Posts Tagged ‘The Simpsons’

Dear Indy,

Yes, Harrison, that name will be sticking around and by the time you’re old enough to read this, I assume I’ll have called you it enough times that it won’t be weird or embarrassing. But who cares what other people think, right? Right? Right.15179008_10207740993223781_4279690723091371069_n

Oh, baby boy, you’re only four days old as I’m writing this and I honestly don’t know how the next fours years of your life are going to be. I thought I’d be proud that you would only know a black man and white woman as the President of the United States for the first few years of your life. Now, whenever you look at those God-awful history books they’ll likely try to alter, you’re going to see the face of a neon cheeto smiling smugly at you like he owns the world. He doesn’t, sweetie. He just thinks he does. Trust me when I say, I will and have spent those four years pushing back in every way I can because you deserve better than what this country gave you. You deserve enlightenment, harmony, and peace of mind. You deserve an education. You deserve the freedom to express yourself. You deserve love, sympathy, and empathy in abundance. You deserve the simple basics of humanity. But you have to give it back as well.

You’re white, sweetheart. Shocker, I know. You’re white and you’re a boy/teen/man/gender fluid/undefined (whenever you’re reading this, pick the one that applies), which means you’re still going to have more chances to succeed than your friends in school who are of a different race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or creed. It may not seem like it, but the system you were born into currently favors you above anyone else. People much smarter and braver than your Auntie Sammy are trying to fix that, but progress is always slow so I can’t rightly say this paragraph will be irrelevant by the time you’re reading and comprehension lessons start. I like to err on the side of caution and assume the worst. By now you probably know that and find it to be an endearing quality. Don’t roll your eyes…unless it’s something your grandfather said, then roll away!

The point is you’re going to have a lot more privileges by virtue of the sex and race you were born compared to others. This means you’re obligated to do the following things:

  1. Listen
  2. Learn
  3. Experience
  4. Elevate

First, listen to voices that aren’t your own. Talk to people who aren’t like you. There is so much more to be gained when you offer a sympathetic ear. We’re social creatures, humans, and we’re more inclined to talk and share our experiences, our knowledge, and our wisdom. Trust me, sweetie, I’ve learned more by listening to people on my podcast (which I’m sure is hugely successful!) than any previous endeavor or project. My music, reading lists, movies and television preferences have all been influenced or altered because of the people I’ve talked to and I intend to keep expanding those horizons because it’s the only way to grow.alana-02

Secondly, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to educate yourself. Teachers and school administrations have their own agendas, their own quotas to meet, and that can sour you towards the institutions of higher learning, but believe me when I say that the greatest investment of your time will be in developing your mind. And I’m not just talking about reading a lot of books (we’ll get to that), I’m talking about engaging with the written word; questioning everything and critically thinking your way through the loftier questions. You may not always find the answers you were looking for, but getting there is half of the adventure. The other half is writing a dissertation, but we’re not there yet so we’ll put that on the backburner for now.

Above all else, though, you need to read about the world outside of yourself. It’s easy to retreat and find everything and everyone that’s like you, but it’s important to read about people who aren’t like you, places you’re never been, and things that are completely foreign to you. Read every genre of fiction, non-fiction, plays, and poetry. Read the classics, essays, comic books, and biographies. Read the dictionary. Seriously, read the dictionary. And get a thesaurus. The more words you have available to you the better. Like I said about listening, learning and self-education will do wonders for your ability to understand and empathize with others. It also gives you the confidence and wherewithal to engage others with whom you disagree. Words are powerful weapons, my dear, and I intend to make sure you’re suitably armed.

Thirdly, experience the world. Reading – and probably video games – will only get you so far, my love. The rest is gained by stepping outside your door. Go to the theater, museums, arts and music festivals. Do extra-curricular activities like drama, debate, and one of those sports-ball things. Play an instrument. If you’re anything like the rest of our family you may give up after a year or so, but at least you can say you tried. Eat foods you’ve never eaten before, but don’t rush it since it may take a while before you’re beyond the peanut butter and jelly sandwich only phase. Go hiking, rock climbing, fossil hunting, anything your heart desires as long as it brings you closer to appreciating what you have and what the world has to offer. The more you engage, the more you’ll care about keeping this ball of rock, water, and gas spinning.

