Treehouse of Horror XVII

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"Treehouse of Horror XVII"
The Simpsons episode
Treehouse of Horror XVII.png
The episode's promotional image, featuring all three segments.
Episode no. 382
Prod. code HABF17
Orig. airdate November 5, 2006
Showrunner(s) Al Jean
Written by Peter Gaffney
Directed by David "Tubatron" Silverman
Malicious Matthew C. Faughnan
Guest star(s) Richard Lewis as Male Golem
Fran Drescher as Female Golem
Dr. Phil as himself
Sir Mix-a-Lot sings "Baby Likes Fat"

"Treehouse of Horror XVII"[1] is the fourth episode of The Simpsons' eighteenth season, and the seventeenth Treehouse of Horror episode.[1] In "Married to the Blob", Homer eats green extraterrestrial goo and morphs into a rampaging blob with an insatiable appetite; in "You Gotta Know When to Golem", Bart uses Krusty's golem to wreak havoc on his tormentors; and in "The Day the Earth Looked Stupid," the residents of an early-1930s Springfield refuse to believe news of an actual alien invasion after being duped by Orson Welles' War of the Worlds radio broadcast.[1]

It was written by Peter Gaffney and double-directed by David Silverman and Matthew C. Faughnan.[1] Dr. Phil McGraw and Sir Mix-a-Lot guest star as themselves, Richard Lewis and Fran Drescher guest voice as the male and female Golems, respectively[1] In its original run, the episode received 10.43 million viewers.[2]

Plot[edit]

The episode begins with a parody of Tales from the Crypt, with Mr. Burns as the Crypt Keeper. The scene begins in a dungeon room, where a crypt opens, and after several waves of rats, snakes, spiders, and rabbits crawl out of a coffin, the Cryptkeeper sits up in it. He proclaims himself to be the master of "scare-amonies" to the delight of zombie Smithers. A bound Moe interrupts in protest and is killed in an iron maiden, his blood spilling onto the floor and spelling out "Treehouse of Horror XVII". Moe himself takes delight in this and proclaims "A Ho Ho! Look at that my blood is a genius! Fancy Roman numerals and everything!"[1]

Married to the Blob[edit]

In a parody of the 1988 monster horror film, The Blob, as Homer and Marge make out in the backyard, a meteorite falls nearby, burning off the top of Marge's hair in the process. It cracks open to reveal a green gooey substance that resembles a burning marshmallow. Homer, despite his family's objections (and the goo's attempts to flee), puts it on a stick and devours it. Later that night, his stomach rumbles from hunger, and Homer eats all the available food. He also eats Snowball V and his son Bart. Homer then becomes morbidly obese, and eats a teenager in an attempt to "savor" him from the flames of a barbecue fire. Homer morphs into a giant green blob, rampaging through the streets of Springfield, eating all the overweight people he can find. Homer snacks on bus passengers as if they were chocolates and decapitates Ned Flanders. Dr. Phil McGraw shows up with the Simpson family and tells Homer to stop for their sakes. Homer ends his rampaging for fear of losing Marge and vows to use his insatiable appetite for more constructive purposes (he eats Dr. Phil anyway; his last words are "Food does not equal love!"). Later, Mayor Quimby dedicates a new homeless shelter. The homeless people enter the shelter, only to find themselves inside Homer's gut.

You Gotta Know When to Golem[edit]

