Treehouse of Horror VII

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"Treehouse of Horror VII"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no. 154
Production code 4F02
Original air date October 27, 1996
Showrunner(s) Bill Oakley &
Josh Weinstein
Written by Ken Keeler
Dan Greaney
David S. Cohen
Directed by Mike B. Anderson
Couch gag The Grim Reaper is on the couch. The family runs in, but keel over and die one by one. The Reaper then puts his feet up on the corpses of the Simpson family as a footstool.[1]
Guest star(s) Phil Hartman as Bill Clinton
DVD
commentary
Matt Groening
Josh Weinstein
David S. Cohen
Dan Greaney
Ken Keeler
Dan Castellaneta
Mike B. Anderson

"Treehouse of Horror VII" is the first episode of The Simpsons' eighth season and originally aired October 27, 1996.[2] In the seventh annual "Treehouse of Horror" episode, Bart discovers his long-lost twin, Lisa grows a colony of small beings and Kang and Kodos impersonate Bill Clinton and Bob Dole in order to win the 1996 Presidential election. It was written by Ken Keeler, Dan Greaney and David S. Cohen and directed by Mike B. Anderson.[1] Phil Hartman provided the voice of Clinton.[1]

Plot[edit]

The Thing and I[edit]

Bart and Lisa begin to hear strange noises and think that there is something in the attic. Homer claims not to know what they are talking about, although he is later seen grabbing a bucket of fish heads and heading into the attic. Bart and Lisa investigate and find out that there really is a monster. Homer and Marge go into the attic and Homer says "oh no, it escaped". Marge immediately calls Dr. Hibbert and he explains that Bart had a conjoined twin brother named Hugo. The two were separated at birth, but it was discovered that Hugo was too evil to live in society, so the Simpsons did the "only humane thing to do": Hugo was chained in the attic, where Homer fed him a platter of fish-heads once a week. The rest of the family leaves to find Hugo, leaving Bart behind, but he soon discovers that Hugo never left the house. Hugo takes Bart up to the attic and ties Bart up so that he can reattach himself. Suddenly, Dr. Hibbert finds them and knocks out Hugo, commenting that the evil twin is always on the left side. But then he realizes that Hugo's scar is on the wrong side and that Bart is the evil twin. In a failed attempt to correct their wrong, Dr. Hibbert and the Simpson family sit down to a turkey dinner with Hugo, leaving Bart locked up in the attic eating fish heads.

The Genesis Tub[edit]

In a parody of the Twilight Zone episode, The Little People, Lisa performs a science experiment to see if cola will dissolve a tooth and Bart shocks Lisa as part of his project to prove that nerds conduct electricity. The tooth was also shocked and it undergoes an unusual reaction and creates a race of miniature beings. Lisa discovers this the next day and marvels at how the people in her universe evolve at a rapid rate, going through the various ages humans have gone through into modern times and eventually, a society more advanced than current humanity. Bart destroys some of the ecosystem in Lisa's tub universe and the people respond, sending a squadron of space ships to attack Bart, who vows revenge on the small universe as Lisa wonders what to do. Suddenly, she is shrunk and beamed down into the tub where the citizens explain that they regard her as God and they want her to do something about Bart, whom they regard as the Devil. She says that she can help them if they can unshrink her, but they tell her that they have not figured out the technology to do that; this angers her, since they should have had both technologies figured out before shrinking her. At the same time, Bart grabs the tub and submits it in the science fair and Lisa is forced to watch from within as Bart wins first prize. Realizing that she is now stuck in the small universe forever and having somehow lost her slippers, the very bitter Lisa orders her citizens to grovel and bring her some shoes, with one of the citizens adding that he will get some socks for her too.

