Treehouse of Horror III
|"Treehouse of Horror III"|
|The Simpsons episode|
|Directed by||Carlos Baeza|
|Written by||Al Jean & Mike Reiss (Part 1)
Jay Kogen & Wallace Wolodarsky (Part 2)
Sam Simon & Jon Vitti (Part 3)
|Showrunner(s)||Al Jean & Mike Reiss|
|Original air date||October 29, 1992|
|Couch gag||The family's skeletons walk in and sit on the couch.|
"Treehouse of Horror III" is the fifth episode of The Simpsons' fourth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on October 29, 1992. In the third annual Treehouse of Horror episode, Homer buys Bart an evil talking Krusty doll, King Homer is captured by Mr. Burns, and Bart and Lisa inadvertently cause zombies to attack Springfield. The episode was written by Al Jean, Mike Reiss, Jay Kogen, Wallace Wolodarsky, Sam Simon, and Jon Vitti, and directed by Carlos Baeza.
Clown Without Pity
In a parody of the Twilight Zone episode, Living Doll, Homer realizes that he forgot to buy Bart a present for his birthday. He rushes to the House of Evil, where he purchases a talking Krusty the Clown doll. The shopkeeper warns him that the doll is cursed, but Homer dismisses his concerns. He returns to the party and gives Bart the doll. Grandpa exclaims that the doll is evil, but admits that he is just doing it to get attention.
Later, Homer is playing with the doll when it starts saying that it is going to kill him. He dismisses this until the doll threatens to stab him. After numerous attempts on Homer’s life, he captures the evil Krusty doll, locks it in a suitcase, and drops it in a "Bottomless Pit". Returning home, Homer is ambushed by the escaped doll, who tackles him into the kitchen and tries to drown him in Santa's Little Helper's dog bowl. Marge calls the consumer service hotline. A repairman arrives and discovers that the doll has been set to "Evil" mode. He flips the switch to "Good" and the Krusty doll becomes friends with Homer.
In a parody of King Kong, Marge joins Mr. Burns and Smithers on an expedition to Ape Island to find the legendary King Homer. After landing on the island, Mr. Burns, Smithers, and Marge stealthily approach a native tribe, but are spotted due to Marge’s hair protruding over the bushes. The villagers agree that "The blue haired woman would make a good sacrifice" and tie her to a post as an offering. The sound of drums summons King Homer. Marge is initially terrified but sees the friendly side of Homer when he is attracted to Marge's perfume and the two form a friendship. Nonetheless, Mr. Burns is determined to capture King Homer and Smithers knocks Homer unconscious with a gas bomb. Returning to New York, the group display King Homer at the Broadway theatre. The photographers' flashes enrage King Homer, who breaks free from his restraints. He abducts Marge then attempts to climb the Empire State Building, but is unable to get past the second story of the building. King Homer collapses in exhaustion. In the end, King Homer and Marge get married. The story ends with the wedding.
Dial "Z" For Zombies
While in the Springfield Elementary library, Bart finds a book of black magic and gets attached to it. That night, when Lisa reminisces about the family’s dead cat, Snowball I, Bart suggests that he could use the book he found to resurrect Snowball. At the Springfield pet cemetery with Lisa, Bart utters an incantation from the book but accidentally reanimates corpses from the nearby human cemetery instead. The zombies terrorize Springfield, turning many people into zombies. Meanwhile, the Simpson family has barricaded all the doors and windows except for the back door, which Homer forgot to do. Several zombies break into the house: Homer sacrifices himself to give the others time to escape, but the zombies leave him when they realize he does not have enough brains for them to eat. Lisa realizes that the school library must have a book that can reverse the spell.
This episode originally encountered trouble when the color version came back from Korea. With only six weeks to the airdate the writers made almost 100 line changes, a very rare occurrence. It was decided to completely overhaul the episode after a poorly received screening with the writing staff. The tombstones that appeared at the start of and during the episode were abandoned in later episodes because it was becoming increasingly difficult to think of ideas. A subtle tombstone joke in this episode is in the scene where two zombies are crawling out of their graves. The names Jay Kogen and Wolodarsky (two of The Simpsons writers who worked on the episode) are written on the tombstones, but both are misspelled. The "King Homer" segment is one of Matt Groening's all-time favorite stories from the Treehouse of Horror series. Al Jean was also quite worried about this segment because it was the longest running black-and-white segment they had ever aired, and he thought that some people might be concerned that their televisions were broken. The "He(Flanders) was a zombie?" line, created by Mike Reiss, is, in the opinions of the writers, one of the all-time classic lines from the series.
