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Recap / The Simpsons S30 E4 "Treehouse of Horror XXIX"

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Season 30, Episode 4

Original Airdate: 10/21/2018

This year's Halloween special sees Homer face off against H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulu in an eating contest, a strange plant turning the people of Springfield into slaves, Bart and Milhouse at the mercy of Lisa's multiple personalities, and The Simpsons vacationing at a Jurassic Park-esque wildlife refuge.


Opening Sequence

  • Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: Homer is meant to be sacrificed to Cthulhu, but he holds out a flyer that promises an eating contest, which was the whole reason they came. After learning that Homer hadn't eaten breakfast, Cthulhu gets nervous. Eventually, Homer defeats him in an oyster-eating contest and is granted any wish he desires. His wish is to eat Cthulhu.
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  • Didn't Think This Through: Subverted. A local sailor thinks Homer is foolish to challenge Cthulhu to an eating contest, but Homer hasn't had breakfast today.
  • Grave Humor: The joke tombstones return for a one-off occasion after being retired after the fifth "Treehouse of Horror". It includes a scene of a man mourning at graves marked "Beloved Wife" (places a single flower on her grave), "Beloved Secret Wife" (a bouquet), and "Beloved Boat" (a larger bouquet).
  • Honour Before Reason: Cthulhu allows Homer to cook and eat him after he beat him in an eating contest, rather than just pick him up and eat him like he said he easily could.
  • Oh, Crap!: Lisa points out to Cthulhu that Homer did not eat breakfast before the start of the contest, prompting this response. it happens with him again after Homer tells him what he wants for winning the eating contest...
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  • Small Reference Pools: The Simpsons were vacationing in what is clearly somewhere in New England as that's where The Shadow Over Innsmouth took place. However, in the original story, the Deep Ones worship Dagon; Cthulhu is also suppose to be reside somewhere in the Pacific and is used here instead as he is the most iconic character of the Cthulhu Mythos.
  • Take That!:
    • This exchange:
      Sea captain: You are here to be sacrificed to an evil god from the ocean depths!
      Homer: (terrified) SpongeBob?
    • One of the things Cthulhu offers Homer for winning the contest is "Whale Watching where you actually see a whale".
  • This Billboard Needs Some Salt: When Cthulhu first rises from the sea, he picks up a lighthouse and smokes it like a cigar.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Marge wanted to go to the town because it was on the "Top Ten Places to See Before You Mysteriously Disappear" list.
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  • Whole Plot Reference: To The Shadow Over Innsmouth.
  • Your Cheating Heart: At the town cemetery, a man drops off a flower at the grave of his wife and then a bouquet at the grave of his secret wife. The grave for his boat gets an even larger bouquet!
  • Your Size May Vary: Cthulhu varies in size from being big enough to grab an entire lighthouse to just about 50 feet in height.

Invasion of the Pod-y Snatchers

  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Actually, it was Steve Mobs this time around, being a posthumous plant to ensnare everyone on Earth with their electronic devices.
  • Call-Back: This is the second episode with an alien invasion orchestrated by impersonators of authority figures, the first being about the 1996 election.
  • The Cameo:
    • Luci makes an appearance during Lisa's vision after she gets claimed by the pods.
    • Blink and you'll miss it, but Kang and Kodos can briefly be seen riding a bicycle in the background in the scene where the alien planet is shown to be a paradise.
  • Good All Along: The plant aliens who sent the spores to Earth were revealed to be just bringing its inhabitants to paradise on their planet via the green pods.
  • Here We Go Again!: The humans are once again, more or less, enslaved to their electronic devices because the resident living Christmas tree delivered them as gifts.
  • Off with His Head!: A paranoid Willie decapitates an unaffected Chalmers with a pair of garden shears.
  • Police Are Useless: Lou shows No Sympathy for Chief Wiggum being claimed by a pod because "He was a lousy chief". Meanwhile Lou tries to drive the kids out of town, but the pods crash his car and manage to grab them all.
  • Shout-Out: Lisa's journey to the alien planet is the stargate sequnece from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • Spock Speak: Lampshaded by Lisa who wonders why the aliens don't use contractions when they speak.
  • Take That!:
  • Whole Plot Reference: To Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Lampshaded by Comic Book Guy.


