The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror V
(S06E06) When I first started covering the sixth season of The Simpsons for Retro Squad, some of you asked why I didn't cover one of the earlier "better" seasons. Well, there is a reason I chose this season instead of say, the fifth season (which includes one of my top five episodes, "Rosebud") but that reason no longer applies. What the heck am I talking about? Let's just say we had something cool planned, but it didn't pan out.
Nevertheless, this season had some great episodes, so I'm not at all sorry I chose to revisit them. Besides, if I hadn't picked this season I wouldn't be able to talk about possibly one of the best Halloween episodes ever. So if you'll take my bloody, severed hand, we'll get started:
The Shinning: Could this be the best Treehouse of Horror segment ever? All of the elements that make up a great Halloween episode are evident: it's very funny, and also very scary. When Homer finally loses his mind and goes nutzoid in front of Marge, his body twists and contorts and goes off-model several times. It's a rare departure from the typically conservative animation used on the show, and it's rendered brilliantly. I also love when Homer, like Jack Nicholson in the original film, breaks open several doors with his axe, spouting off some popular TV slogan each time. The kicker comes at the end when he actually breaks a hole in the door, and then holds up a watch and exclaims, "I'm Mike Wallace, I'm Morley Safer, and I'm Ed Bradley! All this and Andy Rooney tonight on 60 Minutes!" The best part of that gag isn't that Homer actually took the time to say all that, but that his family actually sits and waits for him to finish before running for their lives. Also, Willy telling Bart, "don't be reading my mind between four and five. That's Willy's time!" always cracks me up.
Time and Punishment: This segment has one of the best openings ever, I think. It begins with the family sitting around the breakfast table, and Homer talking about how great everything is. Suddenly, Lisa exclaims that Homer's hand is caught in the toaster, which leads to a hysterical fit from Homer as he tries to dislodge himself from the appliance. He gets free, only to find out his hand has inexplicably wound up back inside the toaster again. He decides to "fix" the toaster once and for all, but instead turns it into a time machine that transports him into the past, but only for as long as it takes to make toast. Homer has trouble not altering the past, so his present keeps getting messed up. One moment all of the world is run by Ned Flanders, and the next moment Homer is living underwater, or in a dollhouse version of his old house.
Nightmare Cafeteria: Another great example of a segment that's both very funny and very creepy. When detention hall becomes too full, the faculty at Springfield Elementary decide to solve the problem by cooking naughty children and serving them as school lunch. Bart and Lisa soon learn of the school's evil plot, but their Mom isn't much help:
Lisa: Mom! Mom! You gotta help! They're cooking kids in the school cafeteria!
Marge: Listen kids, you're eight and ten years old now. I can't be fighting all your battles for you.
Of course, Willy tries to save the day as he does in the previous two segments, and just like the other two segments, he only manages to get an axe in his back. As it turns out, the whole incident was just a terrible nightmare Bart was having. The only thing he really needed to be afraid of was the fog that turns people inside out, and, in the case of The Simpsons, also turns them into Broadway singers.