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Recap / The Simpsons S 9 E 4 Treehouse Of Horror VIII

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The annual Three Shorts Halloween Episode starts with Fox Censor, the FOX network censor, editing this year's Halloween special to a TV-G rating (removing all the NBC-style sexual innuendo and CBS-style action violence), but the TV rating bug fights back by stabbing Censor until it reaches TV-666. Afterwards, the Simpson family enters the living room where they get executed on the couch.

The HΩmega Man

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A parody of
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The Omega Man (aka the second film adaptation of I Am Legend). France threatens to destroy Springfield in response to a racist "frog legs" joke Mayor Quimby made, and Marge convinces Homer to look into getting a proper bomb shelter just in case. As it turns out, while he's inside one to examine it, the French see their threat through with a Neutron Bomb, and he emerges to discover he's apparently the last man in Springfield.

He indulges in all the town's leftover pleasures (such as watching a David Spade/Chris Farley movie in an abandoned theater, sitting in his boss's office [Deleted Scene only], and dancing naked in church) until a mob of Springfieldians mutated by the bomb (including Moe, Dr. Hibbert, Principal Skinner, Chief Wiggum, Krusty, Sideshow Mel and Mr. Burns) plot to kill him to get rid of the mistakes of the past for a better future. A car chase through town ensues, and Homer winds up back at his own house to discover his family alive and well — the house's multiple coats of lead paint created "the perfect bomb shelter." The mutants are touched by the reunion and Marge suggests the two groups can be friends — but it's a ruse to ensure the mutants' guards are down, as she and the kids promptly kill the mutants with shotguns. "Now that's the Marge I married!", exclaims the impressed Homer and the family decides to steal some Ferraris.

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Fly vs. Fly

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A parody of both the 1958 and 1986 versions of The Fly. The Simpson family attends Professor Frink's garage sale and Homer winds up buying a matter transporter. He promptly puts its two pods to good (to him, anyway) use and forbids Bart from trying it out for himself. In the middle of the night Bart tries to send Snowball II through it; instead both it and Santa's Little Helper go through at once. When Bart sees the result — two hybrids, one combining dog and cat front ends and one combining dog and cat rears ("Ewwww, you can be Lisa's!") he's intrigued by what would happen if he and an ordinary housefly buzzing past went through together...

Expecting to come out as "Superfly", Bart is disappointed to find that he and the fly's heads have been proportionally swapped. Still the undaunted BartFly heads out to cause mischief while grotesque FlyBart is reluctantly accepted by the other Simpsons, who believe he's the "real" Bart. When BartFly realizes that FlyBart's usurped his place in the household, he reveals himself to Lisa and she agrees to help him reverse the process. FlyBart attacks them both, but upon putting BartFly in its mouth Lisa knocks it into the transporter and both boy and fly are restored to normal. Homer, seeing what the transporter has wrought, grabs an ax and vows to do what he "should have done a long time ago" — and chases Bart around the house for playing with the machine.

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Easy-Bake Coven

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A parody of The Crucible. In 17th-century Springfield, the townsfolk busy themselves by finding and killing witches. When Marge is accused of witchcraft, she pleads innocent, so it's decided to toss her off of a cliff to reveal the truth — if she's innocent, she'll fall to her death, if she's guilty, she'll be able to magically escape. As it turns out, she is a Wicked Witch, and flies off on her broomstick to her family and the townsfolk's horror. At their mountain hideaway, Marge reunites with her sisters/fellow witches Patty and Selma, and soon, thanks to eavesdropping on the Flanders, they head out to find some delicious kids to eat.

The Flanderses find themselves a target of the witches' intent, but before the threesome can haul off Rod and Todd, Ned and Maude offer them gingerbread kids instead. The witches find the cookies sufficiently tasty and spare the Flanders children, wishing they hadn't filled up on kids at their previous stops. According to Captain McAllister, placating witches with treats was the origin of trick-or-treating, and the following year kids all over town happily go door-to-door for goodies. Homer, on the other hand, decides to egg a house — which Lisa points out is his own. So he accuses her of being a witch and a mob promptly runs her out of town.

