Burning Down the Treehouse: Some Idiot Reviews Ninety THOH Segments in Thirty Days

I absolutely agree with everything you said about Attack of the 50ft Eyesores. It's a shame that segment had a weak cause and a weak resolution, because is conceptually brilliant. The idea and the satire were great but the story wasn't good and there are some flats moments.

I also agree with your choice of the best segment. Time and Punishment had a better estructure and narration than many episodes in a third of the time than them. It's absolutely hilarious, had a fantastic story, it's plenty of classic moments and gave us one of the most memorable Maggie's scene of the entire series.

Great reviews so far, [MENTION=38730]tyler[/MENTION] (although, for some reason, is hard to me translate what you mean). But, anyway, really enjoyable and pleasent to read. Oh and I love how you start your reviews, with a screenshot of the title-gag. I always wanted a compile of them, but never started the project. Great to have them too.

contrary to what some may think, treehouse of horror is more than just [insert story here] with jokes, and i hope i've done well to elucidate on why that is, how trends are flipped and classic ideas are playfully mocked to make a point or churn out some giggles. frankenstein can be drained of its tragic romanticism, it's a good life can become a comically faux-saccharine bonding story with sunset imagery of a jack-in-the-box in a boat, the shining can pare itself to the bare essentials to suit the character of homer, in a variety of ways the series has taken these inspirations and mangled them to fit the series, while still serving as admiring tribute, they make us laugh but they also provide a slew of clever commentaries on our sacred cows as they oh so excitedly set up their slaughterhouse. did o&w not get that, or did the series' whole crew simply start forgetting? this segment doesn't really comment on elm street at all, it really is just elm street with jokes. that should be a death knell, and it certainly continues to stir up the grey clouds over our treehouse, but no matter how much i may know and accept that this is a rather straightforward take slotting the simpsons into the story with little to say, i can't help but continue to enjoy it.

maybe there's something easing about how direct it is, or maybe it's just because of how funny it is, all the martin stuff especially is tremendous. maybe while its "parody" is nearly family guy levels in less twisting the source and more just recreating it from scratch in animation, the dedication to properly capturing it is felt in the genuine tension, the painted backgrounds, the dynamic lighting, the bonkers dream sequences, you get the idea, its pretty straight ahead the path but the path is lovingly designed and decorated. the question of how one parses out credit when the creativity is more being mapped out again instead of acting as an influence is more difficult, i'll settle for shrugging it off. this is my freebie, most of its success as a halloween short is essentially one big reference, but it gives me a pure eerie affair again after mirkin's run of irreverence, which for as great as it got took something i missed from these, mirkin's thohs could be the most slyly witty, but they didnt seem willing to just let a classic horror feel flourish, their tricks deepened the potential of thoh but a charm was lost over time. thoh I it absolutely ain't, but what can i say, it's endearing to pull no tricks and just let the vibe happen again. plus the flashback is hilarious and worth the price of admission alone. i suppose that's the one piece of satire here, less of the movie and more of how circumstances would unfold for willie as krueger specifically, with an ever-crumbling school budget and uncaring townsfolk without a clue being his fitting demise. the rest is essentially a cover, but sometimes an impassioned cover hits you just right. still ominous, but a guilty love.
I'm gonna have to disagree on 'Attack Of The 50 Ft. Eyesore' about it being "kinda bad". It's a good, underrated segment to me with a good concept and fine execution & a lot of good jokes. It cannot compete with a lot of the other classic era Treehouse segments and has clear room for improvement but it's still a pretty good one.

And as for 'Nightmare On Evergreen Terrace' it's one I love. Solid parody with a great execution, having some very good animation and visuals, some real creative stuff with the dream sequences, great jokes all around and a pretty much perfect horror tone (I'll also give a mention to the hilarious ending). One of my top segments. I'd probably pick it as my favorite if you'd ask me now (and I haven't even seen the original movie).
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there was a time that this was one of my favorites. there was also a time when i didn't get satire so i probably took some older segments more literally or didn't appreciate their comedic perspective. still, its hard to deny that this one plays to two major base strengths of o&w; cramming our ancillary characters together for unique pairings and maximum one-liner satisfaction, and experimenting with new forms of storytelling. as a twilight zone parody, the conceit is rather skeletal, homer getting lost in the third dimension and eventually eviscerated by a black hole simply because he didn't wanna endure his stepsisters. good enough. what's actually notable narratively is that our tone is decidedly not halloweeny, but rather takes on something of a fascination with attempting to navigate our dimbulb springfeldians through an actual scientific quandary, which lends itself to many of the good jokes on the outside like Flander's Ladder and wiggum firing bullets into the dimension. while it may be a ridiculous ensemble i think just the shot of all of them together is quite amusing. im generally against shoving characters in willy nilly as it later became a huge crutch but you get the sense that marge had literally no idea what she was dealing with with newly phantom-voice-only homer and alerted every one she knew that may have an answer.

