October 28th – “Treehouse of Horror XXV” (S26E04)

Opening:

25-2A strange award-show-intro parody announces Treehouse of Horror XXV as being “live from Rigel 7” while clips of past Halloween specials make their away across the screen. Nothing special, but I’ll take some nostalgia over the last two overlong openings.

School is Hell

25-1Reading the Latin carved into a Springfield Elementary desk sends Bart and Lisa to Hell, where Bart unlocks his academic potential by joining a school for torture-inflicting demons.

There’s a lot I really loved about this segment: the stylistic choices, like Bart and Lisa’s demonic forms or the principal of Hell’s school being half Chalmers and half Skinner; some great jokes, like Burn’s office being one of many portals to-and-from Hell; even callbacks to classic Treehouse episodes, like a citizen of Hell being force-fed donuts.

That being said, there are also glaring weaknesses here. Some jokes really bomb, there’s yet another time-wasting licensed music montage, and the story both goes on too long and lacks a strong finish. Still, this is probably my favorite segment since It’s the Great Pumpkin, Milhouse, and feels much closer in tone and quality to the “golden era” Treehouses than anything in recent memory.

Memorable Gag: I cracked up at one of the Hell School students just being a “screaming torso.”

A Clockwork Yellow

25-4It’s A Clockwork Orange, but with Moe, Homer, Lenny, and Carl.

My main issue with this segment: it feels like a Family Guy parody, rather than a Simpsons parody. Look at The Shinning–it follows the plot of The Shining, but with the Simpsons acting the way the Simpsons act, creating humor. In this segment–like in a Family Guy parody–it doesn’t matter that the characters are Moe, Homer, Lenny, and Carl. They could be anyone, because they’re just acting like the Clockwork Orange characters, but silly. Also, the awful British accents are back. A total miss for me.

The Others

25-3The Simpson house is haunted by a family of ghosts…who turn out to be the Simpsons themselves, in their Tracey Ullman Show incarnations.

This segment is a ton of fun–certainly it provided the most unabashed joy I’ve had watching a Treehouse segment in at least a week of this blog. This really is one for the fans, with solid writing backed up by tons of cute in-jokes–from frosty chocolate milkshakes to Dr. Marvin Monroe, who is “trapped in some sort of horrible limbo.” I’d recommend this segment as a must-watch for any Simpsons fan. The ending, in which more variant-Simpsons arrive on the scene, is annoying but not long enough to spoil things.

Memorable Gag: I never thought I would say this, but the circumstances of Maggie’s death were hilarious.

Overall Thoughts:

The first and last segments are some of the best stuff a Treehouse of Horror has produced in years. Definitely watch them both, and if A Clockwork Moe doesn’t jive with you after a couple of scenes, just skip it.

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