Recap / The Simpsons S 6 E 6 Treehouse Of Horror V
Episode - 2F03
First Aired - 10/30/1994

In this year's collection of frights, Homer comes down with a nasty case of Stanley Kubrick-esque cabin fever in The Shinning, Homer goes back in time and causes a temporal butterfly effect for every prehistoric animal he kills in Time and Punishment, and Springfield Elementary has a grisly solution to its food budget and delinquent student crises in Nightmare Cafeteria.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Adults Are Useless: Marge and presumably all the other parents in Springfield refuses to help Lisa and Bart with the cannibalistic faculty running their school. Even when Bart and Lisa outright tell her what's going on.
  • Affably Evil: Even as an Evil Overlord who forces lobotomies on anyone suspected of dissidence, Ned Flanders maintains his friendly and chipper demeanor.
    Flanders: Hidely-ho, slaverinos!
  • All Crimes Are Equal: The teachers soon look for any excuse to send students to detention, such as dropping a pencil in class.
  • All Just a Dream: "Nightmare Cafeteria"
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Mr. Burns' lodge was built on an Indian Burial Ground, and was host to several witch burnings, Satanic rituals, and five John Denver Christmas specials. Homer is only creeped out by John Denver.
  • Anachronism Stew: "Time and Punishment" not only had Jurassic and Cretaceous dinosaurs living together, but also Dimetrodon and a Megatherium.
  • Ax-Crazy:
    • Homer, quite literally, in "The Shinning". He uses his ax to murder Willie before attempting to use it on his family.
    • The entire school faculty in "Nightmare Cafeteria". By the end of it, most of them seem to be incapable of speech to the point that Skinner axes Willie when the latter tries to rescue the kids.
  • Bad Future: Most of the futures Homer ends up creating in "Time and Punishment". Zigzagged with the "perfect" reality: the Simpson family is rich, the kids are well-behaved, he has a luxury sedan, and Patty and Selma are dead... except Homer discovers to his horror that doughnuts apparently don't exist in this timeline, which causes him to immediately freak out and head back to the past to try another timeline. Immediately after he leaves, doughnuts start falling from the sky.
    Marge: [annoyed] Hrrm, it's raining again...
  • Bait-and-Switch: In "The Shinning", it appeared as if they were going to directly parody the famous typewriting scene of "all work and no play make Jack a dull boy" but it's revealed that Homer only wrote "feelin' fine" until lightning strikes and reveals that the whole room has "no tv and no beer make Homer go crazy" written on the walls, floor and ceiling.
    • Similarly, there's this conversation when the teachers first start eating the "sloppy Jimbos":
      Edna: Mmmm! This sandwich tastes so young and impudent! Seymour, what's with the good grub?
      Skinner: Well, perhaps I should let you folks in on a secret. Remember how I told Jimbo Jones I'd make something of him one day?
      Edna: (in a stunned tone): Are you saying you murdered Jimbo, processed his carcass, and served him for lunch?
      (Skinner taps his nose to indicate "yes")
      Edna: ...HA!
      (Everyone continues eating, unfazed)
  • Batter Up!: In the finale of "Time and Punishment", Homer returns to the future with a baseball bat so he can hit everything he sees and help change the future for better or worse.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: In the first alternate time that Homer goes to, Flanders is now the ruler of the world and if anyone complains about him, Flanders will send them to a re-education camp.
  • Big Eater: The teachers become this, and by the end of the segment, they are sending kids to detention (read: slaughter) for occurrences that couldn't possibly be their fault. Krabapple, in particular, has grown obese by the end of the special, having eaten so much.
  • Big "NO!": Homer, in "Time and Punishment", on seeing his family have been lobotomised.
  • Black Comedy Cannibalism: In "Nightmare Cafeteria."
  • Blatant Lies: Moe, when trying to talk Homer into murdering his family.
    Homer: Why should I kill my family?
    Moe: Uh... they'd be much happier as ghosts.
