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Treehouse of Horror VII

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"Treehouse of Horror VII"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no.Season 8
Episode 1
Directed byMike B. Anderson
Written byKen Keeler
Dan Greaney
David S. Cohen
Production code4F02
Original air dateOctober 27, 1996 (1996-10-27)
Guest appearance
Phil Hartman as Bill Clinton
Episode features
Couch gagThe Grim Reaper is on the couch. The family runs in, but keel over and die one by one. The Reaper then puts his feet up on the corpses of the Simpson family.[1]
CommentaryMatt Groening
Josh Weinstein
David S. Cohen
Dan Greaney
Ken Keeler
Dan Castellaneta
Mike B. Anderson
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Summer of 4 Ft. 2"
Next →
"You Only Move Twice"
The Simpsons (season 8)
List of episodes

"Treehouse of Horror VII" is the first episode of the eighth season of the American animated television series The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on October 27, 1996. In the seventh annual Treehouse of Horror episode, Bart discovers his long-lost twin, Lisa grows a colony of small beings, and Kang and Kodos impersonate Bill Clinton and Bob Dole in order to win the 1996 presidential election. It was written by Ken Keeler, Dan Greaney, and David S. Cohen, and directed by Mike B. Anderson.[1] Phil Hartman provided the voice of Bill Clinton.[1] This is the first Treehouse of Horror episode to be a season premiere.

Plot[edit]

Opening[edit]

In the kitchen, Homer lights a jack-o'-lantern but ends up lighting his arm on fire. He runs off screaming while the title, "The Simpsons Halloween Special VII" is shown on screen.

"The Thing and I"[edit]

Bart and Lisa hear strange noises coming from the attic. They investigate and discover that there is a monster. Homer and Marge realize that the creature has escaped, prompting Marge to call Dr. Hibbert. He explains that Bart has an evil twin named Hugo. The two were originally conjoined but were separated at birth. Hugo was deemed too evil to live in society so they chained him in the attic, where they feed him fish-heads. Bart stays behind as the others leave to search for Hugo, but Bart realizes that Hugo never left the house. Hugo takes Bart to the attic and ties him up, so that he can reattach himself, but Dr. Hibbert returns and knocks out Hugo. He then realizes that Hugo's scar is on the wrong side, therefore Bart is the evil twin. Bart tells everyone not to look so surprised. To make amends for their error, Dr. Hibbert and the Simpson family sit down to a turkey dinner with Hugo, leaving Bart locked in the attic with only Hugo's fish-heads to eat.

"The Genesis Tub"[edit]

In preparation for the school science fair, Lisa performs an experiment in a petri dish to see if cola will dissolve her baby tooth. Bart gives Lisa a static electric shock, claiming it is part of his project to prove that "nerds conduct electricity". The electric charge is then passed on to the tooth when Lisa tries to touch it, causing it to undergo an unusual reaction which creates a race of miniature beings. Lisa discovers this when inspecting the contents of the tub with a microscope, noting that their rate of evolution is accelerated. Bart destroys some of the ecosystem in Lisa's tub universe with his finger, and the tub people retaliate by sending a squadron of space ships to attack him. The inhabitants of the tub then shrink Lisa to their size with a miniaturization ray and beam her down into the tub, where they explain that they regard her as God, and Bart as the Devil. She says she can protect them from Bart if they return her to normal size, but they lack the necessary technology. Suddenly, Bart’s large shadow towers over the universe and heavy footsteps can be heard. Bart is seen walking towards the tub, smirking. The people panic and start to run. Bart moves his hand toward the tub. Lisa screams “Bart! No!”. Bart closes the tub and later is opened by Principal Skinner. It turns out, Bart has submitted the tub in the science fair, and now Lisa is forced to watch from within as Bart wins first prize. Knowing that she is now trapped in the tub, she begins issuing orders to its inhabitants.

