Simpsons Did It!: Treehouse Of Horror IV”

Seen nowhere in this annual Halloween episode?  A treehouse.

Yes, we’ve reached a point where the framing device is starting to be phased out, and even the obligatory warning of scary stuff seems more tacked on as Bart walks through an art gallery, probably at night, discussing paintings and stories and fear and stuff.  Homer can be driven mad by dogs playing poker, after all.

But this episode gives us some great things.  Groundskeeper Willy calls Principal Skinner a blouse-wearin’ poodle walker.   We get to see German exchange student Uter.  His candies come Mit Iodine.  The Jury of the Damned has a still (at the time) living Richard Nixon.  The devil did a favor for him once.  And we learn the true hazards of the super happy fun slide in a vampire’s lair.

Are we surprised Ned Flanders is the devil?  Or that Mr. Burns recognizes him?  Or that Homer would actually seem to enjoy eating all the donuts in the world?  Or that Lionel Hutz is a bad choice to represent anyone in court against the devil?  I think we know the answers to these questions, which in most cases is “no”.

You know, Flanders being the devil would explain how his decapitated head was still talking in the second story, “Terror at 5 1/2 Feet”.  That would be another Twilight Zone adaptation, done on the TV with William Shatner and in a movie with John Lithgow.  That led to the two meeting on 3rd Rock From The Sun where Shatner’s Big Giant Head character flies in on a plane and says he saw something on the wing of his flight but no one believed him.  Lithgow replies the same thing happened to him.

That’s rather meta and funny.

Where was I?  Oh yeah.  Bart becomes a vampire, though Grandpa was ready to stake him even before he found that out.

That bit runs off a lot of humor surrounding then cultural hit Bram Stoker’s Dracula, with Mr. Burns in the Dracula role.  Of course, a floating Bart the Vampire is equal parts The Lost Boys and Salem’s Lot, with the idea that you have to kill the head vampire coming from the former, and the head vampire is not who you suspect it is.

Marge is the head vampire.  She does have a life outside her house.  Well, an unlife.

And, since it is never too early according to retailers, we can end there with a reference to A Charlie Brown Chrismas.

At the time, I didn’t think the show could top the previous year’s zombies and monkey paws.  I was wrong.  I would not be wrong forever.

In the meantime, we got Blackbeard in a highchair.

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