Top Ten Treehouse of Horror Sketches
One of the many highlights of Halloween is the annual Treehouse of Horror episode of The Simpsons. Children return home from a successful trick-or-treat trip to sit in front of the TV, empty their bags out on the floor and gorge themselves while The Simpsons parody some classic Halloween stories. It’s as big a part of Halloween as Barm Brack or a black bag costume, so in honour of Halloween 2012, here are the Top 14 Top Ten Treehouse of Horror Sketches.
14. House of Whacks (Treehouse of Horror XII)
The first sketch on our list is based on 2001: A Space Odyssey. The Simpsons buy the Ultrahouse upgrade for their home – a new device that does all the house work for its owners. Voiced by Pierce Brosnan, Ultrahouse soon falls in love with Marge and decides to kill Homer, who admits he only married her because she was pregnant. Managing to survive multiple attempts on his life, Homer and the rest of the family make it to the basement where Homer destroys the ‘British Charm Unit’, forcing Ultrahouse to power off after it adapts a rude American persona. The Simpsons are safe, but Marge, having become attached to Ultrahouse, decides to give it to Patty and Selma who torture it with mundane stories about their daily lives, driving it to suicide.
13. Starship Poopers (Treehouse of Horror IX)
This is Kang and Kodos first appearance of three in this list. When Maggie begins to grow tentacles (‘Look Marge, Maggie lost her baby legs!’) and fangs, the Simpsons discover that Kang is Maggie’s real father, a revelation that results in Homer uttering one of the best insults of all time – *gasp* ‘you intergalactic hussy’. A custody battle is held on the Jerry Springer Show, where Kang destroys the audience using a ray gun and Maggie kills Jerry Springer. The episode ends with Kang and Kodos threatening to kill every Washington politician until they get Maggie.
12. Fly vs Fly (Treehouse of Horror VIII)
After Homer buys a ‘matter teleporter’ from Prof. Frink’s yard, Bart accidentally combines Snowball II and Santa’s Little Helper into two cat-dog super-creatures. This obviously makes Bart think that combining himself with a fly would end well and so he steps into the machine himself and emerges with his head on the fly’s body, while the fly’s head has Bart’s body. The fly refuses to reverse the results and eventually eats Bart, which Lisa sees as an opportunity to save her brother and pushes the fly back into the teleporter. Bart emerges as himself and is then chased by an axe-wielding Homer for messing with the machine.
11. Citizen Kang (Treehouse of Horror VII)
This sketch sees a return of the loveable aliens Kang and Kodos who take on the form of both Bill Clinton and Bob Dole so that they can run in the presidential elections. Homer is the only person who knows what they’re doing, but they dose him in rum so no one believes him. He is then forced to attempt his own rescue mission, which results in the real Clinton and Dole being released into space. Kang and Kodos reveal themselves and in a now-relevant satirical take on American voters (‘Abortions for some, miniature American flags for others!’), convince the people to vote for them and turn the US population into ray-gun building slaves.
10. The Hungry and the Damned (Treehouse of Horror I)
Another classic Kang and Kodos sketch. This was the first time we were introduced to the duo, as they abduct the Simpson family for a feast on their home planet Rigel IV. On board the ship, they feed the Simpsons copious amounts of food, followed by regular weigh-ins that arouse Lisa’s suspicions. She investigates and finds a cookbook titled How To Cook Humans. Cue a few bouts of blowing space dust of the cover and it’s revealed the book is actually called How To Cook For Forty Humans. Lisa’s mistrust forces Kang and Kodos to kick the Simpsons off their ship, telling them they’d lost out on a chance to live in paradise.
9. Nightmare Cafeteria (Treehouse of Horror V)
In an attempt to solve the issues of overcrowding in the detention hall and budget cuts, Principal Skinner decides to utilise misbehaving children. As students disappear, the cafeteria begins serving delicacies such as Sloppy Jimbos and Uterbraten, arousing Bart and Lisa’s suspicions. As the only students left, they attempt to escape the school with Milhouse, only to end up falling into a giant blender. Bart wakes up from his nightmare and Marge tells him he has nothing to be afraid of…except for the fog that turns people inside out. The sketch ends with a delightful performance of ‘One from A Chorus Line’.
8. The Devil and Homer Simpson (Treehouse of Horror IV)
In this classic sketch, Homer sells his soul to the devil – who turns out to be Ned Flanders – for a doughnut. In a moment of unprecedented genius, Homer realises Devil Ned won’t be able to claim his soul if he never finishes the doughnut and so, stores the final piece in the fridge. However he then sleep-eats the morsel shortly after. Cue a trial with Lionel Hutz as Homer’s legal representation and a save by Marge who reveals that Homer had technically signed over his soul to her when she married him. The jury, which includes Blackbeard and Richard Nixon, rule in the Simpsons’ favour and Devil Ned turns Homer’s head into a giant doughnut… which Homer also tries to eat. And just so you have some general knowledge to brag about at a later date, this sketch was based on a short story called The Devil and Daniel Webster, which itself was based on the Washington Irving’s The Devil and Tom Walker. So there.
