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The Simpsons: Another Halloween, Another Average "Treehouse of Horror"

Everyone knows that The Simpsons is well past its prime (and has been for more than a decade), but every year the show's writers get a chance to spill some blood in Springfield during the annual "Treehouse of Horror" Halloween special. And every year I get excited about it, even though I know it will be "just okay." After all, "Treehouse of Horror" has run once a year for 22 years now—it's one of TV's greatest traditions, like the Times Square ball drop on New Year's Eve or the Detroit Lions getting blown out at home on Thanksgiving.

This year's episode, "Treehouse of Horror XXII," featured an opening sketch followed by three stories, and it got progressively worse or better as it went on, depending on how much you like farts. Pretty much par for the course. So let's see how each story did and give it a candy grade based on performance.



The Opening
The kids returned from a night of trick-or-treating with bags full of candy, only to see Marge swap the sweets for items you get at the dentist. Homer was supposed to donate the candy to a Candy for Troops campaign, but drove off to the desert to feast on it instead. He ended up with his arm trapped under a rock in a 127 Hours spoof, and soon Homer was chewing off his limbs because the bag of candy was juuuuuust out of reach. It was a good start for the episode, and I particularly enjoyed watching Maggie pop out of Bart's chest as a baby alien and Homer gnawing off the wrong limbs. Good stuff, but probably only because it didn't need a middle or end.
Candy Grade: Not bad. Sweettarts and fun-size Milky Way bars. No mint-flavored Aero bars, though. Have you had a mint Aero bar? They're the BEST. This is not up for debate.



The Diving Bell and the Butterball

I found this sketch to be simultaneously awesome and terrible because I have the maturity of a 6-year old and the intelligence of an average man. It started off parodying one of the best foreign films of the last ten years, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly—a touching and imaginative movie about a man who learns to communicate despite being unable to move anything but his eyelids. Homer found himself in a similar position after being bitten by a spider, but instead of blinking, his communicated by farting. And farting. And farting. Despite realizing that it was completely stupid, I secretly giggled every time Homer pushed methane. Hey, you're either all in or you're not. At one point Marge hushed Homer's butt, which was funny, but the sketch took a bizarre turn when Homer suffered another spider bite and became a paralyzed Spider-Man, swinging around Springfield and stopping crime despite not being able to move. I commend this sketch for saying "F**k it" and going completely absurd. But really, how did this make it to air?
Candy Grade: A head of lettuce. Because that would be a pretty weird thing to get on Halloween, and this sketch was bizonkers.



Dial D For Diddly

Seeing Ned Flanders go on murderous rampages is never dull. Like "The Diving Bell and the Butterball," "Dial D for Diddly" seemed like it started with half an idea and got all the way to three-quarters of an idea by the time it was done. Homer pretended to be God and commanded Flanders to kill his enemies, so Quimby ended up dismembered, Mr. Burns had his head cut off, Snake got stoned to death in a museum, Patty and Selma were squashed, Wile E. Coyote-style, and Sideshow Bob met his end via newspaper headline. The tone was all over the place, and ultimately, God killed Homer because he was Satan's servant, or something like that. There were also Taxi Driver and Dexter references, plus a strong smell of crack emanating from the writers' room.
Candy Grade: A Giant Gobstopper. Started off good, but got boring very quick. But we couldn't just spit it out because we'd made a commitment.



In the Na'Vi

An Avatar spoof that came about two years too late. This sketch had no redeeming qualities and should be erased from the minds of all Simpsons fans immediately. Couldn't it have at least squeezed in a Terra Nova joke?
Candy Grade: Whatever is the worst candy on the planet. Smarties?


Another Halloween, another "Treehouse of Horror." What did you think?


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

Comments (30)
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I agree on about your comment on Smarties Tim they suck.
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Dial D For Diddly. Is there always a Dial *insert letter here* for *word starting with that letter here*
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I'm one of those die-hard Simpsons fans who refuse to give up hope, despite their best efforts to run me off. Having said that, this year's Treehouse was a snore from start to finish. I'm not sure there was a single joke, much less an actual laugh, in the whole episode. It's as if they hired a staff of drama writers to crank out this year's script--now THAT would be funny.
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The Treehouse episodes are getting worse and worse, its frustrating. But I dont agree with Tim on the overall decline of the show. Sure there are ups and downs but overall they still deliver 4-7 very good episodes over the whole season - and this after so many episodes. And some of the worst episodes date back to the so-called "prime" - as do the best. I loved Family Guy and American Dad, but see how much those shows suck with only half of sreen-time. Although - yesterdays Family Guy ... did anyone watched it? Sick episode!
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I found the parody of the Dexter opening amusing and frustrating. I loved seeing the show given a nod but just when it looked like Ned was doing something terrifying it reveled he was just going about a daily routine. Wait that's not parody, that's basically what the opening to Dexter is. Parody would be for it to look like he was doing something normal and turned out gruesome. Oh well, maybe nitpicky, but to me it was sloppy.
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Obviously the show is not what it used to be, but how many shows have stuck around for 23 years and can still provide quality entertainment? It is by far, still the best Fox has to offer on Sunday night. Family Guy is quickly falling apart and has been just awful over the past two seasons.
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I'll take the Simpsons over any other Fox show, bar none. Of course, I've no use for singing competition shows, so I'm down to just Raising Hope and Fringe as "must see".
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I hate to tell you this but the Simpsons haven't put out quality shows in years. As of right now I don't think the show scores above a 5/10. Go back ten years then it would score a 8 still second to Family Guy. There is no denying the fact the the Simpsons is almost the worst show on FOX's Sunday lineup ahead of that terrible show that premiered last night.



