Prof. Frink introduces the show this year, instructing parents on how to use their DVR remote to skip the Halloween special’s violent material. He accidentally skips through the entire episode, “spoiling the end” for all of us. I like this opening a lot–it’s pretty clever, and easily one of the most memorable in a few years.
…then there’s a parody of The Office’s opening, with Frankenstein and other monsters thrown in. And we were doing so well…
War and Pieces
Worried about violent video games, Marge forces Bart and Milhouse to try out some old-fashioned board games instead. Unfortunately, they stumble upon a cursed game and, Jumanji-stlye, unleash horrors across Springfield.
The board game motif provides a lot of good gags, but that’s really all this segment feels like–a long string of unconnected, board-game-themed gags. I guess that’s better than a long string of unfunny gags, but I’d still prefer more of a coherent story, rather than something that seems like a reel of deleted scenes.
Memorable Gag: “Here. I’ll be the demon, you be the thimble.” – Bart to Milhouse
Master and Cadaver
Is this segment–referencing the 1989 thriller Dead Calm–the most obscure Treehouse parody yet? I’d never heard of this movie before this episode, and watching Master and Cadaver
with no context leaves the segment as strange, dull, and very out of place among spookier Halloween fare.
Memorable Gag: The ending, where Maggie dresses up like Alex from A Clockwork Orange for no reason–memorable as being one of the worst Treehouse gags I’ve encountered yet.
Lisa falls in love with the new boy at school, a handsome vampire named Edmund (Daniel Radcliffe). Edmund and his traditional-vampire father visit the SImpsons for dinner, but as is the standard for these stories, something innocent escalates to deadly seriousness.
While I’d love to rail against this segment for capitalizing on whatever happened to be trendy at the time, Tweenlight is easily the best of the bunch from Treehouse XXI. Making Edmund more James Dean than Edward Cullen makes things a lot more bearable, and the angle of his father being a traditional Dracula-style vamp puts a fun twist on the proceedings.
Memorable Gag: Homer’s cholesterol-filled blood fattening and killing the vampires who feed upon him.
Treehouse XXI averages out to be, well, average. Nothing amazing, but nothing (other than the awful Clockwork Orange bit) to really grind your gears. Barely-spooky fluff and little more.