The Simpsons haven’t been great in years. I think I even heard of an recent episode where they made Lenny a figment of Carl’s imagination. As Moe would say, “WAAAAA??!!!” Didn’t they learn their lesson from messing with Principal Seymour Skinner?
So, when I watched the recent Treehouse of Horror Halloween show, I wasn’t anticipating much. This is not to be confused with the recent episode that was a parody of It about two years after it would’ve been more popular. It had Krusty standing in for Pennywise and that’s all you need to know.
The first segment is so bad I wouldn’t blame viewers for turning it off. It’s supposed to be a parody of The Babadook, which is “The Pookadook” in which Marge (voiced by Julie Kavener) turns crazy and wants to harm Maggie. There isn’t much humor here so you might just want to skip it all together.
But the middle segment, “Death Tome” is a must for any fans of anime and manga and it parodies Death Note, the series created by Tsugumi Ohba and Takesha Obata. Characters are drawn in anime fashion and I was impressed at how the artists made them. When a notebook with a foreboding title falls from the sky on Lisa (voiced by Yeardley Smith), she takes it home with her. But discovers though a Shinigami named Steve Johnson that whenever she writes a name in the notebook, the person will die in real life. So, when she wants to stop some people from destroying the environment including Mr. Burns (voiced by Harry Shearer) in his new Globo-Warm project, she just writes their name and they die.
This leads to some silly deaths that I’m not going to mention but there are funny and of course, we get to see the entire Simpson family made up as anime characters. What makes this part work is that it shows another way Lisa’s strict animal-friendly vegetarian eco-friendly lifestyle has some dire consequences. There is blink and miss it joke about her vegertarian choice in the third and final segment which parodies Westworld.
This segment titled “Simpsons World” is probably the best one, even though it’s not the first time they have parodie the Westworld franchise even though this one seems to focus more on the TV show while the one where they went to Itchy and Scratchy Land parodied the movie, because there wasn’t a TV show back then. This one features a world in which popular Simpsons episodes such as the Monorail episode are played for the amusement of rowdy fans. That is until the Homer (voiced by Dan Castellaneta) from that episde becomes self-aware while being repaired and seeks out his familym, but only finds some are from certain episodes.
There’s a few jokes here that I won’t tell, but it involves hands and references several past Simpsons episodes, some popular, some not so popular such as the Canyonero episode. There’s a nice twist at the end that I’m not going to mention that is worth sitting through. What I like about this segment is it shows just how bad the fandom has gotten with not only The Simpsons but other animated popular TV shows.
That being said, the episode does show The Simpsons have some life left in it, but it can’t keep doing Treehouse of Horror episodes. Maybe the fan base has changed and those who didn’t grow up on the old Simpsons still enjoy the show. With every episode a click away on the Disney-Plus app, it’s easy to marathon watch the entire show in days. Part of the joy was looking forward to each new show a week, but then that joy turned to disappointment.
“The Pookadook” segment might have been funnier if it was released five years ago or so, but now, it just seems sloppy. But the two other segments make up for it. The “Simpsons World” segement worked best because it reminded me of the old ones where if you’re not watching closely, you might miss a good gag or two.
What do you think? Please comment.