Well folks, we have a big one to talk about today. Not only are we ending the week on a fairly decent Treehouse of Horror episode, but this is the 600th episode of the Simpsons. Six. Hundred! Which means we’ve had 600 installments of Lifetime of Simpsons. Which is frankly staggering. We’re nearing the end of this experiment, at least in its present format, and that is absolutely blowing my mind. But, that’s getting ahead of myself. For now let’s focus on today’s episode, which starts off some goofy little opening scene where the family are trying to buy Christmas trees, since Christmas comes earlier and earlier each year. But, as they’re shopping Sideshow Bob, the ghost of Frank Grimes, Kang, and a Leprechaun all show up to get vengeance on the Simpsons. However, Maggie is very easily able to defeat these fiends, and save the family on their 600th adventure.
The first segment takes place in a post-Apocalyptic world that’s basically a Hunger Games parody. Which sure is striking while the iron is hot! This is a Springfield where a horrible drought has hit, and the city officially has no more water. Mr. Burns has all drinkable water hidden behind a dam, and charges everyone in Springfield a ludicrous amount to get just enough to survive. So, he of course divides the town up into sectors, and occasionally requires that children from each sector participates in a battle to the death where the winner will get to spend a day in his own private water park.
Lisa ends up being the selection for her sector, and she begins training for the brawl. She even gets some advice from a former winner, Homish. Not that he teacher her much, because she’s then immediately tossed out into the battle, where a bunch of random children start getting killed rapidly. Things advance very quickly then, and Lisa ends up becoming the star of the battle, to the point that she becomes popular enough to form a rebellion. And, with that power she convinces the people of Springfield to join forces and storm Burns’ dam to free the water. Things quickly become Fury Road for a moment, and they successfully destroy the dam, freeing the water. Which was a bad call, because now Springfield is destroyed in a flood, giving the town a second post-Apocalypse.
The second segment is the lengthiest of the bunch, and begins with Lisa playing hide and go seek with Janie out in the backyard, when disaster strikes. Because as Lisa is counting a lawnmower suddenly turns on by itself, and brutally runs over Janie, killing her. Lisa is obviously depressed about this, and goes to Janie’s funeral, where she talks with Sherri and Terri. The twins say that Lisa is now interesting enough to become their new best friend. And then, immediately, a giant tombstone lands on them, and kills them as well. Things aren’t going well for Lisa! Which obviously means that she should go to a grief counselor. Unfortunately, when the therapist says that Lisa can think of her as a friend, she’s suddenly killed by a falling diploma. And these four deaths are too much for the police to ignore, and they end up arresting Lisa under the assumption that she’s somehow responsible for this murder spree. But they don’t really have enough evidence, because they’ve found a particular type of nail polish on everything, and it’s not one that Lisa owns, so they let her go.
However, Lisa does recognize the polish. It was one she wore when she had an imaginary friend named Rachel, but she stopped wearing it when she outgrew the imaginary friend. And, as she realizes this Rachel suddenly appears. She’s responsible for the deaths, and is going to kill anyone who keeps her away from Lisa. She ends up murdering Milhouse, and that finally convinces the police to arrest her. But, when she’s sitting in prison Rachel shows up, and announces that she needs to fix everything, and claims that it’s really Marge who has kept them apart. So, Rachel floats off to murder Marge, and Lisa begins freaking out.
Luckily Bart magically shows up, and helps Lisa break out of the prison so that they can race home and save Marge. It seems Snowball is also on their team, because she ends up taking a knife that was meant for Marge, giving her a little more time. Lisa and Bart end up getting home right as Rachel is about to kill her again, but they don’t really have any ideas on how to stop it. Until Homer comes in, and reveals that since he’s drunk, he can see Rachel too. He attempts to beat up Rachel, but it doesn’t go well, until Homer’s imaginary friend, Sergeant Sausage shows up to battle Rachel. Unfortunately, he does very poorly too. So, it’s all up to Lisa, and she finally finds a way to defeat Rachel. She uses her imagination to change Rachel from a little girl into a bitter middle-aged woman, which for some reason causes Rachel to cease existing. Hooray!
Our final segment is a parody of Kingsman, more or less, and it opens up with Bart running through the streets at night, fleeing from the bullies. He ends up hiding inside of Moe’s, when something bizarre happens. Moe locks the doors to the bar, and ends up using some rather extreme fighting skills to defeat the bullies, besting them handily. Bart is very impressed with this sudden display of skill, and Moe ends up talking to Bart, telling him the truth. Turns out that Moe is the leader of a secret cabal of spies, and all of the barflies are actually legendary agents whose secret base is under Moe’s. Homer was one of their best agents, and Moe wants Bart to follow in his footsteps.
Bart obviously agrees, and begins training with the other agents, such as Lenny, Carl, Willie, and Gil. And, after some training, he’s given his first mission. And it’s a big one. A shadowy organization known as Remoh is buying up all the beer in the world, and their secret base is in a concert venue. Bart and the spies show up, and discover something shocking. The leader of Remoh is Homer, and he’s evil. He’s developed a machine that will cover the world in lava, and he’s bought all the beer to have a big celebration when it works. He then triggers a device that turns all of the Steely Dan concert goers into mindless zombies, who attack Bart and the spies. They end up easily beating up the zombies, leaving just Bart and Homer. It seems like Bart is going to forgive Homer, but he ends up just stabbing him in the back, saving the world. We’re then treated to a goofy James Bond title sequence with a Goldfinger parody song that’s all about how crazy it is they’ve had 600 episodes.
Okay, listen. This is not the strongest Treehouse of Horror episode. Honestly, it’s one of the weaker ones I’ve ever seen. But, it gets serious bonus points for being the 600th episode. That’s kind of amazing that things worked out that such a momentous occasion could be one of these crazy out-of-continuity episodes. I just wish it could have been better. That Hunger Games story was probably the weakest, primarily because they tried to cram in three movies worth of parody into like seven minutes. It all went way too fast, didn’t really have any good gags, and honestly should have just been a Fury Road parody like they made it at the end. It’s kind of weird that the second segment was the strongest of the bunch, especially because it was the only one that was even tangentially related to horror or Halloween. I actually really liked the idea of a vengeful imaginary friend trying to kill everyone that Lisa loves, and I think that that segment really saved the whole episode. Because that third segment isn’t particularly great either. I feel like it was trying for a Kingsman thing, but it never really embraced that parody strongly enough, and took too many dips into James Bond parody to really seem cohesive as a gag. So, all in all it wasn’t that great of a Treehouse of Horror episode. Certainly not one of the worst I’ve seen though, just incredibly mediocre. And it’s a shame that the 600th episode had to be so lackluster. But, given the episodes lately, I guess things could have been a whole lot worse.
“Treehouse of Horror XXVII” was written by Joel H Cohen and directed by Steven Dean Moore, 2016.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons