Everything I Need to Know, I Learned From ‘The Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror Episodes

This week was the six month anniversary of the EINTKILF column, and I just want to say holla about that. Little did you guys maybe know, but my first submission, back when I was a “From Our Readers” contributor, was entitled Everything I Need to Know I Learned From The Simpsons. Because without The Simpsons, where would any of us really be in this world? I can tell you one thing: “adult” cartoons or whatever we call shows like Family Guy, King of the Hill, etc. would be absolutely nowhere. Don’t get me started on the Family Guy vs. Simpsons debate, because I will shut it down fast. I can only hope that our new Academy Award host Seth MacFarlane gives credit to his savior and creator Matt Groening (and everyone else who has ingeniously penned the show for the past couple of decades.)

That all being said, even people who have never watched The Simpsons on a regular basis (poor, poor mongrels) know about these bad boys. Happy Halloween, and happy 24th season to America’s favorite family!

EINTKILF The Simpsons‘ “Treehouse of Horror” Episodes

1. Never buy a severed monkey hand.
: What is this?
Merchant: A monkey’s paw that will grant its owner four wishes.
Homer: Wow! How much?
Merchant: Sir, I must recommend against buying this. It carries a bad omen. Take me for example, I was once the President of Algeria…
Homer: I did not ask for your life story, pal! I asked how much?

I guess also do not make greedy wishes, or be careful what you wish for, or never give your wish machine to Ned Flanders because he’ll actually know how to use it properly.

2. Don’t bring the dead back to life!
In “Treehouse of Horror III,” Bart and Lisa try to bring Snowball I back to life, but Bart messes up the spell, accidentally reincarnates a bunch of dead people and then the zombies turn some community members into the living dead and the Simpson family has to barricade themselves inside their house.

Flanders: Hey, Simpson. I’m feeling a mite peckish. Mind if I chew your ear?
(Homer shoots Flanders.)
Bart: Dad! You killed the zombie Flanders.
Homer: He was a zombie?

Also, if we are ever under a zombie attack (and mad props to the Simps for being way ahead of the game on the zombie craze), watch out for George Washington, Shakespeare and Albert Einstein. Those guys make terrifying living dead.

3. Don’t sell your soul for a donut.
: Oh, I’d sell my soul for a donut.
Flanders: Well, that can be arranged.
Homer: What? Flanders. You’re the devil?
Flanders: Ho-ho, it’s always the one you least suspect.

…actually, go ahead. There are a few options here:

You can sell your soul for a donut without finishing said donut like Homer originally planned to do (until he ate the last bite in the middle of the night and was taken to hell by Devil Flanders immediately afterward). OR, you can promise your soul to the love of your life who will continually bail
you out of stupid situations throughout your entire marriage. Good ol’ Marge. She has gotta be the greatest TV wife and mother, yeah?

4. No TV and no beer make Homer…something something.
Go crazy?!

Seriously, no TV or beer? Sounds like the scariest nightmare of my life. Worse than the actual Shining. (In my top five favorite movies, and my annual Halloween night plans, obviously.)

Anyway, in the book/movie The Shining, what drives Jack Torrance crazy is cabin fever–“all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” It is pretty typical that what drives Homer Simpson crazy is no TV or beer. I don’t know which would drive me crazier, personally. Probably a combination. Like…all work and no copies of Titanic in a big lonely house make Jess a dull girl. I literally feel like less myself when I haven’t watched Titanic recently.

Light bulb! Maybe that’s why I have had such a bad week! The universe is telling me to watch Titanic. I knew Jim Cameron had something implanted in my brain years ago.

5. Be careful which twin you accuse of being evil.
Oh, come on. Isn’t it basically a scientific fact by now that one twin is more immoral than the other? Sometimes I think I am my own evil twin, but again, that is a story for another time.

In “Treehouse of Horror VII,” Bart and Lisa discover that they have a brother who lives upstairs in the attic. When Bart was born, he was actually born as a conjoined twin named Hugo, but Marge and Homer decided to have them separated and keep Hugo in the attic because he was the “evil twin.” (The evil twin is always on the left side, according to Dr. Hibbert. Aheuheuheuheuha.) By the end of the segment, we learn that Hugo’s scar is on the wrong side of his body, meaning Bart is actually the evil twin the whole time! Why you little!

