The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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?Treehouse of Horror XIX:? Simpsons are funnier than ever

When it comes to Halloween and The Simpsons there is a strict matter of history to contend with.

Of the 19 years that the beloved animated sitcom has been airing, it has yet to miss one year without a ‘Treehouse of Horror’ Halloween special.’ Every year the producers and writers somehow always seem to deliver a Halloween special that is witty, topical and laced with satirical reference. ‘Treehouse of Horror XIX,’ airing two days after Halloween, is no exception to these well known standards.

As per usual there are three shorts that parody certain well known movies and fellow Halloween specials.

This year the show starts off with a hilariously all-too-real intro that involves Homer, a rigged electronic voting machine and a bloody ‘I voted’ sticker. Unlike other Halloween episodes that have preceded, this intro comes two days before voters will make a decision that will inevitably affect the entire country. But to have The Simpsons touch on the issue with such comedic force and literal translation is a breath of fresh air.

The first short is a parody of Michael Bay’s blockbuster hit, ‘Transformers.’ The laughter begins with the opening title. At first the title is simply ‘Transformers,’ then it becomes ‘Snort Farmers’ and finally settles on ‘Untitled Robot Parody.’

Any audience member that has seen ‘Transformers’ understands the inherent value that a species of giant fighting robots placed into any cartoon sketch can have. The Simpsons exhaust almost every possible situation that a talking, transforming robot can be involved in, considering the circumstances.’

Those that have seen the film may be able to recall a certain scene where the audience realized that anything, including an Xbox could be transformed into, well a transformer.
In this sketch, writer Matt Warburton exhausts this possibility and allows everything from a ATM machine that shoots money to a nacho machine that cries nacho cheese,’ to transform and wreak havoc on the citizens of Springfield. It may seem a little cliche to use a 2007 blockbuster to wrap a story around. However, it is important to remember it is The Simpsons and this is what they do best; inflicting as much comedic damage as they possibly can on some of the most beloved pop-culture references.

The second short, cryptically titled ‘How to get Ahead in Dead-vertising,’ begins with an intro of a James Bond-ish music sequence, with a silhouette of Homer as James Bond. This may be erroneous but it seemed to have that characteristic twinge of style and suave. There was no real connection to the sketch that followed, rather it was just a stylish way to introduce it.’

Yet another clever and simultaneously haunting Halloween tale of sadistic intent, ‘How to get ahead in advertising’ is the story that exploits Homer’s ability to kill celebrities. This was a talent that was stumbled upon by Homer when he accidentally killed one of Springfield’s most beloved stars. Afterward Homer is approached by advertising moguls and is told that it is legal to use a celebrities likeness in an advertising as long as they are dead; Homer agrees to take the job.

There are certain previous Halloween episodes that come to mind when considering an outrageous idea like killing celebrities for money. The Simpsons have always had the ability to take a totally sinister idea and incorporate the humor in said idea into a childrens Halloween special.

For example, the short ‘Nightmare Cafeteria’ from Treehouse of Horror V involved a lack of food at the Springfield elementary cafeteria and the consumption of detention students to feed the children. This is another gratuitous example of how menacing and simultaneously hilarious The Simpsons can be. ‘How to get ahead in Dead-vertising’ accomplishes this feat in full fashion.

The Simpsons pride themselves on their ability to assert extreme use of parody under special circumstances such as Halloween. Like the ‘Untitled Robot Parody,’ the last sketch has embedded humor in the use of the 1966 Halloween childhood classic, ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”

The use of the Halloween special gives The Simpsons the ability to massage the good-natured values of the Peanuts Halloween special and at the same time assert their high-end sagacious humor that they are so well known for.

From a giant walking, talking pumpkin hell bent on stopping pumpkin atrocities, to Bart giving Lisa burps for a stocking stuffer, to another classic montage using the Talking Heads’ ‘Psycho Killer,’ The Simpsons never cease to amaze the audience. Their ability to still be so clever and methodically original after such a long time is not a surprise, so much as it is a formidable integrity that makes this show one of Americas most adored cartoons.

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