thankfully frink does, although i suppose one could argue the necessity of exposition in our thohs, but again for me it elevates their cluelessness in this case. its less telling us info we already know as spoonfeeding and more a setup for the punchline of a room filling with befuddlement. as for within the third dimension, they don't seem too bothered to make big jokes as they do to experiment with the geometry, make cgi water ripple and show what a homer burp looks like in 3d. many of the jokes are abundantly simple, but it makes sense that they would be because they are a platform to showcase the technology. it feels like watching the really early pixar shorts, its uncanny valley and it's so geometrical it barely resembles the idea of a real place but i suppose that adds to the surrealness. i can see why this would dissatisfy as a thoh experience though, when the framework of another twilight zone parody doesn't exactly ring true, it's a very loose segment that acts more as a playground for its innovation than as an eerie story, but what can i say i still find it utterly charming, maybe more so than ever given its increasing datedness, and it may be more suited to o&w's sensibilities than full-bore horror anyway, and while that continues to swirl the darkening skies around thoh as a once-great tradition, i think on its own terms it still works.
Homer^3 was one of my favorite segments as a kid. Though if I remember my Season 7 DVD commentaries correctly, Homer^3 was the reason why they submitted Treehouse of Horror 6 for Emmy consideration, and as a result they lost to Pinky and the Brain. So I suppose this segment is a real double-edged sword.
Homer3 is a great segment. I really like the story and the humor. The 3D dimension sequences with the charming early cartoon CGI with the musical scoring is all good to me (feels like they should have won the Emmy award for that as it pushed some envelopes).

Also, did anyone see the movie 'Tron'?


well this one was a surprise having not seen it in such a long time, i'd remembered it for the hibbert picture frame gag and little else, but it's far more complex than that. in fact in a way this feels like an amalgam of nearly every trick in the thoh book; we've got the bizarre and excessively cruel nega-simpsons vibe of "nightmare cafeteria" with homer and marge reduced to shackling and feeding their forsaken son fishheads, made into heartless ghouls, delightfully so. we get some rather gorgeous cinematography, lighting and coloring in the dank and ominous attic sequence when bart and lisa first find his shackles empty and later when hugo has bart captive, gorgeous grimy shadow work too the likes of which these segments aint seen in many full moons. we even get some of that good old fashioned subversion by taking the archetype evil twin backstory and flipping it twice, first to comically drain the potential for empathy from hugo's tragic plight by just tricking him and socking him in the face, and second by revealing of course that bart is the evil twin. don't act so shocked.

all this ugliness could be seen as cynical, but it's so completely outlandish that it just feels like a story in the lives of darkest timeline simpsons, where horrible things like this and "nightmare cafeteria" could just...happen, at any time. again, halloween at its most shock schlock, a nice change of pace and perversely immersive. it does help too that it is, in its gnarled way, a family story like old times, a quite literal family story in fact, bringing the terror closer to home than ever. plus while the segment isn't too interested in sentiment, you can still feel for hugo, though the main issue i suppose would be his character is played pretty straight and it's more the cruel resolve thats subverted, which is absolutely a fucked up ending, but it works for this fucked up segment. it's a creepy, unsettling, topsy turvy simpsons segment with an uncanny feel like some glorious video rental shitgem, but its met with a smooth blend of snark, visual splendor and narrative that still makes it unqualified simpsons. o&w struggled with thoh but they managed to strike a balance here, much in the way the best o&w episodes seemed like tribute to their own fandom of the series, this segment feels like a comprehensive and multi-faceted self homage to all the possibilities of thoh, pulling the creative potential in all directions, without accidentally drawing and quartering the thing.