Lastly, and most importantly, use your education, your experiences, and your empathy to elevate those who struggle to make their voices heard. Be an ally by giving everyone a chance to contribute and speak up for those who are being drowned out by the din of ignorance. That’s where you can do the most good. And don’t expect a thank you for it. No one is going to throw you a parade (maybe your mom and grandmother) for being decent. Just do what needs to be done because it’s the right thing to do. hyperbole

I know it’s a lot to take in, sweetie. It seems unfair and overwhelming that this burden is being placed on you, but worry not because you come from good stock. Your parents, grandparents, and I are resilient and I firmly believe you will be/are too.

And with that, I leave you with some simple truths that should carry you through the dark and the good times:

  • You are and will always be loved.
  • It’s okay to cry and be sad sometimes and you can always talk to me when you’re feeling blue.
  • Hamilton and Les Misérables are the greatest musicals of all time. Period. Don’t fight me on this.
  • Apples and peanut butter are the best combo snack ever.
  • Grades are important, but not so important that you drive yourself crazy.
  • Han shot first.
  • Sometimes the movie is better than the book. It’s rare, but it happens.
  • The Simpsons was the greatest cartoon of all time until Season 14.
  • Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman.

 

Love,

Auntie Sammy

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I’ve been mulling this one around in my head for some time now, mostly because I wasn’t sure if this was something I necessarily wanted to share with people, but fuck it, a website is nothing if not a platform for narcissism, so here I go!

For my and the preceding generation, The Simpsons was appointment television. At its best, the show lampooned the American Family with a combination of slapstick, satire, and sheer madness. As a kid, watching Homer fall down a canyon a couple times was hilarious. But as a teenager and an adult with a fair amount of education under my belt, references to movies, books(“Here’s the grapes. And here’s the wrath!”), music, history (“We had quitters during the Revolution, too. We called them…Kentuckians.”), and politics made me realize how smart the show was, which made me enjoy the show even more! Though, nowadays, the show makes me chuckle or smile every once and a while, there hasn’t been an episode since about 1998 that’s made me laugh from the gut and instilled in me the desire to quote it relentlessly.

And quote it I do! A lot! Fortunately, I’ve managed to find a group of friends with a similar inclination and nothing makes me happier than walking into a room, speaking the smallest piece of a Simpsons quote and knowing someone’s going to pick it up and finish the quote or laugh their ass off because I’ve reminded them of that particular episode. And thus begins either a discussion of how freakin’ awesome The Simpsons is or a sharing of quotes. Either way, fun to be had by all!

And while I could probably write a whole blog devoted to how great The Simpsons is, that’s not the point of this article. Instead, I’d like to talk about what happened after a viewing of an episode I hadn’t seen in years: Moaning Lisa.

 

The plot, for those who haven’t seen it or those who need a refresher, is split between the A Story and the B Story. In the A Story: Lisa is dealing with an existential crisis. She wakes up and just feels sad, unable to muster even the smallest bit of interest in anything. Unable to express herself and her feelings to her family, she finds an outlet through jazz with the help of Bleeding Gums Murphy. The B Story focuses on Homer’s obsessive competition with Bart over a boxing videogame. The B Story is there to balance out the A Story with a heavy dose of humor because the A Story is especially hard-hitting on an emotional level…at least it was for me this time around.

I don’t watch The Simpsons as religiously as I used to. Though I catch the occasional rerun, I usually have to wait a while until the station gets back to the earlier episodes since I have little interest in watching reruns of the newer seasons. And even then, I tend to avoid the first two seasons of The Simpsons mostly due to the rough animation, which is hard to watch sometimes. However, on this particular night, after a long day at work, I decided to just leave the show on in the background even if it was from the first season.

And I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. From the moment Lisa sighs her way through a day at school, uncaring, searching for an outlet through music only to be squashed creatively by her music teacher to the friendship she forms with Bleeding Gums Murphy, I could not focus on anything but the episode. Something clicked in my head and I felt the deepest and most sincere empathy for Lisa because, at one point in my life, I was just like her.

I’m not saying I was an eight-year-old genius with a talent for music. No, like Lisa, I too experienced undefined sadness. Coupled with some anger issues, my teenage years, let’s say…13 to 19, were not the happiest years of my life. I was fairly sensitive, hadn’t quite formed the thicker skin I sport now, had few if any friends, and some unresolved bullshit from my childhood decided to creep its way into my psyche at the most inopportune moment. Needless to say, there were several days that resulted in me bursting into tears for no apparent reason. And it freaked me out! I have some control issues (okay, a lot!), so a three-day crying jag that had, at the time, no discernable origin did nothing but exacerbate my sadness and anger. And thus, a vicious cycle was formed! And though I am a sensitive control freak, I am similarly, if not more so, stubborn as all hell! So, after a year of therapy and dealing with what was really bothering me head on, I stopped being sad all the time and the anger subsided…somewhat. I became a happier person for it, able to enjoy life more and roll with the punches.

