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Old 10-18-2009, 07:36 PM
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Simpsons 10/18: "Treehouse of Horror XX"


Writer and Lyricist: Daniel Chun
"The Gay Song" by Alf Clausen and Dan Castellaneta


The first two acts were rather weak, perhaps because the show has done Hitchcock and zombies before, but the opening with the monsters and their wives and especially the third act made up for it. The third act in particular not only had a good premise and lots of amusing gags, but the idea of it being a stage musical added a few amusing bits as well. I'd say that segment in particular goes up there with some of the finest Halloween sketches. So two rocks and two treats- an evenly mixed bag.
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Old 10-18-2009, 07:40 PM
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Good grief, they've gone from airing this in November to airing it two weeks before Halloween. Is there some restraining order keeping them from getting too close to the actual holiday?

Thanks for starting the thread though. I actually thought it was on next week and would have missed it.

Last edited by TWDuke; 10-18-2009 at 07:40 PM.
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Old 10-18-2009, 07:40 PM
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Good grief, they've gone from airing this in November to airing it two weeks before Halloween. Is there some restraining order keeping them from getting too close to the actual holiday?
Yes. It's called the MLB playoffs.
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Old 10-18-2009, 08:12 PM
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Hey, I've seen Frankenstein's bride. That wasn't Frankenstein's bride.
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Old 10-18-2009, 08:37 PM
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Haven't we already seen the Grand Pumpkin episode before?
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Old 10-18-2009, 08:40 PM
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Haven't we already seen the Grand Pumpkin episode before?
That was last year's episode, which ran before the new one.
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Old 10-18-2009, 09:18 PM
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Hey, I've seen Frankenstein's bride. That wasn't Frankenstein's bride.
No, that's Frankenstein's trophy wife.
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Old 10-18-2009, 09:59 PM
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Good episode. Yeah, they did Hitchcock and zombies before but the musical was really great. The zombie bit was still pretty good. The Hitchock skit (is it a skit?) had its moments even if it wasn't the best. I think I may have missed some of the bits from it, but they did get a good "Hitchcockian" feel to it, I think.
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Old 10-18-2009, 10:05 PM
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The opening was ruined by one detail...they had Marge dressed as a cat, but not like Cat!Marge from the Island of Doctor Moreau episode a few years ago.

Also, I thought the last segment went from 'pretty good' to 'abysmal' when they turned on the theatre conceit.
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Old 10-18-2009, 11:28 PM
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The Hitchock skit (is it a skit?) had its moments even if it wasn't the best. I think I may have missed some of the bits from it, but they did get a good "Hitchcockian" feel to it, I think.
The show has done various Hitchcock spoofs and references, but I believe it's the first time an entire THoH segment was devoted to one. I thought it was terrific, with the lion's share of references coming from:
  • Strangers on a Train - not just the plot premise, but lots of details: "Criss cross", the tennis match, the lighter, the carousel
  • North by Northwest - the 2nd set of music cues, plus Hitch's cameo and Mt. Rushmore
  • Spellbound - the Dali dream sequence, including the eyes at the party, and the figure on the rooftop
  • Psycho - the 1st set of music cues.

And since nobody's mentioned Sweeney Todd yet for the musical's inspiration, I might as well.
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Old 10-19-2009, 08:04 AM
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Overall, a thoroughly unimpressive THOH episode, the first and third acts were especially bland, and the zombie segment was uninspired, the whole Cow2X plotline seemed like it was cribbed from Zombieland/28 Days

the only bright spot being the "Monster's Wives" segment, overall, this ep rates a solid "MEH!"
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Old 10-19-2009, 09:04 AM
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and the zombie segment was uninspired, the whole Cow2X plotline seemed like it was cribbed from Zombieland/28 Days
Flip to P in your dictionary and you will find an entry for "parody." Seriously, you can't "crib from something" when you are openly making fun of it. I didn't see 28 Days Later or I Am Legend but I still knew they were parodying those movies.

The last couple of Halloween shows have had one really excellent segment and two that were mediocre. I thought the standout this year was the Hitchcock parody. The art was just amazing. That segment had the best jokes, too, as far as I was concerned.