it's not this segment's fault that futurama did the tiny city/playing god concept way better down the road with "godfellas", but it definitely hurts the novelty of a segment with sparse goodwill to spare. once again, the twilight zone, which i believe begins dwindling in presence as inspiration after the classic era but time will tell. i try not to directly compare the source material because its valuable to allow the simpsons to do its own thing, oftentimes it has worked wonders. this one doesn't quite reconcile its narrative decisions though, i'll try to explain. the original story is about a man who discovers his own tiny civilization and is driven by his power over them, to control their fates and destroy their buildings, to be viewed by them as their god and have statues assembled in his image. this segment leaves the destruction to bart, and the worshipping is of the agency of the small people themselves. we get a sibling rivalry plot here which is theoretically nice, but this segment so severely lacks in tone and ultimate purpose to bart's mayhem that it feels detached. i say i like these to have stories and i appreciate o&w more frequently doing so, but without the sense of actual purpose or valuable connection to the proceedings its ultimately unsatisfying.

lisa meanwhile is more just a passive observer of what she has created. her people gain intelligence mostly on their own besides learning english by hearing her speak. i don't mind the mini peeps choosing to worship lisa, but as soon as she's shrunken, she is given nothing to do but sit and wait for bart to take his revenge, and then he does, and then she does a grumpy face. bart's kinda overtly unruly in this one for my taste, and i know i just praised a segment about homer and marge harboring a secret evil child like he's a monster, but conceit is important. this is clearly normal simpsons territory, and it feels woefully underwritten and purposeless. its an astonishingly flimsy affair, it's only true highlight the dazzling star wars-esque sequence of the tiny bois navigating from lisa's room to bart's with some great first person style camera movements through the air and onto the differently elevated bedsheets atop bart which act like precarious mountains to dodge as they arrive to shoot bart in the face with useless lasers. inversely while this segment mostly leaves me with a shrug and resignation to the muttering of "cute", i really hate frink being in the smol city, partially because it feels like o&w can't seem to do a sci-fi angle thoh story without him as a plot device, but mostly because its a sign of when the show just got progressively disinterested in making new unique characters and just tossed its tried and trues everywhere. in a halloween segment anyone can be anything sure, but sometimes it feels forced and accentuates the shallow dressup feel that will only seep ever deeper later. ominous clouds continue to increase density.


final classic era segment, and what could be more terrifying than a political satire! i spoke about the dilution of kang and kodos over time in my "hungry are the damned" review, and having seen even their other classic era cameos i stick by it, because they've just kinda been turned into clueless idiots with an extended laugh as a running gag. board with a nail in it was tremendous though. this is the last time the two don't feel like props and frankly its more dumb luck of finding the exact right story to lampoon their uselessness as would-be planet conquerors. this segment's idea is similar to a miniseries like V where alien creatures disguised as humans assimilate and ascend the ranks to wield power over humanity, but with consideration, this would take much research. the nuances of the various human languages as well as tonality, timbre, emotion and other understood social cues. there must be no cracks in the facade and enough makeup on the zipper on the mask.

kang and kodos do none of this, and in a normal world they'd be exposed upon the first monotonic syllables from their faux mouth flaps. fortunately for them, this is not a normal world, this is s8 simpsons springfield and they're dumb as shit, so all the blatantly stilted and bizarre dialect and language in the world won't tip them off. as a satire of politics it could be seen as blunt force and kinda obvious, but i like to just watch it the way the more boldly stupid mirkin segments play out, a back-and-forth ballet of brazen cluelessness about everything thats going on. i enjoy it more as an alien estimation of our social processes, how they're clearly uncanny and would be spotted by normal individuals, but then again our figurehead rituals are pretty goddamn nutty anyway, so is springfield clueless or so desensitized by the rigamarole that this is tantamount to normalcy? like most great simpsons stories, it can be both, springfield as funny silly cartoon town of idiots and springfield as a satirical microcosm of americana and its indulgence in the absurd of its cultivated reality.

