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"Treehouse of Horror VIII"
The Simpsons episode
THOH8Homega.png
Homer discovers everyone else was killed after France launched its neutron bomb on Springfield.
Episode no. 182
Prod. code 5F02
Orig. airdate October 26, 1997
Show runner(s) Mike Scully
Written by Mike Scully
David S. Cohen
Ned Goldreyer
Directed by Mark Kirkland
Couch gag The Simpsons sit on the couch. Metal shackles restrain their wrists and ankles and a metal cap comes down on all of their heads. The family writhes in pain as they get shocked by the electricity.[1]
DVD
commentary
Matt Groening
Mike Scully
David X. Cohen
Mark Kirkland
George Meyer
Matt Selman

"Treehouse of Horror VIII" is the fourth episode of The Simpsons' ninth season and first aired on the Fox network on October 26, 1997.[2] In the eighth annual "Treehouse of Horror" episode, Homer Simpson is the last man left alive when a neutron bomb destroys Springfield until a gang of mutants come after him, Homer buys a transporter that Bart uses to switch bodies with a housefly, and Marge is accused of witchcraft in a Puritan rendition of Springfield in 1649. It was written by Mike Scully, David S. Cohen and Ned Goldreyer, and was directed by Mark Kirkland.[1]

Contents

Plot

A Fox censor named Fox Censor, sitting at his desk reading through the script and deleting things, proudly announces that thanks to his editing tonight's Simpsons episode is rated TV-G. But as he says this, a hand with a sword appears out of the on-screen rating icon and stabs him in the back repeatedly, raising the rating with every stab. As he collapses dead onto the desk, blood pours down the front to reveal the title, "The Simpsons Halloween Special VIII".

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The HΩmega Man

Mayor Quimby generates a great deal of controversy after making an offensive joke about France involving the phrase, "frog's legs." When it becomes obvious that no apology is forthcoming, the French president launches a neutron bomb directly into Springfield. Homer had been inspecting a bomb shelter he was considering buying from Herman and after the blast; Homer emerges from the shelter to find that he seems to be the only person in town to have survived. He misses his family, but he quickly gets over his loss and, being the last man alive in Springfield, decides to do as he pleases, such as watch a David Spade/Chris Farley comedy in an empty theater and dance naked in church. Homer is soon confronted by a band of Springfield citizens who have become mutants. They claim that they want to create a perfect world in which the mistakes of the past will be eliminated. This, of course, involves murdering Homer. Homer flees and arrives at his home where he finds that his family survived the blast because their house was protected by so many layers of lead paint. Seeing Homer reunited with his family, the mutants see the error of their ways. They hope they can build a Utopian society with the Simpsons, but Marge and the children open fire with shotguns that they were hiding behind their backs. Homer and his family take advantage of being nuclear holocaust survivors by going out to steal Ferraris.

Fly vs. Fly

Homer buys a matter teleporter from Professor Frink at his yard sale. Bart asks if he can use it, but Homer refuses. That night, Bart tries to sneak Snowball II into the teleporter and at the same time, Santa's Little Helper jumps in. As the pets come out, Santa's Little Helper and Snowball II have been merged into a two-headed creature similar to Catdog. A fly lands on Bart's arm and thinking that he will become a superhero, Bart grabs the fly and steps into the teleporter. He comes out his normal head, but with the body of the fly and meanwhile the fly has his body. The rest of the family wakes up and sees Bart's body with a fly's head and decide that it must be Bart and accept him as their family. That night, Bart the fly talks to Lisa and tells her what happened. When Lisa is in the kitchen fly-boy eats Bart and Lisa knocks him into the teleporter. Bart then appears in the living room normal. An enraged Homer grabs an axe and starts chasing Bart around for using the teleporter.

Easy-Bake Coven

Marge, Patty and Selma as witches.

The year is 1649 and the town of Sprynge-Fielde is witness to many witch burnings. Later in the church, the townspeople try to figure out whom to condemn next. People start accusing others and soon they erupt into chaos, until Marge intervenes. She tries to talk sense into the townspeople, but Moe accuses her of being a witch. Quimby assures her that she is entitled to due process which means she will be thrown off a cliff with a broomstick; if she is a witch she will be able to fly to safety, in which case the authorities expect her to report back for punishment. If she is not a witch, then she will fall to an honorable Christian death. Lisa tries to speak on her mother's behalf, but to no avail and Marge gets shoved off the cliff by Wiggum's henchmen. As Lovejoy speaks to the mob about having done the Lord's work, they hear a cackle and all look up, stunned to see that a green-skinned Marge is flying on the broomstick, as she really is a witch. Marge then takes revenge on the town. She returns to her elder sisters Patty and Selma in their mountain lair close to Sprynge-Fielde. The sisters watch Ned and Maude Flanders talking about how the witches may eat their children, thus giving them the idea in the first place. The three set off for Sprynge-Fielde on their broomsticks. They knock on the Flanders' door and demand the kids. They put the kids in sacks and are about to leave, when Maude offers the witches gingerbread men instead. The witches like these better than the kids and let Rodd & Todd go. They go to each house, getting goodies in exchange for not eating the kids. As they fly off, the Sea Captain says that is how the tradition of Halloween started, with Maude Flanders' quick thinking leading to the Halloween we know today.[1][2]

Production

The opening segment of the episode, which had a difficult time getting through the (real-life) censors.

