Treehouse of Horror (1990) – or – Quoth the raven, eat my shorts.

I’m pretty sure that nothing says Halloween around here more than the annual Treehouse of Horror episode from The Simpsons. Myself and my kids could watch these endlessly, slowly repeating over and over again until the end of time and we’d never complain.

In fact, I’m pretty sure my kids have tried.

With the 22nd episode of Treehouse of Horror coming up in a little less than 3 weeks, it’s time to go back and see which episodes stood out and which Treehouse should have been burned down.

This first Treehouse of Horror episode, although it wasn’t really called that yet, was made up of the segments Bad Dream House, Hungry Are The Damned, and The Raven. Much of the animation was still rough, as is normal for all these animated shows in the beginning, and the stories weren’t as good as future episodes would be, but at the time we didn’t care. The Simpsons was the shit back then. We wouldn’t make any plans when it was on because we didn’t want to miss a second.

Bad Dream House has become my favorite segment of this episode.

Bad Dream House sees the Simpsons move into a haunted house which begins possessing each of them in an attempt to scare them off. Personally, this one just has the most gags that hit. The portal in the kitchen that gets pissed off at Homer throwing the orange in it, the books that Bart unpacks that keep packing themselves again, and the way the house talks to the Simpsons. It’s not hilarious, but it works. Plus who can resist the house choosing to destroy itself instead of living with the Simpsons.

Hungry Are The Damned winds up being 5 minutes of the Simpsons eating.

The second segment, Hungry Are The Damned, winds up being about two jokes long as we end up watching the Simpsons eat for about 5 minutes. The only things that really stick are the jokes about the advanced video games the aliens have made, which winds up being Pong, and the final joke involving the book How to Cook for Forty Humans. The Simpsons think they’re the ones who will be eaten and this insults the aliens so much that they leave the Simpsons back on Earth. Meh.

The Raven has my favorite line in the episode but falls flat everywhere else.

The final segment, The Raven, is the Edgar Allan Poe poem featuring Homer and Bart as the raven. This one is my least favorite of the episode but it still contains my favorite line. As Lisa is reading the line ‘quoth the raven…’ Bart cuts in with ‘eat my shorts.’ It doesn’t make me crack up as much as it used to, but I love when a line fits so perfectly, is timed exactly, and mocks something just right. It’s why I’ve always loved the Simpsons.

Many people seem to prefer these early Treehouse of Horror episodes. Compared to the crappy spoofs they seem to come up with lately, I’d agree. Harry Potter, Twilight, Mr. and Mrs. Smith. I prefer when they spoof something more classic and not seeming like they’re jumping on the bandwagon of what is popular. These ones rarely reach a high note, even though I should be rolling in the aisle when someone mocks Twilight. This was a good start to what has become an amazing tradition.

In the shadows – Will

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