then we have homer, our rum-soaked hero desperately trying to reveal them for who they are, and killing clinton and dole in the process. the american dream. homer being the protagonist because he was randomly abducted strikes me as a bit post-classic shove-the-simpsons-literally-everywhere but making him the only voice of reason as the dumbest ruse in history goes unchecked is a fun role reversal that gives focus to the stakes and hopelessness to their resolve. "don't blame me i voted for kodos" sucks though due to this i think, too oblivious given he is the single person aware of what's going on, or maybe i just harbor poll option spite. overall though as close to a full blown farce as o&w got, cranking up the stupidity on all fronts to make it too silly to even realize everyone is doomed, it plays with both extremes very well and gives us just one more excellent kang and kodos story. thus ends the classic era thohs, but we are just getting started. if you stop reading here nobody'd blame you, but if you're a hardcore nut like me who can't stop watching the simpsons, strap in. those ominous clouds are starting to brew a mighty storm, a storm that descends from heaven's staircase with only these words upon it's lips: outta my way, jerkass!
Can't really tell if you like or dislike the segment overall, but to me it's a great one, mostly due to the satire and the use of Kang & Kodos (too bad as they were never really utilized as well in later Treehouse segments and often felt shoehorned in).


(psst, I've reviewed thoh viii before in my season nine thread so i'm gonna be lifting from that some where i still agree with said thoughts. there are ninety of these, gotta cut corners somewhere. cool? cool. onto the decline.)

this segment is alarmingly telling about where scully is leading this ship, from it's near-total abandonment of tone to it's conceit being a way to kill everyone except homer long enough to do the thing scully and co. find themselves most fond of: make homer do jerkassy shit. i've criticized tone prior but this shit's egregious, the desolation of the world being caused by quimby's ethnic slur toward the french is zany enough to be amusing in its abrupt escalation, and gives us the iconic missile-view of an existentially regretful cbg face-to-face with it, but it runs into a quandary with scully's eagerness for cartoony madness. mirkin's simpsons was off-the-wall but knew how to keep its feet on the ground when necessary or have an underlying point even if said point is irreverence. scully meanwhile just seems to love turning the show into a cartoon, and that makes that disparity between normal episodes and thohs hard to discern, and furthermore makes the ability for the show itself to recognize the difference less prominent. its this homogenization of tone as all the rules fell away from the whole show that really hurt the later thohs, and while this one isn't terrible, it absolutely suffers.

again this would all be fine with some foundation of irreverence but there's nothing to be irreverent towards, unless homer punching corpses to dust is a commentary on something, and it's the selfish and manic behavior that prevents this from achieving a "time and punishment" effect of embracing the cartoon to have some fun while still having stakes, because for all the fields of greying withering bodies, barely anything happens here, homer misses his family for five seconds and then gets lucky that they're alive. it makes the episode strictly about homer first and makes the creepy stuff just a playground in which he can bounce about being a dingus, and even when the others show up to eat his skin we get a quick chase scene - another scully staple that feels like a regression of the show's ability for subtle dynamics in narrative - and then they're blown to bits. end scene. if these are gonna be cartoons they need a little more delicious meat under their delicious skin, this one's deceitfully eerie in backdrop and design with the bodies littered everywhere, but it barely buys its own premise, it's one of many scully exercises that amounts to homer antics with no story to speak of. some good jokes though, but i'm not gonna say that every time because good jokes with scully is a given, they just rarely accentuate the proceedings so i'm not gonna rattle one-liners at ya. ok fine just this one time, there's "go to hell, cloaky", there's "agh, a coffin!", there's flanders saying freaks and norms can get along, "i stand by my ethnic slur", of course homer's nude church dance, the baseball fantasy bit. yeah. good jokes. middling segment.
There was always something I found a bit off about that segment despite it being funny. Think you've articulated it better than I ever could. Would have been infinitely better if he felt some degree of sadness over the apparent death of his fam


this has always been my favorite segment of scully's first thoh, and upon this latest viewing it's very easy to see why. while its similarly more silly than scary like "homega man", there seems to be more thought put into why the concept is funny and what ways it can be manipulated. first off, i know i've spoken ill of using frink as a plot device, but his garage sale being the place where homer buys the transporter is perfectly stupid. leave it to scully's era to try cramming first-act-style setpieces into six minute segments by the way, i'd be agitated by the filler if it didn't all elicit giggles. what strikes me about this segment is that it's pretty light on parody, it isn't really trying to flip the movie on it's head, rather this just feels like the simpsons family are the latest schmucks to receive this accursed device, a bit like monkey's paw in that way. everything is simplified and downplayed, of course homer only wants it to maximize his lethargy, using amazing tech to not climb stars or to raid the fridge, i love how even after bart's incident he doesn't toss the machine because hey it's so convenient!

