the music room to check it out, however, he is attacked and finally killed by his old nemesis, Sideshow Bob. Bob then takes Bart's body home and uses him for various things, like a mini putt hole for example. Soon though, he realizes his pursuit of Bart was what gave his life meaning.
Bob eventually constructs a sort of "Frankenstein" machine that can restore things back to their original form. This provides Bob with a whole montage of Bart kills, more than making up for every single time Bart thwarted him. That's quite literally all this particular segment is, and it seems to glorify killing a ten-year-old kid over and over and over again. That said though, as a Halloween segment, it's a neat little fantasy for those of us who sometimes wanna see a villain succeed. At this point, Bart and Bob's rivalry is right up there with the Roadrunner and Wyle E. Coyote.
The whole thing ends pretty much how you'd expect it to, but the execution of it is kind of funny (if not a little gross). The segment itself is very self-aware as well, considering a couple of jokes they throw in; one mentioning Bob's 24-year pursuit of a 10-year-old boy, and another where Homer points out the animation on him looks fine when reading the "Reanimate" label on Bob's Machine. It's fine for something if you wanna see Bob have a good day, but... you're still watching a 10-year-old kid get brutally murdered over and over again, and on the whole, it's really just not that funny.
Although this one is a little sloppily thrown together, I couldn't help but get a good laugh or two from the overall satire that this segment tackled. Being a parody of Godzilla, it also mixes well as a back-to-back segment with 'King Homer' (although 'King Homer' is miles better). It all starts in a Simpson character fueled Japan, and the footage is black and white, covering older 'Godzilla' films.
Grampa Simpson is constantly made fun of for his daily routine of making the perfect donut to drop into the ocean in order to appease a huge seas monster with the potentail to destroy the city. However while making one, Grampa chokes and dies on a sprinkle. This provides Homerzilla with no donut, and he rises up out of the water to wreak havoc on the city of (presumably, due to the original films) Tokyo. Then things get super weird as it cuts to present day where a bunch of studio executives who are watching the segment suggest remaking it because it's old and cheesy and deserves to be remade.
To everyone's surprise, the film is an absolute flop, except for one ticket purchased by Comic Book Guy who only got it to get a good seat for the upcoming 'Star Wars' film (which would have been 'The Force Awakens' at the time). It then ends with a bit of a twist, but all in all, it's pretty rushed and messy. Despite that, a lot of the jabs at either 'Godzilla' remake are pretty hilarious, considering how big time studio execs seem to constantly think. Again, one of those things we can laugh at even more now that Disney owns them. It passes, but only just barely.
'Telepaths of Glory'
Once again, we have an idea that was going so well until it hit the very end of things. Here, 'The Simpsons' parody what is probably my favorite found footage film, 'Chronicle', in which a group of teenagers gain telekinetic abilities. The kids involved here are Bart, Lisa and Milhouse, who start the segment off hunting butterflies near a deep hole. Milhouse gets knocked down the hole, Bart and Lisa go in after him, and soon, a toxi blast from the chemicals buried in the hole gives them a variety of superpowers (except Bart, who really takes a back seat here).
Lisa and Milhouse start using their powers to theri advantage, but where Lisa is using it for things like creating music and fixing Bart's graffiti, Milhouse is using it to get back at his bullies, and taking things a bit too far. The film does the same sort of thing, exploring how someone who can ace his ability could potentially become a real threat to others. But instead of exploring that, the segment just takes this bizarre and rapid turn that pretty well ruins things altogether. I won't say what it is, but it's so lame and out of left field that it just makes things bad for something that started with real potential. Not a first, but still no less irritating.
The segment isn't without a few solid visual gags that you have to kind of catch when they happen. For instance, out of nowhere, Skrat from 'Ice Age' runs by for some random reason, and we also see the 'Flintstones' car when going down the hole after Milhouse, but just because they get a laugh doesn't mean they mean anything. It doesn't happen too often, but sometimes these segments go from good to bad so rapidly that it kind of angers me. It's just another example of them running out of time and having to wrap things up fast, and it feels cheap and lazy. Once again, full potential flushed right down the toilet. But at least the first half is somewhat entertaining
The episode ends similarly to the way it did in 'Treehouse XI', with Kang and Kodos complaining about being left ut of the Halloween episode, only to provide a remote cameo at the end. As a result of their complaints, the aspect ratio suddenly goes fro 16:9 to 4:3, followed by Kang saying "just because it looks like season 4 doesn't make it season 4", which makes no sense at all considering this similar scene was from season 12. The only thing I can figure is that it's a reference to 'King Homer' and its similarity to 'Homerzilla'
Anyway, as whole, this is definitely one of the weaker attempts at a 'Treehouse' episode. It's not without its moments, ut the way it's thrown together does feel like an overall last-minute mess. The segments are okay at best, and the few laughs it provides just isn't quite enough to save it. Things were starting to level out nicely, but this sadly brought it back to some of the poor quality "teen" years.
Overall Episode Rating: 47%