Well here we are. The end of the week and the beginning of a new season. And not just any beginning, we get a Treehouse of Horror! And a really great one at that, even though it didn’t have a lot of good stuff in the beginning, and just started with Homer lighting himself on fire while trying to light a jack-o-lantern before a couch gag where they get killed by the Grim Reaper and he uses the like a footstool. But after that lackluster opening we jump right into the stories, since we’re long past the golden days of wrap-around plots.
The Thing and I
Our first story starts off with Bart and Lisa hearing a mysterious sound in the attic, like there’s something scuttling around in there. They ask Marge and Homer about it, but they just act suspicious, insist there’s nothing in the attic, and Homer brings a bucket of fish heads up there for an unrelated reason. And since Homer and Marge’s explanation wasn’t satisfactory and they keep hearing the noises, the kids ask once more, and are just threatened by Homer to never go in the attic. So they immediatley break into the attic while Homer and Marge are out driving in the rain, and begin exploring. They find the usual attic crap, including a bunch of unsold autobiographies that Homer apparently wrote, before finding an area of the attic that has chains attached to the wall. And when they freak out about the chains, something runs past them and escapes. The kids then hide in the closet until Marge and Homer come back, when they tell them what happened. Marge freaks out and calls Dr. Hibbert, telling him that “Hugo” is loose. And when Bart asks who Hugo is, Marge starts telling them the story of Bart’s birth. Apparently he was actually a conjoined twin, and after a routine soul smear test, they found that one of the babies was pure evil. So they cut the two apart and chained Hugo up in the attic, since he was evil. Dr. Hibbert shows up and he leaves with the family to go find Hugo, while leaving Bart at home to tape the hockey game. But when they leave Bart realizes Hugo faked them out, and is still in the house. So Bart’s creepy twin comes out of the shadows, and starts explaining his master plan to Bart. He’s going to drag him up to the attic, and sew them back together again. Which is okay, since he’s been practicing, and has even made a pigeon/rat. But right as the operation is about to begin, Dr. Hibbert shows up and manages to trick Hugo into looking at a mirror, before just punching him out. The rest of the family shows back up thinking they saw Hugo boarding a plane to Switzerland, and as they start talking about what to do with him, Dr. Hibbert realizes that he made a terrible mistake ten years ago, and that Hugo wasn’t the evil twin, Bart was. So they decide the only thing to do is to reintegrate Hugo into society, and lock Bart back in the attic. Case closed!
The Genesis Tub
Next up we have the weakest story of the three, where Lisa becomes God. It starts off with her making a science air project where she’s going to see if she can dissolve a tooth in soda. But when she’s preparing it Bart comes in and zaps her with static electricity, which then zaps the tooth. The next morning she wakes up and is surprised to find mold surrounding the tooth. And even more surprised to find that it’s not mold, it’s a little ecosystem that even has little cavemen living in it. Lisa marvels for a moment about her crating life, but is more interesting in Marge’s promise of waffles, and abandons them for a while. And when she gets back from breakfast she finds that their civilization has progressed so fast that they’re already in the Renaissance, and have become Lutherans. And by that night they’re already in a futuristic society. Unfortunately Bart shows up and finds the little city, and assuming it’s just a model he starts smashing various parts with his finger before getting bored and leaving. And when Lisa checks back in on them she finds their little society devastated, but rebuilding. And the little people decide to get retribution that night by sending out a squad of space ships to go fly into Bart’s room and shoot his face. It just burns him a little, and he races into Lisa’s room to yell at her. She defends the town, and he promises revenge when she’s not around. And that time comes pretty quickly, because before she knows it, Lisa is getting hit with some sort of ray blast from the little society, and is shrunk down to their size with the Tub’s version of Professor Frink and his de-biggulator. The little people explain that Lisa is their God, and the only person who can protect them from the Devil, Bart. The people then begin asking Lisa all sorts of questions, and airing their grievances, but she doesn’t really have any satisfactory answers for them, especially when she learns they have no way to put her back to her normal size. And right about then Bart shows up again, and instead of destroying the civilization like he promised, he brings it to school and ends up getting the top prize at the science fair, as Lisa is doomed to spend the rest of her life as a sullen God in the Tub.
And finally we have the best of the three stories this go-around, and one of the best Treehouse of Horror segments of all time. The story starts off with Homer angrily yelling at fish while sitting in a boat on a lake. And while he was minding his own business, a flying saucer shows up and abducts him with a claw machine, which is hilarious. He’s then brought before Kang and Kodos, who are bored with anal probes, and instead want Homer to tell them who his leader is. And Homer throws a wrench in their plan when he mentions that it’s almost an election, so the leader may be Bill Clinton or Bob Dole, depending on how things shake out. So Kang and Kodos come up with a better plan, and fly around the country to abduct Clinton and Dole. They then put the two candidates in suspended animation, and use a machine to turn themselves into the Presidential hopefuls. They then spray Homer with rum and kick him off the spaceship so no one will believe his crazy story. And that turns out to be a good call, because when he tries to tell the family what happened, they just assume he was drunk. We’re then treated to several scenes of Kang and Kodos attempting to be Presidential candidates, like they being refreshingly honest and telling the American people that whoever they vote for the planet is doomed, Bob Dole’s hilarious speech about abortions and American flags, and the two walking around town holding hands to exchange long-protein strands. And as the election approaches, the two candidates get ready for a debate in Springfield, since it’s the most important town in the country, where we’re given the amazing line “We must go forward, not backward. Upward, not downward. And always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom.” Great stuff. And when Homer shows up to tell the town that they’re actually aliens, no one believes him again, and they just kick him out of Town Hall. He then goes to sulk at the lake, and finds their hastily hidden spaceship. So Homer gets in and tries to find evidence of what happened. He ends up freeing Clinton and Dole, and as Homer tries to fly them to Washington DC, they end up agreeing to put partisanship behind and usher America into a new Golden Age. Unfortunately Homer hits the wrong button and ends up jettisoning them out into space where they die. He then crashes the ship into the capitol building where the two candidates are giving one final debate. Homer then manages to reveal Kang and Kodos for what they really are, but since it’s a two party system and no one wants to vote for Ross Perot, Kang still wins and enslaves the planet. Although we are treated to one of my favorite Simpsons lines of all time from Homer. “Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos.”
This is a pretty great Treehouse of Horror episode. Genesis Tub is kind of a misfire, even though it had a solid premise, and probably would have fared better with a few tightenings of the script. And the Thing and I is pretty fun, giving us the crazy ass character of Hugo. That story is full of so many silly sight gags and is one of the wackier Treehouse of Horror segments, like the kids hiding in the closet instead of the vases that would be more obvious, or Dr. Hibbert seemingly cutting Bart and Hugo apart with a paper-cutter. But it’s Citizen Kang that really takes the cake with this one. That segment is so perfectly funny, and really is one of the best Treehouse of Horror segments they ever made. It’s got great sci-fi gags, like the claw machine abduction, and is full to the brim with great political gags. That last line of “Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos,” is so amazing, and Dan Castellaneta sells it so perfectly that you really do see that Homer believes things would be different it Kodos had won. It’s also pretty sad that the horrible shambles that the Kang administration has wrought on America is probably nowhere near as bad as what would happen if we elected Trump President.
Take Away: The left twin is the evil one, soda + teeth + electricity = recipe of life, and vote Kodos not Trump.