The opening sequence where Homer walks into Alfred Hitchcock's silhouette is a parody of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. It was meant to show Homer's stomach bigger than that of the outline, but it was so subtle that not many people realised the joke. In the episode's wraparounds, Bart is dressed as Alex from the film A Clockwork Orange. The "Clown Without Pity" segment is based on the Twilight Zone episode "Living Doll" and the film Trilogy of Terror. The title itself is a play on the song "Town Without Pity" by Gene Pitney. The man that gives Homer the Krusty doll is based on Mr. Wing from the film Gremlins. The Krusty doll riding under Homer's car is a reference to the 1991 film Cape Fear. The "King Homer" segment is a parody of the 1933 film King Kong. In "King Homer", the tribal leader is heard saying 'Mosi Tatupu, Mosi Tatupu', which means they will sacrifice the blue-haired lady. The title "Dial "Z" for Zombies" is a play on the title of the 1954 Hitchcock film Dial M for Murder. Some aspects of "Dial "Z" for Zombies" are from the film Night of the Living Dead. In the pet cemetery, there are tombstones that read Fish Police, Capitol Critters and Family Dog, each a short-lived animated series intended to capitalize on The Simpsons' success.
When raising the dead from their graves, Bart wears Michael Jackson's record album cover Thriller on his head. This is both a reference to Jackson's famous music video, in which he dances with zombies.
In its original broadcast, "Treehouse of Horror III" finished 20th in ratings for the week of October 26 – November 1, 1992, with a Nielsen rating of 14.7, equivalent to approximately 13.7 million viewing households. It was the highest-rated show on the Fox network that week, beating In Living Color. Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, the authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, thoroughly enjoyed the episode. They described the episode as "Another seasonal treat. Dial Z for Zombies is particularly impressive ('Dad, you killed the zombie Flanders!' 'He was a zombie?')." In 2006, IGN voted "Dial Z For Zombies" as the second best segment of the Treehouse of Horror episodes. "Clown Without Pity" was also rated sixth.
In the film 28 Days Later, there is a scene where Sgt. Ferrell mentions that his favorite joke from The Simpsons was the line "Women and seamen (semen) don't mix", said by Smithers during the "King Homer" segment. The episode's reference to Night of the Living Dead was named the 16th greatest film reference in the history of the show by Total Film's Nathan Ditum.
- "Treehouse of Horror III". The Simpsons.com. Retrieved 2011-09-17.
- Martyn, Warren; Wood, Adrian (2000). "Treehouse of Horror III". BBC. Retrieved 2007-09-21.
- Jean, Al (2004). The Simpsons season 4 DVD commentary for the episode "Treehouse of Horror III" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Wolodarsky, Wallace (2004). The Simpsons season 4 DVD commentary for the episode "Treehouse of Horror III" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Groening, Matt (2004). The Simpsons season 4 DVD commentary for the episode "Treehouse of Horror III" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Groening, Matt; Jean, Al (2004). The Simpsons season 4 DVD commentary for the episode "Treehouse of Horror III" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Ditum, Nathan (June 6, 2009). "The 50 Greatest Simpsons Movie References". Total Film. Retrieved 2009-07-22.
- Jean, Al; Wolodarsky, Wallace (2004). The Simpsons season 4 DVD commentary for the episode "Treehouse of Horror III" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Associated Press (November 5, 1992). "'Roseanne,' 'Pretty Woman' put ABC on top; NBC, CBS tie". The Orlando Sentinel. p. E6.
- Goldman, Eric; Iverson, Dan; Zoromski, Brian (2006-10-30). "Top 10 Segments from The Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror". IGN. Retrieved 2007-08-28.
- "Treehouse of Horror III" at The Simpsons.com
- "Treehouse of Horror III" at the Internet Movie Database
- "Treehouse of Horror III" episode capsule at The Simpsons Archive
- "Treehouse of Horror III" at TV.com
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