  • Call-Back: It isn't the first time Groundskeeper Willie's been axed in a Halloween Special. This time, it wasn’t a Running Gag!
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Lisa goes insane and tries to kill Bart because he tampered with her spelling test and got her an F.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Bart didn't realize that Groundskeeper Willie's corpse was in the basement with them all night.
  • Fatal Flaw: Nelson's inability to stop mocking everyone. He keeps finding reasons to punch out Bart and Millhouse, would rather beat up Millhouse then think of a tangible way to escape, laughs at Lisa who is Not Himself, and stops to laugh when she seems to miss whacking him with a bag of magnets. That last part gets him killed because the magnets attract a forklift, which proceeds to impale Nelson from behind.
  • Forgotten Anniversary: Marge ties up Homer in the trunk of their car because he forget their wedding anniversary.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: On Lisa's spelling test Bart wrote, "1. Miss Hoover is a Diva 2. Francophone Miss Hoover for a good time 3. Miss Hoover is the Bestial ever see at eating boogers 4. Scotsman is Miss Hoover, boring 5. Schoolmarm."
  • I Lied: One personality of Lisa leaves the key for the boys to free themselves. Then she reveals she's not planning to let them leave their prison alive.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: When Nelson is caught between a forklift and a huge box of magnets, he's soon impaled by the former.
  • Karma Houdini: Millhouse and Nelson are transformed and killed respectively, but Bart, who actually instigated the plot, manages to talk down Lisa (although not before being terrified out of his wits and nearly killed). Lisa likewise gets away with her actions, justifying the whole experience as a stress reaction to Marge. Miss Hover gives Lisa an F in spite of having realized the test had been tampered with and never receives any commeupance.
  • Misplaced Retribution: While Lisa had some reason to go after Bart, she murders Nelson and transforms Millhouse just because they happened to attend the slumber party. Or her personalities just did it For the Evulz. Also, she murdered Groundskeeper Willie off-screen.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Despite his Karma Houdini status, Bart looks horrified and guilty on realizing that he caused his sister's psychotic break and manages to talk her down by saying he'll be there for her in the future.
  • No Ending: It is never revealed what happened after Lisa calms down.
  • Oblivious Transformation: Milhouse still doesn't realise that he was transformed into a paper boy. Except maybe when he ends the segment by offering her a perfume sample.
  • Oh, Crap!: Bart after Lisa tells him You Know What You Did, and he flashes back to sabotaging her spelling test.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Played for Drama. Bart and the others become confused that his little sister, the vegan and Soapbox Sadie of the family, kidnapped them, chained them up, and threatens to murder them. As Lisa prepares to murder him, Bart whispers, "What happened to you?"
  • One Dose Fits All: Downplayed. Bart, Millhouse and Nelson simultaniously drink the orange drink, but while Bart and Millhouse pass out at the same time, it takes bit longer for it to affect Nelson.
  • Plot Allergy: Millhouse can’t chew off his leg to get free, since he’s allergic to himself.
  • Sanity Slippage: Lisa, big time.
  • Slipping a Mickey: How Lisa captured Millhouse, Bart and Nelson. She sends them orange drink spiked with a sedative.
  • Split Personality: Lisa develops multiple personalities, many of which are psychotically crazy and out for more blood after Bart pranks her by tampering with her spelling test.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Bart usually prefers to see Lisa fail on her own merit. Here he intentionally went out of his way to make sure she got an F.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Nelson is a special case of this as he continues to mock Lisa after she kicked him down, threatened to murder him and the others, and seems to miss hitting him with a bag of magnets.
  • To the Tune of...: "Penelope" taunts the boys to the tune of "This is It", The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show theme.
  • Unreliable Narrator: When Nelson tells Bart and Millhouse (and thus the viewer) how they were drugged with orange drink, he claims that when Bart and Millhouse passed out he intended to call the police. The viewer however gets to see he actually used the opportunity to pickpocket them both.
  • Use Your Head: At one point, Nelson and Bart try to break the door open with Millhouse’s head.
  • Whole Plot Reference: To the movie Split.
  • You Know What You Did: Lisa says this when Bart asks what happened to her. He then flashes back to sabotaging her spelling test just for a laugh. Cue the Oh, Crap! look on Bart's face.
  • You Wake Up in a Room: The segment begins with Bart, Nelson and Milhouse all chained in a basement by "Penelope" who is actually Lisa.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: Bart begs Lisa to just kill him and not educate him with the murder attempt because "I'm your brother." This triggers a personality who will accept a Rousing Speech from him. He begs for his life and promises to always be there for her.

Geriatric Park

  • Artistic License – Paleontology:
    • As the segment is a Whole Plot Reference to Jurassic Park, it's only natural they'd include the inaccuracies made by the franchise. On the other hand, when Jasper becomes a Dilophosaurus he is sized more like the real animal and lacks the venomous spit or neck frill (although his beard functions as the frill instead).
    • The disclaimer from the video introducing Geriatric Park perpetrates the misconception that dinosaurs have a second brain in their tails.
    • The senior in Stegosaurus form has her plates arranged in pairs instead of staggered rows, something that previous episodes and even Jurassic Park got right.
    • Jacqueline is shown roaring in her Parasaurolophus form. Parasaurolophus is known to have made trumpeting sounds due to the structure of its hollow crest. Again, Jurassic Park got this one right.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When it's Hans Moleman's turn to transform, he seemingly grows as if he's about to become a large dinosaur. But then he shrinks down revealing his dinosaur form is the chicken-sized Compsognathus.
  • Body Horror: As a result of splicing the senior citizens with dinosaur DNA, just raising the temperature on the thermostat is enough for them to transform into dinosaurs.
  • Call-Back: Agnes Skinner was previously portrayed as a pterosaur in the two-minute-long Couch Gag of "Homerazzi", repeated for "Homer of Seville".
  • Don't Come A-Knockin': During the montage of the seniors feeling young and vigor again, a van is shown rocking around, as if one of them really feels energetic again. Then a Reveal Shot shows three seniors literally rocking the van in rocking chairs.
  • Dumb Dinos: Played with. While the seniors in their dinosaur forms go on a rampage, they retain their intelligence and are able to be reasoned with.
  • Expy: Abe's dinosaur form resembles a red Indominus rex. As an added bonus, he makes his appearance menacing the Simpsons who are in a Gyrosphere.
  • Gentle Giant Sauropod: The seniors transformed into sauropods do not go violent like the others, although one of them unwittingly steps on Compy!Moleman.
  • Giant Foot of Stomping: Hans Moleman transforms into a Compsognathus, and is promptly stepped on by a Brachiosaurus-turned senior.
  • Headbutting Pachy: One senior takes the form of a Pachycephalosaurus, and he breaks out of the dome by headbutting through the glass.
  • Hope Spot:
    • Professor Frink manages to convince the raptor-turned Los Souvenir Jacquitos not to kill him because he's their creator, only to be beaten up by his colleagues for being a credit hog.
    • The Simpsons find a way to escape in a Gyrosphere... which gets trapped in an imprint made by Parasaurolophus!Jacqueline with her walker.
    • When water starts dripping on the Gyrosphere, Bart thinks it's raining and that will cause the old people to flee back inside. Instead, it's a *Drool* Hello from Abe.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Lisa manages to pacify Abe by talking to him as a person, and he remembers his family.
  • Karma Houdini: Defied. Mr. Burns points out that as the Big Bad of the story, he once again escapes unscathed. Then he's eaten by the Old Jewish Man taking the form of a Mosasaurus.
  • Off with His Head!: Dilophosaurus!Jasper does this to Kirk, whose head then gets thrown away by Willie in a garbage bin specifically made for decapitated heads.
  • Pun: After eating Burns, the Old Jewish Man remarks, "Too rich for my blood."
  • Ptero Soarer: Agnes as a pterosaur, possibly a Ludodactylus, is bipedal and tries to eat people (namely the arms of her own son).
  • Raptor Attack: The Los Souvenir Jacquitos take the form of oversized, featherless Velociraptors. Quite fitting, as it is a parody of the Trope Codifier.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: One of the senior citizens transforms into a (giant) Longisquama, and Agnes's pterosaur form is evidently a Ludodactylus due to possessing both teeth and a Pteranodon-like crest.
  • Shout-Out: When Lisa checks the map for the island’s location, the islands seen on it are Skull Island, The Island of Doctor Moreau, Gilligan's Island, and Lost.
  • Side-Effects Include...: The list of dinosaur-themed side effects.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: Lisa is able to reach out to Abe and the senior citizens transformed into dinosaurs stop their rampage with no problem other than being stuck in their dinosaur forms.
  • Stealing the Credit: Frink's assistants beat him for being a credit hog. Him saying he mentioned them in the footnotes does not mollify them.
  • Stock Dinosaurs: Stegosaurus, Brachiosaurus, Iguanodon, Parasaurolophus, Compsognathus, Tyrannosaurus rex, Triceratops, Pachycephalosaurus, Ankylosaurus, Dilophosaurus, Velociraptor, Allosaurus, Apatosaurus, and Mosasaurus are among the genera the seniors transform into.
  • Take That!:
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: Lampshaded when the song playing over the speakers stalls when the singers repetitively go "Nothing can go wrong..."
  • Whole Plot Reference: To Jurassic Park.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Mr. Burns believes he escapes unscathed since he is "the true monster, the soul-less CEO". He happens to be in a skit parodying a franchise with a track record of killing off the human Big Bad, and sure enough he gets eaten by the mosasaur-turned Old Jewish Man.
  • Your Size May Vary: Pterosaur!Agnes was only slightly larger than a human throughout most of the skit. At the end, she's suddenly grown big enough to carry a helicopter (with the Simpsons boarding it) on her back.

Video Example(s):


Dinosaur "Rain"

As the Simpsons run from seniors transformed into dinosaurs, they get a wet warning from Grampa.

How well does it match the trope?

4.67 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / DroolHello

Media sources:

Main / DroolHello