It only just occurred to me tonight (10 and a half hours into this roundup) that I could have made things interesting by collecting and crunching some Simpsons data as I watched. What percentage of Halloween segments focus on each character? How often are Kang and Kudos central to a plot rather than mere background? How many times does each character actually die onscreen? What a missed opportunity!
Well, I guess I could just start over.
Treehouse of Horror XIX (2008)
Opener: A super-dark, crazy-cynical voting themed opener where a rigged voting machine kills Homer rather than allow him to cast a ballot for Obama. Harsh.
Stories: 1) Untitled Robot Parody, in which Bart’s Christmas (?) present to Lisa results in a town overrun with transforming household appliances; 2) How to Get Ahead in Dead-vertising, which is a Mad Men parody (I guess. I’ve never seen Mad Men.); and 3) It’s the Grand Pumpkin, Milhouse (wow, and it only took them 19 years to get around to this).
Favorite quote: “Care for a pumpkin seed?” “Gasp! You roast the unborn?”
Notes: I notice that the spooky nicknames have become kind of hit or miss. Some people have them; others don’t. That’s weird. Also, there’s an unfortunate joke about killing Prince, which probably didn’t seem like a bad idea eight years ago.
Treehouse of Horror XX (2009)
Opener: Ugh. An overly long and not particularly funny vignette with some classic Universal movie monsters crashing the Simpsons’ Halloween bash.
Stories: 1) Dial “M” for Murder or Press “#” to Return to the Main Menu (a clever riff on multiple film noir chestnuts), 2) Don’t Have a Cow, Mankind (awesome 28 Days Later parody), and 3) There’s No Business Like Moe Business (a bizarre stage musical about Moe turning Homer into beer so he can move on Marge).
Favorite quote: “We start with Grade A beef, feed that to other cows, and then kill them and serve the unholy results on a seven-grain bun. It’s a burger squared!”
Notes: And the WTF Award goes to the third segment.
Treehouse of Horror XXI (2010)
Opener: There’s a lot going on here. Prof. Frink does a Marge-style “Don’t Watch” intro (with a Giger alien incubating inside him!), Homer and Bart fight, and Frankenstein leads into a parody of The Office credits. Huh?
Stories: 1) War and Pieces (board games magically come to life and take over Springfield); 2) Master and Cadaver (Homer and Marge rescue a possible murderer while at sea); and 3) Tweenlight (Lisa falls for a cute vampire).
Favorite quote: “Hey, it’s got to be good if Satan put his name on it.”
Notes: When I saw the second segment’s title, I got all excited thinking they were going to go super-literary with an Aubrey-Maturin parody, but no. However, any disappointment was completely mitigated by a wickedly awesome pan through “Dracula-la Land” with so many pop culture vampires represented. Squee!