Treehouse of Horror XIX: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Treehouse of Horror XIX"
The Simpsons episode
Treehouse of Horror XIX.jpg
Episode no. 424
Prod. code KABF16[1]
Orig. airdate November 2, 2008
Show runner(s) Al Jean
Written by Matt Warburton
Directed by Bob Anderson

"Treehouse of Horror XIX" is the fourth episode of the twentieth season of The Simpsons. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 2, 2008. The nineteenth Treehouse of Horror episode, it contains three self-contained segments: in "Untitled Robot Parody", Transformer robots battle in Springfield; in "How to Get Ahead in Dead-Vertising", Homer starts killing celebrities so that they can be used in commercials free of charge; and "It's the Grand Pumpkin, Milhouse" is a parody of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown where the Grand Pumpkin goes on a rampage. It was written by Matt Warburton and directed by Bob Anderson.

A total of 12.48 million viewers tuned in to watch during its first airing, more than any other episode since "The Wife Aquatic". The episode received mixed reviews from critics, who generally regarded "It's the Grand Pumpkin, Milhouse" as the best segment. Shortly after airing, the episode was criticized by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) because a character (Nelson Muntz) casually uses the adjective "gay" to describe something bad.



Opening Sequence

In the opening scene, Homer tries to vote for Democratic Senator Barack Obama in the 2008 American presidential election. However, the voting machine is rigged to turn his vote into one for Republican Senator John McCain. After six attempts to vote, Homer heads out to report the mishap but the machine sucks him in and kills him.

Untitled Robot Parody

Bart buys Lisa a Malibu Stacy convertible as a Christmas present. However, the car turns out to be a Transformer. It is then revealed that all of the technology in Springfield are in fact, robots, and wage war with each other, costing Springfield a great amount of damage. Just as the Transformer and his archenemy prepare to do battle, Marge asks why the robots war with one another; however, they don't even remember. Thanking Marge, the two sides declare that they will work together to conquer the human race, and use the residents of Springfield in a game of table football.

How to Get Ahead in Dead-Vertising

Homer takes Maggie to a daycare and encourages her to enjoy a mural featuring Krusty the Clown to make her feel better while she is away from her parents. Krusty arrives to have the images of his face sandblasted from the mural, as his likeness is trademarked and used without his permission. This upsets Maggie and an outraged Homer shoves Krusty in retaliation, sending him flying into a wood chipper where he is shredded. Homer is later approached by businessmen who have heard of his deed and explain that the likenesses of dead celebrities can be put in commercials for free. They manage to convince Homer to start killing celebrities, and he kills several, including George Clooney, Prince, and Neil Armstrong. In heaven, the dead celebrities are outraged by these exploits. Krusty convinces the dead celebrities to descend from heaven and stage an attack upon all those who benefited from their deaths, striking in the midst of one of Homer's parties. Krusty kills Homer by blowing his head off with a shotgun. However, Homer gets revenge by locking the celebrities out of heaven before they return. It was implied that Abraham Lincoln is gay in heaven.

It's the Grand Pumpkin, Milhouse

Milhouse waits in a pumpkin patch for the Grand Pumpkin on Halloween (which Bart made up) and Lisa decides to stay with him. After Lisa sees everyone at school having a Halloween party, she grows tired of waiting and leaves in frustration. Milhouse starts to cry and his tears and childlike belief bring the Grand Pumpkin to life. However, the Pumpkin is appalled to find that his kindred pumpkins are being carved up on Halloween and made into pumpkin bread (originally thinking it was bread especially made for pumpkins until Milhouse revealed it's made from them), and vows revenge. He devours Homer as he carves a pumpkin, then marches to the school and eats Nelson who threatens to stab another pumpkin, then eats Groundskeeper Willie after being offered roasted pumpkin seeds. Realizing that Milhouse can bring things to life by believing in them, Lisa tells him about "Tom Turkey," a symbol of Thanksgiving. Milhouse starts to believe in Tom Turkey, who comes to life and kills the Grand Pumpkin, freeing everyone he ate. However, when Tom Turkey learns that people eat turkeys on Thanksgiving from Bart, he vows revenge and starts angrily chasing children around the school, devouring some of them whole.

Ending Sequence

As Tom Turkey vengefully chases the children, Marge wishes happy holidays to the viewers, and blows her trombone.


The opening segment of the episode, which was leaked onto the internet weeks before the episode aired,[2] features Homer voting for Barack Obama. Rather than taking sides in the election, Al Jean says it is "mostly a comment on what many people to believe to be the irregularities in our voting system.[sic]"[3] "Untitled Robot Parody" is modeled on the live action Transformers film, rather than the cartoon.[4] Al Jean said it was "just really fun to do transformations [and] you can see why they enjoyed doing that film."[4] "How to Get Ahead in Dead-Vertising" featured a parody of the title sequence of Mad Men. Jean was a fan of the series and pitched the scene.[5]

The final segment is based on the Halloween cartoon It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. It could not be titled "It's the Great Pumpkin, Milhouse" to exactly match its namesake because of a "big legal issue", according to Al Jean.[6] However, the characters were redesigned to resemble the style of Peanuts, and they also obtained rights to use Vince Guaraldi's music.[4]

Cultural references

The first segment of the episode is a parody of Transformers.[7] The second segment features a parody of the opening of Mad Men and Homer kills several celebrities, including Prince, George Clooney, and Neil Armstrong, set to the song "Psycho Killer" by Talking Heads.[8][9]

