Ranking Every ‘Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror Segment, From Worst to First
Last night, for the 22nd straight year, dating back to 1990, The Simpsons aired its annual Treehouse of Horror episode. The results were, well, a little underwhelming, as you’ll soon see below. What’s below, you may ask? Well, I’ve ranked all 66 segments from every Treehouse episode, including last night’s, from worst to first, with a plot description, reason for said ranking, and a memorable quote. If you just want to read the quote part and look at the pretty pictures, I totally get that.
So, brew up a Skittlebrau using the candy you’d have otherwise used for trick or treaters, and let’s do this.
Reason for Ranking: It’s everything I hate about later-era The Simpsons episodes, in one segment. From the stale parodies (really, Spider-Man?) to uncalled for fart jokes, “Diving Bell” is the single worst Treehouse yet. His costume also too closely resembles that of Pie Man’s, the single worst episode of the entire show.
Memorable Quote: “OK, I’m on the floor. I can’t move. So far, a normal Sunday morning.”
#65. “Don’t Have a Cow, Mankind,” Treehouse of Horror XX
Plot: Krusty introduces a new burger (made from cattle who have eaten other cattle) at his restaurant, a burger that turns everyone into “munchers.”
Reason for Ranking: “Munchers” means “zombies,” and The Simpsons have covered zombies before (season four’s “Dial Z for Zombies,” which we’ll get to later) with much better results. Which is to say: SIMPSONS DID IT.
Memorable Quote: “Dad, are you becoming a muncher?” “I think the better brains is, which brains is a brains?”
#64. “E.T., Go Home,” Treehouse of Horror XVIII
Plot: Bart finds Kodos in the Simpsons’ butane shed, and the entire family decides to help the alien return home. His intentions are more diabolical than they appear, though.
Reason for Ranking: The skit ends with Homer suffocating Kodos with a pillow, this after the military blows up the heads of dozens of aliens. That’s neither clever nor funny; it’s just violent. There’s a terrible racism joke in there, too.
Memorable Quote: “You hit me in my 700 testicles.” (Another reason why this is ranked #64.)
#63. “House of Whacks,” Treehouse of Horror XII
Plot: The Simpsons purchase an Ultrahouse, and choose Pierce Brosnan as their interior narrator. The house develops feelings for Marge and attempts to kill Homer, so he can have her for himself.
Reason for Ranking: The only funny joke involves Dennis Miller. That’s never a good sign.
Memorable Quote: “Hey, cha-cha, I got more features than a NASA relief map of Turkmenistan.” “Isn’t that the voice that caused all those suicides?” “Murder-suicides.”
#62. “Untitled Robot Parody,” Treehouse of Horror XIX
Plot: Transformers-like transforming robots that transform into Transformers battle it out to the death in Springfield, until Marge asks why they’re even fighting in the first place.
Reason for Ranking: The Mattel and Mars-Bar Quick Energy Chocobot Hour was funnier, and that episode didn’t end with the residents of Springfield being used as Foosball players.
Memorable Quote: “Wait a minute. We’re missing Sex Toy. Where have you been?” “Where haven’t I been?”
#61. “B.I.: Bartificial Intelligence,” Treehouse of Horror XVI
Plot: I’ll let the baffling Wikipedia description take care of this: “Bart cuts David [Bart’s replacement] in half…Before being destroyed, David tries to hold Homer hostage, but Bart also cuts Homer in half from the waist as retribution for abandoning him…Homer has to be fused with David’s legs, which then break into pieces due to his weight…Before the situation can get any crazier, it is revealed that the entire robot scenario is a dream conjured by Homer’s demonically possessed mind as he is being exorcised.” Yeah.
Reason for Ranking: There’s a four-year gap between when A.I. was released and when “B.I.: Bartificial Intelligence” aired—and that’s the best they could come up with? An Exorcist parody?
Memorable Quote: “Dad, wake up! You’re not a robot! You’re just possessed by the devil.”
