And how do we end this week of great episodes? A Treehouse of Horror! Man I love this show. Although I’m getting increasingly worried about the dark seasons I’m approaching. But let’s focus on the episode at hand. We’re officially out of the era of wrap-around stories, and things just start right off, we don’t even have a Marge warning us it’s too scary. Just a Headless Horseman Krusty riding up and making the name of the episode in blood. Then it’s on to the stories!
Attack of the 50 ft Eyesores
Our first story starts with Homer driving down a street that’s full of billboards and giant mascots, before finally getting to his final destination, the Lard Lad Donuts store, with the goofy Big Boy parody mascot. Homer goes in, and asks for a colossal donut, and when he gets an average sized one, he gets furious. That night he comes back to the store, while there’s a mysterious lightning storm going on. He steals the giant donut from Lard Lad, and drives off with it, vengeance complete! But as Homer leaves, a bolt of lightning hits Lard Lad, bringing him to life. So Homer comes home, and assures Marge that he acquired his donut legally, and we find out that Lard Lad wasn’t the only mascot who got hit by magic lightning. They’re all coming to life now, and start wrecking havoc on the town. We see Kent Brockman get eaten by himself, Chief Wiggum shoots the captain of the high school basketball team who he thinks is a monster, and Lard Lad shows up at the Simpsons home. Homer tricks Lard Lad into destroying the Flanders house, but Marge convinces Homer to give him back the donut, and end the reign of terror. So Homer gives Lard Lad back his donut, which he starts using to destroy more houses with. But Lisa notices that there’s an advertising company’s logo in Lard Lad’s shoeprint, so she visits them to see if they can help. The ad exec then explains to her that when people stop paying attention to advertisements they fade away. So he and Lisa write a jingle for Paul Anka to sing that convinces the people of Springfield to ignore the monsters. And it works! All the monsters die, and we get out Kang and Kodos cameo when Lard Lad’s donut goes rolling down the street, and they assume it’s a vehicle that can take them to the President. The story then ends with Kent Brockman warning the viewer that the next advertisement they see may kill them, before breaking for commercials.
Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace
Our second story is essentially a parody of Nightmare on Elm Street, but with Groundskeeper Willie as Freddy Krueger. Things start off inside Bart’s dream, where it’s animated like a Chuck Jones cartoon and he’s playing Frisbee with Santa’s Little Helper. But as they play, Willie shows up, dressed like Freddy, and he ends up slashing Bart across the chest with a rake, waking him up. But Bart finds that when he wakes up there are rake marks on his chest, which seems odd. So he goes to school, and finds that all the other kids had dreams where Willie attacked them, and the effects followed them into the real world. But they ignore that for a bit and take a standardized test, which has the great gag of Mrs. Krabappel telling them that “the worse you do on this standardized test, the more funding the school gets. So don’t knock yourselves out.” But Martin finishes his test quick and decides to take a nap while he waits for the rest of the kids. And while he’s having the nerdiest dream about Latin anyone has ever had, Willie shows up and crushes him to death with his tongue, killing him in real life. So Lunchlady Doris wheels Martin’s corpse out through the kindergarten, and Bart and Lisa go home to tell Homer and Marge what happened.
