The Simpsons has been on for 3 decades, and even as a long time fan, I can agree that it’s not as good as it once was. I can find a few good jokes, creative couch gags, and sometimes good episode occasionally, but it will never reach the heights it did in the past. But one thing that I, and every Simpsons fan will always come back for, is the annual Treehouse of Horror halloween special. These episodes have been going on ever since Season 2, and every one of them has been fun and imaginative. I make it a tradition to watch at least one every Halloween. But today, I’m going to talk about this year’s installment, Treehouse of Horror XXVIII.
Last year’s Treehouse of Horror, the 27th installment, was...underwhelming at most. It was the show’s 600th episode, so everyone expected some amazing work to be put into it. But between the Dull parody of Hunger Games, the OK 2nd segment, and the unimaginative Kingsman parody, it was a very disappointing episode. But I was intrigued by what this year had to offer, because they seemed to be doing more spooky stories, for their HALLOWEEN episode. But, does it hold up? Let’s analyze the 3 stories and find out…
I’m honestly kind of surprised that after all of the movie parodies The Simpsons has done for Treehouse of Horror, and they haven’t done The Exorcist yet. This segment features Maggie getting possessed by the Demon, Pazuzu, after Homer buys a demonic statue off of Amazon thinking it was Pizza. Maggie then causes havoc by killing many of the guests at Homer and Marge’s cocktail party. They then call for the help of an exorcist to save Maggie. Many highlights of the episode include Homer’s hellish lullaby, The demon’s fear of Bart, and Maggie reenacting the famous head-spin. Ben Daniels does a good job playing the priest and can give a few good jokes, although I feel like his appearance is more of a promotion for Fox’s Exorcist series. I also wish this segment was a little bit longer, for reasons I’ll get into with the next segment. But overall, a good story with many funny jokes. And a good way to start off the episode.
I love Coraline. I think it’s a wonderfully dark movie with eerie visuals and likeable characters. For a kids film, it’s a great one. Having Lisa play the role of Coraline seems like a fitting choice. In the Simpsons, Lisa is sort of the odd one out, so it would make sense to have her meet a more perfect version of her family. I also really like the Computer Animation used for the scenes in the other world, (as well as the animation used in the opening sequence of the episode) and the designs of the other Simpsons are pretty creepy. Neil Gaiman is a nice choice to play Snowball II, and I do think the ending is pretty funny, with Homer using the whole situation as a benefit for himself. The problem with this segment is a big one, that being, it just feels too short. I feel like a lot more could’ve been done with the idea of a Coraline parody, especially comedic-wise, and it just seems like they’re only scratching the surface. Same thing kind of goes with the 1st segment, in fact, they have jokes about the 1st segment in this segment, with Maggie puking like in the Exorcist. So, overall, this story is good, I just wish more could’ve been done with it, especially for a source material as creative as Coraline.
This last segment is indeed, the best part of the episode. It’s a completely original story, which is kind of rare for Treehouse of Horror. Homer is left alone while his family is out of town, and of course, eats all of the food in the house. But when he runs out of food to eat, he finds a new favorite food: Himself. Now Homer is finding creative ways to devour his body parts, and pretty soon it becomes an addiction, even to the point in losing his taste for all other food. Of course, the reason for how this Segment is so memorable is because of how disgusting it is. All the ways that Homer mutilates and cooks himself is fascinating to watch. We all know that Homer will do anything to eat, and has eaten many foods throughout the 30 years of episodes, so honestly, it’s not surprising Homer would eat himself at some point. I love this segment, as well as the guest talents of Mario Batali and William Friedkin. While the gross imagery may turn some people away, I think it fits well with the Halloween spirit. It reminds of other classic stories, like Season 6’s Treehouse of Horror V, with the segment “Nightmare Cafeteria”, where the teachers at Springfield Elementary start cooking the students after running out of cafeteria food. This is the best segment of the episode, and probably one of the best Treehouse stories in recent years. It’s a great way to end a good episode.
In the end, Treehouse of Horror XXVIII is a breath of fresh air. All the segments this year are creative, funny, and actually creepy. It harkens back to the good old days of Treehouse IV, V, and VI. Now, it’s not the Best Treehouse of Horror episode, in fact probably not in the Top 10, but I still think it’s a good episode and is fun to watch. In a time when Simpson's may not be what it once was, episodes like this show why Treehouse of Horror is a good treat on Halloween.