The zombie story was okay, but almost nothing looks good compared to Dial 'Z' for Zombies. "He was a zombie?" is nearly untoppable as a joke. The funniest part of this bit was probably the title. The Sweeney Todd segment didn't do much for me, although I liked Barney showing up as the Phantom of the Opera. And I think this was the first musical Treehouse segment, so at least that was new. It would've been scarier if they'd done it as a straightforward story, but maybe they felt they'd already done the cannibal thing and needed a new angle.

Like I said last year, I wish they would give up on the three-segment style and just do one full-length Halloween story. I would've enjoyed a half hour of the Simpsons doing Alfred Hitchcock more than the other stuff, just like I would have liked it if they did more with the 'It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown' thing. I'll give them points for this: 28 Days Later and Sweeney Todd are more Halloween-y than Mr. & Mrs. Smith and Transformers.
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Old 10-19-2009, 09:13 AM
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I liked the Hitchcock segment; but I only audibly laughed once, at one gag in the zombie segment. Overall: Weak.
  #14  
Old 10-19-2009, 10:00 AM
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I am a bad father. I wasn't paying attention to who was in the room when I started watching. The episode freaked out both my 4 year-old (at the beginning) and my 8 year-old (during the Zombie segment). Turned into a sleepless night.
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Old 10-19-2009, 11:36 AM
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I am a bad father. I wasn't paying attention to who was in the room when I started watching. The episode freaked out both my 4 year-old (at the beginning) and my 8 year-old (during the Zombie segment). Turned into a sleepless night.
Whatever happened to the warnings they used to put in front of the Halloween episodes?
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Old 10-19-2009, 11:43 AM
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Whatever happened to the warnings they used to put in front of the Halloween episodes?
They haven't had those in a long time. They appeared in the first three and fifth specials, but that was it. The writers gave up on them around the time they dropped the "wraparound" bits and the gag tombstones.

I did like last night's intro, but I'm not sure I saw the whole thing because the episode either started exactly at 8 or a little bit before.
  #17  
Old 10-19-2009, 11:46 AM
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I am a bad father. I wasn't paying attention to who was in the room when I started watching. The episode freaked out both my 4 year-old (at the beginning) and my 8 year-old (during the Zombie segment). Turned into a sleepless night.
My 7 year old was looking away at one point, one of the murder scenes in the first skit, I do believe.

She seems OK now.
Ahhh!
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Old 10-19-2009, 01:05 PM
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I figured Bill Donohue would have a problem with the "eating the body and blood of their savior" line, but the fact that he does so shows again the hypocrisy and double standards of Donohue and his organization, whose most famous complaint about The Simpsons was about a joke that was basically a non-sequitur. Donohue once complained about a joke about the Catholic stance against birth control on the show, but had no problem with an entire Catholic-themed episode which featured, among other jokes, Homer holding a pamphlet entitled "Plop 'Til You Drop." Nor did, despite complaining about other jokes on other programs regarding the virginity of the Virgin Mary in the past, he complain about a Christmas episode where Homer, as Joseph, comments on his wife's pregnancy by saying that a pregnant virgin is every husband's nightmare and responds to a comment that she is filled with the spirit of the Lord with "That's not the only thing she's full of." Not to mention the fact that Donohue freely allows Stephen Colbert, a Catholic, to make jokes about putting nacho cheese on the Eucharist and similar jokes he would complain about if a non-Catholic made them and even himself joining in the hypocrisy by slapping Colbert's wrists with a ruler despite his complaints in the past about jokes about stern Catholic school nuns. Sorry, just had to get that off my chest.
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Old 10-19-2009, 07:41 PM
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No, that's Frankenstein's trophy wife.
teehee!

I liked the third act. I don't know. I guess after 20 years of Halloween specials, it's hard to avoid doing zombies and Hitchcock parodies more than once. They're going to have to repeat some themes.
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Old 10-19-2009, 08:16 PM
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Lovejoy's nervous reaction to the eating-the-savior joke was odd, considering he once said Catholic practices were as unfamiliar to him as a voodoo dance.
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Old 10-19-2009, 08:23 PM
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Lovejoy's nervous reaction to the eating-the-savior joke was odd, considering he once said Catholic practices were as unfamiliar to him as a voodoo dance.
That's the same thing I thought as well. It seems that Reverend Lovejoy becomes Catholic when the jokes require him to be- when Marge started getting addicted to wine he gave Holy Communion to Marge which caused others to comment on it, and Homer used the wine cups to serve beer after he took over the church; yet Lovejoy has also gotten in a fight with a Catholic priest and attempted to convert Bart back to Presbylutheranism after he became a Catholic (not to mention that his church sign once said he was proudly welcoming pissed-off Catholics).

