468. Treehouse of Horror XXI

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Original airdate: November 7, 2010

The premise:
In “War and Pieces,” an evil board game in the Simpson attic brings classic board games to life to reek havoc on Springfield. In “Master and Cadaver,” Homer and Marge’s maritime honeymoon is interrupted by a mysterious castaway of questionable intent. In “Tweenlight,” Lisa is captivated by a new boy in school, who turns out to be a vampire.

The reaction: This has got to be the least Halloween-y THOH episode yet, with three segments that are parodies of movies, none of which are of the horror variety. The first one is kind of like Jumunji, which is pretty much just a random assortment of disconnected board game gags. The second story is a parody of Dead Calm, a 1989 film I have never seen, which comes the closest to being scary, being based on a psychological thriller, but falls short. It’s just a bunch of laborious explanations and lazy sex jokes, culminating in Homer being violent murder man at the end for some reason. Lastly, we have our Twilight parody, which everyone and their dog had done up to this point, two years after the release of the first movie. There wasn’t even really a discernible plot. Lisa meets Edmund (ugh), he then invites her to dinner, then there’s an ending confrontation at a bell tower where characters keep switching motivation and I can’t figure out what’s supposed to be happening and why.

Three items of note:
– What better way to open up a spooky scary installment of the show than with a “parody” of the opening titles of The Office? Featuring monsters working in an office? Mummy Dwight puts the thing in the shredder and gets his wraps caught! Comedy? Like, what the fuck is this?
– The ending to the second segment is really just fucking weird. Turns out the mysterious stranger was innocent, but when we find out, we randomly cut to Homer with a speargun, who then just shoots him dead. He then kills everyone else in the room, capping it off by stabbing a pelican. Then Marge narrates why she’s committing suicide while doing so and the segment is over. Oh, actually, it turns out this was all in Maggie’s head during bathtime. We then see her become Alex from A Clockwork Orange for no reason at all, because references are the same thing as jokes. Who needs subversion, context or irony? If the audience recognizes the thing on the screen as being from another thing, they’ll slap their fins together! ‘Member Clockwork Orange? Oooh, I ‘member!
– Making fun of Twilight is like shooting fish in a barrel, it’s astonishing that the show can’t even handle mocking something that’s so so ripe for ridicule. Only the first two minutes or so are Twilight related, and the only thing they really “make fun of” is the scene where Edward stop the bus, which they do in an endless egment where Edmund stops multiple vehicles in a row. Does repeating the same thing over and over count as a parody? There’s only one decent joke in the whole segment (“Let us move between the trees as a bat does: by jumping!”) The rest of it is just a bunch of nonsense: the Simpson family serving the vampires Ned Flanders’ carcass, which everyone besides Homer is just fine with; driving through the vampire district where they can trot out Simpsonized versions of famous vampires, because references are jokes; and then the segment just ends with fat Homer bat falling to his death, with Lisa looking down from the bell tower with a disinterested expression for two seconds before we cut to credits. Oh, and there’s a random The Room reference for some reason, where they have Daniel Radcliffe say “You’re tearing me apart!” With no context. Why?

One good line/moment: At dinner, as Dracula Dad plays the trumpet, Homer dances with Santa’s Little Helper. It’s pretty adorable.

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One response to “468. Treehouse of Horror XXI

  1. “Oh, and there’s a random The Room reference for some reason, where they have Daniel Radcliffe say ‘You’re tearing me apart!’ With no context. Why?”

    Actually, it’s a reference to the scene in Rebel without a Cause where James Dean’s dad is yelling at him. Tommy Wiseau stole it from that movie.

    Besides, if they really wanted to make a reference to The Room, they would have had the vampire say that line to Lisa.

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