Wednesday, July 25, 2007

14 Days of Simpsons

#5 Treehouse(s) of Horror
Seasons 2, 3, 6, 7

The Treehouse of Horror episodes are truly fascinating. My understanding is that the writers do not enjoy writing these episodes, yet they are consistently fan-favorites. They are typically the episodes that I most look forward to every year, but there are outside factors that make that true. Since FOX took over post-season baseball, the Treehouse of Horror episodes usually double as the season premier (and often don’t premier until after Halloween). Personally, I find them extremely variable in terms of quality, sometimes even within the same episode as they are 3 separate stories. Nonetheless, I find them consistently entertaining and sometimes even sublime.

From Treehouse of Horror #1: The Raven
It may seem ridiculous but this little skit ignited in me an interest in literature that I never had before. Perhaps when I read older writers in school I went into the experience assuming that I wouldn’t really connect with the writings, and (not surprisingly) this was more often than not the case. Yet for some reason I learned from Homer’s interpretation of this classic poem that we can (and should) read our emotions into literature. Considering that this skit actually handles the poem in a very straightforward manner, I was gripped by Homer’s fear and frustration and suddenly understood the poem in a new way. Is it unusual for a prime-time cartoon to teach a 13-year-old boy to appreciate literature?

From Treehouse of Horror #2: Bart the Monster
There are no high minded ideas about why I like this one. I just think it’s funny. Particularly, I like the twist on the phone call prank that Bart does to Moe.

From Treehouse of Horror #5: The Shinning
Another classic Simpsons movie parody. In stark contrast to my comments on the Raven, this episode teaches us that television will save your family.

From Treehouse of Horror #5: Time and Punishment
I couldn’t leave out the Quantum Leap style jumping that Homer does throughout this episode. Also, I’ve always been entertained by time-travel paradoxes, which are a common theme in literature and film. They get the Simpson treatment here.

From Treehouse of Horror #6: Homer ^3
This episode was highly anticipated and lived up to that hype. The special effects were, at the time, groundbreaking, and they actually hold up pretty well even now. It may be a little light on story, but it keeps your attention the entire time and is so much fun to watch.

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