Continuing the countdown of my favourite Treehouse of Horror segments, we’re looking at numbers 10 through 6, and there are some good ones here, real classics as well as a newbie….
10. The Devil And Homer Simpson (Treehouse of Horror V)
Heading in to our top ten, we start with a classic one, and the second entry from this episode – Homer makes a deal with the Devil, who happens to be Ned Flanders, and sells his soul in return for a doughnut. In a rare moment of genius from Homer, he realises that if he never finishes the doughnut, he never has to relinquish his soul to the Devil. But, this is Homer we’re talking about, and despite the numerous notes in the fridge warning him not to eat it, he ends up guzzling the rest of the doughnut in the middle of the night and summoning the Devil. Lisa complains that Homer is entitled to a fair trial, so Flanders agrees and take Homer to spend the day in Hell until then, where he is ‘tortured’. For some reason, Marge picks Lionel Hutz to represent Homer, and he agrees to let the Devil pick the jury – consisting of many shady characters like Lizzy Borden and John Dillinger. Lionel Hutz makes an idiot of himself during the proceedings and escapes through the bathroom window, leaving the judge to start to rule in favour of the Devil, but Marge interrupts and provides proof that Homer pledged his soul to her years before. The trial ends, but the Devil makes sure that he never forgets what has happened by turning his head into a giant doughnut. It’s a classic segment with some unforgettable jokes and moments, and is indicative of the era of the Simpsons when the writers were well into their groove.
– Homer’s dream about a doughnut fashion show
– Grandpa getting attacked by birds because Lenny and Carl threw the remaining doughnuts at him
– ‘Mmmm, forbidden doughnut’
– “You Americans and your ‘due process’ and your ‘fair trial”
– Homer’s punishment
9. Oh The Places You’ll D’oh (Treehouse of Horror XIV)
The Dr Seuss inspired segment comes from the most recent Treehouse of Horror (XIV), which featured the glorious opening sequence created by Guillermo Del Toro.
Bart, Lisa and Maggie are unable to go trick-or-treating due to a case of the mumps. When Marge leaves them at home to go to a Halloween party, The Fat in the Hat arrives with injections to cure their mumps and proceeds to take them out on the town to cause mayhem and destruction; from blowing up Mr Burns’ house, to threatening Moe with a straight razor while the children rob him, this is a much darker and more brutally funny take on The Cat in The Hat. This isn’t the first time that The Simpsons has reference Dr Seuss, but this segment is packed full of parodies of his work.
– A contraption in Nelson’s front door that reaches out and snaps Milhouse’s glasses in half
– Everyone (including Comic Book Guy) going to the Halloween party dressed as Catwoman.
– The ‘Bor-ax’ who speaks for the woods but has plastered his face on consumer goods
– Homer saying ‘pissed off’ – is that allowed?!
– The whole thing rhyming pretty much seamlessly, and aping the Dr Seuss style perfectly.
8. Don’t Have a Cow, Mankind (Treehouse of Horror XX)
Oh I really, really don’t like zombies. The whole genre just makes me feel sick and scared, and I know that makes me sound like a wimp but it’s horrible and also kind of boring, I don’t really get how people find it so funny or interesting to talk about a zombie apocalypse, it’s just sort of a meh topic. But this Treehouse of Horror story is kind of cool, and it manages to reference and parody the whole zombie genre in its own Simpsons way. When Krusty releases a new burger ‘The Burger Squared’, made by feeding minced beef to cows and turning those cows into burgers, it turns anyone who eats it into a zombie or as they’re called in this episode ‘munchers’, and a month later (well, 28 days…) practically the whole town has been turned except for the Simpson family and a few others. Desperate for something to eat other than the abundance of fruit in the house, Bart sneaks into the abandoned Krusty Burger and eats one of the tainted burgers. Miraculously, he doesn’t turn into a ‘muncher’ and is heralded as the chosen one, with the hope that a cure can derived from his DNA. The Simpsons are almost attacked in their house by munchers when they attempt to leave, but are rescued by Apu and eventually make it to the safe zone, where the military plan to feed his flesh to the munchers to cure them. Instead they find a happy medium, whereby Bart bathes in the town’s food before anyone can eat it.
