In 1998's tales of terror, Homer gets a hair transplant from a dead criminal (Snake Jailbird), Bart and Lisa go on TV (thanks to a radioactive remote control), and The Simpsons are the latest guests on The Jerry Springer Show after Marge confesses that Maggie was the product of an abduction-cum-one night stand with Kang the alien.This was the first Simpsons episode to use the current production code "_ABF##"
This episode contains examples of: (YMMV Examples here)
- Angry Fist-Shake: Snake's hair after being shot several times.
- Animated Actors: Hinted to be the case with Itchy and Scratchy during "The Terror of Tiny Toon".
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Snake's three crimes that get him sentenced to death in the chair follow this formula: he torched down an orphanage, blew up a bus full of nuns, and smoked inside the Kwik-E-Mart.
- Artistic License – Biology: Electrocution will, in reality, ruin one's organs, making them unsuitable for transplantation. An execution by hanging, guillotine, or lethal injection would spare the organs.
- Bait and Switch: Bart screams as it looks like Snake-possessed Homer is about to smash him in the face with a sledgehammer. He actually hits and smashes Bart's school picture, which Bart points out.
- Beat Still, My Heart: Snake pulls Moe's heart out with a corkscrew and presents it to him before he collapses and dies.
- Big "NO!":
- Apu's last words before Snake kills him.
- Bart when Snake makes Homer attempt to kill him with a sledgehammer.
- Homer when he manages to regain control of himself from Snake, preventing Snake from killing Bart, and rips Snake's hair off his head.
- Scratchy when Marge tells him he's going to be neutered.
- Bloodless Carnage:
- Played straight with Apu and Moe's deaths, despite the latter having his heart pulled out while it was still breathing, and when flesh-eating piranhas devour Bart's skin below the neck, leaving just his skeleton.
- Averted when Itchy severs Scratchy's head and Bart and Lisa get blood splashed on them.
- Averted again when an ax lands on Bart's head and he panics when blood runs out from under it.
- Averted a third time when Itchy severs Scratchy's arms with a chainsaw by accident.
- Bond One-Liner: After shooting Snake's hair:
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Exaggerated. In "Terror of Tiny Toon", Lisa, trapped in the TV with Bart, tells Homer how to get them out. Itchy and Scratchy then literally do this by breaking through the screen into the living room.
- Call Back: In "Terror of Tiny Toon", Marge forbids Bart and Lisa from watching Itchy and Scratchy.
- Captain Obvious:Lisa: Of course, the transplant! Somehow Snake's hair must be controlling—
Marge: Oh, please, Lis, everyone's already figured that out.
- Chairman of the Brawl: As with the Jerry Springer show, Kang wields chairs during his brawl with Homer.
- Chainsaw Good: Itchy in the police cruiser attacks Bart and Lisa with a chainsaw, accidentally severing both of Scratchy's arms at one point.
- Cluster Bleep-Bomb: The unsurprising result of the family's appearance on Jerry Springer.
- Heart Beats out of Chest: Scratchy invokes this when Snowball II snuggles up against him.Marge: I am so (bleep)ing embarressed...
- Cue Card Pause:Krusty: Hey, hey! Tonight I'm going to suck![next card]Krusty: ... your blood!
- Darker and Edgier: The episode uses a more macabre version of the show's opening sequence. We have Bart writing down the chalkboard punishment in blood, later him botching his jump off Homer's sunroof and snapping his neck. Lisa then follows suit by cycling into Bart's corpse and ricocheting headfirst into the garage wall, as Homer gets run over by Marge as she drives by. The couch gag then sees Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees sitting on the couch, apparently waiting for the family to arrive.
- Determinator: If Snake says he will kill you, he will do it. Even being dead doesn't stop him.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Because one audience member called out Kang for being a deadbeat father, he kills the entire Jerry Springer audience.
- Evil Laughter:
- Snake does one when he's about to kill Bart, but then Homer regains control of himself.
- Kang and Kodos as they leave in their spaceship.
- Maggie, of all characters, at the end.
- Eye Pop: In "The Terror of Tiny Toon" where Bart and Lisa are caught inside Itchy & Scratchy's show.
- Face Hugger: Maggie does this to the show host.
- Family Relationship Switcheroo: "Homer, Kang is Maggie's father."
- Fanservice Extra: The two showgirls who escort Snake to the electric chair.
- Fighting from the Inside: Homer at the climax of "Hell Toupée":Bart: You've got to fight the hair, dad.
Homer: But I look so youthful and hunky.
Snake: (speaking through Homer) The kid's gotta die.
Homer: But I love my son.
Snake: More than a lush head of hair?
Homer: Don't make me choose!
