Hey, we all like fun episodes that are made up of little vignettes right? And who says it can’t happen more often than Treehouse of Horror episodes? No one, that’s who! Because here to go with an episode full of little Bible stories! Woo! Bible! And it’s actually pretty good. And it all starts off with the family settling in for an interminable Easter Sunday sermon, which gets much longer after Homer mocks their vengeful god by putting a chocolate bunny in the collection plate. So as revenge Reverend Lovejoy decides to just stand up there and read the Bible, while each and every member of the family fall asleep and have silly dreams.
Adam and Eve
Our first segment is the dream of Marge, and is a little retelling of the Adam and Eve myth, with Homer and Marge taking the roles, and Ned Flanders as God. The story is basically the same as the one people learn in Sunday School, with the couple naming animals in between visits to the porno-bush. But an issue turns up when they’re sitting under the tree of forbidden fruit, and are visited by Snake, who tempts them with the delicious apples. Homer quickly then eats as many of the apples as he can, with no repercussions. But as soon as Marge takes a bite, God shows up and banishes her from paradise. And while Homer seems okay at first, continuing his selfish existence, he eventually gets bored and decides to break Marge back into Eden. So he hatches a plan and has a gopher and Gary the Unicorn dig a tunnel to the Wasteland’s on the other side of Eden. The strain was too much for Gary, who dies, but Marge is able to crawl through the tunnel and be reunited with Homer. However as soon as she does, God shows up and is pissed, especially about the death of Gary the Unicorn. So he enacts his vengeance and flicks Homer and Marge out of Eden to a lifetime of toil and pain. Take that, mortals!
Our next dream comes from Lisa, and tells the story of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt. However, in this retelling the Israelites are the schoolchildren of Springfield Elementary and the Egyptians are the faculty and police officers. The children are building Pharaoh Skinner’s pyramid, and are being abused, so Lisa convinces Moses (Milhouse) to lead his people. Milhouse doesn’t really want to do this, but she talks him into approaching Pharaoh and demanding to let his people go. Skinner thinks that’s ridiculous, and ignores them, so they have no choice but to pour frogs down up on them like a plague. Unfortunately Skinner doesn’t really care about that, and decides to just toss Lisa and Milhouse into another pyramid so they can starve to death in there. However they’re able to escape the pyramid by climbing a faulty booby-trap, and escape to rally the Israelite forces. They all team together, and flush a series of toilets next to the Red Sea, causing the water level to drop enough that they can escape. They run across the dry Sea, and make it across just in time for the Egyptians to be washed away by toilet water. And the segment ends with the depressing joke that the Jews are in for a lot more hardship.
After Lisa’s dream we have a strange little one from Homer that just kind of felt like they were running short on time for the episode. It’s just Homer as King Solomon, trying to solve a case where Lenny and Carl claim equal ownership of a pie, to which Homer just cuts the pie in half, eats both halves, and sentences the men to death. It then sets up a TV judge-show with Solomon presiding over Jesus suing some sort of chariot taxi service.
David and Goliath
And finally we have Bart’s dream, which is probably the strangest of them all. It features Bart as King David, after he’s slain the giant Goliath. He’s living the highlife, being a king, until Methuselah shows up, dying, and saying that Goliath has an evil son who is coming for vengeance. So Bart gets ready to face down with Goliath II, and goes to fight the evil giant in front of everyone in the town. However as soon as the fight begins with Goliath II (who looks like Nelson), Bart is quickly beaten and thrown out of the town while Goliath II crowns himself king. Bart lands outside the city in some mud, and meets with Ralph the Shepherd, who decides to go fight Goliath II himself. This does not go well, and Ralph quickly dies. So Bart begins training like a Rocky montage, and when he’s ready he heads back to the town to sneak into Goliath II’s Tower of Babel. And after running into the devoured remains of Jonah and his whale, Bart is able to climb the tower with some corn-cob-holders, and gets up to fight Goliath. They have a brief fight where Bart throws a lantern down Golitah’s gullet, causing him to explode. However, right when Bart thinks everything is cool, Goliath comes back for more revenge, until he’s killed by Ralph, who isn’t dead yet. But we don’t get a happy ending, because it turns out the people loved Goliath, and thought he was a great king, so they just arrest Bart for murder. And after Bart and the rest of the family wake up, they realize that they’ve been left in church. They awkwardly leave, ashamed that they slept through church, and find that he Rapture has occurred outside. And of course the Simpsons don’t get to go to heaven, they get to head down to Hell to have a mediocre barbecue while “Highway to Hell,” plays.
While this episode certainly isn’t as good as a Treehouse of Horror episode, I do have a weird sense of nostalgia for it. I’ve discussed a whole lot on this site that I’m not a religious person, and never was. I never went to church, and I certainly didn’t have to deal with any sort of Sunday School. Since Christianity is so shoved down our throats in this country it was hard to miss the mythology of the religion, so of course these stories are going to be familiar to me. However I will say that episodes of the Simpsons like this one are where I based a lot of my understanding of Christianity. I’ve never read the Bible, why would I? So when I think of these four stories, chances are I’m picturing these versions. For better or for worse. And they’re pretty good. The Adam and Eve one is probably the most straight-forward, and the one I like the least, except for King Solomon but that one barely counts. The Exodus one is pretty funny, but mainly because of the whole shtick about the kids being the Israelites, because I think it would have been much funnier if it was a little episode about all the plagues. And while I certainly didn’t laugh much at it, I think I appreciate the Goliath II one the most, because it was the weirdest. It wasn’t based on one of the stories, and was a weird little Rocky homage, so it was at least the most interesting. I don’t know if this was a particularly great episode, I certainly didn’t laugh that much, but it’s one of those episodes I saw a ton as a kid, so it’ll always have a special place in my heart.
Take Away: Don’t trust snakes, always build faulty traps when forced into slave-labor, and sometimes the people you don’t like are better leaders than you.
“Simpsons Bible Stories” was written by Tim Long, Larry Doyle, and Matt Selman, and was directed by Nancy Kruse, 1999.