Crazy Noises: Treehouse of Horror IX

Spawning Locations

“To put you at ease, we have recreated the most common spawning locations of your species.  You may choose either, the back seat of a Camaro, an airplane bathroom, a friend’s wedding, or the alley behind a porno theater.” – Kodos

For the third summer in a row, we at the Dead Homer Society are looking to satisfy your off-season longing for substandard commentary on substandard Simpsons.  This summer we’ll be looking at Season 10.  Why Season 10?  Because we’ve already done Seasons 8 and 9 and we can’t put it off any longer.  Prior to Season 10, we watched as the show started falling over, this is when it fell over.  And while the dust wouldn’t settle completely for another season or so, there is no bigger gap in quality than the one between Season 9 and Season 10.  Since we prefer things to remain just as they were in 1995, we’re sticking with this chatroom thing instead of some newer means of communication that we all know just isn’t as good.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (depressingly enough, not on “syphilis”).

Today’s episode is 1004, “Treehouse of Horror IX”.  Yesterday was 1003, “Bart the Mother”.

[Note: Mad Jon was trying to join us via smart phone and it, uh, didn’t work quite as well as we hoped.  So if this seems stupider than usual, blame Steve Jobs.]

Dave: I’m surprised no one has invented breakfast cereal for people with syphilis yet.

Charlie Sweatpants: That may be the best joke in this episode, especially the callback where we see Moe actually eating it.

Mad Jon: I almost choked when he asked for that cereal, I had forgotten about that joke.

Charlie Sweatpants: Overall, this is a really uneven Halloween episode.

The toupee episode has such a thin premise. I don’t need mystery or suspense, but how many times did they think it was going to be funny to have Homer change into Snake?

Dave: Clearly several.

  It was basically all they did as far as I could remember.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, it had some decent little set pieces. I liked Brockman’s reporting, and the game show style executions on FOX.

But by the time Marge cuts Lisa off about everyone already having figured that out, it’s already worn thin.

Dave: Sure. I don’t know, it’s not revelatory to say that ToH episodes have gone downhill but it was really evident here. No fresh ideas.

Charlie Sweatpants: No fresh ideas is a good way to describe it. The entire cartoon segment is like a really lame version of Animaniacs or something.

The best parts of that segment are the non-cartoon parts, from Kathy Lee Gifford saying that Dom DeLuise can interview himself, to Homer’s "going where?" as he’s dressed as a hobo.

Dave: Yeah, that wasn’t so bad.

Charlie Sweatpants: But the cartoon parts just feel stale. I get the jokes and all, but they’ve been done better elsewhere. Like you said, no fresh ideas.

Dave: Yeah. Compared to what came before it, this is a really weak effort.

Charlie Sweatpants: To some extent the same applies to the Jerry Springer segment, but that one has a lot more life to it.

The sexual insecurity of both Homer and Kang, the idea of putting aliens into one of Springer’s shows, it moves faster and has quite a few more laugh lines.

I’m particularly fond of Kang’s "I hear all!", Hibbert’s "Fire, and lots of it" and the always hilarious sex scene between Marge and Kang, where we get to see all the cliches of sex cast into a ludicrous light. "Have you decreased in mass?" always gets me.

Dave: I’m with you, I suppose the parody of Springer at the time may have been more salient, novel.

Mad Jon: I like when Marge comments on Kang’s bedroom celerity.

I have a fondness for this segment, but just because I used to watch a lot of Jerry Springer. And this is exactly what it is like. Exactly.

Charlie Sweatpants: The final segment works pretty well overall. It was also the first time I can recall anyone realizing that bleeps themselves are funny.

Which is true.

Dave: Heh.

Charlie Sweatpants: Anything else here?

Dave: Not so much.

I’m ready to move on.

Charlie Sweatpants: Move on? I thought we were done.

9 Responses to “Crazy Noises: Treehouse of Horror IX”

  1. 1 Joe C.
    15 June 2011 at 3:26 pm

    I actually like this THOH. While the plots themselves aren’t creative, there are quite a few jokes that make me laugh. It’s a good example of how humor and good gags can save an episode from being mediocre or awful.

  2. 2 Bea Simmons' rotting corpse
    15 June 2011 at 5:08 pm

    Phil Hartman recorded Troy McClure hosting the execution for this episode. They replaced him with Ed McMahon, because of the association with death.

    I must say I’m very fond of this THOH. The last great one, sad enough.

    • 3 Charlie Sweatpants
      15 June 2011 at 7:10 pm

      “Phil Hartman recorded Troy McClure hosting the execution for this episode. They replaced him with Ed McMahon, because of the association with death.”

      I never heard that before. I wonder if the audio still exists somewhere?

  3. 4 Mr. Incognito
    15 June 2011 at 5:20 pm

    I’ve always liked the very end of the cartoon segment–Homer’s giggling when he puts Itchy in the terrarium (Look at ‘im go!), and Scratchy’s Big No when Marge picks him up and says that he’ll have to be neutered.

  4. 5 kokairu
    15 June 2011 at 6:22 pm

    I liked the cartoon segment, possibly because I was much younger when I first saw it though, and the references seemed fresher back then.

    “And that fluffy kitten played with that ball of string… all through the night.” Definitely a massive difference in quality between this episode and Bart the Mother.

  5. 6 Nick
    15 June 2011 at 8:52 pm

    You didn’t mention the opening which put me in tears the first time I saw it. It was quite refreshing to see a very morbid take on the typical Simpsons intro.

    Beyond that, I liked Snake saying that he blew up the bus full of nuns in self-defense, Wiggum telling him he’ll be seeing a lot of nuns in Hell (Seriously, nun jokes are always funny), Homer asking why they only do crucifixions during sweeps week, Homer’s blues song, the brief cooking segment (Could you imagine how much longer that bit would have been if it were done today), and most of the stuff in the last segment, particularly this exchange:

    Black woman: Yeah, I got a question for that slimy, gross thing.

    Jerry Springer: Homer?

    Woman: No, the green dude.

    All in all, a good TOH, but there would be much fewer salvageable segments after this.

    • 7 Mr. Incognito
      15 June 2011 at 9:24 pm

      “You didn’t mention the opening which put me in tears the first time I saw it. It was quite refreshing to see a very morbid take on the typical Simpsons intro.”

      Who could forget that? That was a good one. One of the better scenes in this episode.

  6. 8 Stan
    16 June 2011 at 8:29 am

    While their overall Halloween specials was a good idea at the start (every other show just does Christmas), they quickly overwhelmed in nonsense and were the first to zombify themselves (which is kind of a paradox at the same time). All this to say that IMO this should’ve been their last Halloween special. It’s incredibly sluggish and stupid and like people point here is saved only by jokes, but this still counts it. whatever followed in latter seasons is simply atrocious (not to mention past season 20 when they managed turn guest stars into vampires and zombies just so they show up).

    I only Halloween special I really liked anyway was the one with The Raven. The rest… mediocre.

  7. 9 Chris
    16 June 2011 at 3:12 pm

    I think this Treehouse of Horror is a good example of how Scully’s episodes still had a sense of humor, even if they were lacking in everything else. I hate seasons 10-12 as much as anybody, but there was some humor to it, and I think that shows in this Treehouse of Horror, where the segments can mostly be gag fests, and the writers aren’t held down by the plot, characterization or canonization.

    Jean’s Treehouse of Horrors, however, are just as boring as his normal episodes, and that’s because the show has a very faint sense of humor, if any at all anymore. They can’t even take a non-canonized episode with free reign to do whatever they want and make it interesting.

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