Last edited by mobo85; 10-19-2009 at 08:24 PM.
  #22  
Old 10-19-2009, 08:32 PM
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The Simpsons writers nowadays (and for a good few years) seem to think that an identifiable cultural reference is in and of itself funny. This is not so. Like those Epic Movie-type parodies, endless, unfunny, unsubtle references do not make for good comedy.
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Old 10-19-2009, 08:34 PM
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I didn't like it, and erased it before my daughter would see it. Normally the Hallowwen episode are among the best, this one just wasn't...
  #24  
Old 10-19-2009, 09:59 PM
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Lovejoy's nervous reaction to the eating-the-savior joke was odd, considering he once said Catholic practices were as unfamiliar to him as a voodoo dance.
Lutherans take communion, although it's less clear what the host represents.
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Old 10-19-2009, 10:06 PM
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Lutherans take communion, although it's less clear what the host represents.
Officially converted to it ten years ago. Still not clear. Avoid discussions with Wife, who converted from Methodism, because we'd burn each other at the stake before we were done, except it's me arguing for Consubstantiation and her for Transubstantiation.

Tons of angels-on-a-pin fun: http://www.biblebelievers.com/foxes/findex.htm

Last edited by dropzone; 10-19-2009 at 10:08 PM.
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Old 10-19-2009, 10:15 PM
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Added too late: I know better than to go with, "It's all symbolic." This is how one remains married for 30-some years.
  #27  
Old 10-19-2009, 11:41 PM
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I'll admit to having seen only eighteen out of the twenty (not last year, or the year before) but this was by far the worst Halloween episode yet.
  #28  
Old 10-20-2009, 12:44 AM
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Lutherans take communion, although it's less clear what the host represents.

Baptists and Presbyterians also take communion. (At least they do in my Mom's and my Granny's churches.) It wasn't at all strange to me that Rev. Lovejoy reacted that way.
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Old 10-20-2009, 05:06 AM
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Yes, Communion ("eating the body and blood of the Savior") is a Christian thing, not just a Catholic thing—a commemoration of the Last Supper (see 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, Luke 22:14-20). But there are significant differences between denominations (including between Catholics and various kinds of Protestants) over how it is celebrated, how often it is celebrated, and what the meaning of "is" is: Are the bread and wine the body and blood of Christ in a metaphorical or symbolic sense, or in some more literal, metaphysical sense?
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Old 10-20-2009, 06:11 PM
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Those weren't zombies! Didn't you see the "28 days later" caption, well, 28 Days Later had no zombies, so neither did that parody!</zombie elitist rant lol> Anyway, it was kinda short and seemed a lot more rushed than it should've been. Maybe they should've just had 2 stories this year and given this some more time. I did like Apu as the Road Warrior type, and if they hadn't ruined it by overexposure in the commercials, the "to the panic room store" line would've been worth a chortle.

Hitchcock one, nothing really wrong with it, but did it really need to be in B&W to be a Hitchcock parody? Also, something really seemed off with the B&W, like there was a hint of color coming through at the edges or something. Probably a consequence of whatever tech they're using to make the show these days, as in the past they've done B&W segments that didn't have this distracting aura about it.

I did not get the third act at all. It's a play, right? But there were video inserts and stuff too? Wha? So it's not a play? And why was it a play anyway? Was this parodying some movie I've never seen or something?

Glad I'm not the only one to notice Mrs. Frankenstein in the opening. Then again, this isn't the first time he's had a different bride than from the famous movie.

