[31 Days of Horror] Day Sixteen: 'The Simpsons' Ep. 666 - "Treehouse of Horror XXX"


Image Credit: 20th Century Fox

They don’t make ‘em like they used to, as they say. While I am a firm believer in “believe it when you see it,” I am also one of the many fans that believes that the first five or so seasons of The Simpsons are far and away the best ones. That said, I’m less ready to downplay the quality of the newer seasons of the show, even if the only people that are watching it are likely to be the diehard Springfieldians.


Still, though, one of the most reliable episodes in the series’ repertoire is the annual Treehouse of Horror, the Halloween send-up of all things spooky. Not that anyone asked, but my personal favorite segment from this anthology has to be “The Shinning,” and no I do not mean “shining,” as I don’t want to get sued. So to throw my hat into the 31 Days of Horror ring, I’ve elected to check out last year’s "Treehouse of Horror," the thirtieth installment of the institution and, coincidentally, the series’ 666th episode.


Deep down, I feel like that was planned all along, but even if it was, who cares, it works.


The intro segment plays off of The Omen, in what ends up as a Cliff Notes version of the Cliff Notes version. In it, Maggie takes the role of Damien, as she begins her unholy rampage by killing Dr. Hibbert via incubator. We get an odd nod to The Exorcist as well, assisted by a Speak and Spell. An ironic bit comes in the “mark of the beast” reveal, especially considering the streaming home for The Simpsons is now Disney+. After caving in the roof of the church, three spiky stones impale Ned, Marge, and Homer to give us a title card, closing out the intro segment. There is a lot to take in in just two minutes, and while part of me thinks it’s the fact that I’m looking at this critically is making it feel crammed, this is The Simpsons in modern times.

Segment one is “Danger Times,” and things get very Eighties. Points for best reference go to the first frames, in which Bart and his friends are playing the E.T. video game. Milhouse meets a terrible fate, sending him to the Over Under. It’s up to Lisa to save him, except things are very different in this new dimension. Predictably, the Demogorgon menace was let loose by the nuclear power plant, though Homer plays the hero with his trusty flamethrower. And while I didn’t need or want demogorgon Ned Flanders, I now need a Zed Ned in Okilly Dokilly. Make it so.


The second installment is “Heaven Swipes Right,” in which Homer experiences the magic and mania of reincarnation. Apparently, it wasn’t his time to go, and so he gets to come back to Earth in whatever body he chooses. He swaps with Case Diggs, a football player who figuratively chokes at the game which Homer literally chokes at. This segment is a bit all over the place, and with the ending gag with Moe, it ends on a sour note, and the shock of Homer dying in the first 30 seconds or so left this part with such promise, too.


Closing out this episode is “When Hairy Met Slimy,” a send-up of The Shape of Water, because if we’re gonna riff on anything, let’s keep it in the FOX family, right? Since we’ve got Patty as canonically gay, we have to pimp Selma out for a non-canon episode.


Suddenly I get why people are over this series.

Selma discovers and falls in love with Kang, and don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos. The love story is as long as it needs to be, which is any length at all. The continuity police need to be called on Mr. Burns, as he is decapitated in one scene, and not a minute later shows up at the flying saucer to taunt Kang and the gang before getting beaned with a tin can. And yes, that is the problem I had with this animated segment about a woman falling in love with an alien that is played as parody.


Honestly, we had a hot start, between the intro segment and the "Stranger Things" parody. Things lost steam in the middle and fell completely apart by the end. Granted, even a bad episode of The Simpsons is still solid by other standards, but I suddenly understand what all of the old-schoolers are getting at. They’re trying, and the jokes land well when they do land, but when you’re kneecapping yourself to six-ish minutes to tell a story, it gets difficult to make it all come together.


“Treehouse of Horror XXX” and all other episodes of The Simpsons are currently streaming on Disney+.


#THESIMPSONS #TREEHOUSEOFHORRORXXX #31DAYSOFHORRORREVIEWS

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