So, with those experiences behind me and learned from, I was shocked at how easily I identified with Lisa and her struggle to find happiness. The episode aired on February 11, 1990, four days after I turned six-years-old, but only now, two decades later, do I truly understand. When Homer tries to tell Lisa to stop playing her saxophone and she bursts into tears simply because she’s sad, my heart ached because I was once Lisa in that moment.

Homer and Marge equally remind me of the struggles of not only my parents, but most parents with a child going through a similar ordeal. Homer attempts to help Lisa the only way he knows how: bouncing her on his knee and trying to wash over her sadness with advice only a father can give to a child experiencing something he doesn’t quite understand. In the same scene mentioned above, when Homer is about to tell Lisa to stop playing her saxophone, when Lisa bursts into unexplained tears the sheer devastation on Homer’s face is heartbreaking. It’s a father who doesn’t know how to help his daughter who’s obviously in pain. And the only thing Homer can do is tell Lisa to keep playing. Marge, though her intentions are good, tries to force Lisa into smiling for the day, hoping that the outside will eventually influence the inside…and take the heat off Marge for maybe being a bad mother according to some advice Mother Bouvier gave her when she too was a sad little girl. But when Marge witnesses how her daughter is mistreated just for being herself, she reneges her earlier advice and says to Lisa:

“Lisa, I apologize to you, I was wrong, I take it all back.  Always be yourself.  If you want to be sad, honey, be sad. We’ll ride it out with you.  And when you get finished feeling sad, we’ll still be there.  From now on, let me do the smiling for both of us.”

It’s the sagest advice any parent can give their child and it reminds me of many conversations I had with my own mother. Never did she tell me to knock it off or suck it up. My mother let me be sad, hopeful and confident that I would figure things out eventually. And I’m all the better for it because I had someone in my corner who understood.

What it boils down to is it’s less about the cartoon and more about the experiences that have shaped me into the person that I am today. Had I not gone through what I went through, I wouldn’t have felt as strongly as I do about the episode. And for a cartoon to create what is essentially the first Lisa-centered episode based around the character’s inherent sadness and struggle for acceptance is gutsy, to say the least.  But it’s satisfying to know that, before the zaniness of later episodes, the creators and writers of The Simpsons wanted Lisa’s perspective to always be slightly left-field of her family, yet still identifiable to the viewing audience. More so, I think, then Bart, Lisa Simpson is iconic for the struggles she faces and more clearly defines the feelings of a generation then her lovable scamp of a brother.

So, there you have it. It’s possible I’m over-thinking the matter or over-analyzing the episode, but it means something to me to share this with others. The fact that The Simpsons can still speak to me as a (mostly) mature adult gives me a greater appreciation for a show that is more than just a cartoon but a mainstay for anyone in need of laughs, wit, and heart.

 

But what about the rest of you out there? Ever come across something and identify with it more as an adult? Thoughts on the Simpsons? Always glad to get feedback!

Originally published at Noise Shark Media

marcia_wallaceIn a very touching moment, The Simpsons paid tribute to the passing of veteran actress, and the voice of Edna Krabappel, Marcia Wallace during the show’s opening chalkboard sequence. A fitting tribute and one worthy of a character very much beloved by many a Simpsons fan. Wallace passed away last month, at the age of 70, from breast cancer, which she’d been fighting for over two decades. As Bart Simpson’s 4th grade teacher for the last 25 years, Wallace turned a stereotypical hardass and embittered teacher into a sympathetic, warm, flawed, and wickedly funny character, winning an Emmy for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance in 1992 for the Season 3 episode “Bart the Lover”, which Fox aired last night in her honor. As The Simpsons grew, so did we along with them. And as we grew up, we began to appreciate characters like Edna Krabappel who became a welcome and necessary part of the rich and colorful residents occupying Springfield.

Though Wallace was already a comedic star in her own right with a supporting role as Carol Kester on The Bob Newhart Show, which was specifically written for her, and various appearances on The Merv Griffin Show, Match Game, Hollywood Squares, Password, $25,000 Pyramid, and To Tell the Truth. She also had numerous guest roles on Bewitched, Murphy Brown, Magnum, P.I., Murder, She Wrote, and Taxi, where she played herself.

