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Recap / The Simpsons S 17 E 4 Treehouse Of Horror XVI

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This year's Halloween episodes include: Bart teaming up with a band of rejected robots after being replaced while in a coma in "B.I.: Bartifical Intelligence," Homer and several male ancillary characters being hunted down by Mr. Burns as part of a reality show in "Survival of the Fattest," and a witch curses costumed townspeople after losing a Halloween contest in "(I've Grown) A-Costume To Your Face."

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Tropes:

  • Abusive Parents: "B.I.: Bartificial Intelligence" is a Whole Plot Reference to A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, with one important changed plot point: Homer thinks that the robot is The Ace, so he dumps Bart in the woods instead of the robot.
  • All Just a Dream: The events from "B.I.: Bartificial Intelligence" are Homer's dream. While he's demonically possessed.
  • Amoral Attorney: The Blue-Haired Lawyer, to the point of Too Dumb to Live. Burns makes it pretty clear that he is going to hunt down every man that he has invited to his home, kill them and make trophies out of them, and right after pointing out how illegal it is (because it's his job as Burns' legal counselor), the Blue-Haired Lawyer drafts a letter that gives Burns a bulletproof legal defense for said killings, without apparently having done any attempt to bargain for his life in exchange. He's the second man to get killed by Burns as a result.
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  • And Knowing Is Half the Battle: Spoofed by Dennis Rodman. He explains he did his "educational" cameo as community service.
  • Asshole Victim: In "B.I.: Bartificial Intelligence" Homer is cut in half, but considering everything he did, he had more than deserved.
  • Becoming the Costume: in "I've Grown a Costume on Your Face", a witch curses everyone in town by making them become their costumes.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Marge whacks Mr. Burns and Smithers with frying pans from behind and saves Homer in Survival of the Fattest. And then hits Homer with said pans for being out of the house all night without trying to call her.
  • Black Comedy Cannibalism: In "Survival of the Fattest", after a while being chased by Burns, the survivors start to eat each other... by which we mean Homer eats Frink within the first two hours of running (he was just that hungry).
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  • Blessed with Suck: In "(I've Grown) A-Costume To Your Face", Skinner at first doesn't minds being transformed because having dressed as a G.I. Joe he hasn't changed too much... up until his mother points out that this means he no longer has any genitalia. One quick look down the front of his pants later, Skinner is going "Oh, Crap!" like everybody else.
  • Burn the Witch!: After a witch is disqualified from a costume contest for being a real witch instead of someone wearing a witch costume, someone says "Burn her..." but it turns out he means the witch's prize instead of the witch herself.
  • Call-Back: Yeardley Smith is credited as "The Lizard Queen".
  • Calling Out for Not Calling: Marge hits Homer with a frying pan in "Survival of the Fattest" because he didn't try to call her all night. Considering that he was unable to call her was because he was trying not to get killed by Mr. Burns — and this is something Marge perfectly knows because the whole hunt was broadcasted on a sports network live and she saw it — it crosses over into Disproportionate Retribution.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: After being disqualified from a costume contest, a witch retaliates by cursing the townspeople into Becoming the Costume.
  • Disqualification-Induced Victory: The costume contest's runner-up becomes the new winner once the witch is disqualified for not wearing an actual costume.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Burns not only finds enjoyable to hunt people but when he fails a shot and only wings Krusty, his response to Krusty trying to make a joke out of it is to blow him away and keep shooting at the corpse for an unknown amount of time in a rage (which the hosts of the live broadcast of the hunt dismiss as "an awful show of Unsportsmanlike Gloating").
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: The witch in "(I've Grown) A-Costume To Your Face".
  • Gainax Ending: In the final segment, after everyone is turned into their Halloween costumes and begin to beg Witch!Maggie to change them back, since she's a baby (and apparently doesn't understand simple English) just turns the residents into pacifiers.
  • Human Shield: The robot that replaces Bart uses Homer as one to protect itself from Bart. Not that it does him any good.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: In "Survival of the Fattest".
  • Immoral Reality Show: Turns out that Burns' hunting spree is being aired live on Fox Sports. This revelation is even weirder when it turns out that Marge has a TV Guide advertising this event (with Homer being chased by Burns on the cover and the label "Must Flee TV"). She wondered what that meant until she saw the show.
  • Lethally Stupid: Homer is single-handedly responsible of a large number of hunted people being killed, including eating Frink and being too fat to climb a tree in which the rest are hiding, causing it to become a Tree Buchet when he lets go and tossing them into the air for Burns to shoot like clay pigeons.
  • Mercy Lead: Mr Burns offers this.
    Burns: Now, because I am too kind, I will give you all a five-minute head start. You may commence running!
    Comic Book Guy: Five minutes of running!? Shoot me now!" [BANG]
  • Replaced the Theme Tune: A new standard Treehouse of Horror ending theme debuts with this installment; instead of a harpsichord and whistling playing out the standard-key-and-tempo Simpsons theme, a more slower and somber orchestral take on the theme plays.
  • Shout-Out: One to Herbie Hancock's Rockit and Bewitched.
  • Take That!: Kang and Kodos deliver one to the Cubs.
    Kang: (using the Accele-Ray to speed up the World Series) Faster! Faster! Until the fabric of the universe itself may shatter!
    Kodos: Good. Only then could the Cubs win!
  • Sarcasm Failure: After being told of Burns' plans to hunt them down, the Comic Book Guy snarks about it would be better to be killed right now in stead of running for a whole night. Burns shoots him dead immediately.
  • Skewed Priorities: As discussed at the end of "Survival of the Fattest", that the censors will show the sheer amount of violence that occurred in the episode, but refuse to show Homer and Marge becoming intimate.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: In the second segment, Mr. Burns continues to pump bullets into a dead Krusty.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Bart finds some runaway robots on the woods that give him a place to spend the night in exchange for making them feel loved. He instead takes them apart while they're sleeping to create Powered Armor so he can take revenge on Homer (and pees on one of them. Granted, it was a urinal robot).
  • Un-Paused: In "B.I.: Bartificial Intelligence", Bart shouts "COWA-" right before getting injured and knocked into a coma. When he awakens from the coma, he sits up with a shout of "-BUNGA!"
  • Visual Pun: The robot that replaces Bart is "boot" started by being kicked by the technician who delivers him to the Simpsons.
  • Wicked Witch: The witch in the third segment.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Burns' Blue-Haired Lawyer, who is arguably the most loyal employee of his (even over Smithers), creates a binding contract for the game and once he signs it, is prompted executed by Burns.
 
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Becoming the Costume

A witch curses the townspeople. "Good luck getting your deposits back on those costumes!"

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