    Homer: You don't look so happy.
    Moe: Oh, I'm happy! I'm very happy! La la la la la, see?
  • Bloodier and Gorier: In response to critics who said the "Treehouse of Horror" Halloween specials were too bloody and gory, Matt Groening urged writers to make this (episode) the bloodiest and goriest "Treehouse of Horror" ever, which is why the beginning had Marge stating that the whole episode was going to be banned and replaced with an old Western movie about a train.
  • Body Horror: The weird gas that turns people inside-out turns everyone inside-out.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: What the "Re-Neducation" process entails:
    Flanders: Now, in case all that smiling didn't cheer you up there's one thing that never fails: a nice glass of warm milk, a little nap, and a total frontal lobotomy.
  • Brick Joke:
    • The family accidentally leaves Grandpa behind at the gas station on their way to the lodge. During Homer's second attempt to reenact the famous "Here's Johnny!" moment from The Shining, Grandpa shows up at the lodge with his suitcase.
    • At the end of "The Shinning", the Simpsons get frozen and helplessly watches the Tony Awards, where "One" from A Chorus Line is being performed. Later, at the end of "Nightmare Cafeteria", upon being turned inside-out, the family, along with Groundskeeper Willie, sing their own disturbing version of "One".
    • Willie tries to save someone in trouble in each short and gets axe-murdered each time. When this happens for the third time in the episode in "Nightmare Cafeteria", his dying words are "I'm bad at this".
    • At the beginning of "Time and Punishment", when he first time-travels, Homer encounters Mr. Peabody and Sherman, with Mr. Peabody scolding Sherman for talking. Later on, Kang and Kodos get turned into Mr. Peabody and Sherman after laughing at Homer's time-travelling.
  • Butterfly of Doom: The entire premise of "Time and Punishment"
  • Close Enough Timeline: The Trope Namer; Homer comes back to his own reality where doughnuts are plentiful and Fridays is TGIF night on ABC, but everyone (except Homer) has long, lizard tongues that they use for eating. Rather than try to go back to his normal time, he says, "Eh, close enough," and eats along with the family.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Marge, in regards to Willie being axed in the back (the first time).
    Marge: Oh my!...I hope that rug was Scotchgarded.
  • Companion Cube: Homer towards television: "Television! Teacher! Mother! Secret lover..."
  • "Could Have Avoided This" Plot: Smithers brings up the possibility that maybe cutting off the TV and beer supply are what's caused all the previous caretakers of Burns' lodge to go mad and kill their families. Burns isn't too concerned.
  • Crashing Dreams: The end of "Nightmare Cafeteria"
  • Creative Closing Credits: The Simpson family (who has been turned inside out by toxic gas) singing a new version of "One".
  • Creepy Monotone: Everyone who's been Re-Neducated.
    Bart & Lisa: Join us, father.
    Marge: It's bliiiiiiisss.
  • Disaster Dominoes: Occurs when Homer sneezes on a T-Rex, causing the extinction of all dinosaurs.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Skinner put Yellow Weasel in detention for making a paper airplane.
    • Even worse, Wendell gets sent to detention when his pencil falls off his desk because of his terrified trembling.
  • Dissonant Serenity: During the final scene, the Simpson family and Groundskeeper Willie still happily sing and dance as Bart is dragged offscreen getting eaten by Santa's Little Helper.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: The beginning is hijacked by Bart taking control of the transmission, then ruined by Homer being... Homer.
    Homer: Hey, what's that, boy? We're in control? Hey, look, I can see my voice! (starts making silly noises) This. Is my voice. On Teeeeeeeveeeee!
    Bart: DAD! You're ruining the mood!
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Homer keeps traveling back to "the time when dinosaurs weren't just confined to zoos."
  • Fantastically Indifferent: Mr. Burns, in regards to the elevator full of blood.
    Mr. Burns: Hmm, that's odd...usually the blood gets off at the second floor.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Skinner's usual square nature actually adds to his creepiness throughout "Nightmare Cafeteria".
