Hitting the Wall

Interrupted only by the occasional group of neighborhood kids looking for free candy I’ve been plowing through the Halloween episodes this evening.  I started at “Treehouse of Horror I” and just kept going.  They’re a very accurate microcosm of the show at large in that they get a little bit weaker, but still outstanding in general, around Season 7 or 8 and go downhill from there.  By Season 9 (where Homer’s the last man alive, Bart turns into a giant fly, and they do the story of the witches) things are undeniably different for the worse, and beyond that they’re more Zombie than Simpsons. 

None of this is exactly news.  But even after all these years I continue to be struck by just how quickly things went to hell.  There you are in Season 8 laughing your ass off with “The Genesis Tub” and “Citizen Kang” and just two years later – barely the blink of an eye in the long history of the show – and you’re looking around for something else to do during the drawn out action sequences in “Hell Toupee”.  That one’s got some good lines, but you’ve got to pick them out between all the meandering exposition and “action”.  The endings get less clever, the parodies get thinner and just like that you’re on your way to that awful fake musical they broadcast two weeks ago.

Like I said, this isn’t news, hell, it’s the entire premise of this blog.  But having it happen right before your eyes in just an hour or so is always jarring. 

2 Responses to “Hitting the Wall”

  1. 2 November 2009 at 12:27 am

    I’m gonna be contrary here and say that I actually like “Treehouse of Horror VIII” (in fact, that’s one of the reasons I got the DVD set for season 9, a season I’m generally not that crazy about). Personally, I feel that the show’s first Halloween misstep was “Treehouse of Horror VI” in season 7, specifically the “Homer 3” segment. I’ve always felt that it relied too much on the computer-generated imagery (which I know was impressive-looking at the time) and wasn’t particularly funny. And the moment when the CGI Bart said “Cool, man!!!” struck me as something designed to be used for promos for that episode. The whole thing just reeked of gimmickry.

    • 2 Charlie Sweatpants
      2 November 2009 at 11:52 am

      I agree completely about the CGI “Homer Cubed” segment. When they first broadcast it, and the promos were indeed insufferable, it seemed very weak, and the “real world” ending always felt off somehow. I’ve always sort of mentally grouped TOH VI, VII, and VIII (Seasons 7-9) together as less then perfect but still really good with the real drop off coming in Season 10 and especially 11.

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