– Homer leaving Abe to the ‘munchers’
– The last book in the world being ‘Arsenio’
– Apu looking like a badass with his headband, saving The Simpsons only for them to leave him behind for the munchers
– The glee that Bart gets from bathing in the food
7. Fly vs Fly (Treehouse of Horror VIII)
In this segment, Homer buys a teleporter from Professor Frink’s yard sale and uses it around the house – travelling up and down the stairs, getting things from the fridge while staying on the sofa, and almost using it to pee from the living room into the upstairs toiler. Almost. Bart tries the machine out on the cat and dog, merging them into two freak hybrids (a two-headed cat-dog and a two-assed butt-butt), before deciding that it would be a good idea to teleport himself with a fly. The result is a tiny fly with Bart’s head and a gross Bart-sized boy with a fly’s head. The family accepts the fly-headed creature as Bart, until the real Bart beckons to Lisa for help and they overcome the imposter when he swallows Bart and Lisa pushes him into the teleporter. It’s a cute take on a classic film (both the original and the remake), and I especially love the part where Bart is lying in the web, crying for help as the spider looms over him only to get up and slap the spider in the face then fly off. So funny, gets me every time.
– Homer haggling over the teleporter, which is only £2
– Homer trying to pee through the teleporter
– The two-headed dog and inevitable two-ended remainder.
– “I’d be stupid NOT to do this”
– Bart tricking the spider, absolutely brilliant – and nice throwback to the original version of ‘The Fly’ with the the tacky but still actually kind sad and creepy ending
– The robot trying to escape by putting a ‘SOLD’ sticker on itself
6. Treehouse of Horror #1
Truly old-skool for number 6 on the list – the first ever Treehouse of Horror episode, and I’m including all segments for this entry because it’s a real classic. Sure, the animation is the fluffy-early-seasons-style, but to me that just adds more charm.
With an introduction by Marge who warns the audience to not allow children to watch this episode, we then go to Bart and Lisa who are in the treehouse with Maggie, telling each other stories. Homer is outside listening to them, and gradually becomes more and more frightened as the episode goes on.
The first segment, ‘Bad Dream House’ (told by Bart) is a parody that mixes elements of Poltergeist and The Amityville Horror, as The Simpsons move into a surprisingly cheap mansion which happens to be cursed; built on an Indian burial ground, the evil spirit of the house causes the walls to bleed, a black-hole to appear in the kitchen, and sends things flying through the air. Despite Marge’s pleas to leave the house, Homer insists they stay and later that night the whole family find themselves holding knives, stalking one another in the house. Lisa discovers the ancient Indian burial ground, and the family get ready to leave but are interrupted by the voice of the house telling them all the gruesome things that will happen. Marge admonishes the house while Bart tries to get it to do more tricks, and when Marge suggests that the family and the house come to some kind of arrangement where they all get along, the house decides that it would rather self-destruct.
Next up is ‘Hungry Are The Demand’. At a pleasant family barbecue, the Simpson family are abducted by Kang and Kodos in their first appearance, who proceed to frequently feed the family their favourite meals and provide them with top-notch entertainment (except for HBO, because “that would cost extra”). Lisa remains suspicious throughout the whole trip as the aliens make suggestive comments and weigh them all, so she investigates the ship. Finding a book entitled ‘How To Cook Humans’, she and her family confront the aliens who, after some back-and-forth reveal that the book is actually called ‘How To Cook For Forty Humans’. They had planned to take them to a place where they would be treated like gods, but their ‘distrustful nature’ insults the aliens, and they are kicked off the ship.
Finally, The Raven. Ah, The Raven – James Earl Jones reading the classic poem by Edgar Allan Poe, which is acted out by Homer with Bart as the raven. All the episode does is animate some action (with a bit of slapstick comedy in there for good measure) to go with the poem, but it’s brilliant. Just watch it (poor quality video but hey, shut up).
It’s actually kind of a cool interpretation of the poem, and it’s certainly enough to give Homer lasting nightmares, as the episode wraps up with him struggling to sleep as the children seem undisturbed by their own stories.
Bad Dream House
– The vortex sending back a note saying “Quite throwing your garbage into our dimension”
– Homer getting pulled up the ceiling, saying “It’s got great high ceilings” and then screaming; it’s so funny for some reason
– “They all must die”
“Are you my conscience?”
“I – uh, yeeeeah”
– Homer’s conversation with the estate agent
– The family blinking in unison at one point; really creepy
– Marge getting a knife to make a sandwich instead of to kill her family
Hungry Are The Damned
– Homer getting the most out of the lighter fluid
– “Anyone from a species that has mastered intergalactic travel, raise your hand”
– “If you wanted to make Serak the Preparer cry, mission accomplished”
– The spaceship requiring two beams to lift Homer, who is still eating while he is abducted
– “TAKE THY BEAK FROM OUT MY HEART, AND TAKE THY FORM FROM OFF MY DOOR!”
– The absolutely stunning spoken performance of James Earl Jones. God damn, Mufasa, you got that poetry, boy.
– The raven throwing Edgar Allan Poe books from the shelf onto Homer’s head.
Oooooh I’m excited about the top 5 – but you’ll have to wait for Thursday to find out…