And now we enter the modern era…
Treehouse of Horror XXII (2011)
Opener: A longish sequence that plays off 127 Hours at the expense of several of Homer’s limbs.
Stories: 1) The Diving Bell and the Butterball (Homer is paralyzed by a poisonous spider bite); 2) Dial “D” for Diddly (Homer tricks Ned Flanders into killing his enemies); and 3) In the Na ‘Vi (an Avatar parody with the Rigellians).
Favorite quote: “Traitor! How dare you betray the planet I got laid on.”
Notes: The whole first sequence is essentially an extended fart joke that is also in somewhat poorer taste than usual. Not my bag. However, Maggie dressed as an alien popping out of Bart’s astronaut costume – squee! And I do think it’s cool that Aron Ralston actually voices the 9-1-1 dispatcher in the opener.
Treehouse of Horror XXIII (2012)
Opener: A riff on the Mayan end of the world legend.
Stories: 1) The Greatest Story Ever Holed (Springfield builds something very like the Large Hadron Collider with predictably dire results); 2) UN-Normal Activity (The Simpsons deal with a found-footage demon); and 3) Bart & Homer’s Excellent Adventure (Bart steals a time machine and gets his Marty McFly on).
Favorite quote: “Oh my God Particle!”
Notes: Pretty awesome slam on Disney’s The Black Hole.
Treehouse of Horror XXIV (2013)
Opener: An amazing hodge-podge of horror tropes and references with an emphasis on the works of Guillermo del Toro. So great.
Stories: 1) Oh, the Places You’ll D’oh (a semi-clever Seussian parody); 2) Dead and Shoulders (Bart’s head is grafted on Lisa’s body); and 3) Freaks no Geeks (Springfield denizens populate an old-timey circus freak show).
Favorite quote: “You start a car as well as you start a family.”
Notes: Meh. Why are the best openers attached to some of the weakest episodes?
Treehouse of Horror XXV (2014)
Opener: Kang and Kodos host a 25th anniversary special. Sort of random, and it doesn’t really go anywhere.
Stories: 1) School is Hell (Bart and Lisa visit a school in the inferno); 2) A Clockwork Yellow (fairly obvious parody that culminates in a Kubrick movie love-fest); and 3) The Others (the modern Simpsons confront the ghosts of their 1989 counterparts).
Favorite quote: “Welcome to Earth. Local time is 10:37. We know you have your choice of portals, so thank you for choosing the Burns Hellport, a division of Gulf & Western.”
Notes: One of my favorite sight gags is how the apparently Homer’s old doughnut-feeding torture machine is still seeing some use in Hell. But the ultimate is the infinite variations of the Simpsons clan visible in the awesome third segment, including but not necessarily limited to: Pixar-animated Simpsons, Anime Simpsons, Adventure Time Simpsons, South Park Simpsons, Archer Simpsons, Lego Simpson, French Animation Simpsons, Minion Simpsons, and the mutant animal Simpsons from Treehouse of Horror 13. This is the bomb.