"The HΩmega Man" was written by Mike Scully,[3] "Fly Vs. Fly" was written by David S. Cohen[4] and "Easy-Bake Coven" was written by Ned Goldreyer.[3] Large portions of the "Fly vs. Fly" segment were cut, including the original ending where the fly also emerges from the teleporter, but is considerably larger and the Simpson family ride it to the mall.[4]

The producers had trouble with the censors over several segments in this episode. The opening segment of the episode, which features Fox Censor the censor being stabbed to death and was pitched by David Mirkin, had a difficult time getting through the real life censors. They had issues with the size of the knife and the sound effects used.[3] Originally, the TV-rating was supposed to stab the censor with a dagger, but FOX objected because it was too gruesome and was changed to a curved sword.[5] The censors also objected to an unaired scene where Homer does his naked church dance on an altar. The scene was reanimated so that way Homer was dancing naked in the front row.[3]

This episode was the only Treehouse of Horror episode that was directed by Mark Kirkland. It was also the last episode Brad Bird worked on; he left the show to direct The Iron Giant. "Easy-Bake Coven" was storyboarded by Kirkland and the backgrounds were designed by Lance Wilder.[5] Although Kang and Kodos make brief appearances in every Treehouse of Horror episode, their brief appearance in this one was nearly cut. David X. Cohen managed to persuade the producers to leave the scene in.[4]

Cultural references

As with the majority of the Treehouse of Horror episodes, numerous cultural references are made throughout the episode. "The HΩmega Man" is an extended homage to film The Omega Man, which was one of Mike Scully's favorite movies as a child.[3] In the same segment, Homer runs over Johnny and Edgar Winter while fleeing the mutants pursuing him, crying: "Die, you chalk-faced goons!"; the Winter brothers are both albino.[3].

The title "Fly vs. Fly" is a reference to the Mad magazine comic strip "Spy vs. Spy", while the segment itself is based on the film The Fly.[4] In "Easy-Bake Coven", the animators referenced the film The Crucible for many of their designs,[5] and Edna Krabappel is wearing a Scarlet A, which is a reference to the novel The Scarlet Letter.[4] The plot of the segment is loosely based on the Salem witch trials, while the title is a reference to the children's toy Easy-Bake Oven. The story also contains a brief reference to the Looney Tunes/Chuck Jones character Witch Hazel when Marge, Patty and Selma click their heels before flying away on their brooms.[5]

Reception

"Treehouse of Horror VIII" won a Golden Reel Award in 1998 for "Best Sound Editing - Television Animated Specials" for Robert Mackston, Travis Powers, Norm MacLeod and Terry Greene.[6] Alf Clausen received an Emmy Award nomination for "Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Dramatic Underscore)" for this episode, which he ultimately lost.[7] The A.V. Club named Comic Book Guy's line "Oh, I've wasted my life" as one of the quotes from The Simpsons that can be used in everyday situations.[8]

References

  1. ^ a b c Martyn, Warren; Wood, Adrian (2000). "Treehouse of Horror VIII". BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/simpsons/episodeguide/season9/page4.shtml. Retrieved 2007-10-24. 
  2. ^ a b "Treehouse of Horror VIII". The Simpsons.com. http://www.thesimpsons.com/episode_guide/0904.htm. Retrieved 2007-10-24. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Scully, Mike. (2006). The Simpsons season 9 DVD commentary for the episode "Treehouse of Horror VIII". [DVD]. 20th Century Fox. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Cohen, David X.. (2006). The Simpsons season 9 DVD commentary for the episode "Treehouse of Horror VIII". [DVD]. 20th Century Fox. 
  5. ^ a b c d Kirkland, Mark. (2006). The Simpsons season 9 DVD commentary for the episode "Treehouse of Horror VIII". [DVD]. 20th Century Fox. 
  6. ^ "Past Golden Reel Awards". MPSE.org. http://www.mpse.org/goldenreels/pastawards.html. Retrieved 2007-10-17. 
  7. ^ "Primetime Emmy Awards Advanced Search". Emmys.org. http://www.emmys.org/awards/awardsearch.php. Retrieved 2007-10-24. 
  8. ^ Bahn, Christopher; Donna Bowman, Josh Modell, Noel Murray, Nathan Rabin, Tasha Robinson, Kyle Ryan, Scott Tobias (2006-04-26). "Beyond "D'oh!": Simpsons Quotes For Everyday Use". The A.V. Club. http://www.avclub.com/content/node/47756/2. Retrieved 2008-08-02. 

External links


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