The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror XVII
(S18E04) I always try to give the Simpsons Halloween specials the benefit of the doubt, because obviously when they first decided to do one for each season, starting with "Treehouse of Horror I" in season two, they probably weren't thinking they might have to keep coming up with three new vignettes every year for almost two decades, with no clear sign of stopping anytime soon.
So I cut the series a little bit of slack when it comes to these Halloween episodes, because sometimes you just run out of scary things to spoof and you end up creating something like "You Gotta Know When to Golem," about a mystical Jewish creature who becomes Bart's unwitting slave. But even though this was the least of the three stories this year, it did have some funny moments. I loved how the family created a bride for the Golem out of Play-Doh, and how the Golem turned from a silent killing machine to a neurotic freak that won't shut up the moment he's allowed to speak.
"Married to the Blob," the first story of the episode, wasn't too bad, though once they established Homer as an ever-growing blob with an insatiable appetite, there wasn't much left to do but watch him eat everyone and everything. I did like how they used him to solve the homeless problem, though.
"The Day the Earth Looked Stupid" the final vignette of the episode, was by far the best. Maurice LaMarche guest voiced as Orson Welles, doing a voice not too far removed from his Brain voice from Pinky and the Brain. This story takes a few shots at the debacle in Iraq, though the final line in which one of the aliens actually makes a direct reference to Iraq was cut out (the original line is included in the advanced copy I have). It wasn't a bad line, just a little smack across the head in case previous lines like "Operation Enduring Occupation" and "you said we'd be greeted as liberators" weren't enough of a clue.
All in all, not a bad episode as these Halloween ones go. I'm looking forward to more "normal" episodes, but I'm always happy to see the Simpsons stretch beyond their reality and give us something a little different, even if my excitement is more for the tradition than the content of the episode.
Favorite moment: Trying to jusitfy their occupation of Earth, one of the aliens claims they still have the people's "hearts and minds," and then holds up a human brain and heart.