Well folks, we’ve made it through another week of Lifetime of Simpsons, and we’re getting to end a rather solid week on high note. Yep, we get a Treehouse of Horror! And it’s a pretty fun one. Even though it starts off with a really weird opening. First we see Homer and Bart making jack-o-lanterns, only to zoom out and see Professor Frink using his TiVo to fast-forward the violence. This causes him to accidently spoil the episode, which causes him to use the remote to fast-forward his own life, turning him into some dust. Sure, whatever, let’s do this thing.
War and Pieces
The first segment begins with Bart and Milhouse loudly playing some violent video games. Marge notices them and marches into Bart’s room to start yelling at them. She thinks that the game is too violent, and tells the boys that they’re only allowed to play board games now. So she drags them up to the attic where they keep the games, and leaves them to find something to do. The boys looks through some parody games before finding a mysterious one called Satan’s Path. They obviously choose this game and open it up. And then things become rather Jumanji. When they open up the game it suddenly fires out a wave of magic and brings all of the other lesser board games to life.
Bart and Milhouse then realize that the only way to make things go back to normal is to complete Satan’s Path. Or maybe it’s to finish playing all the games that came to life. This changes and doesn’t make sense. The rest of the segment is really just Bart and Milhouse running around Springfield now that it’s become a hodgepodge of board games, trying to solve things while checking out sight gags. We see Wiggum get killed by a chess knight, Selma go on a Mystery Date with Kang, and Homer get trapped in some Shoots and Ladders. They try to play some games, but Milhouse is killed after their Battleship is sunk. Bart, alone, then has to complete the final game, Mouse Trap. It takes a while, but Bart’s able to solve the puzzle and finish the Satan’s Row before the world was destroyed, and everything goes back to normal. Don’t worry, things get better from here.
Master and Cadaver
Our middle segment is a parody of the film Dead Calm, which I had never heard of and now really need to check out. It begins with Marge and Homer having a nice sexy vacation on a yacht in the middle of the ocean, just the two of them. But when they start to get a little frisky they notice a man floating towards them in the ocean. They save the man, whose name is Roger, and he tells them his story. Apparently he was a rich man’s chef, and when the rich man planned to poison several people on the boat Roger wouldn’t go through with it and refused. He was then knocked unconscious, and when he awoke everyone on the boat was dead. This terrified Roger so much he bailed off the boat, and has been trapped at sea for days.
Homer is pretty suspicious of Roger and his story, especially when he becomes convinced that Roger wants to sleep with Marge. Homer becomes convinced that Roger actually killed everyone on the boat, and tries to convince Marge. Marge thinks it’s crazy, until Roger makes them a pie and Homer throws it into the ocean, where it promptly kills a shark. This convinces Marge, and she and Homer come up with a plan to get rid of Roger. Marge pretends to seduce him, and while he’s distracted Homer smashes him over the head with an oar and they toss him back into the ocean. However, not too much longer they come across the boat that Roger had mentioned, and find that everyone is indeed dead inside. This proves that Roger actually didn’t kill them, and they feel terrible. Roger then shows up, alive from the near-drowning they gave him, and he explains that the shark didn’t die from his pie, it was from the fuel leaking out of Homer’s boat. Homer then realizes that Roger will get them arrested for trying to kill him, and Homer decides to kill him for real. This terrified Marge and the two end up killing themselves to keep it all a secret. We then pan out of the ocean and find that this whole story was a fantasy Maggie was having in the bath.
Our final segment for this Treehouse of Horror would probably normally be the dumbest of the bunch, if it wasn’t for that board game story. But it’s still pretty delightfully dumb. It’s basically just a parody of the first Twilight story, but with Lisa in he female protagonist role. It all starts when some handsome little boy arrives at Springfield Elementary as a new student. All of the girls fawn over him, but he immediately takes a liking to Lisa, and ends up saving her from a bus crash. After saving Lisa’s life the little boy, named Edmond, takes Lisa into the woods where he flat out tells her that he’s a vampire. But Lisa doesn’t mind, and the two decide to start dating.
And this is where the segment gets to be a lot of fun, because Lisa decides that Edmond and his father should come over for dinner so the Simpsons can get to know them. And Homer sure has a lot of questions about vampires, especially when we see that Edmond’s father is a hardcore Dracula. The dinner is a disaster, because all of the parents make things so embarrassing, and Lisa and Edmond race off into the night to flee the embarrassment. Homer and Dracula then have to chase after their children, and end up bonding a bit. They end up finding the kids hiding up in a clocktower, where Lisa is about to agree to become a vampire. Until she realizes that she’ll stay eight for eternity, which causes her to back out of the deal. Dracula and Edmond then get offended, and prepare to eat Lisa anyway, until Homer offers himself to be drained instead. But Homer gets the last laugh, because all of the cholesterol in his blood kills them both, saving the day.
I had a lot of fun with this Treehouse of Horror. These episodes are almost always going to be fun, and even when they’ve been in otherwise lackluster seasons you can usually guarantee that you’ll have a good time checking them out, but there was just some great stuff here. The first segment is easily the worst of the bunch, despite the impressive ability to come up with a staggering amount of knock-off board game names. I think the issue with the story is just that it moves along too fast, and doesn’t make a lot of sense. I didn’t realize until almost the end that they were supposed to be winning all of the boardgames that came to life, instead of just winning Satan’s Alley. But whatever. That middle segment is a real treat, and I’m incredibly interested in Dead Calm now and need to check out the novel and the film. And Tweenlight, while incredibly stupid, becomes very enjoyable as soon as Dracula shows up and Homer has to pal around with him. All in all it was a solid Treehouse of Horror, and one that I enjoyed quite a bit.
“Treehouse of Horror XXI” was written by Joel H Cohen and directed by Bob Anderson, 2010.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons