424. Treehouse of Horror XIX

Treehouse of Horror XIX(originally aired November 2, 2008)
And finally we come to the last Treehouse of Horror on my roster, and guess what. It sucks. First is “Untitled Robot Parody,” starring Transformers, because when I think Halloween, I think of fucking Transformers. There’s no real story here, just a bunch of jokes about robots forming from regular appliances and machines. Honestly, there’s a million things to rip on about Transformers, and they don’t even try. Next is “How to Get Ahead in Dead-Vertising,” where ad executives convince Homer to kill off celebrities so they can reap the profits of using their images royalty-free. Again, no plot. Homer is a psychopath and murders dozens, the celebrities rain down from heaven and kill him. The end. Lastly is “It’s the Grand Pumpkin, Milhouse,” which if you’ve gathered, is a parody of the Peanuts Halloween special. I can kind of appreciate the care that went into this segment, with attempts at watercolor backgrounds and mimicking the animation style of the classic short in some shots, but there’s not much else here. Of course the Great… or Grand Pumpkin was going to turn out to be a monster, then you’re just waiting for the thing to end. And so there you have it: as I’ve mentioned before, what once were season highlights are now as boring and uninspired as the rest of the crop. That is the tragic rise and fall… of the Treehouse of Horror.

Tidbits and Quotes
– We open with Homer voting in the 2008 election, a segment that ages quite well. I guess well enough that they effectively reused the same joke this year for 2012. An odd thing about this episode I noticed was the inconsistency of violence. The opening ends with Homer getting sucked into the voting machine, we hear buzz saws and him getting horribly maimed, then he’s spit out, just looking a little haggard, no blood whatsoever. Then we get to the second segment, which features a rather long shot of Krusty getting fed into a wood chipper, with blood spewing out and him screaming in agony, perhaps the most uncomfortable scene in the entire series, until he is reduced to a mangled pile of flesh and organs. Then later, Krusty shoots Homer with a shotgun, which causes his head to literally explode on camera. Jesus, I’m no prude, but can we find a happy medium with this violence, please?
– Homer gets into his car, which then transforms into a robot with him inside it. And the shading changes from pink to red and blue like Optimus Prime. Alright. This leaves Homer sticking out of the robot’s anus, which it has for some reason. This only serves to remind me of the amazing bit from Clerks the Animated Series where we saw people run into a car, then it transforms into a robot, and we see blood gushing out of it as everyone inside is instantly crushed.
– The first segment ends with the two main robots facing off, one being the Malibu Stacey car Bart got. But, it was like a toy size, now it’s humungous. Oh, who cares.
– Act two opens with a parody of the Mad Men opening. Or, rather, it is the Mad Men opening with Simpsons characters in it. It’s the Family Guy mistake where you confuse making a reference to actually doing a parody. How does this lampoon Mad Men in any way? It’s just another attempt for the series to appear relevant by referencing a current item in pop culture.
– Honestly, with Homer’s behavior over the last decade, I don’t bat an eye at him just murdering celebrities and getting away with it. This could basically be a normal episode at this point. I did wince a bit when he went after Neil Armstrong, although his death thankfully wasn’t gory.
– I did like Jimmy Stewart blocking the gates of Heaven, and zombie John Lennon (“All we are saying, is let’s eat some brains!!”)
– Abe Lincoln is gay! Isn’t homosexuality hilarious, everybody? Isn’t it?
– There’s not much in the way of parodying Peanuts in the third segment either. It’s a love letter to the short more than anything. And I love at the end they have Marge appear to comment, “And to those who feel like we’ve trampled on a beloved children’s classic…” Like this is their idea of “edgy.” Please. There’s an amazing subtle joke in an old South Park where the boys are watching and complaining about A Charlie Brown Christmas, then right before commercial in the background, we see on the TV a naked Charlie Brown and Snoopy is bludgeoning him with a giant stick. That’s trampling on a classic.
– This episode kind of had a minor controversy with the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (whoever they are), who took issue with Nelson using the word “gay” to taunt Milhouse with. Curious they get upset now; for the last few seasons, there’s been a derogatory gay joke or slur about every other episode. But I guess since this was the Halloween show it had more viewers. I’m sure the writers were just glad to get the publicity for a day or two before it blew over.
– The pumpkin patch is right behind the school. Milhouse runs away from the Grand Pumpkin, somehow ending up at the Simpson house. Then he runs to the school. What? Are people even test-screening these shows anymore?
– I do like the racist pumpkin bit (“I’d rather die than hate!” “Pumpkin segregation forever!”)

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16 responses to “424. Treehouse of Horror XIX

  1. Agreed on all levels. I used to love the THoH segments. In fact, they were always for me the one part of each season I looked forward to the most. Now it is more of a “Let’s see what kind of crap they pull out this year.”

  2. “The first segment ends with the two main robots facing off, one being the Malibu Stacey car Bart got. But, it was like a toy size, now it’s humungous.”

    To be fair, the original Transformers cartoon had a 20ft robot transform into a regular sized boombox. A cute nod to the scaling issues of the cartoon or simply bad continuity? You make the call!

  3. “Season 1 = Very good
    Seasons 2-8 = Legendary
    Season 9 = Very good
    Season 10 = Decent
    Seasons 11-12 = Bad
    Seasons 13-16 = Average/Mediocre
    Seasons 17-23 = Abomination”
    – CapitalBhoy78

    Agreed.

    Via: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r84d-msuyp0&NR=1&feature=endscreen

    • phillyfoodie85

      I think seasons 3-8 are legendary. Season one was good, but the crappy animation and behind the scenes issues kinda killed any enjoyment of it (I still like season one because of the Christmas episode, the one where Bart goes to a school for gifted kids, the one with the war on Nelson Muntz, the one where Lisa meets Bleeding Gums Murphy [but only because of the B-story of Homer trying to beat Bart at a boxing video game], the one where Bart goes to France, the Krusty getting framed for robbery episode, and the one where The Simpsons go to family therapy) and season two made the show more like the kind of sappy family sitcoms this show was mocking/trying to rise above (with the exception of the first Treehouse of Horror, the Bart donates blood to Mr. Burns because Homer wants money, the episode with Dustin Hoffman as the substitute teacher who inspires Lisa, the Dancing Homer episode, the Bart becomes a daredevil episode, and the Bart vs. Flanders’ son at golf episode).

  4. p.s. On the comments of the video, I mean.

  5. The first two segments are completely awful, but man do I ever love the “all pumpkins are racist” bit. Doesn’t make it a good episode, but it’s probably my favorite joke of the season.

  6. The Mad Men thing is so lazy, that show used the same backstory for Don Draper as the Simpsons did for Skinner in one of it’s most widely reviled episodes. That’s an open goal for parody right there and they don’t even try. God this show sucks.

  7. I’m gonna go all Itchy & Scratchy nerd on this.

    Oddly, the thing that bothers me most about the last segment is that for Marge’s “Peanuts adult muted trombone” sound, they only recorded 4 notes and used the SAME recording every. fucking. time. In the original specials, it was supposed to mimic the beats of human speech, and not many sentences are 4 long syllables. It’s weird enough to be distracting. Talk about lazy!

  8. Weak Halloween special. The first segment barely related to Halloween, the second segment was just an excuse for Homer to kill a bunch of people (though the use of dead celebrities promoting products was conceptually interesting), and the third segment, while not terrible, felt underwhelming and didn’t really take advantage of the source material. Making fun of the trombone noises is old material, folks.

    Also, the third segment also fell into the same boat as the Lady & the Tramp parody in “Love, Springfieldian Style”: It looked basically the same as the show usually does; the only difference was the watercolor backgrounds. Why not go the whole ten yards and mimic the limited animation style too? And I mean for more than a few seconds.

    “Then we get to the second segment, which features a rather long shot of Krusty getting fed into a wood chipper, with blood spewing out and him screaming in agony, perhaps the most uncomfortable scene in the entire series”

    Agreed. Ugh.

    • Also, the third segment also fell into the same boat as the Lady & the Tramp parody in “Love, Springfieldian Style”: It looked basically the same as the show usually does; the only difference was the watercolor backgrounds. Why not go the whole ten yards and mimic the limited animation style too? And I mean for more than a few seconds.

      Well said about that but it would just mean more work for the crew and we can’t be having any of that in ZS ;).

  9. “I always thought I was gonna die of hepatitis……C”

    That and the racist pumpkin bit were great, the rest, meh.

  10. oh my god bear is driving how can that be

  11. The only things I liked about this episode were the title “How To Get Ahead in Dead-Vertising”, which reminded me to re-watch the awesome movie the title is parodying… the Mad Men recreation (I don’t mind it being unfunny and not-a-parody-so-much-as-an-homage, I think it’s a nice little bit of animation and the Mad Men opening just rules anyway).. and the recreating of the look of the original Charlie BRown short for segment 3. So, basically, I liked a few technical things. The actual content was worst-ever.

  12. Kind of a shame this is your last, because the next THOH is, like the only good one of the Jean era for me along with XIV. Also the only good one of season 21, so it really isn’t worth it I suppose.

  13. i agree with everything but the Peanuts segment. i dont want to defent it, but only the concept. The Simpsons do not parody everything just like South Park; The Simpsons take a given thing and put it in The Simpsons universe. sometimes the result is a parody, but never a strong direct one like in SP. what they did was ironic homaging the popular culture of the viewer and at the same time joking with our knowledge of it with incredible class; not destroying it to make us laugh as parody wants. when they used “Shining”, for example, that was an ironic homage, putting Simpsons family in the same situation and keeping the same atmosphere we already know well, but with the absurd irony of The Simpsons, with Homer made crazy with no beer and no tv; and thats not parodying. when they used to put guest stars appearences they didnt parody, they used to homage them(the fact they are in the show aknowledge them as strong popular character) and at the same time joke with them(theyve always been greatly and funnily characterized, and always through “pop” eyes).
    what i mean is, the simple parody is(was) way too cheap for The Simpsons(again, im absolutely not defeing this ZS episode).

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