In Praise of the Treehouse of Horror


Roland Dodds

Roland Dodds is an educator, researcher and father who writes about politics, culture and education. He spent his formative years in radical left wing politics, but now prefers the company of contrarians of all political stripes (assuming they aren't teetotalers). He is a regular inactive at Harry's Place and Ordinary Times.

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15 Responses

  1. Avatar Miss Mary says:

    My brother used to LOVE the Simpsons. I remember he would record the episodes on VHS tapes when he was at UT Austin. He was eight years older than me and passed down an old Simpsons tee shirt that didn’t fit him any more when he was a growing teenager. I’m so glad I still have it! I haven’t been able to watch the Simpsons since he passed away, but I think of him any time I see or hear about it. The Simpsons and Butterfingers. 🙂Report

    • Avatar Roland Dodds says:

      @miss-mary I can see how your experience puts a damper on the show. I think the great years (seasons 3-9) really are some of the best TV ever made.Report

  2. Avatar North says:

    The Shinning has to have been one of my favorites. So many good lines! “Funny, the blood usually gets off on the second floor.”
    “Hey Homer, me and the ghouls have been talking, and we feel the project of you killing your family isn’t moving forward. ”

    Also they portrayed The Raven, how cool was that?Report

  3. I love the Simpsons, even if it’s past its prime. But I’ve always had mixed feelings about the Treehouse of Horror. It’s good….but it’s a little to gory, at least sometimes. There also seems to be a little, “we’re doing this to be shocking” instead of the “we’re doing satire because we’re a satirical comedy.”

    Please don’t get me wrong. I’ve seen many (not all) of the Treehouse of Horror and have enjoyed most of the ones I’ve seen. I just don’t like them as a “project.” Still, I’m not against them either.Report

  4. Avatar krogerfoot says:

    The Simpsons is so good you can almost measure it objectively. In its heyday, the amount of effort and skill that they put into every part of the show was astonishing.

    A favorite of mine was the episode where Lisa fears that she is genetically doomed to be unintelligent, like Bart and Homer. There’s a two-second scene with Bart and Homer inviting Lisa to join them in watching an idiotic TV show, and their eyes and lips are drawn with strange, heavy outlines. It’s a reference to a discredited study of “Kallikaks,” an extended family of supposedly feeble-minded villagers in New Jersey in the 1900s. In Stephen Jay Gould’s denunciation of the science of IQ, The Mismeasure of Man, he claimed that the researcher who studied the Kallikak family crudely altered their faces in photos to give them an aspect of menacing stupidity. The creators of The Simpsons went to a lot of trouble to make a complicated reference to this, knowing full well that a fairly tiny fraction of viewers would recognize (and be delighted by) it. That is some seriously wonderful artistry.Report

    • Avatar Roland Dodds says:

      @krogerfoot Agreed. It is these little tidbits of research that turn to jokes (that probably took hours to come up with) that really give the show the depth that allows kids and adults alike to enjoy.Report

  5. Avatar Damon says:

    The Halloween episodes were always some of my favorite simpsons. I don’t think i’ve watched the show in a few years, but the old ones are classic.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      “We must move upwards, not downwards; forwards, not backwards and twirling always twirling towards Freedom!”

      “Abortions for all!” *Crowd boos*
      “Alright, no Abortions for anyone!” *Crowd boos*
      “Fine, Abortions for some and tiny American flags for the rest!* *Crowd cheers!*Report