"Citizen Kang"[edit]

While out fishing, Homer is abducted by Kang and Kodos. They demand that Homer take them to Earth's leader, but Homer informs them of the upcoming presidential election and says the winner could be either Bill Clinton or Bob Dole. Kang and Kodos kidnap both Dole and Clinton and place them in suspended animation, assuming their forms through "bio-duplication" to ensure that one of them will become the next leader. Before returning Homer to Earth, the aliens soak him in rum, so nobody will believe him. Most voters seem to be oblivious to the strange behaviors of Kang and Kodos in disguise, much to Homer's vexation. On the day before the election, Homer stumbles upon the badly hidden spaceship, hijacks it and releases Dole and Clinton from suspended animation. Both candidates agree they should put aside their differences and join forces to defeat the aliens and bring about a new age of bipartisanship, but Homer accidentally ejects them into space. Homer crashes the spaceship into the Capitol and unmasks the aliens, revealing the candidates' true identities to the public. However, despite being exposed, Kang and Kodos declare to the people that the two-party system means they still have to choose one of them, mocking a bystander's suggestion of voting for a third-party candidate instead. Kang is subsequently elected President of the United States, ruling as a monarchical tyrant and enslaving the American population in order to build a giant death ray. An enslaved Homer absolves himself of blame, stating that he voted for Kodos.

Production[edit]

Like the previous two Treehouse of Horror episodes, "Treehouse of Horror VII" does not feature any wraparound segments.[2] "The Thing and I" was written by Ken Keeler,[3] "The Genesis Tub" was written by Dan Greaney,[4] and "Citizen Kang" was written by David X. Cohen.[5] Despite the similarities, "The Thing and I" was not based on the plot of the 1982 film Basket Case.[3] "The Genesis Tub" was originally pitched by Cohen,[5] and it was later referenced in the South Park episode "Simpsons Already Did It", when they pointed out that The Simpsons had gotten the idea from the 1962 Twilight Zone episode called "The Little People".[6] The sequence where tiny spaceships attack Bart in "The Genesis Tub" marks one of the first uses of computers in The Simpsons animation. The computer was used to build models for reference and the animators later retraced it.[6] The 1996 Presidential election occurred a few days after the airing of this episode.[5] According to Cohen, the "Citizen Kang" short violated every rule of The Simpsons as it locked the episode in one time and named specific candidates.[2]

Cultural references[edit]

In "The Thing and I", Homer sings "Fish Heads", a 1978 novelty song by Barnes & Barnes.[7] Homer crashing the flying saucer into Capitol dome in the "Citizen Kang" segment is a reference to Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, a 1956 film.[5]

Reception[edit]

In its original broadcast, "Treehouse of Horror VII" finished 31st in ratings for the week of October 21–27, 1996, with a Nielsen rating of 10.5, equivalent to approximately 10.2 million viewing households. It was the third highest-rated show on the Fox network that week, following Millennium and The X-Files.[8]

In 2017, IGN called "Citizen Kang" the best segment of the entire anthology, and placed the episode itself as number one in its ranking of all "Treehouse of Horror" episodes.[9] The A.V. Club named Kang/Bob Dole's line, "Abortions for some, miniature American flags for others!", one of the best lines in the history of the show.[10]

The ska punk band named I Voted for Kodos takes its name from Homer's line, "Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos", at the end of "Citizen Kang".[2] In a 2000 Entertainment Weekly article, Matt Groening ranked this episode as his seventh favorite in the history of the show.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Treehouse of Horror VII. BBC.co.uk. Retrieved on March 28, 2007.
  2. ^ a b c Weinstein, Josh (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode "Treehouse of Horror VII" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  3. ^ a b Keeler, Ken (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode "Treehouse of Horror VII" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  4. ^ Greaney, Dan (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode "Treehouse of Horror VII" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  5. ^ a b c d Cohen, David X. (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode "Treehouse of Horror VII" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  6. ^ a b Anderson, Mike B. (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode "Treehouse of Horror VII" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  7. ^ Castellaneta, Dan (2006). The Simpsons season 8 DVD commentary for the episode "Treehouse of Horror VII" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  8. ^ "World series makes Fox a champ". Sun-Sentinel. Associated Press. October 31, 1996. p. 4E.
  9. ^ Morgan, Chris (October 21, 2017). "The Simpsons: Ranking Every 'Treehouse of Horror' Episode". IGN. Retrieved March 16, 2017.
  10. ^ Bahn, Christopher; Donna Bowman; Josh Modell; Noel Murray; Nathan Rabin; Tasha Robinson; Kyle Ryan; Scott Tobias (April 26, 2006). "Beyond "D'oh!": Simpsons Quotes For Everyday Use". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on July 5, 2006. Retrieved January 21, 2022.
  11. ^ Snierson, Dan (January 14, 2000). "Springfield of Dreams". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 21, 2022.

External links[edit]