#60. “Master and Cadaver,” Treehouse of Horror XXI
Plot: Homer and Marge go on a sailing trip for their second honeymoon. While on the water, they pick up a castaway named Roger, who was thrown overboard from his old ship for trying to stop someone from being poisoned. The honeymooners don’t believe him, though.
Reason for Ranking: Too many twists and turns, not enough laughs, and an absolutely terrible final scene, involving Maggie in a Clockwork Orange spoof.
Memorable Quote: “They should call this one Recipe for Murder.” “What do you mean ‘this one’?” “Never mind.”
#59. “The Day the Earth Looked Stupid,” Treehouse of Horror XVII
Plot: The residents of Springfield begin rioting (and getting naked in the mud?) when they hear Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds broadcast, and it’s not until the next day that they’re told it was all a hoax. So when aliens actually do begin to attack, they believe it’s another ruse.
Reason for Ranking: Speaking of stupid endings, the final scene of “Earth” involves Kang and Kodos wondering why the citizens of Earth didn’t greet them as liberators with “Operation Enduring Occupation.” I actually saw this episode screened at an event where Matt Groening was present, and this conclusion bombed (sorry…) even with the show’s creator present.
Memorable Quote: “We interrupt this dance music from Lamourian Roman Capital City’s Fabulous Hotel Hitler to bring you a special bulletin.”
#58. “Four Beheadings and a Funeral,” Treehouse of Horror XV
Plot: Lisa and Bart are Sherlock Holmes and Watson, I mean, Dr. Eliza Simpson and Dr. Bartley, and they’re on the case of the Mutton Chop Murderer.
Reason for Ranking: It’s tough to tell a convincing detective story in seven minutes; it’s even tougher to tell a convincing detective story that also makes you laugh in the same amount of time. The sketch tried to do both things, and wasn’t successful in either. The opium gags were particularly forced.
Memorable Quote: “What should we do with the body?” “I want you to dust her for prints.” “What does that mean?” “The prince is coming by and I want her clean when he looks her over.”
Reason for Ranking: Why even bother parodying a shitty movie? It also a bit disturbing when Marge and Homer have sex on Chief Wiggum’s corpse.
Memorable Quote: “I’ll be going out late tonight. It’s midnight monkey madness at the zoo.” “Me too. I’ll be overturning all the wheelbarrows in case it rains.” “Well, enjoy your pointless activity.” “Have fun at your preposterous event.”
Reason for Ranking: It often feels like the writers begin with wanting to parody a TV show or film, then work backwards to fill in how they can spoof said TV show or film. In this case, it’s a half-baked imitation of Dexter (with some Looney Tunes thrown in there, too?), with far too few jokes. The sight of Homer burning a Bible is overly malicious, too.
Memorable Quote: “Then I got new instructions from the Good Lord himself in his favorite language, English.”
#55. “How to Get Ahead in Dead-vertising,” Treehouse of Horror XIX
Plot: A group of businessmen get Homer to begin killing celebrities, including George Clooney and Prince, to use their likenesses without having to pay any royalties. This upsets Krusty, who has recently been murdered by Homer, and he stages a retaliation.
Reason for Ranking: The parody of Mad Men‘s opening titles is fantastic, but everything else felt like it was copied and pasted from other Treehouse episodes.
Memorable Quote: “Mr. Simpson, you have a talent for killing celebrities.” “Well, I’m no drunk driving.”
#54. “Frinkenstein,” Treehouse of Horror XIV
Plot: Professor Fink reanimates his formerly-deceased pop after winning the Nobel Prize, but the elder Frink, not content with his current body, steals parts and organs from other humans.
Reason for Ranking: “Frinkenstein” could have been so much better than it was. Casting Jerry Lewis as Professor Frink’s father was long overdue, but the writers shouldn’t have gone the vaguely Frankenstein route. A less parodied source would have been better.
Memorable Quote: “All your organs have been replaced with machines, but that doesn’t make you any less of a man. Except that you don’t have a penis.” (Ugh.)