Apart from her career as an actress, she was also an active supporter of cancer research and an activist for many cancer groups, lecturing on the importance of early detection.

Not unlike Phil Hartman’s Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz, Marcia Wallace’s Edna Krabappel was one of the great characters of The Simpsons. I know I’ll miss her presence, as will an entire generation who knew her only for this one role. But I like to think that she’s up there somewhere giving the universe a good “HA!”

RIP Marcia Wallace and we really will miss you, Mrs. K.

Chalkboard Tribute

Now a tradition of the long-running series, The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror episodes are often the most anticipated of the season as they mark the return of the show from the summer hiatus and give the writers of the show a chance to tell out of canon stories where literally anything can happen to their characters without any repercussions whatsoever. Beginning in the second season, Treehouse of Horror is typically an anthology episode consisting of three different stories steeped in horror tropes, the macabre, and Twilight Zone style twists. While the episodes, in the early years, used to have a framing device that sort of justified the off-kilter tales, later seasons just jumped into the stories proper.

So, in keeping with this Halloween animation theme I seem to have going today, I thought I’d give you my 13 favorite Treehouse of Horror segments. Why 13? Do you really have to ask?

But it wouldn’t be The Simpsons without the requisite couch gag, so here’s one directed by one of the masters of the macabre, Guillermo Del Toro. Try to see how many characters, directors, writers, and concepts you can pick out!

#13 – “Wiz Kids” – Treehouse of Horror XIIwizkids

Capitalizing on the Harry Potter craze, and even including a caricature of Potter chewing on some brimstone, Lisa and Bart are young wizards at Springwart’s School of Magicry where, surprise, surprise, Lisa is the star pupil capable of performing every spell perfectly. Bart, unfortunately, can barely manage to turn a toad into a prince, resulting in a creature that just needs to be put out of its misery. Seduced by the power offered by the evil Montymort and his pet snake Slithers, Bart agrees to sabotage Lisa’s demonstration of the “levitating dragon trick”, swapping her wand for a Twizzler. The trick gone awry, the dragon turns into Montymort who starts to absorb Lisa’s power causing Bart to have a change of heart and stab Montymort in the ankle with Lisa’s wand, which just so happens to be the dark sorcerer’s weak spot. In the end, Lisa and Bart patch things up and all is well.

#12 – “The Island of Dr. Hibbert” – Treehouse of Horror XIIIislandofdrhibbert

Based on The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells, the Simpsons are vacationing on “The Island of Lost Souls” and discover that Dr. Hibbert is running the resort, presumably to stay out of sight after rumors that he’d gone mad. It doesn’t take long for Marge to realize something might be amiss (especially when the family dines on a turkey who looks suspiciously like Prof. Frink) and goes to investigate only to find herself caught and genetically mutated into a cat woman. The rest of the episode is essentially based around the visual gags of all the residents of Springfield in their animal forms: Homer a walrus, Bart a spider, Lisa an eagle, Maggie an anteater, Flanders a cow-centaur, etc. In the end, they’re pretty much happy being animals and embrace the lifestyle on the island.

#11 – “Desperately Xeeking Xena” – Treehouse of Horror XXena

When a freak Halloween candy x-ray accident occurs, Bart and Lisa develop superpowers; Bart the ability to stretch every part of his body and Lisa super strength. The only possible course of action? Become the superheroes Stretch Dude and Clobber Girl. Elsewhere, Lucy Lawless (dressed as Xena) addresses a group of nerds at a convention and dodges all questions of continuity errors with the brilliant line, “A wizard did it.” In the midst of the convention, Lawless is kidnapped by Comic Book Guy, calling himself The Collector, who seeks to preserve Lawless along with several other celebrity figures. Lisa and Bart come to Lawless’s rescue, but find themselves captured as well. Only by feigning interest in The Collector does Lawless get the upper hand, punching him to the point that he removes his limited edition lightsaber from its original packaging, thus destroying its value. Stunned, he accidentally falls into a vat of Lucite with just enough time to strike a dramatic pose before the chemical encases him forever. With everyone safe, Lawless picks up Bart and Lisa and flies them home, prompting Lisa to point out that Xena can’t fly, to which Lawless proclaims she’s not Xena, she’s Lucy Lawless. Makes perfect sense.