Overall, not that great a Treehouse. Mildly disappointing.
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Old 10-20-2009, 06:49 PM
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Glad I'm not the only one to notice Mrs. Frankenstein in the opening. Then again, this isn't the first time he's had a different bride than from the famous movie.
Apu himself posed the question to Butch Patrick- if his father was a Frankenstein and his mother was a vampire, how come he was a werewolf?
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Old 10-22-2009, 05:18 AM
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Lovejoy's nervous reaction to the eating-the-savior joke was odd, considering he once said Catholic practices were as unfamiliar to him as a voodoo dance.
To add onto what others have already said, I think you may be confusing the doctrine of transubstantiation (that the eucharist literally and completely transforms into the body of Jesus) with the doctrine of the Real Presence (that the body of Jesus is somehow present in the eucharist). Clearly the former is subsumed by the latter. Many Christian denominations, including Lutherans (and presumably the Presbylutherans of the Simpsons universe) adhere to the Real Presence doctrine, but not to transubstantiation. Lutherans in particular believe that the eucharist does indeed transform into the body of Jesus, but (paradoxically) that it also remains bread. They seem to want to have it both ways.
  #33  
Old 10-22-2009, 06:45 AM
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Apu himself posed the question to Butch Patrick- if his father was a Frankenstein and his mother was a vampire, how come he was a werewolf?
He transubstantiated.
  #34  
Old 10-22-2009, 05:31 PM
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Um, the episode was okay. I prefer the three-story format because if one is not going anywhere, a new story will be there in a minute or two.

Butch Patrick: maybe he was bitten by a werewolf?
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Old 10-22-2009, 06:01 PM
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Apu himself posed the question to Butch Patrick- if his father was a Frankenstein and his mother was a vampire, how come he was a werewolf?
Maybe it's something that skips a generation like male pattern baldness.
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Old 10-23-2009, 09:49 AM
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My votes:

Opening bit: Okay, but seemed a bit too much like filler.

First act: Great. Loved it. Not sure it is THoH themed, but a lot better than most of their recent THoH bits. The part with the paper cutter was dragged out just the right amount. Silliness is good.

Second act: Pretty nice. Covered too much previous ground. But, it's the XXth THoH. Got to expect Yet Another Zombie sketch. Ralph and everybody seemed back to normal at the end but Homer was still in the portable cage. Seemed he would have been first to drink the soup. Maybe the townsfolk figured that once they had him locked up, best to just keep him that way.

Third act: What were they thinking? Kill it with fire. Ugh. When a Simpsons musical bit goes bad, it really goes bad. Like Mary Poppins Shary Bobbins bad.
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Old 10-23-2009, 12:30 PM
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When a Simpsons musical bit goes bad, it really goes bad. Like Mary Poppins Shary Bobbins bad.
Blasphemy! Sharry Bobbins rocked!

Now the Evita parody--that completely blew!
  #38  
Old 10-23-2009, 12:53 PM
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Apu himself posed the question to Butch Patrick- if his father was a Frankenstein and his mother was a vampire, how come he was a werewolf?
Not that surprising really. A Frankenstein isn't a heritable trait. It's a constructed man. So the wad Fred is shooting is made up from what ever Testicles the Ol' Doc found on the shelf. My guess is just for fun he used one from a werewolf, and one from a normal man(explaining Marylin)
  #39  
Old 10-23-2009, 01:12 PM
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Not that surprising really. A Frankenstein isn't a heritable trait. It's a constructed man. So the wad Fred is shooting is made up from what ever Testicles the Ol' Doc found on the shelf. My guess is just for fun he used one from a werewolf, and one from a normal man(explaining Marylin)
Marylin wasn't actually Herman & Lily's daughter; she was their niece. The rest of your explanation makes perfect sense though.
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Old 10-23-2009, 01:30 PM
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Not that surprising really. A Frankenstein isn't a heritable trait. It's a constructed man. So the wad Fred is shooting is made up from what ever Testicles the Ol' Doc found on the shelf. My guess is just for fun he used one from a werewolf, and one from a normal man(explaining Marylin)
I have an alternate, if more mundane explanation. Lily's brother, Lester, was a werewolf. Cite, under the Lily Munster heading. Eddie could have come by the werewolf gene from Lily's side of the family.
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Old 10-23-2009, 02:59 PM
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Q: Was that Helen Lovejoy who Marge said was Maggie's godmother? Interesting even if THoHs aren't considered canon.

Ooh. Geez. This one is stupid. I can't remember if Kang and Kodos were in this one. All my mind can bring up is the Grand Pumpkin homage dance scene in the rerun.
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Old 10-23-2009, 03:30 PM
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Q: Was that Helen Lovejoy who Marge said was Maggie's godmother? Interesting even if THoHs aren't considered canon.

Ooh. Geez. This one is stupid. I can't remember if Kang and Kodos were in this one. All my mind can bring up is the Grand Pumpkin homage dance scene in the rerun.
Yes, and Kang and Kodos were in the audience at the play.
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