Sunday, October 6, 2013
[For my reactions to last year's "Treehouse" episode, click here.]
Some quick thoughts on "Treehouse of Horror XXIV":
The extended intro (directed by Guillermo del Toro) was brilliant on so many levels: the ways it skewed the elements of the traditional Simpsons opening sequence; its del Toro-izing of characters (Groundskeeper Willie as Hellboy!); its cramming of every seeming figure related to the field of horror into the three-minute segment. This is one to watch and watch again, in order to catch the virtually countless references and sight gags.
You know the "Treehouse" has aged when it has to turn to Dr. Seuss for material. Admittedly, I cringed when I first realized where "Oh the Places You'll D'oh" was going, but the segment exceeded my expectations. Best line: Comic Book Guy (dressed as the least sexy Cat Woman ever): "Wait a second, it's Halloween?"
"Dead and Shoulders" was the most pedestrian of the show's three segments, but I did laugh out loud over the gag where Homer (mistaking "Nappien" sleeping pills" for yogurt toppings) conks out after a few steps and falls down the basement staircase. Stupid but effective...
Matt Groening meets Tod Browning in the finale, "Freaks No Geeks." Much like the del Toro-helmed intro, the segment shines in its transformation of Simpson characters (into circus sideshow oddities: Larry and Carl as pinheads, Barney as a Human Torso, Moe as...Moe). Any fan of the classic shocker Freaks will revel in the revision of the famous wedding feast scene (e.g. the cartoon grotesques droning the chorus of Rick James's "Superfreak"). I would rank this with "Un-Normal Activity" (XXIII) and "There's No Business Like Moe Business" (XX) as the best segments of the past five years.
Overall, a highly entertaining edition of the annual Halloween episode. It's good to see that after nearly a quarter century,
"Treehouse" hasn't forgotten its roots in graphic violence, ultra-witty parody, and unapologetic political incorrectness.