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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Of the first ten Simpsons Halloween specials, Treehouse of Horror X is
definitely at the bottom of the list when it comes to quality. I'm not
sure it deserves to be hurled into the sun, but it's surely not
Mars-worthy. I'm now commenting on it as part of my series of reviews
on Halloween and horror-themed entertainment.
The first segment is probably the best one. Although it spoofs a bad movie (I Know What You Did Last Summer, 1997), the theme of murder works well for a THOH as Marge accidentally runs over and kills Ned Flanders. Much of how the Simpsons try to cover the death up is not from the movie and is a highlight of the episode. Bart utters a true statement- that no one will believe a Simpson killing a Flanders could be an accident. Homer also gives a terribly suspicious eulogy. This segment is also the first time a THOH has tackled the concept of werewolves- though Flanders as a werewolf isn't quite as good as when he was the devil (THOH IV).
The second segment of the episode is a superhero spoof. My main gripe about it is that superheroes aren't a Halloweenish subject. Trying to compensate, the beginning of the segment is set on Halloween, but that's it. Sure, maybe an argument could be made that THOH was never exclusively about Halloween. It had aliens, and Lisa in this very episode asks "What do aliens have to do with Halloween?" It's interesting to note, however, that Orson Welles' 1938 War of the Worlds broadcast was a Halloween show. While we've accepted science fiction as appropriate subject matter for THOHs in addition to horror, this superhero stuff falls under neither the horror nor science fiction category.
Finally, THOH X ends with Y2K, a computer malfunction some feared would occur on New Years' Day in 2000. Although New Years' and Halloween are different holidays, this is passable since Y2K was a real terror at the end of the '90s. The segment suggests imaginative ways in which the machines will malfunction. Much as how the superhero spoof in this episode closely resembles the later Futurama episode Less Than Hero, this Y2K segment resembles the Futurama episode Mother's Day, where the machines all rebel. The ending deserves comment: although I'd be sympathetic to the idea of putting Dr. Laura, Dan Quayle, Tonya Harding and Pauly Shore on a collision course with the sun, and I enjoyed this part, this may not be as enjoyable to future audiences if those people are eventually forgotten.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Season 11 is still good Simpsons stuff and this Halloween special maybe is not as fantastic as the ones from the golden age of The Simpsons (the special in which appears Homer3 for example) but it is very funny with some memorable stuff (like the very last scene), in short it is another very good episode from Season 11, a Season that at its very best is almost as highly re-watchable as any other from the wonderful years of the show. Certainly this is not a recent Season, actually Season 11 began airing on 9/26/99 (with the great Mel Gibson episode), almost 10 years ago but I think that actually this Season is one of the last that I saw complete but anyway this Treehouse of Horror aired on 10/31/99 and does contain crazy stuff about the coming of the year 2000 but it begins with the segment "I Know What You Diddily-Iddily-Did", after having the introduction with Kang and Kodos. This segment has the Simpsons killing accidentally Flanders and the funniest stuff comes when Homer is with the body of Flanders (trying to give Flanders a new death) who turned to be a werewolf. The second segment "Desperately Xeeking Xena" for me is the best one; it is a funny superhero episode with Bart and Lisa as Stretch Dude and Clobber Girl. Comic Book Guy is memorable here as The Collector, his collection is really bizarre and scary. Lucy Lawless is the heroin, The Collector has a memorable death but he opened a limited lightsaber! Finally the last segment "Life's a Glitch, Then You Die" is also good, it has Homer destroying the Earth! A very good Halloween show, in 1999 The Simpsons was a really good show.
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