My (Correct) Ranking Of The Top 10 Treehouse of Horror Segments

Image result for treehouse of horror

I really can't believe it's taken me this long to write about my favorite family (except mine of course... maybe).

I love The Simpsons. Anyone that knows me to pretty much any degree is well aware of this. If there's an anecdote told in my presence, more often than not, it's followed up by me chiming in with, "That's like on this one episode of The Simpsons where..."

For Simpsons fans like myself, there is perhaps no better time of year than Halloween, because it means a new addition to the esteemed annals of the "Treehouse of Horror" series.

Even better, the old episodes are played ad nauseam throughout the month of October.

With this year marking the premier of "Treehouse of Horror XXX," (coincidentally, it will be episode #666) it means that there will now be 90 individual "Treehouse" segments. With that in mind, I've decided that I needed to sift through the 30 years of "Treehouse of Horror" to select my top 10 segments.

10. Terror at 5 1/2 Feet (Treehouse of Horror IV)


As you'll see over the course of this list, "Treehouse of Horror IV" is arguably the best one start to finish. The episode's second segment is a parody of the classic Twilight Zone episode "Terror at 20,000 Feet."

While riding the bus to school, Bart continues to see a Gremlin wreaking havoc. This episode has some killer jokes including a brilliant sight-gag where Bart tells everyone to look out the window at the Gremlin, only for everyone to see Hans Moleman driving an AMC Gremlin (which he promptly crashes)

From beginning to end it's a great parody of one of the most legendary episodes of American television.

9. B.I. Bartificial Intelligence (Treehouse of Horror XVI)

Image result for bi bartificial intelligence

A parody of Spielberg's A.I. Artificial Intelligence, the segment begins with Bart leaping out a window and winding up in a coma for two weeks.

During his coma, the Simpsons adopt a robot boy named David to replace Bart. One of my favorite jokes is early when Wise Guy offers to "boot up" the robot boy:

Bart awakens from his coma, and begins to try and compete with the robot, ultimately failing, and is abandoned in the woods by Homer, where he then meets a group of obsolete robots. 

The robots welcome Bart as one of their own, but while they're powered down, he disassembles them and creates a robot suit for himself to terrorize Homer and David. 

The moment where Bart saws Homer in half will never not be funny to me.

8. The Devil and Homer Simpson (Treehouse of Horror IV)


"Treehouse of Horror IV" uses bumpers (written by Conan O'Brien) that parody the Rod Serling show The Night Gallery, with Bart playing the role of Rod Serling. Following the first bumper, the episodes first actual segment begins. In it, Homer sells his soul to the Devil, who just so happens to be Ned Flanders.

One of the make or break factors of a "Treehouse" segment is how the writers decide to cast each part. While Mr. Burns may jump to mind as the Devil, he had a big role in another segment in this episode (which we'll get to later), Flanders is the perfect choice, and Flanders maintaining his diddly-demeanor the entire time is hilarious.

Devil Flanders saying "Hey, Bart" who responds with a calm "Hey" is one of the funniest parts of this segment which sees Homer going to Hell and then to trial before a jury of history's most evil characters consisting of Blackbeard, Benedict Arnold, Lizzie Borden, and — my favorite, for obvious reasons — the starting lineup of the 1976 Philadelphia Flyers.


With Lionel Hutz as their counsel, Marge is able to prove that she is the rightful owner of Homer's soul.

7. The Day The Earth Looked Stupid (Treehouse of Horror XVII)

Image result for the day the earth looked stupid

This is the most recent segment on my list... and it's almost 15 years old (that's a conversation for another day). 

Despite a name parodying The Day The Earth Stood Still, this segment is actually a parody of the public reaction to Orson Welles' broadcast of War of the Worlds.

Because of course the citizens of America's dumbest town would buy it hook line and sinker.

Lisa tells the town they've been had, and they vow to never fall for a hoax like it again.

Halloween show stalwarts Kang and Kodos see this from afar and invade, prompting Orson Welles to come to Springfield in an attempt to tell everyone that this time it isn't a hoax.

This segment is hilarious on it's own merit, but the thing I always loved about it is Maurice LaMarche's Orson Welles. His impression of the Hollywood legend is uncanny (and can also be heard in the film Ed Wood). The old school vibe and the way it closes out with The Ink Spots' "I Don't Want To Set The World on Fire" as aliens invade, is perfect.


I also have to admit, that the scene where Chief Wiggum threatens to punch Orson Welles in the "Nose, bud" causing Orson Welles to have an epiphany of what would become "Rosebud," one of the most famous lines in movie history, is funnier to me than it probably should be.

Image result for simpsons nosebud

6. Lisa's Nightmare (Treehouse of Horror II)


The segments in the second "Treehouse" installment don't have actual titles and are presented through a frame narrative involving Homer, Bart, and Lisa having nightmares after eating too much candy.

Even without titles it's obvious what each one is parodying. Bart's Nightmare is a parody of the Twilight Zone episode "It's A Good Life," Homer's nightmare is an obvious — albeit robot-tinged — parody of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

But for me, the highlight is Lisa's Nightmare, a parody of the W.W. Jacob's short story "The Monkey's Paw."

In it, the Simpsons acquire a monkey's paw on a visit to Morocco that grants them wishes. Like in the short story it's parodying, each wish goes awry.

My favorite joke comes early in the episode, when Homer tries to point to the vendor who sold him the monkey paw. He thinks the vendor has vanished, but then realized he's actually just slightly to the left.



I also love when Homer tells the vendor, who claims to be the former president of Algeria:


5. Bart Simpson's Dracula (Treehouse of Horror IV)

Why didn't Mr. Burns portray the Devil in "The Devil and Homer Simpson"? Because he made for a perfect Dracula.

Despite  Dracula being a horror classic, the Simpsons didn't tackle it until "Treehouse IV."

In this segment, a series of attacks lead Lisa to believe that Mr. Burns is a vampire.

Mr. Burns' appearance is modeled after Gary Oldman's in 1992's Bram Stoker's Dracula, which was released the year before this episode.

One of my favorite parts of this segment is the police attributing what are obviously vampire attacks to a mummy and Mr. Burns' autobiography "Yes, I Am A Vampire" having a forward by Steve Allen.

Growing up, my favorite part of this segment by a mile was this sight gag involving Mr. Burns' shadow:


4. Citizen Kang (Treehouse of Horror VII)


Much like a pregnancy, an episode of The Simpsons typically has a gestation period of nine months. However, due to the amount of fresh character, prop, and background design required, "Treehouse" episodes take a full year.

Which makes it even more impressive that talented folks at The Simpsons were able to successfully put out a segment lampooning the 1996 Presidential Election Candidates just days before the actual election.

In the segment, Kang and Kodos kidnap Bill Clinton and Bob Dole, and disguise themselves as the candidates. 

"Citizen Kang" holds up well today, which makes me wonder just how funny it would have been with the then-upcoming election fresh on everyone's minds.

It's a segment that makes fun of things like Bob Dole's way of speaking about Bob Dole, numerous Clinton idiosyncrasies, and even works in satire of politics in general with the classic "Abortions for all; no abortions for anyone" line.

This episode also gave us the line "tear them a third corn shoot," and for that alone it deserves to be on my list.

3. The Thing And I (Treehouse of Horror VII)


"Treehouse VII" had some heavy hitters! 

The episode starts off with this segment about Bart's long-lost twin brother, Hugo.

Bart and Lisa hear strange noises in the attic which turns out to be Hugo, who is chained up in the attic, living off of buckets of fish heads.

It's a great, original segment from start to finish, with an M. Night Shyamalan-ian twist that really sets it apart, and shows that even with a somewhat overdone "evil twin" premise, the writers didn't phone it in.

This segment is also Dr. Hibbert heavy and he's hilarious in this.

This GIF of him showing Hugo his reflection makes me laugh every time:

2. House of Whacks (Treehouse of Horror XII)


This is probably an off the board pick, especially at number two.

"House of Whacks" is a parody of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. In it the Simpsons get a robotic house that becomes infatuated with Marge and attempts to kill the only thing standing in its way: Homer.

The house is voiced by Piers Brosnan. It's one of the rarer Treehouse segments that relies heavily on a guest star, but it works so well. Brosnan brings the British charm in this segment... at least until Homer removes it. 

Thanks a lot, ass-wipe.

The scene where the family tries to choose a voice for the house is one of the best. After deciding that the default voice lacks character, they scroll through other options, including Matthew Perry who offers the line "Okay, could I be any more of a house?" in a stilted, Chandler Bing cadence. Next is Dennis Miller, where the house tells a joke with the punchline including the phrase "a NASA relief map of Turkmenistan," which leads to this gem of a Lisa-Marge tag-team line:


1. The Shinning (Treehouse of Horror V)


Another Kubrick/Stephen King parody tops my list.

The Shining is one of the greatest horror films ever made and it makes for — in my opinion — the best "Treehouse of Horror" segment.

The opening scene which parodies the famous opening shot from he film is a classic in its own right, but this segment offers almost too many funny moments to give them all the spotlight they deserve.

I always liked this Mr. Burns line that parodies the famous elevator shot from the film: 



Groundskeeper Willy makes for a great Dick Halloran stand-in even getting murdered with an axe (which would be the running joke of this episode and would happen in the other two segments as well).

What more can I say about this segment it gave us "No TV and no beer make Homer something, something..."

It's a fitting parody/tribute to a masterpiece of a film, but has some originality too, which is why it's the best "Treehouse of Horror" segment ever.




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Pool Rules: The Most Ignored Set of Rules On Earth

Smile Dammit!: An Update of Sorts To The Sex-Toy "Scandal"