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The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

“The Simpsons” 34th “Treehouse of Horror” fails to capture spooky season

The 34th “The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror” episode was released on Nov. 5, 2023.

With many already taking down their spider webs and packing away their plastic skeletons, America’s favorite dysfunctional cartoon family gave 2023 one last Halloween moment with “Treehouse of Horror XXXIV.”

“The Simpsons’” 34th “Treehouse of Horror” was released on Nov. 5, 2023. These Halloween episodes follow the classic family and the cast of strange characters that make up the ambiguously located Springfield as they are thrown into even more unsettling and spooky situations than usual. This year’s episode provided a few laughs, but they mostly came from clever details and one-liners rather than the actual plots, which felt incomplete and devoid of the Halloween horror I expected.

As usual, this year’s 30-minute episode was split into three separate stories. I followed Bart Simpson (Nancy Cartwright) explore the questionable world of NFTs as he was turned into one. I watched Lisa Simpson (Yeardley Smith) access her dark side 30 years in the future as she gets revenge on Sideshow Bob (Kelsey Grammar) for murdering Bart. Finally, I witnessed Homer Simpson (Dan Castellaneta) indulge in a radioactive doughnut which gave his burps the power to turn everyone in town into versions of himself.

To preface this review, I should say that I am a long-time fan of “The Simpsons.” As a middle schooler, I started every morning with a bowl of rice krispies along with an episode of “The Simpsons,” so I was excited to check in on the family that gave me so many laughs. However, I never particularly enjoyed any of the themed Simpsons’ episodes, and “The Treehouse of Horror” episodes were no exception.

The first of the three plots was my least favorite. I applaud the show for tackling current dilemmas while using funny twists, and I did find myself enjoying their jabs at the ridiculous world of valueless NFTs. However, there was no clear arc to the story and the guest stars, Jimmy Fallon, Kendall Jenner and Rob Gronkowski served no purpose and provided no amusement. There was also nothing that even vaguely connected it to Halloween or even horror.

The second segment was by far my favorite. Although I somewhat idolized Lisa’s perfection as a young child, I found it delightful to see the goody-two-shoes become completely deranged as she horrifically murders the firstborns of Springfield. The darker colors, overall mood and plot-twist-reveal of the murderer were refreshing after watching the NFT storyline that could barely even be considered a thriller. I also squealed when I saw grown-up Maggie Simpson (Nancy Cartwright) as Lisa’s trusted accomplice.

The final plot had some fun moments. I loved seeing the different versions of Homer, with even a Homer version of the Simpson family dog renamed “Santa’s Little Homer,” instead of the usual Santa’s Little Helper. The ending was also terrific, showing a whimsical chaotic world made up of Homers where Guy Fieri was elected president and Wimbledon turned into a cornhole championship. But again, it was all bright colors and a mostly light-hearted mood, which left me craving my dose of Halloween horror.

While not all the plots delivered, the signature Simpsons’ details did not disappoint. Every moment had a clever joke, whether it was the Reverend Lovejoy ending his church seminar with the line “there’s nothing in the Bible that says a pastor and his wife can’t take separate vacations” or a banner on the empty museum that read “art they made us give back to other countries.” These tiny moments are what make “The Simpsons” special because you know every line, sign, background image and even final credit has been carefully constructed to tell a witty joke.

Overall, while my return to “The Simpsons” may not have been spooky, I had a good time catching up with one of my favorite cartoons and, after 34 years of airing, it still makes me laugh.

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