One Last Thing About Treehouse of Horror

Treehouse of Horror V7

“I believe I’ll start, as you’ve so often suggested, by eating your shorts.” – Principal Skinner

Take a good, long look at the image above.  It is one of the best examples of Point #3 – being funny and scary – from that rather sprawling post on Tuesday.  Lunchlady Doris is absolutely covered in blood (children’s blood, at that) and has a look on her face that should be in the dictionary next to “maniacal”.  When this happens, we know that she’s been literally butchering kids, and now she wants to do the same to Bart, Lisa and Milhouse.  But she’s holding and egg beater.  An egg beater!  I don’t think you could hurt someone with an egg beater if you threw it at them. 

Yes, the image is scary, but it’s also patently absurd.  The same scary-funny feeling goes into Willie saying that he’s “bad at this” right after he gets ax murdered for the third time in twenty minutes, Skinner putting on a bib with a school crossing logo on it, and the giant, “Hamilton Beech Student Chopper”.  The situation is dire, but the dialogue and the context are nothing but jokes.  It is a very fine line to walk, especially when you’re dealing with something like kinder-cannibalism, but The Simpsons knew how to walk it.  Even twenty years on, I remain in awe of many of the things this show did.

4 Responses to “One Last Thing About Treehouse of Horror”

  1. 1 Anonymous
    3 November 2011 at 10:42 pm

    You see this and then wonder why the hell the Dexter parody was so tame.

  2. 4 November 2011 at 9:48 am

    Spot on. The giant blender is horrifying, especially with the giant spray of blood right next to it, but you find me someone who doesn’t laugh when Skinner cranks it to ‘gooify.’ This show even made killing children funny.

  3. 3 Cassidy
    4 November 2011 at 2:21 pm

    The commentary for this episode is excellent. David Mirkin talks about how he wanted the episode to be genuinely scary – even terrifying – in addition to being funny. They knew they were walking a very tight line with the censors on this one but Mirkin pushed ahead anyways. It really shows the value of havin a strong vision as a showrunner.

    • 5 November 2011 at 12:40 am

      The commentary is also well worth a listen to hear Matt Groening and David S. Cohen talk about why grade B maple syrup is better than grade A. (“It’s the sweet, sweet ants…”)

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