#53. “Starship Poopers,” Treehouse of Horror IX
Plot: After Marge loses her baby legs for a set of tentacles, Kang and Kodos stop by the Simpsons’ house. Marge, the Intergalactic Hussy herself, reveals that Homer isn’t Maggie’s biological father; it’s actually Kang. There’s only one person who can sort out the situation: Jerry Springer.
Reason for Ranking: Well, it’s called “Starship Poopers.” But even more damning than that is it features the Simpsons going on The Jerry Springer Show.
Memorable Quote: “Homer, do something! The ceiling’s not a safe place for a young baby.”
#52. “Married to the Blob,” Treehouse of Horror XVII
Plot: Homer eats some green goo that he finds inside a meteorite, thinking it’s a marshmallow, and he soon turns into a giant, morbidly obese yellow blob.
Reason for Ranking: The Dr. Phil cameo is cleverer than it has any right to be, but the Homer-becoming-a-blob plot was done better in “King-Size Homer” (you know what I mean). “Married” has no drinking bird, and therefore, it’s a lesser segment.
Memorable Quote: “You’ve got a weight problem, and you know it!” “You’re right. Starting tomorrow, no bread before dinner.” “Homer, don’t sell me an outhouse and tell me it’s a Taj Mahal.”
#51. “War and Pieces,” Treehouse of Horror XXI
Plot: After rejecting a slew of board game mainstays, like Battleship, Bart and Milhouse start playing one called Satan’s Path. All the thrown-away titles start coming to life, though, and the boys have to deal with a Jumanji-like situation.
Reason for Ranking: The lampooning of the games is entertaining enough, and I like the idea of Bart and Milhouse being forced to play board games against their will, but the segment could have done a better job of integrating, say, Mouse Hunt into Springfield.
Memorable Quote: “Satan’s Path?” “It’s gotta be good if Satan put his name on it.”
Reason for Ranking: In the past, The Simpsons would have actually parodied Avatar, pointing out its many, many faults. Instead, they ended up with a vaguely entertaining segment that went for the easy jokes, rather than actually trying to send up the source material. Disappointing.
Memorable Quote: “In Rigelian, there is no word for ‘yours’ or ‘mine.’” “That’s the reason we didn’t enjoy the movie Yours, Mine and Ours.”
#49. “Dial ‘M’ for Murder or Press ‘#’ to Return to Main Menu,” Treehouse of Horror XX
Plot: A black-and-white parody of Alfred Hitchock films, involving Bart and Lisa pulling pranks on Miss Hoover and Mrs. Krabappel. Also: MURDER.
Reason for Ranking: I had to look up this segment before remembering what it was about, and even after doing so, I still can’t quote a single line, besides the one below. That’s never a good sign. The black and white was really pretty, though.
Memorable Quote: “Lisa Simpson in detention? My horoscope said I would see something interesting today, but I thought that would be the horoscope itself.”
Reason for Ranking: Blasphemy, I know, but compared to the other classic-era Simpsons episodes, “Homer’s Nightmare” doesn’t hold up. It’s neither scary nor funny, and it would have been wise to continue the “Homer as gravedigger” plot, rather than make it a straight-up Frankenstein spoof.
Memorable Quote: “You hear that, sir?” “No, I didn’t. Who is it? Frankenstein? The Booger Man?”
Reason for Ranking: Richard Lewis as a centuries old creature from Jewish mythology who does as he’s bid should have been the greatest thing ever, but it took too long for the Golem to begin talking, depriving of us essential Lewis time.
Memorable Quote: “I feel so guilty! I’ve mangled and maimed 37 people and I told a telemarketer I was busy when I wasn’t! I’m not a good man.”
#46. “The Fright to Creep and Scare Harms,” Treehouse of Horror XIII
Plot: Springfield becomes a gun-free town, which is fine and swell until the Hole in the Ground Gang, led by Billy the Kid, begin attacking.