Dr Hibbert: That means the evil twin is and always has been…Bart.
Bart: Oh, don’t look so shocked.

In that case, just switch the twins back. Bart can eat fish heads for a while.

6. Be careful of second-hand teleporters.
Bart buys a matter teleportation device from a garage sale held by Professor Frink (flavin!). Though Homer tries to stop Bart from using the seemingly dangerous but awesome machine, Bart, being Bart, messes with it anyway. Not only does he turn his pets into some crazy hybrid animal reminiscent of that super weird show CatDog (Santa’s Little Snowball II?), but he turns his own head into a fly head by accident. Eventually of course, everything works out because Lisa Simpson is a super genius, but the point is, as cool as instant teleportation seems, wouldn’t it suck to have a fly head instead of a human head? Or a cat head like when Hermione accidentally drinks cat hair?

No but seriously, where would Bart be without Lisa? He owes her his life.

7. Don’t trust the meat in elementary school lunches.
In “Treehouse of Horror V” (which is definitely my favorite one), Skinner kills two birds with one stone, solving the price of lunch meat issue as well as the overcrowded detention room issue: eat the bad children. By the time Bart and Lisa catch onto what’s going on, they realize they have been eating their schoolmates and attempt to stop Principal Skinner. Eventually, Milhouse and the Simpson kids are the only ones left and…

Bart: Don’t worry, guys. Something always comes along to save us.
(Milhouse falls to his demise in the blender.)
Bart: Uh, nevertheless, I remain confident that something will come along and save the two Simpson children…

The segment ends with Bart and Lisa joining dear Milhouse in the blender. Death to all the children. What? This isn’t an episode of Full House.

8. Never ignore your horoscope.
In “Treehouse of Horror XI,” Homer’s horoscope claims that he will die that day. Marge’s horoscope verifies the prediction by claiming that her husband would die that day. Homer thinks it is balogna and goes about his day like normal, he avoids death at every turn, but still pays no attention to the horoscope. (A Taurus would ignore his horoscope.) At the end of the night, Homer chokes on his broccoli and dies. Once at the pearly gates, St. Peter tells Homer he has literally never done a good deed in his life and must complete one within a day to get into heaven. Spoiler alert: Homer ends up in hell.

Homer: That horoscope was bologna. Nothing happened except the pick-axe in my head, the rattlesnake bite, and the testicle thing.

Also, take care when you are eating your broccoli (“the deadliest vegetable known to man!”) and please be sure you have completed at least one good deed in your life so that you can go to heaven. Personally, I counteract every mean thing I do with a nice thing. Like, if I am really mean to someone for seemingly no reason, I usually compliment a stranger. And I usually apologize, as well. It’s all about making good choices, kids.

9. Don’t get clone happy!
In “Treehouse of Horror XIII,” Homer discovers his new hammock creates clones (“Now there’s four of me. I think this might be a magic hammock…”), and decides to make a bunch of himself to stand in for all of the activities he does not want to do in his day. Eventually, it is discovered that the Homer Clones are stupider than he is and after one of them kills Flanders, Homer tries to get rid of all of them. The lesson here is that you should probably just suck it up and do the irritating tasks you are obligated to perform in life like listening to your father tell stories, and playing baseball with your children.

Guys, remember Dolly? Do we still clone stuff or is that a thing we’re over?

10. Kang and Kodos are the greatest aliens in the history of television.
(No offense, Mork.)
Kang and Kodos appear in every “Treehouse of Horror” episode. Sometimes they play a big role, like when we discover that Maggie is not Homer’s child, she is actually partially a space alien because Marge is an inter-galactic space hussy, and other times, they are thrown in either at the very last second or in the beginning of the episode. Kang and Kodos are brilliance, through and through.

They also give better debate speeches than any real presidential candidate.

Kodos: My fellow Americans. As a young boy, I dreamed of being a baseball. But tonight I say, we must move forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!

Also, poor Flanders gets jerked around in like…every “Treehouse of Horror” episode. Hasn’t he suffered enough??