“Treehouse of Horror XXVII” (31 Nightmares #16)

31 Nightmares

Despite great ideas, “The Simpsons” deliver another underwhelming Halloween special.

I was looking forward to “Treehouse of Horror XXVII,” as I always do. Despite the show’s significant drop in quality over the years, these are still fun to watch. This was also ‘The Simpsons'” 600th episode. Unfortunately, “Treehouse of Horror XXVII” doesn’t deliver as either a good Halloween episode, 600th episode, or a quality episode in general.

The intro has Homer, on Halloween, taking Bart, Lisa, and Marge Christmas tree shopping on Christmas, because “in America, everything’s way to early.” At the lot, they are confronted by Sideshow Bob, Kang or Kodos, and Frank Grimes’ ghost (clever) who have formed an evil group to kill the family, specifically Homer, who’s screwed them over time and time again. Before they can attack, O’Reilly the Leprechaun comes out of a tree and gets the trio to dance, which allows Maggie to cut all their heads off. Grimes puts his head back on and wonders a way to go about “stopping these people.” It seems like he’s preferring to The Simpsons, which he also is, but he’s really mainly preferring to the show’s developers, as a counter goes from 0 to 600, with clips from all 600 episodes filling the screen. Before the intro ends, Grimes says, “in Hell, they make you watch all the episodes in a row.”

The concept of this intro is cool, but this seems like it would’ve actually been suited better for one of the three segments of a Treehouse of Horror, as it’s more interesting than two of the segments presented in Treehouse of Horror XXVII. The intro seems like it should’ve just been cut all together too, as it mainly just takes away needed time from the 3 segments, but it’s worth it for the 600 episodes joke. The developers acknowledging how insanely long the show’s been going on for, and addressing how people think the quality has really gone down hill, is nice.

As for the actual three Treehouse of Horror segments, they vary in quality.

The first one, “Dry Hard,” is a spoof of “The Hunger Games” that takes place in a post apocalyptic Springfield. Springfield is completely out of water, except for the supply that Mr. Burns is controlling and not sharing with anyone. He holds a “Hunger Games” competition, with the winner earning a day at his reservoir.

“Dry Hard” is easily the worst out of the three segments. A more minor complaint, but this spoof feels like it should’ve been done in the last few years. We seem to be done with the whole “Hunger Games” thing. I know they said they’re working on more movies, but we’ll see. Due to this, and other factors, “Dry Hard” just comes off as desperate. Some jokes kinda work, but most of them just come as lazy or stale, and, due to the segment’s short time frame, ends up feeling rushed and undercooked. There’s no breathing room, and most of it feels like watching a highlight reel of the segment.

The 2nd segment, “BFF” involves Lisa’s imaginary friend killing anyone who is her best friend.

“BFF” is easily the best out of all segments. The concept is great and screams classic “Treehouse of Horror.” Not that “BFF” isn’t without its problems. Again, there’s the problem of feeling rushed and not taking as much advantage of the promising premise as they could’ve. The ending specifically, like “Dry Hard,” feels unsatisfying and kinda incomplete. Sarah Silver voices Lisa’s imaginary friend. She does well in the role, but she’s just not given a whole lot to work with.

The 3rd and final segment, “Moefinger,” is a spoof of James Bond, in which Moe reveals to Bart, who’s barely been in this episode, that the regulars of Moe’s are actual secret agents saving the world. Moe recruits Bart to take Homer’s place.

“Moefinger” is better than “Dry Hard” but doesn’t really come close to “BFF” Besides some blood and guts, this doesn’t really feel like it belongs in “Treehouse of Horror, but there isn’t really any other place to put it. Despite all that, the concept is still unique. I like “Treehouse of Horror” concepts like these that feel like they could happen in the continuity of the show, like this one kinda does. Still though, everything feels breezed through. The plot just feels like it gets going, and the episode is already at the finale. Moe’s whole recruiting Bart as an agent felt weird too, with how out of the blue it was.

So, that’s “Treehouse of Horror XXVII.” The developers really seem like they need to reevaluate how “Treehouse of Horrors” are executed, as the recent ones just seem to have a lot of the same problems. I know “Treehouse of Horrors” are hard work for them, so I understand if this wasn’t an option, but making them an hour would probably fix some of the problems. The overall premise behind the idea “Treehouse of Horror” has always been great. The show just needs to get the specials back to their glory days, which can also be said about “The Simpsons,” as a show, in general.

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