510. Treehouse of Horror XXIII

Original airdate: October 7, 2012

The premise:
In “The Greatest Story Ever Holed,” Springfield’s very own supercollider generates a black hole that threatens the entire town. In “UNnormal Activity,” Homer sets cameras up around the house in an attempt to catch unexplained ghostly phenomenon. In “Bart & Homer’s Excellent Adventure,” Bart travels back to 1974 and accidentally interferes with his parents’ fateful first meeting in detention.

The reaction: The first segment is pretty drab despite its fantastical premise. It has something I haven’t seen in a while from a Halloween show, a music montage! Because those are always scary. Marge forbids the family from putting anything into the black hole, then we get a montage of her, and the others, doing exactly that. Alright. The Paranormal Activity  “parody” is the only story here rooted in anything actually spooky, but it’s pretty nonsensical, and a pretty wasted opportunity. At this point there were four Activity movies and a slew of other shitty found footage horror movies, there’s lots to poke fun at and skewer in this genre, but all the show can think of is Homer wanting to have sex on camera, and the tape fast-forwarding through him taking a long piss. Marge seems inordinately worried about the demon’s presence, and it’s revealed at the end that it’s a hellspawn she made a deal with as a girl to give up her favorite child to save her sisters. If this was the case, why wasn’t she more freaked out or protective of the children? Or try to leave with them? As usual, it just didn’t feel thought out. The last segment is just dumb. We get HD recreations of scenes from “The Way We Was” and it made me sad. Also, dim-witted but sweet and genuine teenage Homer is now replaced with his raging asshole modern portrayal. Then it ends with alternate universe Marge being married to like thirty different Homers? Oh, who gives a shit. I really don’t have much to say about this one. Another terrible Halloween show in the books.

Three items of note:
– The second segment ends with Homer offering himself in Maggie’s place as part of a demon threesome. Yep, that’s right. Do I need to say anything else?
– The “Way We Was” detention recreation scene is a pretty big bummer. Also, Bart just walked into the room, and Homer and Marge get into a screaming match, without a peep out of the teacher at the front of the room. We don’t even see him past the first shot.
– Bart returns to the present to find his new father is Artie Ziff, and he sports a blonde Jew fro, with the most cartoony “boing” sound effect imaginable as he takes his hat off (did he have that on the whole show just for that one joke?) Lovitz/Ziff’s schtick feels very played out at this point; I guess we’re supposed to laugh and slap our fins together when alternate Lisa does his “Achem!” Jay Sherman cough, but whatever. Last we saw of Ziff was seven seasons ago, where they had the joke of all the other Lovitz characters at Moe’s. I feel like that was enough.

One good line/moment: I think the animation is pretty strong in the black hole segment. The scene of the family at the breakfast table actively ignoring everything being sucked out of the room was great; if only there was a good story to hang onto it.

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3 responses to “510. Treehouse of Horror XXIII

  1. As of note, the week after this episode aired, FOX uploaded an alternate version of the third segment on the Animation of FOX Youtube channel. There’s little to none sound effects except for the dialogue.

  2. The end of the segment Unnormal Activity sounded like something Family Guy would do.

    • The Simpsons “writers” clearly are Family Guy fanboys; and this alone shows their competence in writing.

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