Episode - 8F02
First Aired - 10/31/1991This year's Halloween special comes from candy-induced nightmares: In "Lisa's Dream," Homer's monkey paw souvenir from Morocco makes wishes come true for his family — and misfortune to befall everyone else, in "Bart's Dream," Bart's omnipotence forces everyone in town to be a Stepford Smiler or incur his wrath, and in "Homer's Dream," Mr. Burns builds the perfect plant worker — and uses Homer's brain to make the robot come to life.This was also the first episode (in production order) to be animated by a company outside AKOM, specifically Anivision. Who would go on to be a regular contributor for the series until season 10.
Tropes included in this episode:
- Acid Reflux Nightmare: The Framing Device is a series of nightmares induced by eating too much Halloween candies.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: A variation as Burns describes his condition after accidentally being crushed by his deactivated robot.Mr. Burns: Every bone in my body broken... Vital organs leaking fluid... Slight headache... Loss of appetite... Smithers, I'm going to die.
- Bazaar of the Bizarre: Homer buys a monkey's paw in a Moroccan bazaar, that seems to vanish afterwards, but it turns out he just looked in the wrong direction.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: "Lisa's Dream". Everything the family wishes for gets twisted around by the Monkey's Paw, except for Maggie. Subverted when Ned gets it and everything goes right for him (at least on an immediate basis—look below).
- Maggie's wish - At first, it seems she's requested a gigantic, fancy limo...but it turns out it's only there to deliver her real wish: a new pacifier. Nothing goes wrong with that one.
- Bart's wish - He wants the Simpsons to be rich and famous, which eventually results in the world at large getting sick of them.
- Lisa's wish - She asks for world peace, but the universal pacifism and lack of weapons makes it easy for extraterrestrial aliens to conquer Earth.
- Homer's wish - He asks for a turkey sandwich, but then it turns out the turkey is a little dry.
- Though, after Flanders wishes to get rid of the aliens Kang and Kodos state that humanity will now build bigger and bigger boards with nails, until they destroy themselves. His second wish changes his house into a castle, but the story ends before we can see if there is anything wrong with it.
- Big Brother Is Watching: How Homer is fired from the nuclear power plant. Interestingly, it's one of the few times in the series when Homer is actually fired for incompetence.Smithers: (over intercom) Attention: Homer Simpson. Attention: Homer Simpson. Wake up, Homer!
Homer: (wakes up) Huh? Wha?
Smithers: You're fired.
Homer: For what?
Smithers: For sleeping on the job.
Homer: How'd you know I was sleeping?
Smithers: We've been monitoring you on the surveillance camera.
Homer: Camera? (notices it) D'oh!
- Body Horror: What happens to anyone who doesn't think happy thoughts in Bart's dream.
- Brick Joke: Early on in Bart's dream, American history is rewritten because of Bart, so that America is called "Bonerland". Later on, Bart and Homer go to visit Dr. Marvin Munroe, part of the Bonerland Medical Association.
- Catapult Nightmare: The end of "Bart's Dream."
- Creating Life Is Bad: Apparently, because it will only eat donuts and sleep on the job.Mr. Burns: Oh, Smithers, I was wrong to play God! Life is precious, not something to be toyed with. Now take out that brain and flush it down the toilet!
- Easily Thwarted Alien Invasion: Parodied in "Lisa's Dream", Ned wishes that the aliens were gone. Cue Moe (and only Moe) chasing them away.Kodos: He's got a board with a nail in it!
- Eat the Camera: Done at the end of Bart's nightmare, when he wakes up screaming (because of Homer kissing him, among all things.)
- Exact Words: Homer uses the paw to wish for a turkey sandwich, and specifies that he wants no "weird surprises". It turns out the turkey in the sandwich is a little dry.
- Face–Heel Turn: After turning out to be Good All Along in their previous appearance, this time, Kang and Kodos are unambiguously evil.
- Everybody Lives: To date, this is the only Halloween special where no-one dies (unless one counts Mr. Burns's head being separated and placed onto Homer's head as a death)..
- Failed a Spot Check: Mr. Burns needs a brain for his robot? When he and Smithers first walk into the lab and pass by the Gratuitous Laboratory Flasks in the foreground, there's a living human brain in a specimen dish right there.
