June 7, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Simpsons Did It!: “Treehouse Of Horror XXXIII”

In which it's that time of year again for another anthology episode of spooky stories.

Well, it’s that annual tradition where The Simpsons does an anthology episode and I have no idea what to say.

So, I’m ready to say I have nothing to say all over again.

I actually liked this one a bit more than the last few.  The episode went in a few more creative directions, especially with the second section, but more on that soon.  The most “traditional” of the lot was the first, a segment called “The Pookadook.”  Marge finds a weird and scary pop-up book on Maggie’s bookshelf, one that appears multiple times, about a scary thing called the Pookadook that does things to small children.  The book frightens Maggie, and it keeps coming back no matter what Marge does.

Oh, and cooking it on the family barbecue doesn’t work because the book wanted Marge to do that so she would inhale the smoke and become possessed by Mr. Pookadook, out to take out the family starting with Maggie because the Pookadook runs off a person’s hidden resentments.  Maggie alone knows what’s what, and the other Simpsons keep interrupting Marge’s attempts to do the baby in, so Marge sends them to sleep with the fishes.

Yes, a sleepover at the aquarium.

However, Maggie is arguably the most dangerous Simpson, but her attempts to snap Marge out of her possession just don’t work.  Past gifts of affection are cheap or offensive, like a vacuum to clean the outdoors, and photo albums showing the family having fun often show Marge suffering behind the others.  Maggie does find the key by stroking her mother’s cheek, and once Marge has coughed up the Pookadook smoke, she’s quick to say no one knows how to bottle up feelings better than she does, but that vacuum was a better gift than Marge thought because she can just suck the Pookadook up.

So, no one dies.  Then again, I’ve heard no one dies in The Babadook either.

Next up is a whole lot of death as Lisa gets…the Death Tome!

Oh, and the episode was drawn in an anime style.  Lisa, by chance, finds the Death Tome of a death god named Steve Johnson that only she can see.  At first, she doesn’t believe it, but then she realizes that she can test if by giving Snake a heart attack while he is holding a beloved cat hostage.  See, Lisa can kill anyone as long as she knows the person’s name and comes up with a new way for the person to die each and every time.  First target:  Mr. Burns, who wants to use his company to get enough global warming going so he can park his boat outside his house.  Lisa tries to kill him in his sleep, a move that turns disastrous as he is at the Simpson house and falls asleep before falling into a fire and burning to death.

But it turns out the company had a very large board of directors who all die creatively even if more than one dies due to the sudden appearance of a wild animal leaping out of a toilet.

But then it comes out these people were murdered, and the mysterious detective “L” knows it.  Lisa ain’t stupid.  “L” is “El Barto,” and Bart knew what was what because he read something duller than the Death Tome in the form of Lisa’s diary.  Will Lisa murder Bart, as urged by Steve Johnson, to keep her activities a secret?

Nah.  She’ll murder Steve Johnson with a falling space satellite.  She is now free of the book.

She also turns into a death god herself, and Bart at least things that’s pretty awesome.

And then in the last segment…they parody Westworld.  This is the sort of episode that references so many past episodes that my usual habit of setting up hyperlinks to old write-ups would take too long.  Suffice to say that Monorail Homer takes some damage and has to be taken to the workshop for repair.  There, technicians with five fingers per hand and a more human-looking skin tones are ready to fix Homer, but Homer accidentally became self-aware and then even more accidentally murdered the two techs.  From there, he goes down to grab a spare Lisa to figure out what was what, and then the rest of the family except Grampa.  There’s no time to do more than turn on the trash compactor in the chamber full of old Grampa units.

From there, Homer kills some tourists demanding he do the hedge meme (Bart turns off Homer’s ability to respect human life from the looks of things) and the family needs to take Marge’s Canyonero (complete with theme song) through an army of security bots that all look like Ralph Wiggum.  There are tons of line references to older episodes, background shots of the same, and moments that remind the viewer what this show used to be, something that is arguably never a smart move.

However, the Simpsons do escape and set up camp in a small restaurant to figure out their next move.  Enter Linda Belcher, voiced by Bob’s Burgers‘s John Roberts, to serve the family with the big eyes.

Yeah, it turns out the Simpsons only escaped from one park into another.  Turns out there are similar parks dedicated to South ParkFuturama, Family Guy, Big Mouth, Rick and Morty, and Spongebob Squarepants.

Oh, and the whole thing was a story from a book read by Kang and Kodos.

I guess that’s as good a framing devise as any.

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