Treehouse of Horror XV
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|"Treehouse of Horror XV"|
|The Simpsons episode|
|Promotional image for the episode's second segment|
|Orig. airdate||November 7, 2004|
|Showrunner(s)||Al "Death Machine" Jean|
|Written by||Bill Odenkirk|
|Directed by||The Tell-Tale Silverman|
"Treehouse of Horror XV" is the first episode of Season 16 and also the fifteenth Halloween episode of The Simpsons, originally aired on the Fox network on November 7, 2004, one week after Halloween in the US, the latest any Halloween episode has ever aired. In this year's installment, Ned Flanders' head injury gives him the power to predict doom in "The Ned Zone," Bart and Lisa play detective when a string of Victorian-era prostitutes are murdered by a ripper in "Four Beheadings and a Funeral," and The Simpsons go on a fantastic voyage inside Mr. Burns' body to save Maggie in "In the Belly of the Boss." 11.29 million people watched this episode on its first airing on Fox.
Because of the brutal violence against women and scenes depicting opium smoking (including a scene where a child character is shown smoking opium) in "Four Beheadings and a Funeral," this episode has been given an "M" rating in Australia. In the U.S., this episode was given a TV-14 rating (for the same reasons) for the first time since season ten's "Treehouse of Horror IX" (which was given a TV-14 rating for the bleeped out offensive language in "Starship Poopers" and the brutal violence in "Hell Toupee" and "Terror in Tiny Toon").
Kang and Kodos star in a fictional sitcom, entitled Keepin' it Kodos. In it, Kodos is preparing their boss' visit by cooking dinner: Homer, on a baking tray (continually eating himself), Bart, on a fryer, Marge and Maggie in a pie, and Lisa in a soup. The boss gives the meal a delicious rating, but ends up liberating Bart, and gives Kang and Kodos a hyper-galactic promotion, much to the aliens' delight. Bart is sad about the loss of his parents and younger siblings, but Kang and Kodos adopt him. The theme song from Perfect Strangers plays as the Treehouse of Horror logo appears on the screen; an alien tentacle stamps the "XV" underneath which makes it say, "Treehouse of Horror XV" in the fashion of the Mark VII Productions company logo.
The Ned Zone
In a parody of the 1983 horror thriller film, The Dead Zone, while trying to get his frisbee from the roof, Homer throws a bowling ball onto the roof, which rolls off to the side, and strikes a passing Ned on the head. When Ned recovers in Dr. Hibbert's hospital, he has a vision of Dr. Hibbert falling out of a window to his death, which causes him distress. Homer then asks Hibbert to retrieve his frisbee from a ledge on the hospital, to which he reluctantly agrees to do, ironically saying it would be the last time he did so. As he reaches for the ledge, he slips out of the window as to Ned's horror, his vision comes true. Ned realizes that he can see the deaths of people whom he touches. After he gets out of the hospital, he attempts to save Hans Moleman from falling down but when he touches Hans, has a vision of him getting chewed up by American alligators. In shock, he drops Moleman – right into an open manhole full of alligators. Soon after, he also predicts the closing of the Rosie O'Donnell Musical, but he "didn't need special powers to know that was coming!"
A later vision depicts him shooting Homer; when Homer finds out, he taunts Ned and even gives him Chief Wiggum's gun to shoot him with, and says he could not even shoot him by accident. No matter what Homer does, Ned refrains from shooting Homer, and realizes he has changed the future, but then has another vision, this time of Homer blowing up Springfield by pressing the 'Core Destruct' button at the nuclear power plant. Ned tries to dissuade Homer from going to work, but Homer goes anyway because of ice cream cake for Lenny's birthday. Ned rushes to the power plant to stop Homer, but his warning is scrambled by static over the intercom, sounding as if he is encouraging Homer to press the button. In desperation, Ned grabs a nearby security guard's gun and forces himself to shoot Homer (thereby fulfilling the original prediction); but in his death throes, Homer presses the destruct button with his tongue. Ned has enough time to say "You stupid son of a..." before the power plant explodes and Springfield is destroyed. Ned, The Simpsons, and their garage (which Homer was assigned to clean, leading Marge to believe he blew up the town specifically to get out of doing so) go to Heaven as angels and meet God (again), who proceeds to give Homer "what he deserves" – his Frisbee.
Four Beheadings and a Funeral
In a parody of the 1976 German thriller film, Jack the Ripper, in 1890 London, the city's prostitutes are being killed with swords in a series of unsolved murders by "The Muttonchop Murderer". Scotland Yard's Inspector Wiggum challenges Master Detective Eliza Simpson and her easily-amazed assistant Dr. Bartley to solve the crime. Their first piece of evidence is a bloody sword found by a "proper-Cockney flower girl." Simpson takes the sword to an oddities merchant, who recognizes the sword as part of a set he had sold, called The Seven Swords of Osiris. He goes to check his records to see who he sold the swords to, but is killed by the Muttonchop Murderer. Looking at the ledger, Simpson and Bartley discover the swords were sold to C. Ebenezer Burns, an evil industrialist who makes coal out of babies. Bartley knows where to find Burns and tracks him down at Mao's Den of Inequity, an opium den. Burns instantly recognizes the sword and tells Simpson that he sold them for opium to a "fat man with sideburns," and notices a man nearby who resembles the description, Homer. Simpson and Bartley chase him down and Homer gets caught by Wiggum, who happens to be at the opium den as well, to help Ralph Wiggum go to sleep.
Simpson and Bartley congratulate themselves for solving the crime, until they find another body, Selma, stabbed by another Sword of Osiris. Bartley first dismisses the body has having been killed days prior, pointing out the body as bloated and the face rotten, though Selma is alive long enough to say it was just "5 minutes ago." Simpson takes the sword and recognizes a certain scent on the sword handle. The next day, just before Homer is hanged for the murders, Simpson arrives, declaring Homer innocent due to the smell of eel pie on the handle, which Wiggum loves to eat. It is then revealed Wiggum has muttonchops as well, exposing him as the murderer. He starts to explain that he just wanted to come up with a case that Simpson herself could not solve, but then flees in hot-air balloon stolen from Professor Frink, but it gets pierced by a steampunk-style flying saucer flown by Kang and Kodos, who consider Earth's air fleet as destroyed. It is then shown that the whole story was an opium-caused dream by Ralph.
In the Belly of the Boss
In a parody of the 1966 science fiction film, Fantastic Voyage, at the "Invention Expo", Professor Frink creates a machine that shrinks objects. Maggie (thinking that it is a ball pit) crawls inside a giant pill, which is miniaturized and swallowed by Mr. Burns. The rest of the family agrees to be shrunk within a craft and injected into Mr. Burns' body. Homer is the captain, Lisa is in charge of science and research, Bart is in charge of security, and Marge is just herself. When Homer refuses to follow Frink's instructions, the ship gets stuck in Burns' heart. The crew manage to get the ship free and are able to reach the stomach by catching a ride on a nerve impulse, which Lisa calls "the body's information superhighway." They manage to save Maggie, but are forced to leave Homer behind when their craft does not have enough power to save them all due to the addition of Maggie's weight. Homer becomes initially despondent at his family leaving him behind, but finds consolation in finding a marshmallow in Burns' stomach. The submarine successfully escapes, and Prof. Frink tells them there is time to save Homer, but he is wrong, as Homer instantly returns to his original size inside Mr. Burns' skin. Even though Homer complains that Mr. Burns needs several extra holes, Burns is confident that things will work out. The episode ends with Burns and Homer leading a dance to the tune of "I've Got You Under My Skin" (along with characters from all three segments and the opening sequence).
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