The Simpsons Season 27 Episodes 5: “Treehouse Of Horror XXVI”
Written by Joel H. Cohen
Created by James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon
Starring Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Julie Kavner, Yeardley Smith, Harry Shearer, Hank Azaria, Pamela Hayden, Kelsey Grammer NBC
Air Date: Sunday, October 25th, 2015, 8pm
To crazed TV watchers, October means one thing: Halloween episodes! When I was a kid it was Roseanne. My parents and I gathered every year to watch the Conner family scare that crap out of us. At that point The Simpsons were just the weird yellow cartoon from Tracey Ullman’s show. Then I saw my first Treehouse of Horror episode, was introduced to Kang and Kodos, and the sweet sound of James Earl Jones reading Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven to a scared Homer, I was hooked. Since then, we’ve witnessed over a quarter century’s worth of Treehouse of Horror episodes, each with 3 scary Simpsons segments, including classics like The Shinning, Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace, and Citizen Kang. I never could have imagined that when I watched the first Simpsons Halloween special back in 1990 at the age of 8, I’d be able to watch the 26th edition of that same special with my 11-year old son. As usual, The Simpsons prove cross-generational and timeless.
Some spoilers and check out the “couch gag” clip below.
Just to put The Simpsons in perspective; I am 33 years old. The Simpsons began its historic run on FOX in 1989, spun off from the Tracey Ullman Show when I was 7! As in starting second grade! So when my generation speaks of The Simpsons we aren’t just mentioning one of many quality shows on television. We literally grew up with these characters. Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie aren’t characters; they’re our neighbors, classmates, and friends. “DOH” and “Cowabunga Dude” are parts of American history and culture. Co-creator Matt Groening and friends greeted fans at San Diego Comic-Con with a panel that discussed the future of the series as it enters it 27th (!) season, and the all-things Simpsons FXX universe.
Usually when characters die on an animated comedy series, they’re back and perfectly fine by the next episode. But sometimes an animated series kills off a character permanently, whether it be because the actor who voices the character has to leave the show, there’s a dispute between actor and producers, or maybe because the show’s makers just don’t like that character anymore.
The last time The Simpsons killed off a character—or “did it,” as some like to say—was back in the year 2000 when Ned Flanders’ wife Maude fell to her death. Now executive producer Al Jean has revealed that another character will soon meet their demise.
The Simpsons The Complete Twelfth Season
Starring Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Julie Kavner, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria
Twentieth Century Fox
Release Date: August 18, 2009
As far back as I can remember The Simpsons has been a part of my life. Growing up with the first family of Springfield, Any State USA since their Christmas special first aired in late 1989 I could see parts of myself and my own family in Matt Groening‘s brilliant creation. Being a reader, a bit of a brain, and somehow able to stand outside the rest of my family and observe their strange behavior with the perspective of a seasoned psychiatrist, I could always relate to oldest daughter Lisa (voiced by Yeardley Smith), while my dad (who I was named after) took after intellectually challenged yet well-meaning father Homer (voiced by Dan Castellenata) somewhat (at least when he was around). Mother Marge (voiced by Julie Kavner), full of motherly wisdom and ready to be the glue that held the family together at all times, naturally reminded me of my own mom Carolyn. Then there was underachiever (and proud of it) brother Bart (voiced by Nancy Cartwright), whose tendency to raise hell without a moment’s hesitation continuously brought my own younger siblings Sean and Lisa. Little Maggie (voiced by someone sucking on a pacifier) could be representative of us all when we’re at that age. Besides them there’s the show’s sizable supporting cast. Who among us has never had a Bible-thumping neighbor like Ned Flanders, or a greedy employer like Montgomery Burns? You may have had a conservative principal like Seymour Skinner or encountered a bartender like Moe. The townspeople who populate Springfield, a city which appears to be all American cities and none of them, may have come from the imaginations of a brilliant writing staff and voice cast (not to mention some very talented animators) but most of these characters are bound to strike a few of us as a bit familiar.