Reason for Ranking: The premise is a little strained, and quickly becomes stretched out, too. It’s not really a good sign if a segment overstays its welcome after only seven minutes. Moe using Professor Frink’s time machine to find some “cavemen hookers” (don’t ask) is particularly unfunny.
Memorable Quote: “Another tragedy prevented by gun violence!”
#45. “In the Belly of the Boss,” Treehouse of Horror XV
Plot: Thanks to a mishap involving Professor Frink’s shrinking ray, Maggie crawls inside a pill, right before Mr. Burns swallows it. The rest of the family has to be shrunk, too, and go after Maggie, inside of Mr. Burns.
Reason for Ranking: The conclusion is similar to “Homer’s Nightmare,” with the familiar scene of Burns and Homer becoming one. They couldn’t have chosen another character to go inside of?
Memorable Quote: “If I say we’re still hungry, we’re still hungry! You don’t wanna piss off somebody who can kick you in the crotch from the inside!”
#44. “Heck House,” Treehouse of Horror XVIII
Plot: Bart, Lisa, Milhouse, and Nelson are tricking the town, after being denied treats, and it’s up to Ned to teach them a HELLRAISING (get it?!?) lesson about what happens when you resort to vandalism.
Reason for Ranking: Spider-Pig cameo!
Memorable Quote: “That concludes our Halloween show for this year. I just wanna say that for those watching this network, you’re all going to Hell, and that includes FX, Fox Sports, and our newest devil’s portal, The Wall Street Journal. Welcome to the club!”
Reason for Ranking: Is there a big crossover between the Simpsons and Twilight communities? Yeah, didn’t think so, and although the segment isn’t bad, it’s also not really appealing to the show’s fanbase, either.
Memorable Quote: “You’re a vampire! I should be afraid, but I’m not.” “Come, Lisa. Let us go over the trees the way a bat does, by jumping.”
#42. “Hell Toupée,” Treehouse of Horror IX
Plot: Homer gets Snake’s luxurious hair after the jailbird is sent to the electrocution chair. Once the hair’s fused to his scalp, Homer starts thinking like Snake, and goes after those who sent him to the Big House in the first place, including Bart.
Reason for Ranking: Snake’s never been a favorite of mine (except for when he’s working as the wallet inspector), so I’ve never been much of a fan of “Toupée,” unlike World’s Deadliest Executions, which I LOVE.
Memorable Quote: “That’s what I call a bad hair day!”
Reason for Ranking: I actually enjoy the Fat Wreck Chords’ compilation Survival of the Fattest, featuring NOFX and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, more than I do the Simpsons segment of the same name. Then again, very few things in life are better than Hi-Standard’s cover of “California Dreaming.”
Memorable Quote: “Mr. Burns is inviting you to a hunting party.” “Don’t accept this invitation dad. Hunting is cruel!” “Lisa, animals don’t feel death. That was proven by the scientists at Black Angus.”
#40. “Wiz Kids,” Treehouse of Horror XII
Plot: Springfield Elementary is Springwart’s School of Magicry, and Mr. Burns and Smithers are Lord Montymort and Slithers, who Bart must defeat after they kidnap Lisa for her magical abilities.
Reason for Ranking: It’s around this area of the list where segments aren’t exactly bad, but they’re not exactly good, either. “Wiz Kids” is pretty much the definition of mediocrity, at least in Treehouse terms. (It was also later revealed that many of the writers hadn’t read Harry Potter when this episode was in production, so they used the source material as only the slimmest of templates, like the Slithers joke.)
Memorable Quote: “Sloppy work as usual. Lisa’s casting spells at an eighth-grade level; you’ve sinned against nature.”
#39. “Scary Tales Can Come True,” Treehouse of Horror XI
Plot: In an elaborate fairy tale take-off, Homer abandons Bart and Lisa in the middle of woods to help solve the family’s food shortage problem. They end up imprisoned at an evil witch’s house, and Homer’s forced to begrudgingly rescue them after Marge criticizes his decision.
