With Halloween only two days away, FXX has been showing all of the "Treehouse of Horrors" episodes of "The Simpsons".
It's been quite nice.
I wasn't a big fan of the first iterations of these Halloween themed episodes, but since I met my wife, I've grown to enjoy them quite a bit. She has always been a fan and she has turned me into one as well. When they first started to show up, around the second season I believe, they took them too seriously, in my opinion. The first "THOH" was and still is a classic, but the three stories were pretty dark, especially the "Raven" segment. They took Edgar Allan Poe's famous poem , made Homer the main guy from the story and had a raven that had Bart's head super imposed on it. He recited the poem as Homer went crazier and crazier. It was funny in some parts, but for a "Simpsons" episode, it was dark. Homer went insane. This became a tradition after the huge hit that was their first "THOH". They do one every year, usually airing them the week after or a week before Halloween. Today, I'm going to tell you about some of my personal favorites and some of my wife's favorites. I'll pick out mainly segments because sometimes the whole episode isn't great, but of the three segments, one is usually a home run.
I want to start with a recent "THOH". Season 26 had a great second segment with "A Clockwork Yellow". Barney, Homer and Moe played the cronies from "A Clockwork Orange", with Moe playing the Malcolm McDowell character, Alex. This was a fantastic spoof of a classic movie. Moe went through all the same things Alex did, but played it for laughs. For example, when Alex was being reprogrammed, they forced his eyes open and made him watch horrific videos of heinous crimes. In the "Simpsons" "THOH", they did a close up of Moe, eyes pried open like Alex's, but he says, "this is the only way I can sit through terrible Fox programming". It was genius. My favorite part of the segment was when Homer, playing the oafish thug, meets Marge and they play the scene where, in "A Clockwork Orange", it's very sexually graphic and pretty gross, "The Simpsons" played it with Homer eating massive amounts of food, sleeping and totally ignoring Marge. They pulled it off like only "The Simpsons" can.
Season 12 had a great opening segment to their "THOH". It was entitled "G-G-G-Ghost Dad" and it was about Homer's death being for told via a newspaper horoscope. Despite the family's hesitance to let Homer leave, he does anyway, not scared of death, and awaiting a comment from a "handsome" co worker, he presumes it will be Lenny. On his way to work, Homer gets hit by a pick axe, nearly misses being crushed by a metal structure, has an unexplained growth thing and gets bitten by a rattlesnake. He arrives at work and gets his compliment from Lenny, saying," if I may compliment you Homer, that's a mighty nice rattlesnake biting your arm". He arrives home and is fine, but then he eats one single piece of broccoli and immediately dies. He becomes a ghost, eats the broccoli again, dies again and becomes a ghost once more. He has to do one good deed before he can get into heaven, and all his attempts end in failure until he saves a crying baby from going into a busy intersection. Unfortunately, the angel doesn't see this and Homer is banished to hell where Satan gives him noogies and weggies while saying "ha ha" the whole time. It's hilarious.
One of my favorite "THOH" of all time is from season 10, titled "Hell Toupee". In this segment, Homer gets a hair transplant from newly dead convict Snake. At first everything is all peaches and cream and Homer looks great. But, prior to dying, Snake tells the three people that ratted him out that he was going to get them. After the hair transplant, at night, the hair takes over for Homer and controls his actions. He gets revenge on both Apu and Moe, two of the three guys that ratted him out. The third is Bart. This is where the conflict begins. Homer and his new hair do trap Bart is his room, and Bart does everything in his power to convince his dad to not hurt him. Homer finally rips the hair off, thus saving Bart, but the hair comes to life and tries to get him. They get the hair off Bart and while it's trying to escape one of the funniest moments on the "Simpsons" occurs. The hair, that has sideburns, lifts one of the sideburns, a la a fist, and wags it in anger before Chief Wiggum guns it down. It's a classic "THOH" segment.
My personal favorite "THOH" is from season 8 entitled "Citizen Kang". This one is great from top to bottom. We get Bob Dole and Bill Clinton impressions. Kang and Kodos become Dole and Clinton. While dressed like Dole and Clinton, Kang and Kodos hold hands to " give each other protein strains", speak in their typical monotone voice and are together constantly. We get great lines like, "abortions for none, BOO!, ok, abortions for all, BOO!, ok, abortions for some, miniature American flags for all, yeah!" or, " well, I guess I'll just vote for a third party candidate. Go ahead throw your vote away, ha ha ha" and, my favorite coming from Kent Brockman, " Clinton's contributors credited his attitude to an over tight neck tie" when talking about Kang disguised as Clinton saying something very wrong. This is, by far, the best segment of any "THOH" that "The Simpsons" has put out.
I know that my wife loves any "THOH" that has Kang and Kodos involved. She really liked the new one where Sideshow Bob finally gets Bart and keeps killing him over and over again, she's a big Sideshow Bob fan. I know she likes the segment where you find out Maggie is really Kang's daughter and they go on "Jerry Springer". Those three are just off the top of my head. She likes them all, but she talks to me about those more than others.
For all the flack that I give Halloween as a "holiday", I truly despise it, at least we do get a new "THOH" every year. I know that they will always be good because it's part of "The Simpsons" universe and pretty much everything they do is great. "THOH" may be one of the few things I like about Halloween. I still have to deal with the stupid puns and people in their 20's and 30's, with no kids, dressing up like it's a real holiday, but at least I get one thing that I know I'll enjoy and that I look forward to every Halloween.
I guess I'm trying to say, Halloween will always be lame, but "The Simpsons" will always deliver with a great new "Treehouse of Horror".
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man podcast. He likes people and thinks clown make-up is ok, but people wearing clown make-up are the worst. Follow Ty on twitter @tykulik.