Citizen Kang[edit]

While fishing, Homer is abducted by the aliens Kang and Kodos. When they demand that Homer point them towards Earth's leader, Homer tells them about the then-upcoming election and that the winner could be either Bill Clinton or Bob Dole. Kang and Kodos kidnap both Dole and Clinton, placing them in suspended animation tubes. Kang and Kodos take on their forms to ensure that one of them will become the next leader. Before returning Homer to Earth, the aliens soak him in rum so nobody will believe him. As the election nears, the imposter candidates are seen to be acting strangely, such as holding hands in public and making bizarre declarations. Later on, Homer stumbles upon the badly hidden spaceship and tries to save the real Dole and Clinton, with both candidates agreeing they should join forces to defeat the aliens; however, Homer accidentally ejects them into space, killing them. On the day before the election, Homer crashes the spaceship into the Capitol and successfully reveals the candidates' real identities. However, despite being exposed, Kang and Kodos declare to the people that they have to choose between one of them because "it's a two-party system" since it's too late to get new candidates. One man in the crowd announces that he will vote for a third-party candidate, but Kang and Kodos tell him it would be meaningless. As such, Kang is subsequently elected President and quickly enslaves all of humanity into building a giant ray gun to aim at an unknown planet, while Homer smugly states that at least he voted for Kodos.

Production[edit]

Mike B. Anderson (pictured) directed the episode

The episode does not feature any wraparound segments, which are normally used in Treehouse of Horror episodes. The wraparounds had been cut from the previous year's episode, so the writers did not bother writing one for this episode.[3] "The Thing and I" was written by Ken Keeler,[4] "The Genesis Tub" was written by Dan Greaney[5] and "Citizen Kang" was written by David X. Cohen.[6] Despite the similarities, "The Thing and I" was not based on the plot of Basket Case.[4] "The Genesis Tub" was originally pitched by Cohen[6] and it was later referenced in the South Park episode "Simpsons Already Did It", when they pointed out that The Simpsons had earlier gotten the idea from the 1962 Twilight Zone episode called "The Little People."[7] The sequence where tiny spaceships attack Bart in "The Genesis Tub" marks one of the first uses of computers in The Simpsons animation. The computer was used to build models for reference and the animators later retraced it.[7] The 1996 Presidential election occurred a few days after the airing of this episode.[6] According to Cohen, the "Citizen Kang" short violated every rule of The Simpsons as it locked the episode in one time and named specific candidates.[3]

Cultural references[edit]

Homer sings "Fish Heads", a song by Barnes & Barnes, during "The Thing and I".[8] Homer crashing the flying saucer into Capitol dome is a nod to Earth vs. the Flying Saucers.[6]

Reception[edit]

In its original broadcast, "Treehouse of Horror VII" finished 31st in ratings for the week of October 21–27, 1996, with a Nielsen rating of 10.5, equivalent to approximately 10.2 million viewing households. It was the third highest-rated show on the Fox network that week, following Millennium and The X-Files.[9]

In 2006, IGN.com voted "Citizen Kang" as the seventh best segment of the Treehouse of Horror episodes.[10] Kang/Bob Dole's line "Abortions for some, miniature American flags for others!" was named one of the best lines in the history of the show by the A.V. Club.[11] The ska band named I Voted for Kodos takes its name from Homer's line "Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos", at the end of "Citizen Kang".[3] In a 2000 Entertainment Weekly article, Matt Groening ranked it as his seventh favorite in the history of the show.[12] "We've reached the limits of what rectal probing can teach us" is one of Matt Groening's favorite lines.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Treehouse of Horror VII BBC.co.uk. Retrieved on March 28, 2007
  2. ^ "Treehouse of Horror VII" The Simpsons.com. Retrieved on March 28, 2007
  3. ^ a b c Weinstein, Josh (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode "Treehouse of Horror VII" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  4. ^ a b Keeler, Ken (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode "Treehouse of Horror VII" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  5. ^ Greaney, Dan (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode "Treehouse of Horror VII" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  6. ^ a b c d Cohen, David X. (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode "Treehouse of Horror VII" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  7. ^ a b Anderson, Mike B. (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode "Treehouse of Horror VII" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  8. ^ Castellaneta, Dan (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode "Treehouse of Horror VII" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  9. ^ Associated Press (October 31, 1996). "World series makes Fox a champ". Sun-Sentinel. p. 4E. 
  10. ^ Goldman, Eric; Iverson, Dan; Zoromski, Brian (2006-10-30). "Top 10 Segments from The Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror". IGN. Retrieved 2007-03-30. 
  11. ^ 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. Retrieved 2006-07-03. 
  12. ^ Snierson, Dan (2000-01-14). "Springfield of Dreams". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2007-03-30. 
  13. ^ Groening, Matt (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode "Treehouse of Horror VII" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 

External links[edit]