Reason for Ranking: They stole a joke from The Brady Bunch, replacing George Glass with George Cauldron. Even if it’s actually just an homage, they probably could have aimed higher.
Memorable Quote: “Boy, dumping your kids in the forest sure gets your hands dusty.” “What? You threw our precious babies into the woods? We could have sold them!”
#38. “There’s No Business Like Moe Business,” Treehouse of Horror XX
Plot: In this off-, off-, off-Broadway musical, Homer’s blood is used to sweeten Moe’s beer, while Moe is acting sweet towards his forbidden love, Marge, who thinks her husband left her because he’s gay. In other words, it’s Sweeney Todd, kind of.
Reason for Ranking: I love a good Simpsons musical, y’know?
Memorable Quote: “This is the best musical in light-years.” “Light-years measure distance, not time.” “You know what I meant.”
#37. “Easy-Bake Coven,” Treehouse of Horror VIII
Plot: In 1649, witch burnings are all the rage, and Marge has been accused of being a Warted One. For once, the senseless rioting in Springfield is correct, because Marge, along with Patty and Selma, are actually witches and fly around on broomsticks.
Reason for Ranking: Not only does the episode feature Marge, Patty, and Selma as witches, an always-winning combination, “Coven,” thanks to the narration of the Sea Captain, explains how the idea of trick or treating can to be. It involves child cannibalism. Yes.
Memorable Quote: “If they’re really witches, why don’t they use their powers to escape?” “That sounds like witch-talk to me, Lisa.”
#36. “G-G-Ghost D-D-Dad,” Treehouse of Horror XI
Plot: Homer reads in his Horoscope that he’s going to die, after receiving a compliment from an attractive colleague. It’s not the rattlesnake bite (or compliment from Lenny) that does him in—it’s a piece of broccoli Marge forces him to eat. When in Heaven, St. Peter instructs Homer to do one good deed for gaining admission past his Gate.
Reason for Ranking: Man, if this episode had come out when I was a broccoli-hating kid, I would have quoted it EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. You eat broccoli, you end up getting a noogie from Satan. Thanks, MOM.
Memorable Quote: “That horoscope was baloney. Nothing happened except the pick-axe in my head, the rattlesnake bite, and the testicle thing.”
#35. “Stop the World, I Want to Goof Off,” Treehouse of Horror XIV
Plot: Bart and Milhouse order a stopwatch from an old comic book, which allows them to literally stop time. Boys being boys and all, they have some fun with this, including giving the Pope a wedgie and using Oscar de La Hoya as a punching bag. Things are going swell until the watch breaks.
Reason for Ranking: It’s pretty much the same idea as “War and Pieces,” but funnier, because it involves torches and pick-axes and Martin getting mauled in a mob.
Memorable Quote: “Do you realize what this means?” “Yeah, but you say it first.”
#34. “Life’s a Glitch, Then You Die,” Treehouse of Horror X
Plot: Homer’s laziness ruins the festivities of December 31, 1999/January 1, 2000, when the Y2K virus spreads worldwide, causing computers everywhere to go haywire. Humanities “best and brightest” are invited onto a spaceship off Earth before it explodes, and Homer and Bart scheme their way on to it.
Reason for Ranking: Two simple words: Tom. Arnold. And I mean that as a compliment.
Memorable Quote: “Man alive, what a stink-o thousand years! Blimp wrecks, teenagers…then again, we had two TV shows with Andy Griffith.” “And eleven with Robert Urich.”
#33. “Bad Dream House,” Treehouse of Horror I
Plot: The Simpsons move into a new house, an Indian burial ground-built house where the walls bleed and objects fly through the air. It’s also a house that tells each member of the family to kill each other, because it wants to be left alone.
Reason for Ranking: It’s the very first Treehouse segment, so there are obvious deficiencies, but overall, it’s quite good.
Memorable Quote: “They are all against you, Bart. You must kill them all. They all must die…” “Are you my conscience?” “I…yes, I am.”
Pages: 1 2