#10 – “Easy Bake Coven” – Treehouse of Horror VIIIeasybakecoven

During the 1600s, Springfield fell pray to the same practices of Salem, accusing various people of being witches with an impressive body count. During a church meeting to decide who to condemn next, Marge attempts to talk sense to the congregation and is accused of being a witch herself. Told to jump from a cliff to prove her innocence, it turns out that Marge is actually a witch and upon her discovery returns to her wicked sister Patty and Selma. Falling back on her witchy ways, the sisters start going around the village collecting children to eat. Only after Maude Flanders offers them gingerbread men in exchange for the lives of Rod and Tod do the witches think treats are better than eating children. A year later and the tradition is set, with the occasional accusation of witchcraft still used sparingly. Serves you right, Lisa, for pointing out the obvious!

#9 – “Night of the Dolphin” – Treehouse of Horror XInightofthedolphin

When Lisa’s compassion for animals drives her to free Snorky the dolphin from the local water park, she unknowingly brings about a war between dolphins and man. Snorky is, in fact, king of the dolphins and organizes his subjects to attack the surface world. When Snorky interrupts a town meeting following a series of water-based murders, he banishes humans to the sea. Outnumbered by the dolphins, the residents of Springfield are resigned to their punishment until Lisa is bitten by a baby dolphin and Homer discovers that punching dolphins is an adequate defense. Unfortunately, the townsfolk still find themselves banished to the sea because the dolphins, “just wanted it more.”

#8 – “Nightmare Cafeteria” – Treehouse of Horror Vnightmarecafeteria

A parody of Soylent Green, when detention appears to be getting overcrowded with students, Skinner approves using the overflow of children as a substitute meat product in the cafeteria. With the student body decreasing as the teaching staff grows fat from consuming their charges, it’s down to Bart, Lisa, and Milhouse who’re chased through the horrifically changed school by the ravenous teachers. In a hilarious use of meta-humor, Bart points out that there’s no way any of them could die right before Milhouse falls into a giant blender. Amending his statement, Bart is then confident that nothing could happen to the Simpson children…until he and Lisa also fall to their deaths.

#7 – “Dial ‘Z’ for Zombies” – Treehouse of Horror IIIzforzombie

Looking for material to do a book report, Bart stumbles upon a book of black magic in the “Occult Section” of the Springfield Elementary Library. Later that evening, Bart offers to resurrect Lisa’s beloved Snowball I from the Pet Cemetery when he spies her lamenting the loss of her cat. Uttering an incantation at Snowball’s grave, Bart accidentally raises the dead in the regular cemetery who proceed to run amok in the town, turning many of its citizens into zombies. When Lisa posits that the library must have a counter spell, the Simpsons attempt to brave the zombie horde to end the curse. Along the way, Homer gets to use his trusty shotgun to shoot anything that gets in their way, including Flanders…who turns out to have actually been a zombie. Not unlike George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1978), “Dial ‘Z’ for Zombies” ends on a satirical note with the town cured and the family sitting in front of the television staring blankly into the screen. It was honestly a toss-up between this segment and “The Fright to Creep and Scare Harms”, but this one edged it out mostly for Homer shooting Flanders for non-zombie related reasons and the sequence where the zombies attempt to eat Homer’s brain, but find him wanting.

#6 – “Bart Simpson’s Dracula” – Treehouse of Horror IVBart_Simpson's_Dracula_52

Invited to Mr. Burn’s castle in Pennsylvania for dinner, the Simpsons are greeted by their host who’s taken on a very vampiric look, an homage of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, for the evening. Exploring the place Bart and Lisa discover Burns’ secret – he’s a vampire. Trying to escape, Bart is bitten and begins to exhibit signs that he’s also been turned into a vampire. Floating outside your sister’s window with all your recently turned friends is a pretty good sign, I think. About to bite Lisa, Homer and Marge walk in and realize he’s a vampire, leading the family to storm Burns’ castle to kill him and end the curse. The twist ending is probably one of my favorites as it’s so random you can’t help but laugh. While this segment is a big favorite of mine, this is also one of the segments my mother adores purely based on the staking gag. It’s The Simpsons at their best, defying your expectation of what’s actually happening as Homer stakes Mr. Burns only for Lisa to point out that he’s been staking Burns’ crotch.