The final segment, "It's the Grand Pumpkin, Milhouse" is a parody of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and contains several references to the Peanuts series. In the segment, Milhouse wears the same clothes and plays the same role as Linus van Pelt. Lisa is modelled after Sally Brown and Bart looks like Charlie Brown, he even says "good grief", echoing Charlie Brown's catchphrase. A redesigned version of Santa's Little Helper can be seen sleeping on top of his dog house and Homer is seen sleeping on top of his house in a manner similar to Snoopy.[10] When Marge first speaks, she uses a muted trombone. This is a parody of the "wah wah wah" voice that is used for adults in the various Peanuts specials.[11] Milhouse' prayer to the Grand Pumpkin is similar to the Nicene Creed.[12] The dance scene during the Halloween party is a parody of the dance scene in A Charlie Brown Christmas right down to Kang and Kodos in a nonspeaking cameo as the twins 3 and 4.[13]


In its initial airing, the episode was viewed in 12.48 million homes and achieved a 4.9 Nielsen rating.[14] It was the highest rated episode of the night in the 18–49 demographic, the sixteenth highest rated show of the week, and the fourth highest rated on Fox after two airings of the World Series and House. It was the highest rated episode since season 18's "The Wife Aquatic".[7]

"Treehouse of Horror XIX" received mixed reviews from critics. Rick Bentley of the Seattle Times described it as a "paint-by-numbers episode".[13] Robert Canning of IGN gave the episode a 7.9/10, calling it "funny, entertaining and even nostalgic [which] only makes this yearly tradition that much better."[9]

"It's the Grand Pumpkin, Milhouse" was regarded by reviewers as the best segment in the episode. Canning wrote, "this segment may not be all that gory, but it's funny and, quite honestly, it will just make you feel good",[9] and Bentley described it as "a dead-on comedy assault of the Charlie Brown animated Halloween special."[13] Rob Owen of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette concurred, writing that it "succeeds because it offers sly cultural commentary."[12] Show Patrol wrote "The nostalgia factor makes “Grand Pumpkin” the best of these amusing bits for me, but they all lack that trademark “Simpsons” brand of satirical smartness."[8] Hal Boedecker of the Orlando Sentinel gave the episode a 4/5 and called the final segment a "witty parody of Charlie Brown's Halloween classic. [...] The best gag, though, is a subtle one. Marge plays a trombone, a loving salute to the way the Peanuts specials portrayed adult voices."[15]

Director Bob Anderson received an Annie Award nomination for "Best Directing in an Animated Television Production" but lost to Avatar: The Last Airbender.[16]


The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), which was in the middle of running a campaign to prevent casual use of the adjective "gay", criticized Nelson Muntz's line "the Grand Pumpkin is super gay". A spokesperson for the GLSEN said "many people say gay without even realizing what they're saying is bad, we're trying to educate people that this is a term that is hurtful to young people when used in a negative way."[17] The spokesperson added, "Nelson should send an apologetic e-card to Milhouse."[18] Several similar jokes have been made throughout the series without controversy.[19]


  1. ^ "Listings - SIMPSONS, THE on FOX". The Futon Critic. 2008-10-11. Retrieved 2008-10-11. 
  2. ^ Stelter, Brian (2008-10-02). "D’oh-Bama". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-22. 
  3. ^ MacIntyre, April (2008-09-25). "'The Simpsons' Al Jean interview, new season begins September 28". Monsters and Critics. Retrieved 2008-10-22. 
  4. ^ a b c Topel, Fred (2008-09-10). "Simpsons Parodies Transformers". Sci Fi Wire. Retrieved 2008-09-10. 
  5. ^ Elber, Lynn (2008-10-23). "'Mad Men' makes a splash bigger than its ratings". Associated Press. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  6. ^ Fickett, Travis (2008-07-15). "Fox Animation: The Future and Beyond". IGN. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  7. ^ a b "Ratings: Obama's ad, World Series clincher top the week". Entertainment Weekly. 2008-11-04. Retrieved 2008-11-17. 
  8. ^ a b "Simpsons' latest 'Treehouse' is less witty, but still worth visiting". Show Patrol. 2008-10-30. Retrieved 2008-10-31. 
  9. ^ a b c Canning, Robert (2008-10-31). "The Simpsons: "Treehouse of Horror XIX" Review". IGN. Retrieved 2008-10-31. 
  10. ^ Vejvoda, Jim (2008-07-26). "SDCC 08: Simpsons Footage Screened". IGN. Retrieved 2008-11-17. 
  11. ^ Ponywether, Ariel (2008-11-03). "Review -- The Simpsons: "Treehouse of Horror XIX"". Firefox. Retrieved 2008-11-17. 
  12. ^ a b Owen, Rob (2008-10-31). "Another visit to the Simpsons' 'Treehouse of Horror'". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2008-10-31. 
  13. ^ a b c Bentley, Rick (2008-10-31). "A mixed bag of parody on "Simpsons Treehouse of Terror XIX"". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2008-10-31. 
  14. ^ "TV Ratings: NFL, 'Simpsons' Lead the Way Sunday". Zap2it. 2008-11-03.,0,221827.story. Retrieved 2008-11-03. 
  15. ^ Boedecker, Hal (2008). "'Simpsons' offers us another Halloween morsel". Orlando Sentinel.,0,481984.story. Retrieved 2008-11-04. 
  16. ^ "2008 Annie Award Nominations by Category". Annie Awards. Retrieved 2008-12-01. 
  17. ^ Grossberg, Josh (2008-11-04). "D'oh! Simpsons Under Fire for Gay Crack". E!. Retrieved 2008-11-04. 
  18. ^ "Nelson Owes Milhouse Apology for "Gay" Slur". TMZ. 2008-11-04. Retrieved 2008-11-04. 
  19. ^ Sassone, Bob. "Gay group mad at The Simpsons". TV Squad. Retrieved 2008-11-17. 

External links

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address