bart meanwhile rather than get into a freak accident chooses to enter the teleporter with a fly to fulfill his dream of being a swole fly man, as gross 90s kids do. the change is no mistake and the transmogrification is immediate, making the oblivious nature of the family and the ickiness of the gags the focus as opposed to the transmogrification from the film. it's no "shinning" in terms of distillation of narrative for purpose but it gets us to the silliness and fly bart needing to reclaim his body when fly antics tire him. this gives us some nice fly's-eye-view aerial shots and the smart direction of him flying into lisa's saxophone to communicate with her, still a little life left in the visual tricks. ultimately of course bart gets his body back and we end with uh homer chasing bart with an axe for using his pods. remember, scully era. you have to wonder how this especially frightening movie might have been approached by a more measured and more patient and more story-centric simpsons, and it sucks for me as a huge fan of the fly to not know, but as it stands i dig this one. i would hesitate to say it has a story but it chooses solid source material for both homer and bart to toy with in their own ways that subvert said material, none of it is particularly unobvious but it all ends up pretty satisfying, silly and juuuuuust gross enough to mirror the fucking nightmare that is the film.
Fly vs. Fly is my favorite segment of VIII as well. I never cared for The Homega Man too much, and you gave some good reasons why. Fly is a more delightful romp.

Coven sucks, though.


much of what i have to say here is circumventing and compare-contrast. i mentioned back in the "king homer" review that these segments where characters are far-flung to different periods and realities would soon reveal their incidental nature, where characters suiting their roles seemed to become an increasingly diminished concern. perhaps there's a reason they didn't do these alot in the classic era, and why they feel so hackneyed and lethargic in their abundance through thoh and non-thoh trilogies. this one is not entirely hopeless however, and it does get a few things right, especially with our townspeople. reactionary mob mentality springfield is pretty perfect to parallel ye olde fools on a literal witch hunt, less even it would seem to protect anything or anyone but because they just really wanna get some witches. effective, albeit surface level, and the other bits with the characters just make them feel like the same characters in 17th century garb, which is a little unsatisfying. "king homer" did this but it also actively parodied, had dynamic and silly action, lovely direction and most importantly was based off a specific thing that benefits from the aloofness. this segment is comparatively quite flat in direction and isn't really about anything except the basic story idea of doing a witch segment. nothing wrong with a simple idea to create a wide open foundation to explore the history and tropes of it to maximize jokes, similar to "bart simpsons dracula", but it doesn't even really get too deep into that.

i do find the pace of it fascinating though, thoh segments often benefit through their juxtaposition, starting very normal and plain and slowly cranking up the horror and making all too uncomfortably real, yknow like horror movies do. this on the other hand starts in the place of strange realness and slowly morphs into a cartoon, which is...well i guess how cartoons work. like old, old school cartoons that establish a setting mirroring reality and slowly bend and stretch it til its deformed and wacky and splattered with color and wiggum is a giant gopher. fine, and marge and especially her sisters as our witches is fun casting admittedly, but if you're gonna do a cartoon at least go hog wild with it. for all the tv-y7 witch content, it could at least stand to get a little more wacky, but it never quite gets its broom off the ground. this segment just feels confused i guess, it doesn't seem sure of itself when its witch hunt idea is so quickly tossed aside for nickelodeon halloween special witch jokes, and it drags its feet to the end with a few more ye olde jokes (flanders eye-rolling about maude alluding to carnality does always get me though) and homer getting the mob to chase his daughter because again, scully era. to be fair i guess she would be half witch. not a great segment but probably still as good as these are gonna get by even getting some surface level ideas right. frightening, and not how you'd want.