#5 – “Hungry Are the Damned” – Treehouse of Horror I/”The Shinning” – Treehouse of Horror Vtheshinning

A bit of a cheat, but the more I thought about it, there are just so many segments to choose from that narrowing it down gets a lot harder once it comes down to the top five. “Hungry Are the Damned” is an homage of To Serve Man, a short story by Damon Knight later adapted into an episode of The Twilight Zone. Instead of the aliens (the first appearance of Kang and Kodos) trying to eat them, Lisa becomes the villain when she accuses them of trying to fatten them up for slaughter based on a rather dusty cookbook cover that uses the play on words gag of the source material and milks it for all it’s worth. “The Shinning”, is a pitch perfect parody of Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining. house sitting for Mr. Burns, Homer is denied the two things he needs in life: beer and television. Without them, he goes “something, something”, reenacting the intense chase sequence from Kubrick’s movie. Only with Bart’s “shinning” is the family saved when Groundskeeper Willie arrives and stops Homer’s insanity when his portable television drops into the snow. The family gathers around the tv and freezes together…until the Tony Awards come on.

#4 – “Citizen Kang” – Treehouse of Horror VIIkang and kodos

Not only is this a great Invasion of the Body Snatchers parody, but it’s also a ridiculously funny political satire as Kang and Kodos return to run for political office by replacing then candidates Pres. Bill Clinton and Sen. Bob Dole. Learning to navigate the fickle political crowd, the two are eventually revealed by Homer to the American people. But because of the two-party system’s dominance over the political sphere, people are literally voting for the lesser of two evils, which is still pretty damn evil. Like I said, this segment is more political satire with aliens in it, but it has some of the best lines. When a cartoon can make you laugh at an abortion joke, you know they’re doing something right. There’s also the wonderfully trite statement of “Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos,” that tends to pop up every election year since.

#3 – “The Devil and Homer Simpson” – Treehouse of Horror IVdevilandhomer

A parody of The Devil and Daniel Webster, Homer makes a deal with The Devil, who ironically happens to be Flanders, to exchange his soul for a doughnut. Discovering that only by finishing the treat does the deal stand, Homer thinks he’s found the ultimate loophole. Homer being Homer, however, he quickly consumes the rest of the forbidden doughnut and earns his ticket down stairs. Marge, trying to save her husband, asks for a trial in which Homer is judged by the most vile fiends of Hell. With Lionel Hutz defending Homer, Marge reveals that he’d already given his soul away when he married her, thus the deal is null and void. The Devil concedes but only after leaving Homer with a reminder of their twisted arrangement. Another segment packed with jokes, the best sequence is Homer’s stay in Hell while Marge puts the trial together. Hell may revel in their ironic punishments, but there isn’t a doughnut Homer won’t eat and watching the demon’s expression turn from evil glee to confusion in the span of a time fade is hilarious. And it’s always nice to hear the late Phil Hartman’s voice as the inept Lionel Hutz.

#2 – “The Raven” – Treehouse of Horror IThe Raven

An absolute must read for any fan of the macabre and horror, Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” has endured not just because of its infectious rhyme scheme but also the imagery it conjures up of a man tortured by the presence of a raven in his study as he mourns the loss of his wife. Many interpretations have been made, but The Simpsons manage to strike the right balance of paying homage to the source material while also having some fun with it. Having James Earl Jones narrate the piece gives it gravitas, but there’s something to be said for hearing Homer spout Poe’s words in his own particular way that’s hilarious no matter what.

#1 – “Clown Without Pity” – Treehouse of Horror IIIkrusty doll

Hands down, this is my favorite segment of any Treehouse of Horror episode. Joke for joke, it all works when Homer buys a talking Krusty the Klown doll for Bart’s birthday from The House of Evil. Blowing off the warnings of the shop owner in regards to the doll being evil (as well as a fantastic exchange over frogurt), everything seems fine until the doll makes several attempts to kill Homer. After Marge calls a hotline, a repairman is sent and points out that the doll’s switch had been set to “evil”. Switching it to “good”, the doll becomes friendly and complacent, which Homer takes advantage of, making the Krusty doll his slave. The episode ends with the Krusty doll coming home from a hard day of work serving Homer to Lisa’s Malibu Stacy doll in her dream house. It’s a mundane end to a segment that’s anything but.

So those are my 13 Favorite Treehouse of Horror segments. What are your favorites and how would you rank them?

Here’s a little hint of what you can expect from The Maniacal Geek. Trying to “officially” launch on Halloween because why not? Anyway, enjoy some maniacal laughter from my favorite sociopath: Sideshow Bob.