What’s this? The Simpsons opted to do two Treehouse of Horror episodes this year? And the first one is an episode-long parody of Stephen King’s IT?
Man, why did it take them this long to do something like this? Had they done this back when the show was in its prime, it might have been even cooler.
So, the town of…you know what? The characters in many cases got renamed, and Springfield is now a New England town called Kingfield or something, and the Lard Lad sells clam chowder and the like. It’s not worth thinking about. What is worth thinking about is how young Barney Gumble was really enchanted with a paper boat that floats along a run-off stream until he meets Kristo the Klown, a Krusty-like entity that lives in the sewers and seems to eat poor Barney. But that was 27 years ago, and apparently, kids disappear all the time in this town and never return and no one seems too concerned about that.
Enter young Homer, putting up a flier on a wooden fence alongside the dozens if not hundreds of others for missing children that never came back. He’s soon accosted by Super-Intense Kid Chalmers and his teenage gang of Skinner and Largo, and that sinister clown Homer asked for help didn’t really do anything. Fortunately, the Loser Squad of Comic Book Guy, Moe, Carl, and Marge show up and save Homer. And it isn’t too long before they decide to investigate the mysterious disappearances since they all saw the clown reflecting their worst fears, seen in flashback except for Comic Book Guy’s since his was far too explicit for prime time network television. Can this squad of young heroes defeat Kristo, the clown that shows up every 27 years to take children away?
Um, yeah. This is only a half-hour (with commercials) show, so it doesn’t take that long. Turns out Kristo is a clown that was never funny, and when some accidental slapstick below the town gets the Loser Squad to legitimately laugh at him, he disappears until he eventually comes back. By then, Homer has written a lovely (for Homer) love poem to Marge, and she loves it…but Comic Book Guy signed his name to it, so it doesn’t help Homer.
Cut to 27 years later, and Kristo returns, taking Jimbo’s face off with a pie, making balloon animals out of Nelson’s intestines, and jamming so many handkerchiefs tied together down Kearney’s throat that the police were still pulling them out. The Losers made a pact that they would return if the clown did, and Homer is the only one who stayed in town, running D’oh’s Tavern where Lenny is best friends with Hans Moleman.
Yes, Homer is the only unsuccessful one, but the others all come back. Moe is a successful rock’n’roll ventriloquist. Carl is an astronaut who abandons a mission to destroy an asteroid headed towards Earth to go back. Marge owns and runs a successful seltzer water company, married to Comic Book Guy. She also has two kids, basically Bart and Lisa, but Bart is now the younger, smart one while Lisa is the older skateboarding rebel type.
You know, there are a lot of clever ideas here, and many of the names were changed but I don’t quite remember what they were, but even with the full episode, it doesn’t really take the time to explore these ideas. An episode with Lisa and Bart flipped around like that could be interesting.
But it doesn’t matter. Sure, Kristo can’t scare the adults with fears, but they do have anxieties about unexpected medical issues, racist uncles at Thanksgiving talking politics, children they don’t know about, or stuff said on Twitter that they now regret and the like. Kristo takes Bart and Lisa to lure the adults out, and it turns out that the way to stop him a lot more permanently is to destroy his applause sign, letting his spectral kid audience go on to Heaven and leave Kristo unable to stick around. Comic Book Guy’s taking credit for Homer’s poem is revealed, Marge and Homer knock out the sign, and Comic Book Guy dies to save Marge, an act that she finds sweet but not enough to make up for 27 years’ worth of lying.
So, the day is saved and everyone else rides away on bicycles.
Except for Kang and Kodos, who opt to look through other Stephen King novels to find something to threaten the Earth with. They both decide “Tommyknockers” sound pretty scary.
This is why you should always read the book.