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Friday, October 28, 2011

Retro Review: Treehouse of Horror III

Or the One Where
"Clown Without Pity" (Homer is stalked by a killer Talking Krusty doll), "King Homer" (King Kong re-imagined with Homer in the title role), and "Dial Z for Zombie" (Bart accidentally raises the dead").

The Setup
Marge hosts a Halloween party for all the kids in lieu of trick-or-treating, with Lisa, Grandpa and Bart each telling a scary story at the party.

Notable Notes
In a parody of Alfred Hitchcock's introductions before episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Homer walks out on stage to an undersized outline of his profile, and proceeds to warn the audience that there are some "crybabies out there, religious types mostly, who might be offended" by the show, and that viewers should turn off the TV if they are one of them.

Though the events of the Halloween episodes are considered non-canonical (such as anything is canonical on The Simpsons...), this episode contains an early suggestion of Smithers' homosexuality.

Bart's zombie spell incantations:
Collin - Rayburn - Nars - Trebek (game show hosts)
Zabars - Kresge - Caldor - Walmart (discount retail stores)
Kolchak - Mannix - Banacek - Dano (70s TV detectives)
Trojan - Ramses - Magnum - Sheik (brands of condoms)

Favorite Quotes
Marge: Homer, what's wrong?
Homer: That doll tried to kill me!
Bart: I'd say the pressure has finally gotten to Dad, but what pressure?

Burns: What do you think, Smithers?
Smithers: I think women and sea-men don't mix.
Burns: We *know* what you think!

Marge: Am I going too?
Burns: Of course. We wouldn't think of going without the bait-- uhh, that is, the bait-thing beauty. The bathing beauty! Heh heh. I covered that up pretty well.

Bart: Nice try, Mr. Flanders. But I've got a story so scary you'll wet your pants!
Grampa: Too late.

Lisa: Dad, we did something very bad!
Homer: Did you wreck the car?
Bart: No!
Homer: Did you raise the dead?
Lisa: Yes!
Homer: But the car's okay?
Kids: Uh-huh.
Homer: All right then.

Teebore's Take
This is probably my overall favorite "Treehouse: episode. All three of this segments made my list of my favorite "Treehouse of Horror" stories, and while there are individual segments I like more than these three, I don't think there's any other episode where I like all three segments this much (both the second and fourth"Treehouse of Horror" are very, very good, but I'm not a huge fan of the Twilight Zone and gremlin segments, respectively). All three of these stories are simply laugh-a-minute, with one joke after another coming in rapid fire succession, often setting up or layered on other jokes. And still, each story manages to tell a complete story along with all those jokes in its roughly six minutes of run time. That's damned impressive. Generally speaking, as go the Treehouse episodes, so goes the season, and this episode is another sign that at this time, The Simpsons is at the top of their game.


The first out-and-out classic "Treehouse" episode, and arguably the best.


There's nothing terribly Halloween-y about King Kong, but the Halloween party wraparound and stories about killer dolls and zombies make this episode very Halloween-appropriate.


  1. It's been a long time since i've seen this one, but i distictly remember really enjoying the zombie story. I certainly can picture Lisa and Bart reciting the incantation, and it's one of the scenes i always think of when thinking about the treehouse of horror in general

  2. @Sarah: I certainly can picture Lisa and Bart reciting the incantation, and it's one of the scenes i always think of when thinking about the treehouse of horror in general

    Yeah, I always think of Bart wearing the Thriller album cover on his head whilst raising the dead whenever I hear "Thriller".

  3. ...i apparently don't remember these very well at all. I have a vague memory of the Krusty doll... but even your quotes didn't spark recognition (like the Burns lines- it's like i've never seen them before)
    my memory must be going

  4. @Anne: my memory must be going

    You guys need to Neflix some Simpsons, stat.


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