The top 5 Simpsons ‘Treehouse of Horror’ segments
The first “Treehouse of Horror” aired Oct. 25, 1990, a little more than 19 years ago. Like every “Simpsons” Halloween special that followed, it started with a warning of terror and ended with three stories. The latest episode in the series aired two weeks ago, and as Halloween approaches, what better time than now to go over the very best “Treehouse of Horror” segments?
5 – ‘Nightmare Cafeteria’ from‘Treehouse of Horror V’
Principal Skinner and Lunchlady Doris have problems. Skinner thinks that detention is too crowded, and Doris thinks it’s wrong to serve the children grade-F meat. The solution is hilarious, morbid and so very wrong: Eat the disobedient students. One by one, the children are picked off, until Bart, Lisa and Millhouse are the only ones left. They go to the usually level-headed Marge for aid, but her advice is less than helpful. Also, it’s the best line of the night: “Look them in the eye and say, ‘Don’t eat me.’”
4 – ‘Send in the Clones’ from ‘Treehouse of Horror XIII’
Homer buys a cursed hammock that can clone him. At first, he uses the power for good, relatively speaking. You know, to help with chores and stuff. But soon Homer loses control of the population of belly button-less pea brains. They’re a hungry bunch, eating entire fields of corn and the farmers that tend to the fields. It’s hard to say what’s the best part. Is it the scene where a helicopter suspends a 50-foot donut over a cliff, baiting thousands of Homers to fall to their deaths? No, that’s not it. The episode’s best bit comes when the camera pans over the field of Homers clones, which includes Homers from past episodes, a Homer as he appeared in the original shorts, and, of course, Peter Griffin.
3 – ‘Life’s a Glitch, Then You Die’ from ‘Treehouse of Horror X’
It’s Y2K, and Homer is the only technician in the world who forgot to debug his computer. So when the ball drops, the virus spreads and pandemonium ensues. Planes fall from the skies, and nuclear missiles are deployed. Dick Clark’s face melts off, revealing him to be a robot. In short, the world is doomed. But there’s an out; the Simpsons discover that something called “Operation Exodus” plans to rocket the world’s most important people into space so they can start a new human civilization. They yoink a ticket off Krusty’s body and sprint to Houston. But only Lisa, Marge and Maggie are allowed on the ship (Lisa’s their proofreader), and all hope seems lost until Homer and Bart spy another rocket about to take off. They leave Earth behind, but something about this shuttle doesn’t seem right. Homer looks around in panic at Dan Quayle, Pauly Shore and Tom Arnold, realizing they’re far from being the world’s best and brightest people. Also, their ship is headed directly into the sun. Rosie O’Donnell leads all of the passengers in “Clang, Clang, Clang,” and Homer decides death can’t come fast enough, as he ejects his and Bart’s seats from the shuttle, where their heads can pop in peace.
2 – ‘Night of the Dolphin’ from ‘Treehouse of Horror XI’
Lisa takes pity on a dolphin named Snorky who lives in an aquarium. In an act of activism, she frees the marine creature, and he swims out to sea. But unbeknownst to Lisa, Snorky is the dolphin’s leader, and after years of being treated like a “common seal,” he wants revenge on the humans. The creatures’s first target is hapless Lenny, out for a night swim. “Uh-oh, sharks! The assassins of the sea! Ohh, you’re not sharks. You’re dolphins. The clowns of the sea.” They bludgeon him. Before dying, he asks, “Hey, what’s the gag?” Of course, the humans will have none of it, and Homer leads them in the assault. A quick cut later, and the surviving Springfieldians are floating on driftwood in the ocean. Lisa apologizes for dooming humanity, but Marge consoles her. “Oh, honey, I wouldn’t say ‘doomed.’ It’s going to be an adjustment, no question.”
1 – ‘Time and Punishment’ from ‘Treehouse of Horror V’
There isn’t much gore or horror to speak of in this segment, but that does not lessen its greatness. While trying to fix his toaster, Homer inadvertently sends himself back in time. Panicking, he remembers his dad’s words to him on his wedding day: “If you ever travel back in time, don’t step on anything.” Easy advice to follow, until a mosquito lands on Homer’s arm. “Stupid bug! You squish now!” Of course, this changes the future detrimentally. For the rest of the segment, Homer bounces from the past to the present again and again in an effort to remake the life he knows. The episode ends with Homer at his usual dinner table, sitting with what appears to be his normal family. Except they have forked-tongues. “Ehh, close enough,” Homer says.