Treehouse of Horror IX

"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"
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.Season 10
Episode 4
Directed bySteven Dean Moore
Written byDavid S. Cohen
Larry Doyle
Donick Cary
Production codeAABF01
Original air dateOctober 25, 1998 (1998-10-25)
Guest appearance(s)

Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger
Ed McMahon as himself
Jerry Springer as himself
Regis Philbin as himself (live-action sequence)
Kathie Lee Gifford as herself (live-action sequence)

Episode features
Chalkboard gagBart paints "The Simpsons Halloween Special IX" on the board with a blood-soaked brush.
Couch gagThe 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]
CommentaryMatt Groening
Mike Scully
George Meyer
Ron Hauge
David S. Cohen
Donick Cary
Steven Dean Moore
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Bart the Mother"
Next →
"When You Dish Upon a Star"
The Simpsons (season 10)
List of The Simpsons episodes

"Treehouse of Horror IX" was written by Donick Cary, Larry Doyle and David S. Cohen, and directed by Steven Dean Moore. "Terror of 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 vocally reprising the role 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.

PlotEdit

Opening SequenceEdit

The opening sequence is exactly the same as normal, but with a dark twist, as Bart does the chalkboard lines in red paint, and then the entire family is killed one by one as they arrive home (Bart falls off his skateboard when he lands on the car, Lisa is catapulted into the garage wall when she strikes Bart in the driveway, and Homer is crushed by Marge and Maggie, who presumably also die in the crash) On the couch, Freddy Kruger and Jason Voorhees are waiting for them and wonder where they are.

Hell ToupéeEdit

In a parody of the Amazing Stories episode "Hell Toupee ",[4] 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, then wryly comments on how it has been "a bad hair day", causing everyone to laugh. Marge tries to remind everyone about the two murders, but then suddenly gets the pun and joins in.

The Terror of Tiny ToonEdit

In a parody of Stay Tuned,[5] Marge forbids Bart and Lisa from watching the Itchy & Scratchy Halloween special while she goes trick-or-treating with Maggie, 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, and begin to laugh at their antics, angering the cat-and-mouse duo, who proceed to hunt them to teach them a lesson. 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 before ending up back at Itchy's house. They urge Homer from inside the TV to use the remote to get them out, and he eventually succeeds just as Marge and Maggie arrive home. Unfortunately, Itchy and Scratchy also escape. At first, the family is scared, but realize how small the two characters actually are, and decide to keep them as pets. Marge, after seeing Scratchy fall in love with Snowball II, decides to have him neutered, much to his horror.

Starship PoopersEdit

Marge discovers Maggie's first baby tooth, which appears to be a sharp fang. Maggie later loses her legs and sprouts her 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, but Homer refuses which start a big fight between Kang and Homer until Bart suggests that they appear on The Jerry Springer Show to resolve their issues. When an audience member criticizes Kang, he vaporizes her, as well as the rest of the audience and the film crew. Everyone looks guiltily as host Jerry Springer does a monologue encouraging them to put their differences aside and do what is best for Maggie. However, Maggie attacks Springer, killing him, causing Kang and Homer to fight again, much to Marge's embarrassment. After leaving the studio, Kang and Kodos threaten to destroy every politician in Washington unless given Maggie. Marge slyly implies that the aliens could not possibly destroy every politician, and they fly off to do so. As the Simpsons prepare to head home, Maggie says in Kang's voice that she will drive, and laughs diabolically before stating that she needs blood as the credits begin.

ProductionEdit

 
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 Toupée" was written by Donick Cary.[6] "Terror of Tiny Toon" was written by Larry Doyle.[7] "Starship Poopers" was written by David S. Cohen and, until season 32’s "Podcast News", was the last writing credit he ever received for the show.[8] 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.[8]

"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.[6] 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.[9] 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.[9] Jerry Springer also guest stars in the episode as himself. His lines were recorded by Julie Thacker.[10]

Much of the animation in "Hell Toupée" was worked on by assistant director Chris Clements.[9] Moe's death scene was originally more violent, but it was toned down at the request of Mike Scully.[9] The animators looked forward to working on "The Terror of Tiny Toon" because they were fans of Itchy & Scratchy.[9] Also in the original version of "Hell Toupee," Troy McClure was supposed to moderate the execution of Snake, but his voice actor Phil Hartman was murdered before even recording his lines, months later the entire sequence was redone with Ed McMahon as host. McClure's usual introduction has been reworked and McMahon begins with the sentence "Hello, I'm Ed McMahon. Tonight on Fox, from the producers of 'When Skirts Fall Off', and 'Secrets of National Security Revealed'...". The version with Troy McClure was animated completely, but remained voiceless. It has not been broadcast or published in any official Simpsons medium to date.

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.[10] 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.[10] However, the animators had drawn the waves so that they were coming from the center of the screen, and they never intended to have them emanate from a specific location.[9] 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.[8] Maggie has a line at the end of the episode, where she sounds like Kang. She was voiced by Harry Shearer.[6]

Poochie from the Simpsons episode "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show" is seen during the "Terror of the Tiny Toon" segment.[8] 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]

ReceptionEdit

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.[11]

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."[12] 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."[13]

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."[14] 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.[15]

ReferencesEdit

  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. ^ Dessem, Matthew (2020-03-14). "The Episodes of Amazing Stories That Are Actually Worth Watching". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  5. ^ "13 Great Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Halloween Stories". Den of Geek. 2019-10-30. Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  6. ^ a b c Cary, Donick (2007). Commentary for "Treehouse of Horror IX", in The Simpsons: The Complete Tenth Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  7. ^ Hauge, Ron (2007). Commentary for "Treehouse of Horror IX", in The Simpsons: The Complete Tenth Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ a b c Scully, Mike (2007). Commentary for "Treehouse of Horror IX", in The Simpsons: The Complete Tenth Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  11. ^ "Ho-hum series still puts Fox on top". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. The Associated Press. 1998-10-29.
  12. ^ "The Simpsons: The Complete Tenth Season (1998)". Dvdmg.com. Retrieved 2010-08-28.
  13. ^ McFadden, Kay (1998-10-29). "The Simpsons still deliver house of everyday horrors". The Seattle Times.
  14. ^ Iverson, Dan, Goldman, Eric, Zoromski, Brian (October 28, 2008). "Top 10 Segments from The Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror". IGN. Retrieved 2010-08-28.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  15. ^ "Primetime Emmy Award Database". Emmy.com. Retrieved 2010-08-28.

External linksEdit