You're right about Family Guy not being that good last season. Especially the last 7 episodes, but this season with a darker and more serious turn Family Guy has gotten much better. I'd still give it a 9/10 and the best show on Sunday Night.
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"I hate to tell you this but the Simpsons haven't put out quality shows in years."



You could not be more wrong about that. Do you even watch the show anymore?
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Yes I watch the show. Do I go out of my way to see it no. It's not a priority to me as show I really want to watch. I've seen all three episodes so far.



The season premier with Kiether Sutherland was a decent episode, but that's saying a lot considering how bad the Simpsons is right now.



The second episode with Bart taking over the school is one of the best episodes of the Simpsons I've seen in years, but sadly the Simpson's can't manage that level for more than one or two episodes a season.



The Halloween Episode was just plain horrible. The very first skit was passable. The second with Homer being a paralyzed Spiderman was bad. The third was good at the beginning but ended up just being decent because of the bad ending. The final skit and spoof of Avatar was just plain terrible.



If you're going to ask if I dislike the show why I still watch it. It's simple it's part of FOX'S cartoon block, and it starts almost right after football.
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"I have the maturity of a 6-year old and the intelligence of an average man." --Tim Surette admits it
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The last Halloween episode was tantamount to a Charlie Brown rock. The Ned/Dexter episode had so much potential but the writers squandered it. It was like they gave up halfway through, the episode practically wrote itself with the way Dexter shared similarities to the Simpsons characters. For example, they could've made Homer another serial killer who *SPOILER!!!* murders Ned's wife, just like on Dexter. *END SPOILER* There are just so many other paths they could've gone in those episodes but they never really full develop them. They were just spitting words onto a page, first draft.
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*now it's parodies*
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The decline of The Simpsons is measured by the Halloween special. Each year it gets worse. It started being parodies of horror films but with real scary moments. No it's parodies of just about any movie, even comedies (Mr. and Mrs. Smith for instance, one of the worst segments ever of the Tree-House).
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They should bring back Charlie Sheen! What? Oh. Wrong show. Sorry!
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They didn't really have to do the Avatar parody again since they did a much better one with the extended couch gag last season. Strangely enough, there was no Kang or Kodos in this special.
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Kang and Kodos WERE in the Avatar parody. They were Kamala's parents. Some years, they have a small role, like in the Charlie Brown parody where they were seen dancing with the kids at the school Halloween party, but had no lines.
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Kang and Kodos WERE in the Avatar parody. They were Kamala's parents. Some years, they have a small role, like in the Charlie Brown parody where they were seen dancing with the kids at the school Halloween party, but had no lines.
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Kang and Kodos WERE in the Avatar parody. They were Kamala's parents. Some years, they have a small role, like in the Charlie Brown parody where they were seen dancing with the kids at the school Halloween party, but had no lines.
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Kang and Kodos WERE in the Avatar parody. They were Kamala's parents. Some years, they have a small role, like in the Charlie Brown parody where they were seen dancing with the kids at the school Halloween party, but had no lines.
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Were they hiding somewhere in the background during "in the Na'vi"?
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The Simpsons are like a lame horse a injured horse. Fox needs to take it behind the barn and shoot it to put it out of it's misery. I was one of those kids who grew up in the 1980's and loved the early to mid seasons of the Simpsons, and I can admit the Simpsons haven't been really funny for over a decade. It not the writers fault it's just been on for to long with FOX trying to milk it for every penny. It happens to every long running show from Law and Order to ER and to CSI: Las Vegas. They eventually use up all the story ideas and have progressed the characters as far as they can go. That is when things begin to go down hill. I believe most shows really should only be on for 6-8 seasons. That way you have a beginning, a middle and a end for the journey of the characters and show. Some shows like the Simpson, ER and Family Guy and run a few seasons longer, but it eventually happens. Fox should celibate what the Simpsons help do for their network and then end the show.



Out of all of the Fox's Sunday cartoon shows the Simpsons have to be second to worse ahead of the new and terrible Allen Gregory. That show is just god awful. The Cleveland show is getting better. American Dad is still really good. Family Guy is still the best show. It had lost some steam last season, but since it's taken a more serious turn this season it's gotten surprisingly better.
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I would put your order exactly in reverse, except that everyone in the world but Jonah Hill agrees that Allen Gregory is craptastic.
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Ah it's one of the minority who still foolishly believes the Simpsons is still a good show. Well you just keep enjoying the unfunny show since FOX will milk it until it's bone dry and just a ugly corpse.



It's kind of funny it's the only FOX show it won't cancel even though it deserves to be, and we all know how many shows FOX has canceled.
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Since when would Snake and Sideshow Bob be two of Homer's enemies? If anything, Bob is Bart's enemy.
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Sideshow Bob DID try to kill Homer, at least twice now. (I recall once when they were in witness protection on the houseboat, and once in Italy)

Snake is Homer's enemy ever since Homer bought Snake's car, and Snake tried to take it back by force.
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I thought it was very lacking compared to the specials of my childhood. What happened to Halloween themes; like Marge, Patty, and Thelma being witches and creating trick-or-treat.
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Who the fuck is Thelma?
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That's Marge's other sister, as spelled by someone with a lisp.
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You mean Marge's other thither, lol.
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