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Recap / The Simpsons S10 E4 "Treehouse of Horror IX"

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Original air date: 10/25/1998

Production code: AABF01

In 1998's tales of terror:

  • "Hell Toupee" follows Homer getting a hair transplant from a dead criminal (Snake Jailbird).
  • In "Terror of Tiny Toon", Bart and Lisa are transported into the violent world of The Itchy & Scratchy Show (thanks to a radioactive remote control).
  • Finally, "Starship Poopers" sees The Simpsons 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 episode contains examples of: (YMMV Examples here)

  • Actor Allusion: In "Terror of Tiny Toon", Bart and Lisa accidentally end up in the animated world of Itchy & Scratchy. In Twilight Zone: The Movie, Nancy Cartwright's character was forced into a cartoon during the movie's remake of the Twilight Zone story "It's A Good Life", which was also spoofed in "Treehouse Of Horror II"'s "Bart's Nightmare".
  • Angry Fist-Shake: Snake's hair after being shot several times.
  • Animals Fear Neutering: Scratchy screams when Marge announces he has to be neutered to be a family pet.
  • Animated Actors: Hinted to be the case with Itchy and Scratchy during "Terror of Tiny Toon".
  • Animation Bump: In "Terror of Tiny Toon", a brief segment has Lisa, Bart, Itchy, and Scratchy fall up in Live with Regis and Kathy Lee. During this segment, they are rendered in a noticeably smoother, bouncier style than normal.
  • 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. The last one is what gets him the death penalty.
  • 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. But then again, the only "organ" of Snake's fried corpse we see get donated for transplants is his hair.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: After being urged by Bart, Homer successfully fights Snake's hair's influence and tears it off, then embraces Bart and tells him he loves him. Of course, this being The Simpsons, it is just a long setup to have Bart insulting Homer and then being strangled in retaliation.
  • 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.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comparison: This exchange in "Starship Poopers";
    Lady in Audience: Yeah, I got a question for that gross thing, whatever it is.
    Jerry Springer: Homer.
    Lady in Audience: Nah, the green dude.
  • Beat Still, My Heart: Snake pulls Moe's heart out with a corkscrew and presents it to him before he collapses and dies.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Scratchy is normally a super nice cat or even an Extreme Doormat, but he's so upset by the Simpsons kids laughing at his pain, he actually works with Itchy to help kill the kids.
  • 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 beating, and when flesh-eating piranhas devour Bart's skin below the neck, leaving just his skeleton.
    • Averted in the rest of the episode.
  • Bond One-Liner: After shooting Snake's hair:
    Wiggum: Now that's what I call a bad hair day.
    (Everyone in the room laughs, except Marge)
    Marge: May I remind you that two people are dead... Oh, wait, I just got it! (joins in on the laughter)
  • 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.
  • Can't You Read the Sign?: "Hell Toupee" Snake starts smoking while in the Kwik-E-Mart, with Apu saying "You cannot smoke in here, sir. Please, the sign is clearly posted, sir.", pointing to a tiny "No Smoking" sign surrounded by more massive cigarette ads. Snake gets arrested and as per Springfield's "three-strikes" law in this segment, he's executed by the police.
  • Captain Obvious:
    Lisa: Of course, the transplant! Somehow Snake's hair must be controlling—
    Marge: Oh, please, Lis, everyone's already figured that out.
  • Celebrity Casualty: Jerry Springer is strangled to death by the alien Maggie.
  • Celebrity Resemblance: Marge thinks Homer's hair transplant makes him look like Roger Moore... if his fly wasn't open.
  • Chairman of the Brawl: As with Jerry Springer, 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.
  • Children Are Innocent: After Snake's hair dies, Maggie picks it and holds it as if it was a stuffed animal.
  • Cluster Bleep-Bomb: The unsurprising result of the family's appearance on Springer.
    Jerry Springer: [being attacked by Maggie] AH! What the (bleep)?! Get this (bleep)ing baby off! [Maggie bites him] Sonofa-(bleep)!
  • Couch Gag: Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees are sitting on the couch, wondering why the family hasn't arrived yet.
  • 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 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 on the couch, apparently waiting for the family to arrive.
  • Deconstruction: "Terror of Tiny Toon" is all about a deconstruction of what it would be like to enter a cartoon world a la Silly Symphonies or Looney Tunes. Itchy & Scratchy have an established relationship where the former will butcher and murder the other; it's how they roll. They get annoyed and disturbed when two random children are watching and laughing at them; Itchy looks uncomfortable that they are mocking his Scratchy. Then, befitting their violent nature, they react as violent toons do: by attempting to murder the intruders, and they have the advantage of being on their home turf.
  • Demonic Possession: When Snake was electrocuted, his essence was transferred into his hair. After Homer receives Snake's hair as a transplant, the hair itself seeps into Homer's brain, controlling him.