Turns out Marge and Homer know exactly what happened to Willie. The PTA had a meeting to discuss the misprinted calendars the school bought, “Lousy Smarch Weather,” and while they were there Homer misread the sign telling people not to touch the thermostat as saying “Don’t Touch Willie,” which he took to be good advice, and cranked up the heat. This caused the furnace to erupt, lighting Willie on fire. He heads to the PTA meeting, and the ignore him to discuss spaghetti meals, which ends with Willie dying. He swears mystical vengeance on the parents who let him die by killing their kids in their dreams. So Bart, Lisa, and Maggie decide to never sleep again. But that isn’t a very practical solution, so Bart decides to go to sleep and face Willie in his dreams. Bart enters the dream, which is a spooky version of the Elementary School, and ends up getting chased by a lawnmower shaped like Willie. They run around the playground before Willie gets stuck in some quicksand Bart made. So with the threat over, Bart returns to his normal dream of winning the Superbowl with Krusty. But as they’re coming up with their play, Willie emerges from the sand as a giant bagpipe monster, and he attacks. Lisa shows up, having fallen asleep too, and the siblings realize they’re doomed. But Maggie appears, and vanquishes Willie by sticking her pacifier in Willie’s exhaust, causing him to explode and die. So they wake up, happy to know that Willie is gone, until he shows up outside having taken the bus. But he apparently lost his magical powers, so I guess it’s okay.
And now we reach our last story of the episode, which is probably the most famous. And not because it’s the funniest, because it’s actually kind of the weakest of the segments, but it’s pretty important from a historical standpoint. Anyway, it all starts with Homer being freaked out because Patty and Selma are coming over. Instead of just being openly hostile like he usually does, he decides to hide, and since Bart and Lisa called dibs on the closet, he ends up hiding behind a bookcase in the family room. But when he gets back there, he finds that the wall behind the shelf appears to be a portal to another dimension. But when the kids get caught by Patty and Selma, he decides to take his chances with the portal. And what he finds inside it is another dimension. The third dimension! Homer then becomes a crude 90’s CGI creation in a world that basically seemed to be a demo for the CGI program that just had various shapes bouncing around a grid. But Homer isn’t really pleased with being 3D, and he starts calling for help which the family can hear. He explains that he’s “somewhere we he doesn’t know when he is,” and the family start trying to help. They find that he’s stuck in the wall, and work to get him freed. So Homer has to stand around in his new dimension, realizing that just standing there feels expensive. But as he’s hanging out, he gets stabbed in the butt by a roaming cone, and throws it away. It lands in the ground, and creates a hole that begins rapidly expanding, destroying his dimension. Back in the real world, Reverend Lovejoy, Dr. Hibbert, Chief Wiggum, and Professor Frink show up to help. Lovejoy tells Homer to walk into the light, which electrocutes him, and Hibbert asks him to describe what he sees. He explains that it’s basically Tron, but no one saw that movie, so that doesn’t help. Frink then explains the third dimension to everyone and teaches them about cubes. Meanwhile, the hole Homer created is growing, and threatening to swallow him, so Bart ties a rope around his waste and dives into the new dimension, also becoming CGI. He finds that the whole world has been eaten by the hole, and it’s just him and Homer on opposite sides of a huge gulf. Homer tries to jump to Bart, but falls immediately, blowing up while yelling “crap.” Bart goes home, and explains that Homer died with dignity, as we see what really happened. Homer has gotten to our world, and is initially horrified, until he finds a store that sells Erotic Cakes.
So that’s Treehouse of Horror VI. Not my favorite, but not one of the worst. The mascot one is a little weak, although it has some great gags when the mascots are destroying the town. And I really love the gag of Marge being wrong and Lard Lad just using his donut to further destroy the town. The real winner is the nightmare Willie one, because it’s just great. So many great references to the crazy Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, and I’m always a fan of crazy Willie episodes. Plus, “Lousy Smarch Weather,” and “Don’t touch Willie, good advice,” have entered my lexicon to an embarrassing degree. And then there’s Homer³. It’s okay, not great but it has some funny jokes. The real draw was the 3D animation, which was leaps and bounds ahead of most CG from that time period, and it really just serves as a historical document to see the effects of the time. It wasn’t really about the story, it was about the effects, just like a Michael Bay movie!
Take Away: Don’t pay attention to advertisements, Don’t touch Willie, and don’t explore alternate dimensions to avoid in-laws.
“Treehouse of Horror VI” was written by John Swartzwelder, Steve Tompkins, and David S Cohen, and directed by Bob Anderson, 1995.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons