Everything I Need to Know, I Learned From The Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror Episodes (Part II)
Happy Halloween… almost! You know, I have a hard time with Halloween. Not because I don’t like getting dressed up, but because I am really pretty lazy when it comes to costumes, and also I just think it is too much pressure to have a good time, and I hate going out on the town on Halloween because it is so late and crowded and anyway, what I’m getting at is that the only thing I have ever really LOVED about the holiday is The Simpsons. And come on, I love The Simpsons all year round, so that hardly counts. Last year, I wrote one of my favorite EINTKILFs on the “Treehouse of Horror” episodes, and I decided to not let this year be any different because there are so many of them that this whole column could be lessons from those shows. With no further ado:
EINTKILF The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror Episodes Part II
1. Some of the scariest stories come from real literature.
Bart: Wait a minute…that’s a school book!
Lisa: Don’t worry, Bart. You won’t learn anything.
The Raven segment is one of my favorite TOH segments because A) James Earl Jones’ narration obviously and B) he actually reads almost the whole poem by Edgar Allen Poe. If you had previously (idiotically) thought that The Simpsons were “just a cartoon,” this is a good example of their intelligence and use of clever humor.
Also, it is pretty awesome to hear Homer speak in Poe.
Bart: You know what would have been scarier than nothing?
2. Beware of “whatchamacallit” cases.
Or for normal people that aren’t Homer Simpson: “bookshelves.”
Homer–and everyone else–is trying to hide because Patty and Selma are coming over for dinner. After unsuccessfully trying to hide in the closet (Bart and Lisa are there), and under the rug (Snowball and Santa’s Little Helper are there), Homer hides behind the bookshelf, only to get sucked into a weird 3D world that’s like, umm, has anyone seen the movie Tron?
Marge: Homer, where are you?
Homer: Umm…I’m somewhere where I don’t know where I am!
(Story of my life.)
So Homer explores this weird 3D world that was actually pretty awesome animation-wise for its time. Homer is stuck amongst 3D cones and spheres and they eventually send Bart in to save him, but it is too late and he ends up in the REAL WORLD. It’s actually pretty creepy to see our Homer Simpson walking around in non-cartoon land.
3. Nerve impulses are the body’s information super highway.
Professor Frink invents a shrinking device and when Maggie accidentally shrinks herself and ends up in Mr. Burns’ stomach, the rest of the family shrinks themselves down to save her.
Mr. Burns: While you’re in there, grab as much cancer as you can.
Lisa encourages Homer to rely on science when he takes over the wheel and gets them stuck in Burns’ heart. The family eventually comes to Maggie’s rescue, and all is, well, mostly well. They have to leave Homer behind, but when he finds a marshmallow in Burns’ stomach, he is pretty happy to stay down there.
Marge: My sweet, undigested baby!
Also, I might be crazy biased in my love for this segment because I love Professor Frink so much, and he is in all of his glory in this one.
4. Don’t mess with mascots.
And also don’t steal donuts.
Homer gets pissed off when his “colossal donut” turned out to be false advertising, so he decides to steal the actual metal donut from the mascot for Lard Lad Donuts.
It only kinda works, because that freaky little Chucky like Lard Man comes to life and tries to kill Homer. He gets by with a little help from his friends, and soon all of the fast food restaurant dudes and billboard sign guys are killing humans.
Homer: I told you Flanders has it! Or Moe. Go kill Moe.
Lisa eventually saves the day, which should be the last sentence of everything ever.
5. “Food does not equal love.”
When a meteorite falls near the Simpson home, a green blob emerges from it. Homer thinks it’s like a burning marshmallow and eats it. Admittedly delicious, I might eat that too. I love roasted marshmallows. Obviously, something goes horribly wrong and Homer can’t stop eating everything, including Bart and the cat. Homer eventually becomes quite obese and when Dr. Phil shows up to help save his marriage, it works…only after he eats Dr. Phil.
6. What happens in your past will certainly affect your future.
Homer: Aah! OK, don’t panic — remember the advice your father gave you on your wedding day.