  • Determinator: If Snake says he will kill you, he will do it. Even being dead doesn't stop him.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • Snake smoking inside is treated as being on the same level as torching an orphanage and blowing up a bus full of nuns. He gets the death penalty for it.
    • By possessing Homer, Snake kills Moe and Apu, and goes after Bart all simply for being present when he was arrested for smoking.
    • Even though all Bart and Lisa are doing is laughing at Scratchy being turned into a Jack-O-Lantern, Itchy & Scratchy think they should be murdered for being "mean". To be fair, Itchy doesn't need to kill Scratchy, so at least here he has a reason.
    • Because one audience member called out Kang for being a deadbeat father, he kills the entire Jerry Springer audience.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: Itchy & Scratchy are not amused when they realize two children are watching and laughing at Scratchy's pain. It's one thing if Itchy torments Scratchy for his own amusement because they have an established masochistic relationship; it's quite another when strangers are mocking them.
  • Enemy Mine: Itchy & Scratchy bury the hatchet to murder Bart and Lisa for laughing at Scratchy's pain.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Itchy is not a the pinnacle of morality, given he's an Ax-Crazy Serial Killer that murders his best friend For the Evulz, but he is very disturbed by how two children are laughing at his antics. It's one thing to murder your frenemy For the Evulz, and quite another to have random people mocking it.
  • Evil Laugh:
    • 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 "Terror of Tiny Toon" where Bart and Lisa are caught inside Itchy & Scratchy's show.
  • Face Hugger: Maggie does this to Jerry Springer.
  • Family Relationship Switcheroo: "Homer, Kang is Maggie's father."
  • Fanservice Extra: The two showgirls who escort Snake to the electric chair.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: In "Hell Toupee", Springfield has a "three strikes" crime law and the penalty for strike three is death.
  • 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 mentions he knows how cartoons work. He uses it to draw an Eject button in the police car.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: During Apu's murder.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!: Kang's "Holy flurking schnit!"
  • Groin Attack: Marge tells Scratchy he's going to be neutered after seeing he has eyes for Snowball II.
  • Heart Beats out of Chest: Scratchy invokes this when Snowball II snuggles up against him.
  • 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.
  • Human Jack-O-Lantern: The Itchy and Scratchy episode that Bart and Lisa warp themselves into depicts Scratchy trick-or-treating at Itchy's house in a skeleton costume. Itchy beheads Scratchy, then takes out his brain and puts a candle in its place, making Scratchy's head look like a jack-o-lantern. Bart and Lisa find this funny, but Scratchy doesn't. After Scratchy puts his head back on his body and his brain back in his head, he and Itchy team up to kill Bart and Lisa.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: Normally, Itchy is fine with tormenting Scratchy. He gets disturbed when two random children laugh at his doing that; as he puts it, only he can mock Scratchy's pain.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Itchy's entire shtick is killing or torturing Scratchy For The Evulz yet spends all of "Terror of Tiny Toon" trying to kill Bart and Lisa for laughing at him killing or torturing Scratchy For The Evulz.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Wiggum casually sips at a Squishee while he reports Apu's murder to the news crew...before Lou points out that Apu's body was jammed inside the Squishee machine. His reaction is hilariously understated.
    Wiggum: Aw geez, Lou! How long were you gonna let me keep drinking this thing? [takes another very long sip of his Squishee]
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Bart exhorts Homer to fight off Snake's influence on his brain.
  • Improvised Weapon: Snake kills Moe with his own corkscrew, which he uses to pull Moe's heart out while it's still beating.
  • Jaywalking Will Ruin Your Life: Snake is arrested for the extremely minor crime of smoking in the Kwik-E-Mart, and because it was his third strike, he is sentenced to death under Springfield law. His previous strikes included burning down an orphanage and blowing up a bus full of nuns.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Bart and Lisa laughing at Scratchy having his head cut off and used as a jack-o-lantern. Itchy and Scratchy team up against them for it.
  • Kill It With Bullets: Snake's sentient hair is shot several times by Wiggum and his men, even after it attempts to surrender.
  • 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 insemination 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 "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).
  • Mood Whiplash: Kent Brockman does this completely backwards:
    Kent: (dead serious) ...and the fluffy kitten played with that ball of string all through the night. (cheerfully) On a lighter note, a Kwik-E-Mart clerk was brutally murdered last night.
  • Morphic Resonance: Homer wears Snake's hair parted. However, when Snake's personality returns, the hair goes back into his trademark style.
