Lifetime of Simpsons

S12 E01 – Treehouse of Horror XI

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Well folks, we’ve made it through another week, and another season. We’re officially in Season Twelve. So let’s start things off with a Treehouse of Horror episode that didn’t air until after Halloween, and isn’t that great! And after starting off with a weird Munsters parody opening, we get straight to the vignettes.

G-G-Ghost D-D-Dad

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Our first story starts off with Homer complaining while reading the newspaper, because Marge has cut out the new Beetle Bailey so he can’t ogle Miss Buxley. And after that strange little bummer, he reads his horoscope and learns that he’s going to die that day, and get a compliment from a coworker. Marge is a little worried about the horoscope, but Homer ignores it, and heads out to work. Where the death-attempts start rolling in. He gashes his wrist on a paper-cut, a branch almost crushes his car, a pick-axe flies into his head, a Planet Springfield globe almost crushes his car, and a rattlesnake bites him. Oh, and he gets a compliment from Lenny. But at the end of the day he’s okay, and decides it was all mumbo-jumbo. Until he eats some broccoli, and dies immediately. So Homer’s soul floats up to Heaven, and St. Peter informs him that he’s going to go to Hell unless he does one good deed in 24 hours. So Homer heads back to Earth, and starts incompetently trying to do good deeds. He asks Marge for advice, but she gives him too many ideas so he leaves. And after accidently killing Agnes Skinner while trying to help her cross the street, he starts to give up. However things turn around for him when he accidently keeps a baby from rolling into the middle of the street on a stroller, and saves its life. So with one good deed down, Homer returns to Heaven, only to find that St. Peter wasn’t paying attention, and he just decides it’s not worth it, and damns Homer to Hell.

Scary Tales Can Come True

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Our second segment takes place in the world of fairy tales, and opens up with the Simpsons living in the woods in a pumpkin house. They’re just sitting around until Homer comes in and lets them know that he’s been fired from his job as village idiot, and they now have no money to survive. So Homer does the only humane thing, and throws Bart and Lisa into the woods, so he has two less mouths to feed. But while it seems like they’re screwed at first, it turns out Lisa has been studying a book of fables, and knows all the secrets to surviving. They get away from a Moe-Troll and even avoid a bear mauling from the Three Bears house. Although they do get Goldilocks murdered, so I guess that one’s a draw. Meanwhile, Marge finds out that Homer abandoned their kids, apparently again, and tells him to go find them so they can at least sell them. So Homer heads into the woods as well, and starts having his own adventures, like accidently scalping Rapunzel. But Bart and Lisa’s winning streak comes to an end when they come across a witch living in a gingerbread house, and they just go on in to hang out with her, where they’re promptly chained up and prepared for cooking. However, right as she’s about to eat them, Homer comes to the rescue, eating his way into the house. He then begins fighting the witch, who starts to transform Homer into a monster. But in the end, Homer wins, and is able to cram the witch into the oven, freeing them. The story then ends on the happy note of Homer bringing the kids back, because now that he’s half-chicken he can lay eggs and keep the family fed.

Night of the Dolphin

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The final story of the episode, and the goofiest, starts off with the Simpsons visiting some sort of Seaworld like resort. They gawk at some dolphins, and when the rest of the family moves on, Lisa stays to commiserate with the dolphin. She then decides that Snorky the dolphin shouldn’t be imprisoned any longer, and frees him, thinking she’s done a great thing. However as soon as Snorky is free, he heads down to some secret dolphin civilization, where he’s a king, and prepares their invasion of the surface world. Which starts off with them killing Lenny while he’s night-drinking as if he’s the girl from Jaws. The police find Lenny’s mutilated corpse, and obviously assume its rowdy teens, so they just cancel the prom. But the dolphin violence starts to escalate in both amount of people, and obviousness. They just start walking on land and killing all of the citizens of Springfield. Which finally ends in the people of Springfield having a Town Hall meeting to discuss things. Snorky then shows up, and gets up at the podium, where he’s revealed to speak pretty great English. He explains that he and his kind used to live on the land, and were pushed into the sea by human’s ancestors, and he’s ready to take it back. The people of Springfield then give up immediately, and start heading into the ocean, until Homer tells them that they should fight back. So they attack the dolphins and have a crazy war in the middle of the town, until the human ends up losing, and are banished to the sea forever. The end!

This is an incredibly uneven Treehouse of Horror episode. I feel like none of them are truly ever bad, because they’re just so silly and weird, but this was probably my least favorite that I’ve had so far. There are some great ideas and jokes in the episode, but as a whole it’s pretty weak. The Homer ghost segment is particularly not great. The idea of Homer fighting against some weird Final Destination sort of curse was pretty fun, but the rest of it, where he’s trying to get a good deed, is really odd and out of place with the themes of the episode. The fairy tale segment is probably the best one, but it’s still got a lot of issues. There were a lot of idea in this little segment, and it’s just a little too jam packed. They either needed to pull some jokes out, or they needed to make it like a whole episode, not just a segment. Then there’s the dolphin thing. It was just way too busy as well. They have a fun little Free Willy thing, a fun Jaws thing, and then this weird Birds parody, before a war of species. If it had taken just one of those ideas and ran with it, it maybe could have worked, but as it stands it was oddly bloated at just like ten minutes. So not a great start to Season Twelve! Let’s stay positive though, it wasn’t as bad a start as Season Eleven, so maybe things will pick up!

Take Away: Don’t eat broccoli, don’t abandon your kids when selling them makes more sense, and don’t trust dolphins.

 

“Treehouse of Horror XI” was written by Rob LaZebnik, John Frink, Don Payne, and Carolyn Omine, and directed by Matthew Nastuk, 2000

 

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