Fran Drescher guest stars as the female Golem

In a parody of the 1921 silent horror film, The Golem: How He Came into the World, at the end of an episode of Krusty's show, Bart goes backstage to complain about an acid-spraying Krusty brand alarm clock. There he finds the Golem of Prague, a creature from Jewish mythology. Krusty tells Bart that in the 17th century, the Golem was sculpted out of clay by a powerful rabbi and would obey any command written on a scroll and placed in his mouth. Although the golem was created ostensibly to protect Jewish villages, he would obey any scroll placed in his mouth, evil or good. He had been passed down through many generations and now works for Krusty (primarily to deal with hecklers). Bart steals the Golem by writing a command for him to come to his home at midnight. At midnight, the Golem shows up at the Simpsons' house. From then on, Bart uses him to carry out his commands: swinging Principal Skinner up and down like a yo-yo until he splits in half, and kicking Homer's walls (the result of a misunderstanding, as the Golem cannot read Bart's handwriting). Lisa thinks the Golem does not like doing the biddings of others and feeds him a scroll reading "Speak". The Golem (voiced by Richard Lewis) attempts to roar, then coughs, and reveals that he is a decent being who feels guilty about being used to commit heinous acts, and then he throws up excessive scrolls, one of which reads "Kill the Czar". To make him feel better, the Simpsons create a female Golem (voiced by Fran Drescher) out of Play-Doh. The two are married by Rabbi Hyman Krustofski and the female Golem convinces Chief Wiggum not to press charges with the promise of pan-fried latkes, a Jewish delicacy (though she only gets to the words "pan fried" before Wiggum agrees).

The Day the Earth Looked Stupid[edit]

In a parody of the series of post-apocalyptic role-playing video games, Fallout, and The War of the Worlds confusion, the population of Springfield, October 30, 1938 (during the Great Depression), are fooled by Orson Welles' infamous The War of the Worlds radio broadcast and believe the world has been invaded. A mass panic breaks out, and the citizens begin rioting. Marge voices her belief that the Martians will only destroy humans, so Sideshow Mel suggests they foil the aliens by cavorting naked in the mud like animals. They do this until the following day, when Lisa notifies the citizens that it was all a hoax, and, angry at being fooled, the citizens of Springfield vow to never fall for such a trick again. Meanwhile, the two aliens Kang and Kodos, observing the entire event from their orbiting spaceship, decide this is the perfect time for a real invasion, and begin destroying what is left of the town. True to their word, the town does not believe that it is a real invasion and ignores it. Orson Welles comes to Springfield, admits it is not a staged act, and begs them to do something. Unfortunately, they do not as the police do not take him very seriously. The segment ends by jumping forward to three years later, with Kang and Kodos looking over the ruins of occupied Springfield and mulling on what went wrong and why they were not greeted as liberators, as they planned the invasion to rid Earth of "weapons of mass disintegration" which they refer to as "Operation Enduring Occupation" (in a clear reference to the war on Iraq). The segment ends with the camera pulling away from the smoking ruins of what was once Springfield, as the song "I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire" by the Ink Spots plays.

Production[edit]

The Day The Earth Looked Stupid was originally supposed to end with Kang and Kodos making a direct reference to the War on Iraq as they observe the ruined remains of 1938 Springfield. While the FOX censors had no objections over the line, the producers and writers felt the reference was too obvious and had it cut to make the joke more subtle (though the leaked Internet version has the line that ended up being cut).[3]

Once again Maurice LaMarche voiced Orson Welles, doing his impression of Welles used earlier for The Brain on Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain.

Reception[edit]

"Treehouse of Horror XVII" was declared by New York magazine as being one of ten later Simpsons episodes that was good as the show's classic era.[4]

Dan Iverson of IGN gave the episode a score of 7.6/10, commenting "...The dialogue was really quite good - even if the stories weren't the best (and in comparison, they were better than the past four years of Treehouse episodes)... And in typical Simpsons fashion the celebrity appearances were hysterical", concluding "We can totally overlook any other issues the episode had and recommend the episode to anybody who likes random comedy".[5]

In the article ‘You said we’d be greeted as liberators!’: 10 anxiety-reflecting Simpsons Halloween segments, The AV Club singled out The Day The Earth Looked Stupid, noting that while "the show was awfully quiet during the darkest days of the Bush presidency—which is even more surprising how blatantly left it had been in the past...the show nearly made up for it with its most political—and bleakest—Treehouse segment ever", concluding "The Day The Earth Looked Stupid was The Simpsons at its most pointed".[6]

When listing the 66 segments of the first 22 Treehouse of Horror episodes in order from worst to best, Joshua Kurp of Splitsider gave this episode's segments (in order of appearance) rankings of #52, #47, and #59. He "saw this episode screened at an event where Matt Groening was present". Kurp said Blob was done better in King-Size Homer, Richard Lewis did not have enough screen time in Golem, and Day's "conclusion bombed".[7]

References[edit]

External links[edit]