what if "simpson and delilah" was a shittastic z-movie that would make the bargain bin feel embarrassed to be seen with it? leave it to scully! maybe i'd be more willing to forgive the next level schlock as intentional if this didn't feel about as nuts as the common scully affair but shorter. the conceit is still so moronic as to be amusing in that trash way, we've done our lowbrow but even that word's an understatement here, this is the kinda horror you find in a lonely redbox, not that it was intentional anyway. they go for tension by targeting bart but the plot's so telegraphed by the time lisa's exposition is lampshaded you can hear the collective shrug. eh but still occasionally fun with its kills eschewing style in favor of animated mayhem like drowning apu in the squishee machine or straight up corkscrewing moe's heart out. more cartoon with tone dying a graceless death, but the final hairpiece gags of facehugging bart and stumbling through like ten gunshot wounds are quite good. uhhhh...yep. some of these may get shorter and that's about all one can say about this one. next!
Dang, man. IX is the best post-classic THOH, and Toupee’s a good segment. You get a thumb, but it’s a begrudging one!
Dang, man. IX is the best post-classic THOH, and Toupee’s a good segment. You get a thumb, but it’s a begrudging one!

Do you consider Season 9 part of the classic era? I do and I believe all the Season 10 holdovers (except for WYDUAS) are part of the classic era.
if you cant handle negative reviews i have bad news for you from here on out .


so i know worldbuilding can stretch past the boundaries of reason in thohs but homer just casually having plutonium in his toolbox as a plot setup should be over the line. thankfully this is the kinda scully nonsense that's funny but iiii'm watchin' you mike! well if scully and his wacky gang of ding-dongs wanna turn treehouse of horror into dumb looney tunes i guess shoving bart and lisa inside the tv for straight-up itchy & scratchy hijinks is the way to go, theoretically anyway. the core problem is like most once-dynamic and exciting bits on the series that challenge the boundaries of the show's rules, i&s has become largely styleless and crass, its violence not extravagant enough to be visually dazzling or fun, and the few moments of inspiration feel too short lived.

for example, bart drawing the eject button to escape the chainsaw cab feels like its establishing a methodology for them to escape cartoons by using the tricks they learned from them, but it only happens this once and we run right to whomst else but homer to save the day, guess he's done playing hobo for the day. homer's channel flipping gives us the cute regis & kathy lee bit with some nice blending of animation and live-action but it cant help but feel like a gimmick in isolation, maybe they could have played this channel-flipping gimmick for some eclectic fun, hell just manipulating this magical remote at all besides two or three gags could've been more exciting, even comedically it feels so underwritten. alas it's over about as quick as it started with much of its intended chaos and violence feeling as tame as ever with such static execution. at least the ending is funny, poor scratchy.


its time to face facts goodchat gang, i'll never be the based and redpilled woke epic style meme boy you want, i have my limits and while there are scully escapades i can enjoy for how much they break the rules, some just remind me what's been lost. this segment is depressing, maybe because the conceit of maggie being some sort of monster the family have to endure has such potential as a family story with that creepy veneer of old classics, but a few homer pain gags later and we're trotting out kang and kodos for their worst appearance yet. maybe one could stretch to say the impregnated by an alien and giving birth to a dangerous spawn idea works in a similarly trash horror way but my ability to meet this increasingly insipid drivel halfway is sinking deep into the earth so i'm not really gonna do that, and the manner in which they trivialize it robs it of any notion of story possible anyway.

maybe even that would be dismissed with a scully-like shrug until jerry friggin springer shows up and we do all the most obvious jokes with that setpiece, like wow people fight and swear on springer amazing so incisive, this isn't parody, this is mimicry. meanwhile we are doing essentially nothing with maggie all this time and that's a tragic shame. uniquely weird segment i guess but too stupid and too shallow to really matter, this was the segment that made me not just feel the ominous sense of change but the wide open, gaping maw beneath the treehouse, gnawing away at the infrastructure as it squeaks out its plea for death. luckily it gets so much worse than this. hang in there friends.
Poopers is definitely the weakest segment of the otherwise strong IX. Not terrible, but Toupee and Toon knock it out. Guess I’m not woke either. Surprise.
it takes several, uninterrupted decades of arduous studying, continuous meditation, severe self discipline and the loss of at least one appendage (plus a little bit of magick) before one is able to appreciate the sheer transgressive whimsy of scully era simpsons. i love transgression as much as the next guy but good god im not fucking going through that shit. at least with scully thohs you still have some sort of emotional reaction to it whereas jean thohs just go right through you