  • Faux Horrific: Of all the timelines Homer visited, he absolutely freaked in the timeline where no one knew what donuts were.
  • Floating Clocks: The page picture comes from this episode, where Homer accidentally travels to prehistoric times with a malfunctioning toaster.
  • For the Evulz: The ghouls who get Homer to kill his family never have any credible reason for wanting Homer to do so.
  • For Want of a Nail: Homer squishing one mosquito creates a totalitarian society run by Ned. Attempts to fix this lead to weirder changes.
  • Gave Up Too Soon: Homer stumbles upon a world that seems perfect via time travel (his family is wealthy, his kids are well-behaved, he has a luxury sedan, and his sisters-in-law recently died). However, when he finds that Marge doesn't know what a doughnut is, he goes back in time. Marge then notes that it is raining again as doughnuts fall from the sky. Even David Mirkin felt bad for Homer here.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Groundskeeper Willie tells Bart not to read his mind between 4 and 5. He labels it as "Willie's Time". It is left open to the viewer what that exactly could mean, but the most likely explanation is that he is on A Date with Rosie Palms during that particular hour.
    Willie: ....You can use that....shin of yours to call me and I'll come a' running. But don't be reading my mind between 4 and 5! That's Willie's time!
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Milhouse meeting his gruesome end in the giant blender in "Nightmare Cafeteria". We can still hear the blades gooifying him, though.
  • Happiness Is Mandatory: In the universe ruled by Ned Flanders, anybody suspected of being negative is taken for "re-Neducation".
  • Hedge Maze: In "The Shinning", obviously. Bart "finds" a shortcut with a hedge trimmer.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The Springfield Elementary teachers become this in "Nightmare Cafeteria" in order to kill two birds with one stone (to solve the food budget crisis in the cafeteria and to deal with the excess of delinquents in school).
  • Infant Immortality: Invoked by Bart at the end of "Nightmare Cafeteria", but to no avail. Then it turns out it was all a dream.
  • In Spite of a Nail: For all the changes Homer creates through time travel, his family is still together and live on the same property. Eventually, he gets to a Close Enough Timeline.
  • Kick the Dog: Skinner rips into Uter when he gets yet another helping. Then he realizes it's a good thing that the already obese Uter is getting fatter...
    Skinner: Now that's your third helping, young man! It's making you fat, and soft and... (begins drooling when he notices how fat Uter is) tender...
  • Kubrick Stare: Homer does this during when he goes crazy. The DVD Commentary discusses this trope extensively.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Kang and Kodos mock Homer for being unprepared to deal with time-travel. After a good ten seconds laughter at his expense, they're turned into Peabody and Mr. Sherman as a result of Homer's actions.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: One of the tombstones from the opening sequence is for "Amusing Tombstones". This was the writers' way of showing that they were tired of coming up with ideas for humorous tombstone messages. Similar sequences had been used as introductions in all four previous "Treehouse of Horror" episodes, but have not been used since this episode.
  • Lobotomy: Ned Flanders is an overlord and several of his subjects get lobotomised. Homer is horrified.
  • Madness Mantra: "No TV and no beer makes Homer go crazy!"
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: All of Willie's Big Damn Heroes moments result in him getting an axe to the back.
  • Noodle Incident: The beginning of "Time and Punishment" has Homer call himself the first non-Brazilian person to travel through time.
  • Not His Sled: "The Shinning"'s take on the typewriter scene: when Marge approaches it, only one thing is written on it: "feelin' fine". But then the lightning flashes, and we see the expected line ("all tv and no beer make Homer go crazy") all over the room.
    • Similarly, with the ending: instead of Homer freezing to death outside, the portable TV snaps Homer out of his insanity, prompting him to gather his whole family around it. One jump cut later, we see that the whole family was frozen solid (but are still alive with Homer showing signs of insanity again when The Tony Awards start up).
  • Oh, Crap!: When the frozen Simpsons are forced to watch The Tony Awards.
