Treehouse of Horror XV

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"Treehouse of Horror XV"
The Simpsons episode
Treehouse of Horror XV.jpg
Promotional image for the episode's second segment
Episode no. 336
Directed by David Silverman
Written by Bill Odenkirk
Showrunner(s) Al Jean
Production code FABF23
Original air date November 7, 2004
Commentary Al Jean
Bill Odenkirk
Matt Selman
Tim Long
Tom Gammill
Max Pross
David Silverman
Raymond S. Persi

"Treehouse of Horror XV" is the first episode of the sixteenth season of The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 7, 2004. In the fifteenth annual Treehouse of Horror, Ned Flanders' head injury gives him the power to predict others' deaths ("The Ned Zone"), Bart and Lisa play detective when a string of Victorian-era prostitutes are murdered by Jack the Ripper ("Four Beheadings and a Funeral"), and The Simpsons go on a fantastic voyage inside Mr. Burns' body to save Maggie ("In the Belly of the Boss"). It was written by Bill Odenkirk and directed by David Silverman.[1] Around 11.29 million Americans tuned in to watch the episode during its original broadcast.

Plot[edit]

Opening sequence[edit]

Kang and Kodos star in a fictional sitcom, entitled Keepin' it Kodos. In it, Kodos is preparing their boss' visit by cooking dinner: Homer on a baking tray (continually eating himself), Bart on a skillet, Marge and Maggie in pies and Lisa in a soup. The boss gives the meal a delicious rating, but his stomach bursts ends up liberating Bart. Kang and Kodos are given a hyper-galactic promotion, much to the aliens' delight. Bart is sad about the loss of his parents and sisters, but Kang and Kodos decide to adopt him, which comforts Bart. The theme song from Perfect Strangers plays as the Treehouse of Horror logo appears on the screen; an alien tentacle stamps the "XV" underneath which makes it say, "Treehouse of Horror XV" in the fashion of the Mark VII Productions company logo.

The Ned Zone[edit]

In a parody of The Dead Zone, Homer tries to get his frisbee from the roof by throwing a bowling ball after it. The ball strikes a passing Ned on the head. When Ned recovers in Dr. Hibbert's hospital, he has a vision of Dr. Hibbert falling out of a window to his death. Homer then asks Hibbert to retrieve his frisbee from a ledge on the hospital. As Dr. Hibbert reaches for the ledge, he slips out of the window, causing Ned's vision to come true. Ned realizes that he can see the deaths of people whom he touches. After he gets out of the hospital, he attempts to save Hans Moleman from falling down but has a vision of him being eaten by alligators. In shock, he drops Moleman into an open manhole full of alligators. He also predicts the closing of the Rosie O'Donnell Musical, but says he "didn't need special powers to know that was coming!".

A later vision depicts him shooting Homer. When Homer finds out, he taunts Ned and even gives him Chief Wiggum's gun to shoot him with, and says he could not even shoot him by accident. Ned refrains from shooting Homer, seemingly changing the future, but then has another vision of Homer blowing up Springfield by pressing the 'Core Destruct' button at the nuclear power plant. Ned tries to dissuade Homer from going to work, but Homer goes anyway because of ice cream cake for Lenny's birthday. Ned rushes to the power plant to stop Homer, but his warning is scrambled by static over the intercom, sounding as if he is encouraging Homer to press the button. In desperation, Ned grabs a nearby security guard's gun and forces himself to shoot Homer (fulfilling the original prediction), but in his death throes, Homer presses the destruct button with his tongue. Ned has enough time to say "OH, YOU STUPID SON OF A--" before the power plant explodes and Springfield is destroyed. Ned, The Simpsons, and their garage (which Homer was assigned to clean, leading Marge to believe he blew up the town specifically to get out of doing so) go to Heaven as angels and meet God (again), who proceeds to give Homer "what he deserves" – his Frisbee.

Four Beheadings and a Funeral[edit]

In a parody of From Hell, taking place in 1890, London's prostitutes are being killed with swords in a series of unsolved murders by "Jack the Ripper" (referred as The Muttonchop Murderer). Scotland Yard's Inspector Wiggum challenges Master Detective Eliza Simpson and her easily amazed assistant Dr. Bartley to solve the crime. Their first piece of evidence is a bloody sword found by a "proper-Cockney flower girl". Simpson takes the sword to an oddities merchant, who recognizes the sword as part of a set he had sold, called The Seven Swords of Osiris. He goes to check his records to see who he sold the swords to, but is killed by Jack the Ripper. Looking at the ledger, Simpson and Bartley discover the swords were sold to C. Ebenezer Burns, an industrialist who "makes coal out of babies". Bartley knows where to find Burns and tracks him down at Mao's Den of Inequity, an opium den. Burns instantly recognizes the sword, and tells Simpson that he sold them for opium to a "fat man with sideburns", and notices a man nearby who resembles the description, Homer. Simpson and Bartley chase him down and Homer gets caught by Wiggum, who happens to be at the opium den as well, to help Ralph Wiggum go to sleep.