(Snake does an Evil Laugh.)
Homer: NO! (Proceeds to literally Drop the Hammer from his hands and tear Snake's hair off his head.)
- Foreshadowing: When Marge shows Maggie's first baby tooth (more like fang, actually), she's slobbering like Kang and Kodos, the first sign she's really Kang's baby.
- For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: Marge sees an unkempt, shabbily-dressed Homer eating from a can of beans:Marge: Oh, Homer, you're not going as a hobo again?Homer: Going where?
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: Itchy and Scratchy break through the TV screen into the Simpsons' living room, causing a Mass "Oh, Crap!" for the Simpsons, but it doesn't last very long as Itchy is promptly trapped by Homer and put in a hamster wheel, and Marge tells Scratchy he will have to be neutered after seeing he has eyes for Snowball II.
- Genre Savvy: Bart gets himself and Lisa out of the police cruiser by drawing a button, labeling it "Eject" and pressing it.
- Gory Discretion Shot: During Apu's murder.
- Groin Attack: Marge tells Scratchy he's going to be neutered after seeing he has eyes for Snowball II.
- High Voltage Death:
- Snake is sentenced to death in the electric chair.
- Itchy and Scratchy attempt to inflict one on Bart and Lisa but Homer changes the channel before it can happen and unwittingly saves them.
- Improvised Weapon: Snake kills Moe with his own corkscrew, which he uses to pull Moe's heart out while it's still beating.
- Kids Are Cruel: Bart and Lisa laughing at Scratchy having his head cut off and used as a jack-o-lantwern. Itchy and Scratchy team up against them for it.
- Kill It with Fire: Dr. Hibbert's solution to Maggie growing tentacles.Homer: Is there anything you can prescribe, doctor?
Dr. Hibbert: Fire! And lots of it!
Marge: That's your cure for everything!
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
- Marge does this by cutting off Lisa's Narrating the Obvious moment, saying everyone has already figured it out.
- Marge does this again when she refuses to let Bart and Lisa watch the Itchy & Scratchy Halloween special: "Sorry, but if I let you watch some of these gruesome Halloween cartoons, I'd be a pretty lousy mother!"
- Look Behind You: How Kang tricks Marge to look away and then impregnate her with his gun.
- Major Injury Underreaction:
- After Snake pulls Moe's heart out with a corkscrew, Moe can only say "Aw, for crying out loud..." before dying.
- Itchy, while attacking Bart and Lisa in the police cruiser with a chainsaw, accidentally severs both of Scratchy's arms. Itchy says "Sorry," to him, to which Scratchy simply replies, "It happens," and steers the car with his teeth.
- After Itchy and Scratchy attack Bart with piranhas that eat his flesh and leave him a skeleton from the neck down, Bart just complains it was going to hurt tomorrow.
- Medium Blending: In "The Terror of Tiny Toon", Bart, Lisa, Itchy and Scratchy fall into the live action "Live With Regis & Kathie Lee" (as it was then titled) show. Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford both appear as themselves.
- It took so long to get the live-action part right, they couldn't broadcast the news from the same studio (Live began as a local morning show on New York's ABC station, and it's been taped there, so they had to share studio space with Eyewitness News, which moved to a street-side studio in 2010).
- Narrating the Obvious: Lisa, as usual, says that Snake's hair must be controlling Homer when she and Marge catch him trying to kill Bart. Marge impatiently cuts her off, saying everyone will have already figured it out.
- Non-Standard Prescription: When Maggie starts growing tentacles they take her to see Dr. Hibbert.Homer: Is there anything you can prescribe, doctor?
Dr. Hibbert: Fire! And lots of it!
Marge: Oh, that's your cure for everything.
- Noodle Incident: One of Snake's previous strikes was setting fire to a bus full of nuns. "That was totally in self-defense."
- Nothing Is Scarier: Played with, with Apu's murder. It cuts to outside the Kwik-E-Mart before Snake kills him, but during the news report the folowoing morning, Apu's legs are sticking out of the top of the squishee machine, implying he was stuffed into it.
- Not My Driver: After fleeing from Itchy and Scratchy in Itchy's house, Bart and Lisa hop into a police cruiser and both think they are all right, right up until Lisa sees a patch on the seat that reads "To protect and sever". Cue an Oh, Crap! when Itchy reveals himself in police uniform wielding a chainsaw.
- Oh, Crap!:
Apu: Snake? But you're dead!Homer/Snake: I know you are, but what am I?(shoves Apu into the Squishee machine)
- Apu hearing Snake's voice from Homer.
- Bart, when he realises Snake, after killing Apu and Moe, will come after him next.
- Bart in his bedroom when Homer is possessed by Snake, after Homer has just boarded up the door to prevent any murderers from getting in... or out.
- Bart again after Homer rips Snake's hair off his head, before it tries to smother him.
- Bart and Lisa when Itchy and Scratchy turn on them in Itchy's house.
- Bart and Lisa in the police cruiser when Itchy reveals himself with a chainsaw.
- Lisa, then Bart, when they see Itchy and Scratchy on the ground setting up electric traps for them to fall on.
- All of the Simpsons when Itchy and Scratchy break through the TV screen.
- Scratchy when Marge tells him he's going to be neutered. Coupled with a Big "NO!".
- The rest of the Simpsons when Maggie speaks in Kang's voice at the end.
- Parental Neglect: On "The Jerry Springer Show", an audience member points out that if Kang is Maggie's father, he's definitely guilty of this, saying "If you're that baby's daddy, where you been at?" Kang is furious at this (Homer is pleased and applauds the question), and disintegrates her for it.
- Piranha Problem: Itchy shoots a swarm of piranha from a hose reducing everything below Bart's head to the bones, they later fix this by playing it backwards.
- Police Are Useless:
- Averted for the most part with Wiggum, Lou and Eddie. They arrest Snake and sentence him to the chair for smoking indoors and having three strikes, take over running the Kwik-E-Mart when Apu is murdered, try to arrest Homer when it looks like he's the murderer, and when Homer announces the hair is the culprit, they take it down pretty quickly.
- Played straight with Itchy and Scratchy, as they are actively trying to kill Bart and Lisa.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
- Snake before murdering Apu: "I know you are, but what am I?"
- Snake again before murdering Moe: "Shut your squeal hole, booze jockey. I'm gonna, like, totally waste you."
- Snake has a third one before attempting to murder Bart with a sledgehammer: "You are so dead."
- Pun-Based Title: "Candle in the Wound" and "Starship Poopers".
- Roger Rabbit Effect: In "The Terror of Tiny Toon", when Bart and Lisa end up in "Live With Regis & Kathie Lee".
- Rule of Three: Snake was executed because of the three strikes law. Also, as usual, the Treehouse of Horror had three stories.
- Speed Sex: In "Starship Poopers", after Kang shoots his insemination beam at Marge:Kang: Insemination complete.
Marge: Really? That seemed awfully quick.
Kang: What are you implying?
Marge: Nothing, nothing.
- The Stinger: Regis Philbin exclaiming, "My eyes, my beautiful eyes!" during the Gracie Films card.
- Stripped to the Bone: Bart, below the neck, when Itchy and Scratchy send piranhas at him through a hose. Lisa restores his body by rewinding the action after they get out of the TV.
- Threat Backfire: Kang and Kodos threatened to kill all of Washington's politicians if the Simpsons didn't give them Maggie. They dared them to try it, saying they couldn't possibly kill all of them...
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Marge forbids Bart and Lisa from watching Itchy & Scratchy while taking out the batteries from the remote.
- Trapped in TV Land: Bart and Lisa end up in the television thanks to a nuclear powered remote control.
- Understatement: Snake's line, "Yoink!", after pulling out Moe's heart with a corkscrew.
- Vertigo Effect: When the Snake-possessed Homer says "I know you are, but what am I?" before murdering Apu.
- Villains Out Shopping: Literally. Before Snake lights up in the Kwik-E-Mart, he is looking to buy a comb.
- Visual Pun: During Snake's execution within the "Hell Toupee" segment".Chief Wiggum: So long, Snake. You'll never harm anyone with your secondhand smoke ever again.(Throws switch, Snake dies in rather violent fit)(Pitch-black smoke billows in droves from Snake's smoldering body, entering lungs of Ed McMahon, the two showgirls, and Chief Wiggum. causing them to cough violently.)
- Voices Are Mental: When Homer is possessed by Snake's hair, he speaks in Snake's voice.
- Worst News Judgement Ever: When Kent Brockman reports on Apu's murder.Kent: And the fluffy kitten played with that ball of string all through the night. On a lighter note, a Kwik-E-Mart clerk was brutally murdered last night.
- Would Hurt a Child:
- When Snake threatened Bart, he almost killed him when his hair possessed Homer, when he was trapped in Bart's room with him.
- Itchy and Scratchy turn on Bart and Lisa for laughing at Itchy using Scratchy's head as a jack-o-lantern.
- You Bastard: Itchy and Scratchy are distressed by Bart and Lisa amusement at their antics, and team up to kill them.
- Your Mom: In "Starship Poopers", Kang delivers one of these to Homer while on The Jerry Springer Show.Kang: Well (bleep) you hyperbolic parabaloid (bleep) yo mama!