    Homer: Urge to kill... rising...
    [Maggie looks at him. Cuts to black]
  • Psychic Powers: "The Shinning". Although they don't do much good.
  • Rage Breaking Point: After three or four bad changed timelines, Homer goes back with a baseball bat and just starts angrily smashing everything in sight.
    Homer: Don't touch anything?! I'll touch whatever I feel like!
  • Rain of Something Unusual: Homer sneezes on a dinosaur and changes the course of history - which makes rain into donuts. This would have been perfect for him except he leaves just before it rains because they don't know what a donut is.
  • Rivers of Blood: The Shining bit was parodied:
    Mr. Burns: Hmm, that's odd. Usually, the blood gets off at the second floor.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Instead of typing out his Madness Mantra ad nauseum like Jack did, Homer instead writes it all over the walls and ceilings.
  • Rule of Three: Along with the below mentioned Running Gag, The Shinning takes great joy with this, with the family having to make three long trips to the hotel due to Homer failing to lock up their home and Homer doing three variations of the "Here's Johnny" routine due to him axing down the wrong hotel door.
  • Running Gag: Willie taking an axe to the back while trying to rescue someone in all three segments.
  • Sanity Slippage: Homer descends into madness and back again in The Shinning.
  • Saying Too Much: By Skinner when Uter disappears.
    Lisa: Bart, does it strike you as odd that Uter disappeared and, suddenly, they're serving us this mysterious food called "Uterbraten"?
    Skinner: Oh, relax, kids, I've got a gut feeling Uter is around here somewhere. (chuckles) After all, isn't there a little Uter in all of us? (chuckles) In fact, you might even say we just ate Uter and he's in our stomachs right now! (laughs) Wait... scratch that one.
  • School Is Murder: The staff is literally systematically murdering the students and turning them into fine cuisine.
  • The Secret of Long Pork Pies: You don't wanna know what's in the mystery meat surprise...
  • Shout-Out: The opening Do Not Adjust Your Set is from The Outer Limits.
  • Slasher Smile: Homer has a truly disturbing one mixed with his Kubrick Stare when he finally does find the right room his family's in.
  • Someday This Will Come in Handy: For some reason, Grandpa Simpson gave advice about time-travel at Homer and Marge's wedding.
  • Special Guest: James Earl Jones as Alternate Timeline!Maggie, who axes Willie when the latter tries to help Homer back to his own world.
    "This is indeed a disturbing universe".
  • Stock Dinosaurs: Tyrannosaurus rex, Brachiosaurus, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Parasaurolophus, Pteranodon, Ornithomimus, Apatosaurus, Dimetrodon, and Megatherium all appear in "Time and Punishment".
  • Take That!:
    • When Mr. Burns lists all the horrific things his lodge is connected to, he also mentions John Denver Christmas specials. It's the last one that makes Homer shudder in horror.
    • To the Tony Awards. "Urge to kill...rising..."
  • Temporary Bulk Change: Toward the end of "Nightmare Cafeteria," Edna is shown to be quite fat, implying that she's been chowing down on a lot of children...
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Groundskeeper Willie is given this treatment throughout the special.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Homer's reaction after he sneezes on a Tyrannosaurus rex and inadvertently causes the extinction of all the dinosaurs.
    Homer: [As dinosaurs are dropping dead left and right] This is gonna cost me.
  • Time Travel: Oh, take a guess.
  • Tyrannosaurus rex: One attempts to eat Homer, but he sneezes on it, killing all the dinosaurs.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Homer sees the ghost of Moe, and acknowledges that he's a ghost, and yet sees nothing odd about this situation, only demanding beer from him.
  • Whole Plot Reference: "The Shinning" is one to The Shining
    Willie: Ya read my thoughts! Ya got...the Shinnin'!
    Bart: You mean "shining".
    Willie: Shh! Ya wanna get sued?!
  • You Wanna Get Sued?: Willie provides the Trope Namer in "The Shinning".