Simpson and Bartley congratulate themselves for solving the crime, until they find another body, Selma, stabbed by another Sword of Osiris. Bartley first dismisses the body has having been killed days prior, pointing out the body as bloated and the face rotten, though Selma is alive long enough to say it was just "5 minutes ago". Simpson takes the sword and recognizes a certain scent on the sword handle. The next day, just before Homer is hanged for the murders, Simpson arrives, declaring Homer innocent due to the smell of eel pie on the handle, which Wiggum loves to eat. It is then revealed Wiggum has muttonchops as well, exposing him as Jack the Ripper. He starts to explain that he just wanted to come up with a case that Simpson herself could not solve, but then flees in a hot-air balloon stolen from Professor Frink, but it gets pierced by a steampunk-style flying saucer flown by Kang and Kodos, who consider Earth's air fleet as destroyed. It is then shown that the whole story was an opium-caused dream by Ralph.

In the Belly of the Boss[edit]

In a parody of Fantastic Voyage, at the "Invention Expo", Professor Frink creates a machine that shrinks objects. Maggie (thinking that it is a ball pit) crawls inside a giant pill, which is miniaturized and swallowed by Mr. Burns. The rest of the family agrees to be shrunk within a craft and injected into Mr. Burns' body. Homer is the captain, Lisa is in charge of science and research, Bart is in charge of security, and Marge is just herself. When Homer refuses to follow Frink's instructions, the ship gets stuck in Burns' heart. The crew manage to get the ship free and are able to reach the stomach by catching a ride on a nerve impulse, which Lisa calls "the body's information superhighway". They manage to save Maggie, but are forced to leave Homer behind when their craft does not have enough power to save them all due to the addition of Maggie's weight. Homer becomes initially despondent at his family leaving him behind, but finds consolation in finding a marshmallow in Burns' stomach. The submarine successfully escapes, and Prof. Frink tells them there is time to save Homer, but he is wrong, as Homer instantly returns to his original size inside Mr. Burns' skin. Even though Homer complains that Mr. Burns needs several extra holes, Burns is confident that things will work out. The episode ends with Burns and Homer leading a dance to the tune of "I've Got You Under My Skin" (along with characters from all three segments and the opening sequence).

Reception[edit]

The episode has received mixed reviews from TV critics. Pip Ellwood Hughes was positive and said "In the Belly of the Boss" was the best segment of the three.[2] Kevin Yeoman disliked the episode saying "much of it was old hat, and comfortably so. The best example of this is in the 'Treehouse of Horror XV' episode, which not only fails to elicit a single laugh, but also demonstrates how much the annual tradition had come to rely on spoofing pop-culture or horror films, rather than using the conventions of the genre to craft something funny and memorable. The execrable 'Four Beheadings and a Funeral' and 'In the Belly of the Boss' showing just how unfunny and lazily written these Halloween episodes can sometimes be."[3] Chris Morgan of Cinema Sentries thought the quality of the episode was questionable.[4] On John Hugar's top 25 Treehouse of Horror episodes he placed the episode at #21. He enjoyed "The Ned Zone" but thought "Four Beheadings and a Funereal "bland" and In the Belly of the Boss done better before.[5] When ranking the top 78 Treehouse of Horror segments Louis Peitzman was positive on the segments. He placed "The Ned Zone at #56 and said "it's fairly well done" but said "like so many early 2000s episodes, it goes too far."[6] "Four Beheading and a Funereal was put at #49 and said "The distinctive look of the segment is great, and the murders are gruesome, but the mystery-solving itself isn’t worth more than a shrug."[7] In the Belly of the Boss was placed highest at #44 and he thought it had its moments.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Treehouse of Horror XV". Yahoo! Canada. Retrieved 2007-11-10. 
  2. ^ "The Simpsons: Season 16 DVD review - Entertainment Focus". Entertainment Focus. Retrieved 2016-04-18. 
  3. ^ "The Simpsons: The Sixteenth Season Blu-ray Review | High Def Digest". bluray.highdefdigest.com. Retrieved 2016-04-18. 
  4. ^ "The Simpsons Season 16 Blu-ray Review: It Delivers What It Promises - Cinema Sentries". cinemasentries.com. Retrieved 2016-04-18. 
  5. ^ "All 25 'Treehouse Of Horror' Episodes Of 'The Simpsons,' Ranked". UPROXX. Retrieved 2016-04-18. 
  6. ^ "All 78 "Treehouse Of Horror" Segments Ranked From Worst To Best". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2016-04-18. 
  7. ^ "All 78 "Treehouse Of Horror" Segments Ranked From Worst To Best". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2016-04-18. 
  8. ^ "All 78 "Treehouse Of Horror" Segments Ranked From Worst To Best". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2016-04-18. 

External links[edit]