7. Terror at 5 ½ Feet (Treehouse of Horror IV)
Inspired by an episode of The Twilight Zone featuring William Shatner, in this sketch Bart attempts to save a school bus of students from a gremlin (that only he seems to see) who’s attempting to make it crash. He eventually manages to scare it off with an emergency flare and sends it into the loving arms of Flanders who decides to adopt it. However, Bart still ends up being sent to an insane asylum and finds the gremlin clinging to the ambulance he’s being driven off in.
6. The Thing and I (Treehouse of Horror VII):
After hearing strange noises and spotting Homer delivering a bucket of fish heads to the attic, Bart and Lisa decide to investigate and discover Bart’s evil conjoined twin Hugo. After an attempt by Hugo to reattach the boys, Dr Hibbert intervenes to save Bart and after seeing the boys’ scars realises that as the evil twin is ‘always on the left side’, they should have locked Bart up instead of Hugo. Which they subsequently rectify – ‘You eat your fish heads and then we’ll talk’.
5. Clown Without Pity (Treehouse of Horror III)
In this episode, Bart’s birthday present – a cursed talking Krusty Doll bought in the House of Evil by Homer – attempts to kill America’s most famous father. After a number of attempts by the knife-wielding Krusty Doll to murder Homer, he eventually manages to lock him in a suitcase and dump him into a convenient ‘Bottomless Pit’. The doll somehow escapes and tries to choke Homer to death in front of Marge who calls the KrustyCo company for advice. A repairman realises that the doll was accidentally set to Evil mode and after the switch is put to Good, the Krusty Doll lives out the rest of his life as Homer’s slave, while living happily with a Malibu Stacy Doll. This episode takes inspiration from The Twilight Zone’s ‘Living Doll’ episode, as well as the Child’s Play movies and Gremlins.
4. Bart Simpson’s Dracula (Treehouse of Horror IV)
The Simpsons receive an invitation to Mr Burns’ mansion for dinner. Despite Lisa’s suspicions that Mr Burns is a vampire, the family decide to go. Some sleuthing by Bart and Lisa reveals a secret basement filled with coffins where Bart is turned into a vampire. Later he breaks into Lisa’s room in a Salem’s Lot tribute but is stopped by the rest of the family, who decide they need to kill Mr Burns to turn Bart back into a human, as Burns is the head vampire. Mr Burns is killed and when Lisa sees that Bart is still a vampire, it’s revealed that the rest of the family are also vampires. Cue a Happy Halloween from the Simpsons clan and an ode to A Charlie Brown Christmas.
3. Nightmare of Everygreen Terrace (Treehouse of Horror VI)
In this sketch, Groundskeeper Willie dons the cap of Freddy Krueger as he attempts to kill the students of Springfield Elementary School through their dreams. Marge reveals that Willie vowed to kill the town’s children after Homer increased the temperature of the school’s thermostat resulting in the Scotsman’s death. Bart and Lisa attempt to stop Willie through their dreams, only to need Maggie’s assistance as she stuffs her pacifier into Bagpipe Spider Willie’s exhaust pipe.
2. Hell Toupée (Treehouse of Horror IX)
When Snake is arrested for smoking in the Kwik-E-Mart, Chief Wiggum informs him that as this is his third strike, he’ll have to be executed. Snake vows to kill Bart, Apu and Moe as they were witnesses to his crime. Soon after, Homer appears at Dr Nick’s for a hair transplant and ends up receiving Snake’s glorious head of hair. The hair roots then plant themselves in Homer’s brain and he transforms into Snake. After Homer kills Apu with a Squishee machine and Moe with a corkscrew, Bart realises that it must have something to do with Snake, and Homer promises to protect him. When Homer locks the two of them in a room, he turns back into Snake, who then tries to kill Bart with a sledgehammer. After an internal struggle, Homer rips the hair from his head and the toupee then tries to smother Bart. Chief Wiggum saves the day and Maggie uses the toupee as a new cushion. The sketch ends with Chief Wiggum observing ‘now that’s a bad hair day’.
1. The Shinning (Treehouse of Horror V)
In one of the best sketches to come out of The Simpsons, the show’s writers pay homage to one of Stephen King’s greatest stories and what some would consider to be Stanley Kubrick’s best work. The Simpsons take the job as caretakers of Mr Burns’ mansion, from which Mr Burns has removed the TV and beer believing the family will work harder. With Groundskeeper Willie playing the part of the unsuccessful hero in possession of The Shinnin’ and Moe as the manipulative bartender, the episode spawns the show’s best known exchange:
Homer: No TV and no beer make Homer something something.
Homer: Don’t mind if I do!! SKJDNJFNKLDJFNLDSKFNLDKFSKJADFEJECNLASKJ!!
After Homer’s many efforts to kill off his family, they eventually end up watching Willie’s portable TV in the snow, in a scene that contains another classic line – ‘teacher, mother, secret lover’.
The Raven – a take on the classic Edgar Allen Poe poem.
King Homer – a sketch based on King Kong
Dial ‘Z’ for Zombies – with a title based on a Hitchcock movie it had nothing to do it, this sketch is worth a mention for the following exchange: ‘Dad, you killed the zombie Flanders!’ ‘He was a zombie?’
Bad Dream House – parodied some of the best haunted house movies, such as Poltergeist.
Time and Punishment – Homer and a time machine. Nuff said.
Attack of the 50 Foot Eyesores – it taught us about the power of advertising and that learning is fun.
I Know What You Diddily-iddily-Did – Flanders just makes an excellent villain.