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Treehouse of Horror IX

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"Treehouse of Horror IX"
The Simpsons episode
Treehouse of Horror IXc.jpg
Bart and Lisa jump out of a pot in a live-action portion of "Terror of Tiny Toon". To create the splash, an object was dropped into the pot, then the characters were animated over it.
Episode no. 207
Directed by Steven Dean Moore
Written by David S. Cohen
Larry Doyle
Donick Cary
Showrunner(s) Mike Scully
Production code AABF01
Original air date October 25, 1998
Chalkboard gag Bart paints "The Simpsons Halloween Special IX" on the board with a blood-soaked brush.
Couch gag The family never makes it to the living room; Bart slips while skateboarding and hits his head, Lisa gets catapulted into the roof of the garage after tripping over Bart while cycling, and Homer gets run down by Marge's car. In the living room, Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees are on the couch wondering where the Simpsons are.[1]
Commentary Matt Groening
Mike Scully
George Meyer
Ron Hauge
David S. Cohen
Donick Cary
Steven Dean Moore
Guest appearance(s)
Seasons

"Treehouse of Horror IX" is the fourth episode in the tenth season of the American animated television series The Simpsons. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on October 25, 1998.[2] This is the ninth Treehouse of Horror episode, and, like the other "Treehouse of Horror" episodes, contains three self-contained segments: In "Hell Toupée", Homer gets a hair transplant and is possessed by the spirit of an executed criminal; in "Terror of Tiny Toon", Bart and Lisa are trapped in a special, extremely violent episode of The Itchy & Scratchy Show; and in "Starship Poopers", Marge reveals that Maggie is the product of a one-night stand with the alien Kang.

"Treehouse of Horror IX" was written by Donick Cary, Larry Doyle and David S. Cohen, and directed by Steven Dean Moore. "Terror of the Tiny Toon" includes a live-action segment starring Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford. Jerry Springer and Ed McMahon also appear in the episode, voicing themselves, while Robert Englund provides the voice of Freddy Krueger from the Nightmare on Elm Street film series. The episode also features Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th series[3] while various characters visit the talk shows Live with Regis and Kathie Lee and The Jerry Springer Show.

In its original airing on the Fox Network, the episode had an 8.6 Nielsen rating. In 1999, composer Alf Clausen was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Composition for a Series for his work on the episode.

Plot[edit]

Hell Toupée[edit]

Snake is arrested for smoking inside the Kwik-E-Mart. Chief Wiggum explains that this is Snake's third strike, so he will be executed in accordance with the three strikes law. Before hauling Snake away, Chief Wiggum points out that Apu, Moe, and Bart are all witnesses; Snake vows to kill them all. After the execution, Homer visits Dr. Nick, who transplants Snake's hair onto Homer's head. When Homer goes to sleep the following night, it plants its roots in Homer's brain. With the hair controlling his mind, Homer murders Apu and Moe. Bart realizes that the other two witnesses have been killed, and Homer vows to protect him. Homer locks himself and Bart in a room, but Snake's hair takes control of him. Homer tries to kill Bart with a sledgehammer. Bart begs Homer to fight the hair and, after a struggle, Homer rips the hair off his head. Wiggum bursts in and shoots the hair dead.

The Terror of Tiny Toon[edit]

Marge forbids Bart and Lisa from watching the Itchy & Scratchy Halloween special, removing the batteries from the remote control. When Marge leaves, Bart finds plutonium in Homer's toolbox and hammers it into the remote's battery slot. When they use the remote, the kids enter the world of Itchy and Scratchy. Bart and Lisa are soon hunted by Itchy and Scratchy. Back in the Simpson house, Homer enters the living room and watches the show. Oblivious to what he sees, Homer decides to change the channel, and Bart, Lisa, Itchy, and Scratchy wind up on Live with Regis and Kathie Lee. They end up back at Itchy's house and urge Homer from inside the TV to use the remote to get them out, who eventually succeeds in doing so. Unfortunately, Itchy and Scratchy also escape. At first, the family is scared, but realize how small the two characters are and decide to keep them as pets.

Starship Poopers[edit]

Marge discovers Maggie's first baby tooth, which appears to be a sharp fang. Maggie later loses her legs and grows green tentacles. Maggie's pacifier sucks contact the alien duo, Kang and Kodos. They arrive at the Simpson house, coming to retrieve Maggie. Marge reveals that Kang is Maggie's real father and explains how it happened. Kang and Kodos demand that the Simpsons give Maggie to them, and Kang and Homer start to fight until they are taken on The Jerry Springer Show. When an audience member criticizes Kang, he vaporizes her, as well as the rest of the audience and the film crew. After leaving the studio, Kang and Kodos threaten to destroy every politician in Washington unless given Maggie. Marge and the Simpsons slyly imply that the aliens could not possibly destroy every politician, and they fly off to do so.

Production[edit]

Regis Philbin guest starred as himself in a live-action sequence in "Terror of Tiny Toon".

Like the other Treehouse of Horror episodes to that point, the segments of "Treehouse of Horror IX" were credited to different writers. "Hell Toupee" was written by Donick Cary.[4] "Terror of Tiny Toon" was written by Larry Doyle.[5] "Starship Poopers" was written by David S. Cohen and was the last writing credit he ever received for the show.[6] The episode continues the Treehouse of Horror tradition of having the credits re-written as "scary names". David S. Cohen's executive producer credit is "David 'Watch Futurama' Cohen" is a reference to the show Futurama, created by Cohen and Matt Groening, which premiered the following year.[6]

"The Terror of Tiny Toon" includes a live-action segment starring Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford of Live with Regis and Kathie Lee. The segment was directed by Donick Cary.[4] In the sequence, Itchy, Scratchy, Bart and Lisa fall into a pot of soup that Regis and Kathie Lee are making. The soup splash was created by dropping an item into the pot, then adding the animated characters over it.[7] The taping of this segment took longer than expected, so a broadcast of WABC-TV's Eyewitness News that was to take place (the show was and continues to be taped at the facilities of WABC in New York, where it originated in 1983) had to be moved to another studio.[7] Jerry Springer also guest stars in the episode as himself. His lines were recorded by Julie Thacker.[8]

Much of the animation in "Hell Toupée" was worked on by assistant director Chris Clements.[7] Moe's death scene was originally more violent, but it was toned down at the request of Mike Scully.[7] The animators looked forward to working on "The Terror of Tiny Toon" because they were fans of Itchy & Scratchy.[7]

In "Starship Poopers", there is a shot of sound waves emanating from Springfield. At one point, there is a shot of North America and it appears that Springfield is located in Louisiana.[8] The mystery of the location of Springfield is a running joke in The Simpsons, and a number of fans assumed that Louisiana was where the family lived.[8] However, the animators had drawn the waves so that there were coming from the center of the screen, and they never intended to have them emanate from a specific location.[7] In one scene, Marge is abducted by Kang and Kodos, who lasso her then pull her into the ship. According to David Cohen, it is a running gag that Kang and Kodos' abduction methods are never the same.[6] Maggie has a line at the end of the episode, where she sounds like Kang. She was voiced by Harry Shearer.[4]

Poochie from the Simpsons episode "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" is seen during the "Terror of the Tiny Toon" segment.[6] Also, the title of the segment "Terror of the Tiny Toon", is a reference of the Animated television series Tiny Toon Adventures, as well as the movie The Terror of Tiny Town. The couch gag features Freddy Krueger from the Nightmare on Elm Street film series and Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th series.[3] Freddy is voiced by Robert Englund, who portrayed the character in eight films. Two talk shows appear in the episode. Bart, Lisa, Itchy, and Scratchy accidentally visit Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, while the Simpson family and Kang appear on The Jerry Springer Show.[3] The title of the third segment, "Starship Poopers", is a reference to the film Starship Troopers.[1]

Reception[edit]

In its original airing on the Fox Network, the episode had an 8.6 Nielsen rating and was viewed in approximately 8.5 million homes. It finished the week ranked 35th. It was the fifth highest rated show on Fox that week, after two games of the 1998 World Series, a World Series pre-game show, and Ally McBeal.[9]

The authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, wrote, "Another collection of horrors, of varying degrees of wit. The Itchy and Scratchy one is by far the best, and Starship Poopers is only really amusing once the Jerry Springer segment begins."[1] Colin Jacobson of DVD Movie Guide gave the episode a positive review saying "The series usually rises to the occasion of its Halloween episodes, and “IX” doesn’t disappoint. Each of the three stories satisfies, as they offer a lot of clever, amusing moments. "Toupée" is probably the best, though, as it’s the most creative of the bunch. While funny, the other two can be a bit predictable."[10] Kay McFadden of The Seattle Times wrote that the episode is "certainly not on a par with that all-time doppelganger classic, "Treehouse of Horror VII", [...] still, No. 9's dialogue is sharp and there's reassuring continuity to such beloved institutions as Itchy and Scratchy."[11]

In 2008, "Starship Poopers" was named the tenth best Treehouse of Horror segment by IGN. They wrote that "While [it is] not the best Kang & Kodos segment, "Starship Poopers" delivers consistent laughs and a great ending, as Kang & Kodos vow to destroy all the politicians in Washington (to the Simpsons' delight) and Maggie creepily laughs and says, "I need blood."[12] In 1999, composer Alf Clausen was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Composition for a Series for his work on the episode.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Cult - The Simpsons: Season Ten Episode Guide - Treehouse of Horror IX". BBC. Retrieved 2010-08-28. 
  2. ^ "Treehouse of Horror IX". The Simpsons.com. Retrieved 2010-10-30. 
  3. ^ a b c Gimple, Scott M.; Matt Groening (December 1, 1999). The Simpsons Forever!: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family ...Continued. HarperCollins. pp. 50–51. ISBN 978-0-06-098763-3. 
  4. ^ a b c Cary, Donick (2007). Commentary for "Treehouse of Horror IX", in The Simpsons: The Complete Tenth Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  5. ^ Hauge, Ron (2007). Commentary for "Treehouse of Horror IX", in The Simpsons: The Complete Tenth Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  6. ^ a b c d Cohen, David X. (2007). Commentary for "Treehouse of Horror IX", in The Simpsons: The Complete Tenth Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Moore, Steven Dean (2007). Commentary for "Treehouse of Horror IX", in The Simpsons: The Complete Tenth Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  8. ^ a b c Scully, Mike (2007). Commentary for "Treehouse of Horror IX", in The Simpsons: The Complete Tenth Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  9. ^ "Ho-hum series still puts Fox on top". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. The Associated Press. 1998-10-29. 
  10. ^ "The Simpsons: The Complete Tenth Season (1998)". Dvdmg.com. Retrieved 2010-08-28. 
  11. ^ McFadden, Kay (1998-10-29). "The Simpsons still deliver house of everyday horrors". The Seattle Times. 
  12. ^ Iverson, Dan, Goldman, Eric, Zoromski, Brian (October 28, 2008). "Top 10 Segments from The Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror". IGN. Retrieved 2010-08-28. 
  13. ^ "Primetime Emmy Award Database". Emmy.com. Retrieved 2010-08-28. 

External links[edit]