- Faux Horrific: In "Bart's Dream," Dr. Monroe suggests that Bart is using his omnipotent powers as a way to earn Homer's affection. He encourages the Simpson men to spend quality time together. They do so, become much closer, and say that they love each other. Homer then gently kisses Bart on the head...which cause the real Bart to wake up screaming in terror.
- Foreshadowing: Lisa's nightmare begins with a dream-like crossfade, and Bart's nightmare as he closes his eyes (seen from the viewer's POV). Homer's "nightmare" just has a straight cut to the beginning of the story, foreshadowing the twist ending.
- Gone Horribly Wrong:Mr Burns: It wasn't supposed to be this way! It was supposed to be a thing of beauty, not this abomination!(cut to the Homer robot loudly snoring while asleep at its post)
- Gratuitous Laboratory Flasks: When Mr. Burns and Smithers descend into Burns' laboratory, they pass a worktable in the foreground featuring loads of glassware and a human brain in a dish. As they pass behind them, the audience's views of their bodies become distorted, stretched and squashed when viewed through the liquids.
- Grave Robbing: In "Homer's Dream," Mr. Burns and Smithers do this to find a brain for their robot. They find Homer sleeping in an open grave.Mr. Burns: I feel like a kid in a candy store!
- How Hard Can It Be: Homer's question when Lisa realized a possible job requires to operate an ultrasonic lithotriptor. Lisa shakes her head at Homer's question.
- Insufficiently Advanced Alien: In "Lisa's Dream," after humanity has gotten rid of their weapons, Kang and Kodos conquer Earth with slings and clubs.Kang: Your superior intellect is no match for our puny weapons!
- In Your Nature to Destroy Yourselves: What Kang and Kodos are convinced humanity will do after being chased off the planet.Kodos: Well, Kang, it seems the earthlings won.
Kang: Did they? That board with the nail in it may have defeated us, but the humans won't stop there. They'll make bigger boards and bigger nails. Soon, they will make a board with a nail so big, it will destroy them all! (both laugh)
- Irony:Lisa: I wish for world peace!
Homer: Lisa, that was very selfish of you!
- Jackass Genie: As usual, the Monkey Paw.
- Jerkass: Jimbo and Kearney threaten to egg Homer's house if he didn't hand over the candy bowl...then they egg it anyway and smash his pumpkin.
- Laser-Guided Karma: When Flanders gets the Monkey's paw, it works flawlessly for him.
- Morality Pet: In "Homer's Dream", after the experiment is a proven failure, Smithers gets Burns to reverse the procedure on Homer.
- The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: Parodied:Marge: Eugh! Homer, where did you get that ugly thing?Homer: From that little shop right over there—(Points to an empty lot, where sand devils whirl. He gasps in disbelief, then corrects himself.) Oh, no, wait, it was right over there.Shop Vendor: (waving) You'll be sorrrrrrry!
- Multiple Head Case: Mr. Burns' head is stitched to Homer's body.
- Not Hyperbole: When everyone starts to despise the Simpsons for appearing everywhere:Homer: Come to think of it, the guy who sold me this thing said the wishes would bring "grave misfortune". I thought he was just being colorful.
- Not So Above It All: Burns using the brain as a coonskin cap and yelling, "Look at me! I'm Davy Crockett!"
- Only Sane Woman: Marge (as usual) takes this role throughout the episode. In the framing device, she warns everyone not to eat too much candy; in "Lisa's Dream," she's the only person who suggests that the wishing might go wrong; and in "Bart's Dream," she demands that the family attend therapy to sort out their problems.
- On the Next: Parodied at the end of "Homer's Dream." Homer wants to go to a spaghetti restaurant, while Burns insists on attending a reception for the Queen of Holland.Homer: Oh, I hate having two heads!
- Given that the subject of the next episode had Lisa get a pony and Homer needing a 2nd job just to make ends meet, it would be very hard for both to co-exist
- Or Was It a Dream?: The end of "Homer's Dream," where Homer finds Mr. Burns' head grafted to his shoulder.Homer: I didn't wake up! It's all a dream! It's just a dream!
Mr. Burns: Oh, that's right. It's all a dream... or is it?! (laughs)
- Police Are Useless: Justified in both Lisa's and Bart's dreams. In the former, they could not stop the aliens due to Lisa's wish on world peace. In the latter, since Bart has powers that he uses whenever he is not pleased, all the cops could do is wave "Hi Bart!" when the bus passes them at 88 miles per hour.
- Psychic Static: Homer attempts this when he tries to kill Bart in "Bart's Dream," using the traditional "think other thoughts" method. The problem? His "other thoughts" are thoughts about not thinking about killing Bart ("OK, don't think about how you're going to kill him"). Needless to say, it doesn't work.
- Puny Earthlings: Subverted for laugh. Kang and Kodos only invade Earth after humanity has voluntarily dissolved its militaries and destroyed all its weapons, leaving them helpless against the aliens' arsenal of wooden clubs and slingshots. The aliens even boast, "Your superior intellect is no match for our puny weapons!" They flee the planet when Moe thinks to attack them with a wooden board that has a nail sticking out of it.
- Puppy-Dog Eyes: How Smithers gets Mr. Burns to return Homer's brain to his body.
- Reality Warper: Bart in "Bart's Dream." Justified as it's a parody of the famous Twilight Zone episode about a boy who had similar powers.
- Ridiculous Exchange Rates: On their way back from Morocco, Homer is frisked by airport security and is revealed to have smuggled food under his shirt. This leads to:Airport security: You must pay a fine!... of two American dollars.
Homer: (nonchalant) Okay.
- Rock Beats Laser: Parodied. The primary weapon for the human uprising against their alien overlords is Moe wielding a board with a nail in it. This makes sense considering the aliens invaded when the entire earth was unarmed after Lisa wished for world peace, and had things like slingshots. After being driven off, the aliens muse that one day the humans will "create bigger boards and bigger nails" until one day "they will create a board with a nail so big it will destroy them all!"Kang: Your superior intellect is no match for our puny weapons!
- Self-Deprecation: After wishing The Simpsons to become rich and famous a large merchandising campaign starts up, causing the general public to grow tired of them.Otto: (listening to a Simpsons album) Man, this thing is really getting out of hand.
Helen Lovejoy: Is there anything they won't do?
- Sharing a Body: Mr. Burns's head is stitched to Homer's body.
- The gravestones at the start show the tombstones of "Bambi's Mom", Jim Morrison (which has writing all over it and is being worshipped by hippies, which how Morrison's grave looks in real life), and Walt Disney (with icicles and frost all over it, a reference to the urban legend that Disney is cryogenically frozen).
- The children in Halloween costumes running past Homer's door are a reference to It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.
- Lisa's dream is a reference to The Monkey's Paw.
- Homer being searched by the Moroccan police at the airport is a reference to the arrest of the drug smuggler in Midnight Express.
- Lisa wishes for world peace, which shows scenes of Argentina and the United Kingdom making up over the Falklands and people dancing in a large peace symbol to the tune of the hippie anthem "Get Together" by The Youngbloods.
- Flanders' castle is a reference to the Disneyland castle.
- Bart's dream is a plot parody of the The Twilight Zone episode "It's A Good Life". Even the narrator's voice spoofs Rod Serling's narration style.
- Homer's dream references Frankenstein.
- Bart and Lisa watch The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson on TV.
- Mr. Burns scolds the robot he created with the insult: "Clinking, clattering cacophony of collagenous cogs and camshafts", similar to The Wizard of Oz's line to the Tin Man: "You clinking, clanking, clattering collection of caliginous junk!"
- Homer and Mr. Burns's heads sharing the same body reference The Thing with Two Heads
- Skewed Priorities: When Smithers asks Mr. Burns to put Homer's brain back in his own body, Mr. Burns whines: "Oh come on, it's 11:45!"
- Stepford Smiler: Everyone in Bart's dream, because if they don't think happy thoughts, Bart turns them into something horrific. And it's a good thing that Bart does that, it's a real good thing.
- Stock Footage:
- The footage of Lisa saying, "Don't forget, dad: tonight, my class is having an all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner." is recycled from "Homer Defined".
- The Cold Open of Marge warning the viewers and the opening pan through Springfield and through the gates of the cemetery are reused from the previous Treehouse of Horror episode, with new dialogue from Marge for the former.
- Tempting Fate: Marge warns everyone to not eat too much candy or they'll get nightmares.
- They Called Me Mad!: "Oh, that fellow at Radio Shack said I was mad. Well who's mad now? Ah-hahahahahaha!
- This Ain't Rocket Surgery:Mr. Burns: Dammit, Smithers! This isn't rocket science, it's brain surgery!
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Maggie ate just as much candy as her family at the beginning, so it is possible she had a nightmare as well, but we just don't see it.