Monday, October 8, 2012

Episode 2: Treehouse of Horror XXIII

You know, it's really sad when I need to double check what number this treehouse of horror is. It should be easy, whatever the season is, subtract 1 from that number and there you go. But because they've become so dull and uninspired, I don't even bother caring what the number is. So this time, we actually have a segment resembling a treehouse of HORROR as there's one based on Paranormal Activity... huzzah. Oh and just to further my inescapable enjoyment, Brian Kelley is the co-writer of this episode...

Opening Sequence
The opening sequence begins with the Mayan Empire predicting that the world will end by the 13th Bucktune (Or however it's spelled) unless a sacrifice is made. Remember how everyone made such a big deal about the whole 2012 thing in 2009-2011? It's not as big of a deal anymore now is it? So of course, Mayan Homer will be the sacrifice but Mayan Marge decides not to let Homer be the sacrifice. She tricks Moe (Through a bad dialogue exchange) into being the sacrifice and he gets decapitated instead, which is followed up with a "Head as a soccer ball joke" (Isn't the point of reusing jokes to prove you can improve on them?). So when they realize their mistake, Mayan Frink calculates what year the wrold will end and ends up with 2012, to which Mayan Quimby says they can blame Obama... Uuuggghhh. So we cut to the present where Homer is setting his watch according to Mayan time, why you may ask? BECAUSE JOKES ARE FUNNY IF THEY MAKE NO SENSE OUT OF CONTEXT!!! So when Homer looks outside, there are 3 Mayan statues that wreak havoc. The segment ends with the world being destroyed as Kang and Kodos almost get hit by the Lard Lad Donut thrown in space. Yep, that's the only time they show up.
Thanks Kang and Kodos, your paycheck is off to the left 

The Greatest Story Ever Holed
This segment begins with an atomic accelerator being demonstrated, but initially failing. This causes everyone to be upset with Lisa (Well considering the alternative, I don't see how this is worse). So after everyone leaves, the accelerator creates a small black hole that starts to suck things up (Okay the Willie joke did get a chuckle out of me). So the black hole meets up with a sobbing Lisa outside of the building the experiment was taking place. So after a few more people get sucked into the hole (Oh hi obligatory Ralph Wiggum cameo that's there purely for fanservice) Lisa decides to take the black hole home, she does this by sticking a stick into the hole... okay I have no problem with the black hole, as I've said before, Treehouse of Horror is allowed to have cartoon physics and leaps in logic because it's outside of the cannon universe, HOWEVER, that does not mean that they can break their own rules within the segment. There is no adequately explained reason why the black hole doesn't suck up the stick and Lisa too. I'm not going to talk about this anymore, but it did annoy me. Anyways, Lisa brings the black hole to the basement and she decides to show the black hole to everyone. So after Lisa tells everyone to avoid feeding the black hole, Homer gets too close and gets his fingers extended a la "Stretch Dude" (I half expected him to start raking up the clutter in the basement).
Homer: Dear God, this episode sucks so much
You know, looking at the black hole, there's a part of me that believes they wanted to do this to try to show off their distortion effects in animation as there's a slight distortion around the black hole at all times. Maybe it's impressive in the world of animation, but honestly I don't care. So after a montage of everyone feeding the black hole (Bart feeding it was funny, until he fed Edna into it) the black hole becomes bigger and starts sucking things up at will in the living room. We then see a giant crowd outside of the house as Homer admits he advertised the black hole as a waste removal site (The crossing fingers gag did get a chuckle, but it was followed up by an unnecessary billboard joke that brought me back down). So the black hole eats the house as people start throwing things into it. This prompts Lisa to say that if one more thing gets thrown in, it could reach critical mass. How does she know that all it takes is ONE more thing? Because the irony of something accidentally going in wouldn't seem as contrived if she said "Feeding it more and more will cause it to reach critical mass".
Lisa: I suggest you all go out for some fresh air before going on the internet and saying how much this black hole sucks
Of course, we cut to Milhouse hitting a baseball which lands in the black hole and thus everyone gets sucked in, well except the Simpsons who get sucked in last despite people further away getting sucked in before them. How you may ask? Main character immunity of course!However, the black hole doesn't suck up Maggie because it takes her pacifier and simply floats away... whatever, I'm not questioning this. So episode over, right? Nope, we find out that the black hole took everyone to another dimension as they appreciate all the junk Springfield sent them (Okay while dated, the Zune joke was a bit decent, at first).

UNnormal Activity
This segment begins with Homer shooting a bad V-log talking about how there have been weird things going on. Oh and by the way, the entire segment is shot in the perspective of the camera, I'm going to assume that was the style in Paranormal Activity so I can't complain about it. So later, we see Homer set up the camera in the bedroom as fast-forwarded footage shows something invisible messing around in their bedroom, the spirit even whacks Homer over the head with a golf club (What, was that Homer a stunt double as well?). So an hour after that, Marge is awoken to a thud and she goes to investigate it, Homer tags along (By panning around towards the corner to a non-existent door. Seriously, the camera goes past the door that leads to the hallways, but the animation completely forgets that and just creates a new pathway for Homer. Thank God for that HD animation, it truly shows the mark of quality). So after Homer tumbles down the stairs (Okay this joke is incredibly painful, Homer remarks "We have stairs?" ...You couldn't force a joke harder if you tried) we see the living room trashed as Marge insists that she doesn't know (Painfully obvious foreshadowing).
Marge: I don't know why rabid fans keep trashing our house, maybe if we make Homer more of a jerkass, they'll be appeased and leave us alone
So sometime later, Homer gets cameras installed throughout the house as later that night, Marge wakes up with a soulless expression as she just stares at him for 4 hours, followed by her staring at Homer taking a piss for another hour (Extended toilet humor; for when you run out of legitimate jokes). I mean, that toilet joke was for me the worst joke in the entire episode, and yet they fast forwarded it 3 times to put emphasis on it like they were saying "Isn't this just incredible?!". So sometime later (The days are rarely given initially) Wiggum comes over to investigate and comes to the conclusion that a family member made a deal with the devil, which causes Marge to get 'shifty eyes'. Oh and by the way, outside of the Mayan segment (Which doesn't constitute as a segment) Wiggum's death is the ONLY death in this episode, I'm just putting that out there. So on night 15, our devil spirit comes to collect Maggie but is stopped by Marge. Bart reveals the form of the devil as it turns out to be a Moe-like Devil (I would complain about it not being Devil Flanders, but I'm glad they didn't associate THoH 4 with this garbage).
No, no, no! Maggie's head should be turning a la The Exorcist
So Marge breaks down and confesses that she's to blame for Devil Moe as when she was a kid, she witnessed her sisters summoning the Devil in the attic and when he was summoned, Marge pleaded with him to spare them (By the way, the young versions of the Bouviers SUCK, I have nothing against Kavner, but her age really shows as her ability to change voices is minimal and they all sound like their adult forms. I know that sounds like nitpicking, but when we saw young Marge and sisters before, there were subtle changes that made them feel young. I don't get that feeling here). So Homer negotiates with the Devil to change the deal as Devil Moe says a three-some between him, Homer and another Demon will appease him *Headdesk*. So the episode ends with Homer, Devil Moe and some Demon in bed as apparently Homer is so disturbing in bed it causes Devil Moe to shout the safe word repeatedly... just one more segment.

Homer and Bart's Excellent Adventure
The segment begins with Bart at the Comic Book Store as he finds an old comic that he finds too expensive. Comic Book Guy tells him that the initial price is only good in 1974. So Bart wishing he could somehow go back in time sees a poster that reads "Fantastic Foreshadowing: The Boy Who Went Back to 1974"... do I even NEED to explain why this joke sucks? As he walks out Frink just HAPPENS to spawn right next to him on the road and declare that his time travel machine works. So after Frink just gives him the keys, Bart goes back to 1974 via a stream with James Bond Posters in the background (I would find this funny if I found the relevance to time travel). So Bart ends up in 1974 as Springfield looks much cleaner and sterile (Okay the Middle East protester was the highlight of the segment for me. Don't ever say I'm not fair). So after Bart's purpose for going back to the past is complete (Oh like you expected  there to be payoffs for anything) Bart overhears Dondelinger scolding Homer and Barney for smoking as he realizes that he's stumbled into the plot of The Way We Was. You know, I remember Family Guy had a recent episode that many considered good and reminiscent of the pre-cancellation episodes where Brian and Stewie go back to the pilot episode and experience it from a different POV. I wonder if this segment can mimic that success.
The difference between these two scenes is minimal, but the real doesn't feel wrong
So Bart decides to run in and we transition to detention where Bart explains to Homer that he's his unborn child and will cause him hell in the future. Upset, young Homer begins to strangle Bart just as Marge arrives. And here begins the man reasons for why I absolutely HATE this segment, altering the future a la Back to The Future is an interesting concept, however, when you alter the past by giving characters sudden mood changes for no reason, you immediately lose your premise. Young Homer was never a jerkass, but because the writing staff is composed of one-note uninspired 2nd rate monkeys, they can't mix BTTF and this show to make an interesting concept. It has potential, but that potential, like any other modern episode dies as soon as the word document is opened. Oh and a few more notes, because the animation style is sterile and the voice actors have aged, the cleanliness of the detention room combined with Young Homer sounding off  really offsets any nostalgia they attempted. Anyways, Marge says she would never go to the prom with a guy like Homer. So Homer, naturally is depressed that he scared off his love interest and realizes that he needs to find some way to get Marge back... oh wait, I keep thinking that these writers don't keep their heads up their asses, let me say what ACTUALLY happens. So Homer blames Bart, as Marge says she doesn't love him, Homer denies this, Marge calls him an idiot and Homer calls Marge and idiot... FFFFFFUUUUUUU- This just has Brian Kelley written all over it, although since nobody in the multiple re-writes changed this, the blame goes to every asshole involved with this. 
Now which seems more interesting? (I swear if you pick the top, you're dead to me)
So Bart finds out that his life would be better if Marge never married Homer as Homer continues to be a dumb jerkass trying to get Marge's attention (This segment is terrible and you should feel terrible for liking this). So after Bart convinces Marge not to marry Homer, he runs off and Homer chases him (With the whole detention thing being nothing more than a set piece, gotta love not giving a shit). So Bart goes back to 2012 and Homer follows him in the trunk. Bart finds out that his father is Artie Ziff and he's so much better off as Artie exposits about his life as if this was his first day in it. Oh and because there are too many instances like that, the writers really fuck up the whole "Alternate timeline" idea. The writers have so little faith in their audience, they feel the need to explain EVERY difference through characters who shouldn't know that there's an alternate timeline in place. Seriously, if I actually cared, I could go on explaining all the inconsistencies, but I'll just say that the time travel story here makes the one in Sonic 06 look like... well that's still terrible. So we see Young Homer staring into the house from a tree as Modern Homer is also staring into the house, they try to formulate a plan, but decide they need more Homers to make it work. So later, Homer approaches Artie and Bart to get Marge back. His plan is to fight them with an army of Homers from different time periods, naturally they fail in five minutes (Okay, that was a bit amusing, could've been done better, but given the standards...)
Finally, an army worthy of fighting the society of NoHomers
Marge suddenly goes outside and notices all the Homers beaten up and then for no reason decides that Homer was supposed to be the man she married... BASED ON WHAT?! Okay, I skipped over the other inconsistencies, but this is massive bullshit, the Young Homer went forward in time to 2012, therefore a Modern Homer shouldn't exist because he never grew up between 1974-2012, so thus the last encounter between Marge and Homer would be 1974 and that encounter left such a horrible taste in her mouth. So the episode ends with Marge taking care of all the Homers for no reason other than "Because destiny! That's why!"

Final Verdict: This Treehouse sucked, not as bad as last year's but that's really not something special. The best segment by far was The Greatest Story Ever Holed and even that was just okay at best. The Unnormal Activity was the closest to a Halloween segment, and it really accomplished nothing that Bad Dream House didn't do better (The Simpsons made a better parody of Paranormal Activity than the one that actually was supposed to parody it). The less I say about the final segment, the better. Overall, not worth a watch, and if you really want to see a better Modern THoH I'd reccomend XX or XIX is better.


  1. Here's my rebuttal:

    *moons everyone*

    1. Drat! What a foolproof plan

    2. Oh, indeed. But, seriously, that segment made me want to watch The Way We Was.

  2. Here's an interesting note: dongdilingers line about homer and barney being springfield's answer to cheech and chong are gone as well the Zombie Simpsons "writers" had it do they were from springfield even tho it contradicted several stuff in the past including but not limited to springfield having to pretend the beatles were from there... and maybe the bond posters were put out as bond never ages (or even becomes younger and M stays the exact same)

    1. I try not to bother too much with continuity, my eyes would melt if I did.

  3. So Kriken, out of Kelley's work is this the least crap or does that still belong to Magical History Tour (I know that is not quite the correct title, but the real one is just fucking stupid.)?

    1. It's Margical History Tour, and honestly thinking about it, I'd have a hard time saying which is least worst. They both have massive downsides with highs of "Okay"

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