  • 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 self-defense."
  • Not Himself: When possessed by Snake, Homer speaks in Snake's voice, has his hair style, wears a gray T-shirt, keeps a cigar box under his sleeve, and smokes.
  • 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 following 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.
  • No, You: Used to an unnerving effect when Snake!Homer kills Apu:
    Apu: Snake?! But you're dead!
    Snake!Homer: I know you are but what am I? (grabs Apu and shoves him into the Squishee machine)
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Apu hearing Snake's voice from Homer.
    Apu: Snake?! But you're dead!
    Snake!Homer: I know you are but what am I?
    (shoves Apu into the Squishee machine)
    • Bart, when he realizes 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!".
    • Jerry Springer when Kang disintegrates the entire audience.
    • 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.
  • Pet the Dog: Itchy actually apologizes for cutting off Scratchy's arms.
  • 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 and serving as the police officers.
  • Precision F-Strike: Marge has this to say when her family's appearance on Jerry Springer goes from bad to worse:
    Marge: I am so (bleep)ing embarrassed...
  • 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."
  • Production Foreshadowing: David S. Cohen is credited as "David 'Watch Futurama' Cohen", which was 5 months away from premiering at the time of the episode's original broadcast.
  • Pun-Based Title: "Candle in the Wound" and "Starship Poopers".
  • Resurrected Murderer: Though it was smoking in a non-smoking store that got Snake arrested and sent to the chair he had previously burned down an orphanage, and killed a bus full of nuns. After being executed he rises again when his spirit possess Homer through the hair transplant that was harvested from Snake's corpse.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: In "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, and there were three witnesses to his final arrest: Apu, Moe and Bart. Also, as usual, the Treehouse of Horror had three stories.
  • Running on the Spot: Bart and Lisa briefly do this when zapped back into Itchy's house before falling on the floor.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Kathie Lee decides to leave after Bart and Lisa jump into their recipe.
    "That's it! I'm going home! Dom De Luise can interview himself."
  • Self-Deprecation: After Bart and Lisa wind up in The Itchy & Scratchy Show:
    Bart: Hey, Lis, we're characters in a cartoon.
    Lisa: How humiliating...
  • 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.
  • Take That!: Jerry Springer gets it pretty bad. Not only is his show parodied, but he later gets attacked by Maggie after trying to save face. Cut to the next scene and Marge notes how he didn’t solve their problem followed by Lisa calmly noting that he’s now dead.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: In-Universe; the universally reviled Poochie briefly reappears in "Terror of Tiny Toon", only to be struck by Itchy and Scratchy's police car.
  • Talk Show Appearance: Homer. Marge and Kang all appear on Jerry Springer in the final segment to resolve their differences. They don't.
  • 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...
  • Too Dumb to Live: Lisa goes Oh, Crap! when Bart hammers plutonium into the remote. She mentions it's unstable and radioactive.
  • 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.
  • Undignified Death: Moe after having his heart pulled out with a corkscrew, dies face down in his glass cereal bowl with his face smushed up against the side.
  • Unishment: Unable to get the Simpsons to relinquish custody of Maggie, Kang and Kodos carry out their final threat: to destroy every politician in Washington. ("Oh, you couldn't destroy every politician." "Just watch us!") Marge's response to this is "Suckers!"
    Bart: Don't forget Ken Starr!
  • Universal Remote Control: Marge takes the batteries from the TV remote to stop Bart and Lisa from watching an Itchy & Scratchy Halloween special, and Bart replaces them with a piece of plutonium he finds in Homer's toolbox. Afterwards, the remote starts displaying reality-warping properties including messing with Lisa's skin color with the Color buttons, sending Bart and Lisa into the cartoon when Enter is accidentally pushed, and reversing time with its Rewind button.
  • 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 Judgment 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. This is established behavior for Itchy, but surprising for Scratchy, so he must've been very upset by their taunts.
  • You Bastard!: Itchy and Scratchy are disgusted by Bart and Lisa's amusement at their antics, and team up to kill them.
  • Your Mom: In "Starship Poopers", Kang delivers one of these to Homer while fighting on Jerry Springer.
    Homer: You one-eyed, two-timing son of a (bleep)-! I'm gonna -(bleep)!
    Kang: Oh yeah?! Well (bleep) hyperbolic paraboloid (bleep) yo mama!


Video Example(s):


Snake? But You're Dead!

After Snake Jailbird is sentenced to death, his hair is taken and used for hair transplant for Homer. Snake gains the ability to possess Homer from beyond the grave and proceeds to kill Apu, who's witness testimony sent Snake to the electric chair.

How well does it match the trope?

4.75 (16 votes)

Example of:

Main / ResurrectedMurderer

Media sources: