Hi everyone, and welcome back to another week of Lifetime of Simpsons. Actually, it’s going to be our last full week of the project, which is certainly a little insane. But, what better way to start things off than with a surprisingly decent Treehouse of Horror episode? Plus, it all begins with a very strange opening scene that’s CGI animated as if it was a Pixar knock-off, all about the Simpson’s being various types of candy hoping to be picked for Halloween. Unfortunately, no one picks them, and they get stuck on a shelf with some leftover Christmas cookies and a forgotten Easter bunny. But, don’t worry about them, because they’re happy about this, and even get to eat the screaming bunny.
Our first segment is, obviously, an Exorcist parody, and it begins with some archaeologists digging through an ancient temple in the desert. They come across a creepy idol of a demon known as Pazuzu, and they then promptly put it in an Amazon drone to deliver to Homer. He apparently ordered it by accident, so when it arrives and promptly creeps everyone out, they just decide to stick it in Maggie’s room. The idol almost immediately starts to affect Homer, who walks the idol around the room, singing a creepy song about demons, before just putting it in Maggie’s crib, letting it infect her while he and Marge get ready for a big party that they’re hosting at the house that evening.
That night while the party is going on, Maggie has been fully possessed by Pazuzu and she ends up floating down the stairs and into the room. She starts yelling at everyone in a demonic voice, and using her powers to attack people. Things seems pretty bad, and since Lovejoy doesn’t know how to perform exorcisms, they have to call in a professional. A priest shows up after Ned helps tie Maggie up in her crib, and the priest begins to run some tests. It becomes clear that Pazuzu is quite strong, and its possession of Maggie is very thorough, so he begins to do battle with the demon, using all of his tricks to fight it. However, none of them seem to work, until they get talking with Pazuzu, and it starts telling them all about how powerful it used to be. And it turns out that Pazuzu isn’t overly important, and had kind of a lame dominion, so the family start making fun of it. And, when Pazuzu becomes defensive and worried about its stature, it gets weak enough to be exorcized from Maggie. The demon then bounces around the room, before landing in Bart. There’s just one problem. Bart’s soul is so dark and evil that even Pazuzu is scared, and Bart is able to dominate the demon, getting the powers without ceding any of his mental acuity. Guess Bart’s a supervillain now!
The second segment, usually the weakest of these episodes, actually ended up being my favorite of the bunch, and a parody of the film Coraline. It opens up with the Simpsons still dealing with Maggie’s left-over symptoms of her possession, which means that no one has time to hang out with Lisa and do what she wants. This makes her sad, so she goes to her room to sulk, only to find Snowball messing round with a strange little door she’s never seen in her room before. Lisa goes to investigate the door, and finds a weird portal. She and Snowball go investigate it, and Snowball reveals that he can talk, and with the voice of Neil Gaiman! He tells Lisa that on the other side of the portal is a version of her family, so Lisa goes to see them, eager to see if they’re better than her normal family.
So, Lisa and Snowball head to the other world, and switch into a CGI animation that looks similar to the Laika animation of the film. They then go through the house, and find that this version of her family is exactly what she wants. They eat healthy, they love jazz, and they’re kind. But they also are missing their eyes, and have buttons sewn on. This freaks Lisa out, and she flees from the house, returning to her normal family. But, when she’s reminded how horrible they are, she decides to just embrace the buttons and goes to live with that family.
A couple weeks pass, and the Simpsons are obviously worried that Lisa has vanished. Well, except Bart. He’s just irritated that they keep fussing over Lisa, so he looks for somewhere to hide, and finds the portal. And, he ends up liking the new family too, and stays there as well. Marge is the next up, and she too decides to live in the button world, leaving Homer alone. Snowball then shows up again and tells Homer that he should just give in, so Homer heads into the portal and meets his doppelganger family. However, Homer quickly starts a fight with the button family, and ends up killing their Bart and wounding their Homer. Things get pretty tense, but everyone decides that the right thing to do is for everyone to go back to the real world, taking some of the button family along with them to create a weird new double-family.
Our final segment of the episode is certainly the weakest of the bunch, and it begins with Homer saying goodbye to Marge and the kids, who are getting ready to go on a vacation with Patty and Selma. And, as soon as the rest of his family is out of the house, Homer starts acting like a fool, living like a frat boy. He starts gorging himself on food, and after a whirlwind couple days of eating he realizes that there’s no longer anything for him to eat, other than a frozen old hotdog. So, Homer brings the hotdog outside to the grill, and tries to make the best of it. But, when it’s finally done cooking, for some reason he takes out a big knife to cut it in half, and in doing so cuts his finger off. The finger lands on the grill, and while Homer is struggling with the hotdog, the finger starts to cook. Santa’s Little Helper ends up eating the hotdog, leaving Homer foodless. Unless…
Yeah, Homer eats his finger. Without really any thought. And, surprisingly, he decides that it’s delicious. So much that he decides to immediately cut off another finger and cook it up. But, before he can eat it, he gets inviting over to Ned’s house for a barbeque. He heads over, and finds something horrible. He’s lost his taste for normal food, and now only wants to eat his own flesh. This then starts Homer down a slippery slope where he begins practicing auto-cannibalism, to the point that when Marge and the kids get home he’s barely a full person any more. Marge notices that something is off, but can’t figure out what’s going on until that night she finds Homer trying to fry up his own leg. She then freaks out, and forces him to go to an addiction councilor, who doesn’t really help. Marge decides that Homer is beyond help at this point, and leaves him. But, Homer’s in luck! Because alleged sexual predator Mario Batali shows up, and he has some ideas. He convinces Homer that he should allow Batali to kill him, and serve his delicious meat at a restaurant built out of Homer’s home. Homer agrees, and Marge and the kids get invited to the grand opening of Chez Homer, where they’re kind of proud that Homer made something of himself? I don’t know, it’s real weird, folks.
This was by no means one of the strongest Treehouse of Horror episodes I’ve ever seen, but for the most part I ended up liking it a good amount. I think that the Exorcist parody in the beginning was pretty fun, even though I do have kind of a weird confession to make. I’ve never seen the Exorcist, and I’ve kind of put myself in a weird place where the hype has created a film that’s so scary that it’ll never live up to what I’ve made in my head, and I just kind of don’t feel like finding the truth. But, the film has hit the popular culture consciousness to the point that I fully understand references to the film, and I think this parody worked pretty well. I have seen Coraline though, and I think that that segment is a whole lot of fun. Especially having Neil Gaiman voice Snowball. It was a really fun segment, even though it ended up feeling very similar to that segment from a previous Treehouse where the family met their Tracy Ullman Show doppelgangers. But, it still worked pretty well for me. The last segment was definitely the weakest for me, just kind of becoming a weird series of bad jokes that failed to land. And it doesn’t help that they have Mario Batali in it, even though this would have come out before his allegations came out, but it still makes it feel a little weird. All in all, it made for a decent Treehouse of Horror episode, which was a nice way to start off one of my final weeks at this project.
Take Away: Don’t buy ancient idols, don’t explore little doors in your house, and don’t eat yourself.
“Treehouse of Horror XXVIII” was written by John Frink and directed by Timothy Bailey, 2017.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons