Happy Halloweeeeeeen! Yes that’s right, it’s time for the last part of the Treehouse of Horror countdown. If you haven’t caught the posts on 15 to 11 and 10 to 6, do so first and then join us back here for some Simpsons fun.
5. Starship Poopers (Treehouse of Horror IX)
Maggie starts teething, and as if that wasn’t bad enough, her legs fall off to reveal tentacles. After Dr Hibbert proves to be no help, they take her home where she starts transmitting telepathically to her real father, Kang, back on the mothership. Turns out that Marge was abducted and impregnated by the aliens as part of a cross-breeding programme in the setting of her choice (she opts for ‘the alley behind a porno theatre’). Homer is reluctant to let the aliens take Maggie back as they had planned, so Bart suggest they go on Jerry Springer’s show to sort things out, and even though that particular part of the episode only lasts for about 90 seconds, it’s a brilliant parody of the chat show and the kind of guests and audience members that used to be on it. And we only get to see Kodos and Kang during the Treehouse of Horror episodes (and that ‘Gump Roast’ one), so I felt like including them in the top 5.
– “Is there anything you can prescribe doctor?”
“Fire, and lots of it!
“Oh, that’s your cure for everything”
– “Holy flurking schnit!”
– “Oh great, mormons!”
“Actually, we’re quantum presbytarians”
– “If you’re that baby’s daddy, where you been at?”
– The very ending just before the credits, where Maggie says “I need blood”
– – ‘Look Marge, Maggie lost her baby legs!”
4. It’s The Grand Pumpkin, Milhouse (Treehouse of Horror XIX)
I bet you didn’t expect an episode from season 20 to make it into the top 5, right? But this is SO good. It’s done in the style of the classic Peanuts cartoons and is a parody of the story as well as the animation. Milhouse believes in the Grand Pumpkin, who appears every Halloween to hand out candy to children who truly believe in him (even though Bart admits that he made this up), but no-one else does, so after Lisa leaves him he sits alone in the pumpkin patch waiting for him while all the other children go to the party. Sad that the Grand Pumpkin hasn’t arrived, he starts to cry; but as his tears fall, they bring one of the pumpkins to life and Milhouse excitedly offers the Grand Pumpkin some pumpkin bread. The Grand Pumpkin is flattered until Milhouse clarifies that the bread is made FROM pumpkins, not FOR pumpkins. He travels around Springfield witnessing all the ‘pumpkin atrocities’, and eating people as revenge. Milhouse runs to warn everyone at the party, and when the Grand Pumpkin arrives and starts wreaking havoc, Lisa comes up with the idea of getting Milhouse to believe in ‘Tom Turkey’, a giant turkey who can stop the Grand Pumpkin. He comes to their rescue and blows up the Grand Pumpkin’s head, whose dying words are “Pumpkin segregation forever!”. It’s just so funny from start to finish; Hank Azaria voices both the Grand Pumpkin and Tom Turkey with these hilarious, dramatically pompous voices, and the whole ‘pumpkin racism’ thing is such a weird, dark touch, I love it.
– Marge practising the trombone (so that in the cartoon she initially sounds like the adults in the Peanuts cartoons)
– Using the Linus and Lucy music, love love love
– All the lovely animated bits that pay homage to Charlie Brown.
– The Grand Pumpkin vomiting and then yelling ‘Revenge!”
– The dancing at the Halloween party
– “You roast the unborn?”
– “Touch me and I’ll cut your friend?
What do I care? That’s a yellow pumpkin!
“You’re a racist!”
“All pumpkins are racist! The difference is *I* admit it’
– Every time the Grand Pumpkin yells ”REVEEEENGE!” or “NOOOOOO!”
3. The Shinning (Treehouse of Horror V)
This is probably the most famous segment from the Treehouse of Horror episodes, and rightly so; this take on The Shining manages to fit in a whole load of the themes and imagery from the film. The Simpsons become the caretakers at Mr Burns’ mansion, and when they arrive Bart finds out that he is able to read minds when he hears Groundskeeper Willie’s thoughts, and Homer soon starts to lose his grip when the power and beer supplies are cut off. He quickly goes mad, scrawling ‘No beer and no TV make Homer go crazy’ over all the walls (although his typed message says “Feelin’ fine”), and proceeds to chase Marge around the room before getting knocked out by her and thrown in the fridge.
Moe and some of the ‘ghouls’ influence Homer to kill his family, and he chases them outside where Lisa suddenly sees a portable television which placates Homer, and the family freeze outside watching it.
I love how quickly Homer starts to spiral out of control, basically as soon as he realises the television and beer are out. Also, I think it’s genius that The Simpsons has enough staple characters for them to be able to fit them into this story without having to tweak them – the millionaire, the bartender, the groundskeeper, it’s brilliant.
– “But don’t be reading my mind between 4 and 5. That’s WILLIE’s time!”
– “Mom, is dad gonna kill us? We’re just gonna have to wait and see”
– Homer shouting ‘Hello!’ abruptly as he kicks the door open
– “Let us all bask in television’s warm glowing warming glow”
– “Urge to kill… rising…”
– “That’s odd, usually the blood gets off at the second floor”
2 Hell Toupee (Treehouse of Horror IX)
When Snake is sent to the electric chair for his third strike – holding up the Kwik-E-Mart – he vows to kill everyone who witnessed his crime, and Chief Wiggum helpfully points out that Bart has been hiding in the Kwik-E-Mart too, which puts him on the list. After his execution, Homer gets a phone call – I can’t believe how funny this is, that Homer is on a transplant list for someone’s entire head of hair.
With the transplant complete, Homer starts to experience some side effects, namely that Snake’s hair takes control of his brain and sends him out to take revenge on the witnesses. Homer promises to keep Bart safe, but once he’s barricaded them both inside the room, he points out that while no murderers can get in, it means they also can’t get out. The police arrive and shoot the hair as it tries to escape, finishing with Chief Wiggum’s pun “Now that’s what I call a bad hair day!” This episode is from season 10, which is when people reckon that The Simpsons started to lose some of its quality, but this has got to be one of my favourite ever stories from the Halloween series.
– “First you torched that orphanage, then you blew up that bus full of nuns”
“That was self defence!”
– “How come they only do crucifixions during sweeps?”
– “Wow if your fly weren’t open you’d look just like Roger Moore!”
– Marge cutting Lisa off for being a smart-arse
– Homer struggling to choose between his hair and his son
– The hairpiece getting shot as it tries to escape
1. Treehouse of Horror VI
At number one, we’re going for another whole episode – pure brilliance from start to finish, Treehouse of Horror VI is my favourite Halloween episode ever. All three segments in this one are just gold, and even now when I watch them there’s something I’ve missed previously or just still find funny after the hundredth time.
Firstly, Homer steals the Lard Lad doughnut sign to get back at the proprietor for their ‘Colossal Donut’ being misleading in ‘Attack of the 50-Foot Eyesores” . As he drives away, lightning strikes and brings all the huge advertising statues to life – they head into Springfield and make a mess of thing, killing people and smashing the place up. Homer returns the doughnut in the hope that it will end all the horror, but it just gives the Lard Lad statue something else to destroy the town with. Lisa heads to the advertising agency, where she gets the advice to get everyone to ignore the adverts and they’ll just go away, which just about works (once they get Homer to go along with it). I love that Marge is such a mum in this, with ‘those kids should have jackets on”.
Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace is next, and Groundskeeper Willie plays the role of the Freddie Kreuger character in this Nightmare on Elm Street parody; the children of Springfield are being haunted in their sleep and waking up with injuries inflicted in their dreams. Martin dies in class when he takes a nap after finishing a test early, and when Bart and Lisa mention it to their parents at home Marge decides to tell the story of how Groundskeeper Willie died. A series of great visual and slapstick gags follow, as they parents shoot down all the expenses for things that would have saved Groundskeeper Willie, who runs into the classroom on fire due to a faulty boiler (caused by Homer turning up the thermostat). He dies when told to wait his turn, and vows to haunt their children in their dreams. Bart plans to lure Groundskeeper Willie into a final showdown, and thinks he’s got him with sinking sand – but when Bart tries to get on with his usual dreams, Willie turns into a big bagpipes-spider creature and is about to kill him and Lisa when Maggie shows up to save the day with her trusty pacifier.
Finally, Homer3 is the one where Homer struggles to find a hiding place when Patty and Selma come around to visit. He finds a weird portal behind a bookcase, and enters a 3D world full of shapes, flying lights and equations. It’s filled with loads of mathematical easter eggs in this bit, and also some really nice music that is very different from the usual Simpsons music. Homer gets hit in the rear end by a cone, which he picks up and throws away, causing a hole to appear which causes the the dimension to collapse in on itself. While the family and townspeople in Springfield try to come up with a solution, Homer runs for his life toward the edge of this new world, and despite Bart’s efforts to save him, he falls through the middle and ends up, well, here. It’s a wonderful change to the zombies and vampires schtick, and ends on the bizarre note of Homer visiting an erotic cake shop.
Attack of the 50-Foot Eyesores
– Kent Brockman getting eaten by a statue of himself
– Wiggum shooting the captain of the high schol basketball team
– “Dn’t you ever get tired of being wrong all the time?”
– The initial incarnation of the monsters jingle “Don’t watch the mons… don’t watch the.. Mooonsttttteeeeers”
– The ACTUAL version of the monsters jingle
– “Don’t make us poke your eyes out, dad”
– “Fellas, where you going at this hour? HEY! Don’t scratch up them heads!”
Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace
– ‘Moris – YOU die’
– “Not into the kindergarten!”
– “Don’t dream about me no more, kid”
– “I left my gun on the seat!”
– “Lousy Smarch weather”
– “It’s like something out of the twilighty show… about that zone”
– *internally* “Oh glory of glories, oh heavenly testament to the eternal majesty of God’s creation”
*out loud* “HOLY MOLY!”
– “It should be obvious to even the most dimwitted individual – who holds a degree in hyperbolic topology – that Homer Simpson has stumbled into the third dimension”
– “Enough of your borax, poindexter! A man’s life is at stake – we need action!”
– Grandpa Simpson getting suited up to save Homer, so cute
Well, there you have it. My top 15 Simpsons Treehouse of Horror stories. Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments….