Bart Simpson’s Dracula
To commemorate the feeble, half-baked, thrown-together attempts that I’ve made thus far to fill space in this paper’s tête-à-tête-à-tête-à-tête, I’ve chosen to argue the case for the Treehouse of Horror that exhibited the least forethought, organisation or research: Bart Simpson’s Dracula from season four.
In the introduction, Bart eludes to the harrowing, spine-chilling tale that should have originally aired, “But it was far too intense, so we just threw something together with vampires.” Never a truer word spoken. If that doesn’t resonate with the half-arsed student in all of us, then you’re doing something right.
When the Simpsons are invited to midnight dinner in Mr. Burn’s Pennsylvanian mansion, Lisa is the only one who suspects that the plot of the episode has already come uncomfortably close to that of a Francis Ford Coppola film.
Within 25 seconds, she finds the stairs to Secret Vampire Lair, and a copy of Yes I am a Vampire by C. M. Burns; with foreward by Steve Allen. But that’s just a filler synopsis, this episode is best remembered for containing the line “Super Fun Happy Slide?!”, and a concluding Christmas carol from the extended Simpson family. Oh look, and that’s my wordcount filled. Happy Halloween.
“No TV and no beer make Homer go crazy.” While this statement definitely implies that Homer is in the middle of studying for the end of semester exams, it is not so. Yes, he’s losing his mind, but only because he’s starring in The Simpsons’ priceless, and undoubtedly superior remake of The Shining.
The plot echoes the dry campus crisis of 2012-13, as Mr. Burns directly quotes the governing body of UCD. “By cutting off cable TV and the beer supply, I can ensure an honest winter’s work out of these low-lives.”
I think we can all relate to this episode on a level that is even almost deeper than our appreciation of alcohol. Sometimes we have to ask “Mom, is dad gonna kill us?” and sometimes the answer is “We’re just going to have to wait and see.”
Sometimes the blood doesn’t get off at the second floor, and sometimes you hack open the wrong door in a murderous rage. Relatable stuff. Really, all I know is that there were a number of times I passed the old student bar and met a ghoul who told me to slaughter everyone. Or maybe that was just my brain suggesting ways I could get out of going to class.
Either way, I’m glad that I don’t personally have “the shinning.” Do I mean “shining”? No. I don’t want to get sued.
Time and Punishment
There is no time to mess around deciding which Treehouse of Horror tale is the best. Taking into account that there are 72 choices facing you and you have to decide which tale deserves about seven minutes of your Halloween pre-drinks, you’ve got to get some bang for your buck.
You clearly like The Simpsons, yeah? Okely dokely, then. Surely you would like an infinite number of parallel Simpsons universes (and one sly Flintstones reference) to bask in its luminous 90’s Simpsons yellow glow. Seriously, it’s better than the Northern Lights somehow centralising entirely in your kitchen.
Time and Punishment is the equivalent of Mark Ruffalo telling you several bedtime stories. It’s pretty, it’s intelligent, it’s got a large amount of plot, and it’s a sensory overload.
On his way around the multiverse, Homer meets Moe without a brain, remembers Grandpa’s sage time-travelling words (I wish my Dad said that at my fictional wedding), and, most importantly, nearly miraculously lands in a heaven of a rich life that is filled with doughnut rain and two dead sister-in-laws.
This is indeed a disturbing finish, but would being stuck where Homer ends up, with everyone having frog tongues, really the worst thing in the world? What do you mean yes? Sorry, I couldn’t understand you, on account of your massive frog tongue.
Oh hello, truly your forgiveness I implore, so faintly you came tapping that I scarce was sure I heard you. I was just reading one of my many quaint and curious volumes of forgotten lore. What do you mean “why am I speaking so strangely?” I’m establishing the mood.
For your information, I’m about to put forward the case for a cartoon based on a classic tale of terror by Edgar Allan Poe. Don’t worry; you won’t learn anything. The original, and best, Treehouse of Horror featured as its grand finale an exquisite adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven. Using the 1845 text, this sequence is masterfully narrated by Mufasa Vader himself, James Earl Jones.
Featuring Homer as the lead character mourning his lost love and Bart as his tormentor, the eponymous Raven, the scene culminates in Homer’s best attempt to strangle Bart as the Raven bombards him with volumes of Poe’s greatest works, while a bust of the author watches impassively from a shelf in the background.
While it isn’t scary, this is The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror at its most magnificent, and if you disagree get thee back into the tempest and the night’s plutonian shore.