Treehouse of Horror XIV
|"Treehouse of Horror XIV"|
|The Simpsons episode|
Promotional art for the first segment featuring Homer as Death
|Directed by||Steven Dean Moore|
|Written by||John Swartzwelder|
|Original air date||November 2, 2003|
Steven Dean Moore
Mike B. Anderson
David Silverman (animator)
"Treehouse of Horror XIV" is the first episode of The Simpsons' fifteenth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 2, 2003. In the fourteenth annual Treehouse of Horror episode, Homer takes on the role of the Grim Reaper ("Reaper Madness"), Professor Frink creates a Frankenstein-version of his deceased father ("Frinkenstein") and Bart and Milhouse obtain a time-stopping watch ("Stop the World, I Want to Goof Off"). It was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by Steven Dean Moore. It guest stars Jerry Lewis as Professor John Frink Sr., and Jennifer Garner, Dudley Herschbach, and Oscar de la Hoya as themselves. The episode was nominated for the 2004 Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Dramatic Underscore).
Bart and Lisa, dressed as Charlie Brown and Lucy van Pelt from the Peanuts series, discuss their Halloween treats, and Lisa claims that hers are better than Bart's. The two then fight violently until Homer intervenes and orders them to stop fighting. He throws a burning log at them, but misses and hits Grampa, though he complains "I'm still cold". Homer gets Bart and Lisa rolled up in the rug and starts to "beat the lumps". A gun-wielding Marge intervenes and says that she does not approve of Homer's parenting techniques, and shoots him. Homer's blood splatters on a nearby wall, and spells "Treehouse of Horror XIV". Meanwhile, from their spaceship, the two aliens Kang and Kodos criticize the Simpson family for airing a Halloween special in November, as they are already set up for Christmas.
The Grim Reaper enters the Simpson house attempting to take Bart but the family goes on a Benny Hill-style chase to elude him. Death eventually manages to pin Bart's shirt to the wall with its scythe. As Death is about to sentence Bart to an eternity of pain, Homer kills him by cracking his skull open with a bowling ball in revenge for killing Snowball I and President John F. Kennedy. The Simpsons find that no one can die since Death is dead. The scene cuts to two examples of a world where no one can die: Frankie the Squealer (last seen in "Insane Clown Poppy") surviving an execution by the Springfield Mafia, much to their frustration, and Moe attempting to hang himself from the ceiling of his tavern. On trash day, Marge tells Homer to take Death's corpse to the curb. Homer does, but puts on Death's robe, inadvertently turning himself into the new Grim Reaper. At first, he refuses to reap souls, but when the cloak begins to crush his groin, he complies.
He kills many people who are on God's list (and some who are not) until he is asked to kill Marge. Homer does not want to kill his wife (or himself, an alternative he is given but quickly rejects), and pleads with God that he wants to get out of the job after leading Him to believe that he killed Marge. God agrees, but he finds that Homer tricked him by substituting Patty's body (which God initially mistakes for Selma's) for Marge's. The annoyed deity tries to punish Homer with a deadly sunbeam but gives up after a chase, proclaiming that he is "too old and too rich". Marge thanks Homer by giving him extra pork chops. Homer then jokes that he will make sure to not kill Marge every week from now on.
In a parody of Frankenstein, Homer gets a call from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences telling him that he is the winner of the Nobel Prize; however, Lisa learns that it is actually for Professor Frink. Frink is depressed because his father, an adventurer, had a falling out with him and died from a shark bite before they could reconcile. Frink, who kept the corpse frozen, reanimates his father. Unfortunately the revived Frink Sr. decides to steal body parts to improve himself. Eventually, Lisa convinces him to stop when he realizes he is causing his son anguish.
At the awards ceremony in Stockholm, Frink Sr. tries to make amends with his son for his recent behavior; however, he goes on another rampage through the audience, killing many and taking their brains. Frink Jr. manages to stop his father by kicking him in the crotch, killing him. Before dying, Frink Sr. is proud of his son for standing up to him, however he is able to hold on to his father's soul, which talks to him from a box.
Stop the World, I Want to Goof Off
In a parody of the Twilight Zone episode, "A Kind of a Stopwatch", Bart and Milhouse get a stopwatch through an advertisement in an old comic book that actually allows them to stop time. Realizing the power behind the watch, they set off to prank Springfieldians with impunity, such as giving Principal Skinner a pantsing and stealing Homer's donuts. They have a blast using the watch to terrorize the town, but they are eventually outsmarted by Mayor Quimby, who laid ultraviolet powder on the floor at the town meeting where they committed their most recent joke. Upon discovering the perpetrators, a lynch mob goes after Bart and Milhouse. Just as the mob is about to converge on them, the boys use the watch to freeze time once again. The watch then breaks, leaving the two in a frozen world.
For a time, they have some fun with the entire world (such as giving the Pope a wedgie and punching Oscar de la Hoya in the stomach) but soon become bored. They find a watch repair manual, but it takes the two 15 years to repair the device. Just before they re-activate the watch, and realizing that they need a scapegoat to avoid the lynch mob's wrath, they place Martin in the middle of the mob that was about to attack them; he is killed when time restarts. Later, Lisa makes light of the fact that Bart is much older, and asks to play with the watch. She finds a secondary function that changes reality, altering the family in many ways (including causing them to switch genders, and become bobble-heads, TV Guides and the Fantastic Four). Homer has her stop when the family, now normal with Bart at 10 years old again, is playing with hula hoops.
The episode was nominated for the 2004 Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Dramatic Underscore). In the July 26, 2007 issue of Nature, the scientific journal's editorial staff listed the "Frinkenstein" segment among "The Top Ten science moments in The Simpsons", writing that "chemistry Nobel prizewinner Dudley Herschbach appears on the show to present Professor Frink with a Nobel prize of his own. Herschbach won the prize for crossed-molecular-beam techniques with which to study in detail the dynamics of chemical reactions. Frink is rewarded for inventing a hammer with a screwdriver attached."
- "IGN's "Treehouse of Horror XIV"". IGN. 2003-11-02. Retrieved 2008-05-02.
- "The Simpsons present: "Treehouse of Horror XIV"". The Simpsons. 2003-11-02. Retrieved 2008-05-02.
- "Awards won by "THE SIMPSONS" on IMDB". IMDB. 2003-11-02. Retrieved 2008-05-02.
- Hopkin, Michael (2007-07-26). "Science in comedy: Mmm... pi". Nature. 448 (7152): 404–405. PMID 17653163. doi:10.1038/448404a. Retrieved 2011-11-05.
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