Abe: If you ever travel back in time, don’t step on anything because even the tiniest change can alter the future in ways you can’t imagine.
I can’t believe I didn’t write about this segment the first time, but it is so hard to pinpoint ten things in 25 years!
Homer unintentionally turns a toaster into a time machine and ends up in dinosaur times. He kills a mosquito and upon returning to present day, realizes that that mosquito’s death has created a universe in which Ned Flanders is dictator of the world. Homer keeps returning back to prehistoric times, but he keeps changing the past. When he kills a walking fish, Lisa and Bart are giants in the present day. When he accidentally gives the dinosaurs the cold virus, Patty and Selma are dead and the Simpson family is filthy rich, but donuts don’t exist. (The worst.)
This goes on for awhile, and eventually Homer settles on a present day life that seems pretty normal besides the facts that humans eat their food with lizard tongues.
7. WE ARE MEAN TO DOLPHINS.
This issue is really important to me in real life, not just because it should be, but because my best girl Kymi really, really, really cares about dolphins and the way humans treat them. She’s basically Lisa Simpson.
In “Night of the Dolphin,” dolphins take over Springfield after finally getting sick of being forced into performing demeaning stunts at “Marine World” (are you listening, Sea World?). Lisa frees the king of the dolphins–Snorky–and all of the dolphins start a war against the humans.
And it is actually pretty horrifying because there isn’t a happy ending, which is common for TOH segments. The citizens of Springfield are forced to live in the sea, while the dolphins live on land. There are a
lot of dead bodies, including Krusty the Klown.
…for the record, I hope Krusty is not the character that dies this season. I don’t know why, but there is something so sad about Krusty and I think he deserves a chance at a long animated life.
8. Crying really gets you your way.
In “It’s the Grand Pumpkin, Milhouse,” my favorite character / patronus Milhouse Van Houten represents Linus from the Peanuts and is totally convinced that the “Grand” Pumpkin truly exists. When Milhouse cries (which fogs up his glasses), the Grand Pumpkin comes to life! The Pumpkin gets real angry, however, when he realizes that his brethren are being carved up for entertainment so he kills a bunch of people.
Lisa uses Milhouse’s powers of belief to create a fictional turkey called Tom who comes to life and kills the Pumpkin.
…though it is a vicious cycle because you guys know what we do to turkeys on Thanksgiving, right?
9. Cereal can be dangerous.
In “Hex and the City,” (I typed “Sex” three times before I got it right, jeez louise), Homer is cursed by a gypsy who dooms everyone around him for his selfish behavior. Everything starts going wrong: Marge grows a blue beard, Lisa turns into a centaur, Maggie becomes a ladybug with a human head, Lenny and Carl are killed by a helicopter, and Bart drowns in his cereal bowl. Homer decides to get a leprechaun from the Lucky Charms box to help him defeat the gypsy, but they fall in passionate love and end up getting married.
Yoda performs the ceremony naturally, and everything is pretty much okay except that Bart is still dead. The gypsy lets Homer know that apologizing will bring his son back, to which Homer replies:
She’s not the boss of me.
Classic Homer. I hope I never die in my cereal, but if I had to, I would prefer it to be Kix or Oatmeal Squares.
10. Never underestimate the baby.
This year’s TOH has gotten a ton of attention for the opening titles being directed by Guillermo del Toro (and if you haven’t watched it, you should), but the actual segments were awesome, as well. I loved the Dr. Seuss turned horror story of “Fat in the Hat,” mostly because of the cute rhyming! Boy howdy, do I love cute kids’ stories turned into nightmares. Fat in the Hat, who is Homer, comes to entertain the children while Marge is at a costume party, but unlike the real Cat in the Hat (did I just say “real”?), he is a really big jerk who just wants to make the kids do terrible things.
And then Maggie kills him by stabbing him with an umbrella. And remember when she shot Mr. Burns? I’m just sayin’. Babies are dangerous.