This episode contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: This applies to Homer perfectly in the closing scene of "Fly vs. Fly" when he tries to kill Bart with an axe, caring more about the 35¢ transporter than his own son.
  • Accidental Misnaming: When Marge tells her sisters about being exposed as a witch, one of them comments that this means she finally left "Durwood", and Marge corrects them about Homer's name. But, as expected, they don't care.
  • Adaptation Distillation: "Fly vs. Fly" combines elements of both film adaptations of the original short story. As in 1958, Bart and the insect (as well as Snowball II and Santa's Little Helper) have body parts proportionally swapped, BartFly turns the famous "Help me!" denouement in a spider's web into a prank upon the arachnid, and Homer seems about to destroy the machine at the end — but instead intends to use his fire axe on Bart. From the 1986 film comes the Mysterious Mist / Ominous Fog that accompanies the use of the teleporter (which also physically resembles the design of that version more than the old-time phone booths of '58) and Bart theorizing that going through the pods with a fly would merge them into one creature, albeit in a much more positive manner than what happened to poor Seth Brundle. FlyBart ambushing BartFly and Lisa is a variation on the climax of that film, in which the grotesquely mutated Brundle, having kidnapped his lover, ambushed her ex from above when he came to rescue her. The hybrids of the pets might have been inspired by a notorious deleted reel from the '86 film involving a baboon-cat hybrid creature and its gruesome demise, which was cut after the first test screening for being so upsetting that the audience couldn't care about the protagonist after that.
  • Albinos Are Freaks: In "The Homega Man", Homer mistakes real-life albino musicians the Winter Brothers for flesh-eating mutants and runs them over.
    Homer: Die, you chalk-faced goons!
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: In "Easy-Bake Coven", Wiggum's statement that Marge will "fall to an honorable Christian death" if she isn't a witch is presented as a bit of Insane Troll Logic, but this attitude actually is consistent with how real-life witch hunters reasoned on both sides of the Atlantic. As they saw it, it was safer to just kill anyone suspected of being a witch, since you'd be ridding the world of a demon if the accusation was true, and if they were innocent then they'd be sent to heaven as a martyr.
  • And the Rest: When Homer believes he's the last man alive, he bemoans losing his family, saying "Little Bart... little Lisa... little Marge... And all the rest!" Tellingly, this not only includes Maggie, but also the pets and the TV.
  • Angry Fist-Shake: In "Fly vs. Fly", BartFly tricks a spider into thinking that he's caught in its web. When he's about to be eaten, he slaps the arachnid and flies away. The spider watches him in anger, shaking four legs in synchronized movement, probably swearing revenge.
  • Apocalypse Anarchy: Homer really enjoys being the last man alive. He goes dancing to the church, completely naked.
  • Apocalypse How: Type 0 in "The Homega Man". The nuclear warhead destroys only Springfield.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Kodos and Kang are nearly hit by the nuclear missile. They report back on seeing a cylindrical type object nearly hitting them (a UFO, in other words.) Their control team mock them, saying, "Sure Kang. I'm writing it all down."
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When revealed to be a witch in "Easy-Bake Coven", Marge smugly declares she withered the village's livestock, soured their sheeps' milk, and made their shirts itchy.
  • Artistic License – Nuclear Physics: While the neutron bomb France sent at Springfield did nothing more than strip the residents down to skeletons or turn them into mutants, an actual neutron bomb would have turned Springfield into a crater and its explosion would leave behind nuclear fallout and fires.
  • Asshole Victim: One of the suspected witches burned in "Easy-Bake Coven" is Agnes Skinner. Lampshaded when Skinner cheerfully bids her goodbye after she declares she'll see him in Hell.
  • Bait-and-Switch: At the end of "Fly vs. Fly", after Bart and the fly are turned back to normal via the transporter, Homer decides to pick up a fire axe and does "something [he] should have done a long time ago"...
    Homer: (looks Bart dead in the eye) I'll teach you to mess with my machine!
    (cue the segment ending with Homer chasing Bart with the fire axe back and forth across the living room)
  • Blatant Lies: "Fly vs. Fly" ends with Homer promising to not hurt Bart... while chasing him with a fire axe.
  • Body Horror:
    • The effects of Bart crossing into the matter transporter with the fly's head on his body.
    • The mutants in "The Homega Man" appear to be rotting. Wiggum at one point says that it "really brings a tear to your eyesocket" just before his eyeball falls out.
  • Bowdlerization: The scene of Homer dancing naked in church was originally (as in, "as written in the script") going to be Homer dancing naked on the church's altar (though the church the Simpsons go to doesn't have an altar, as it's not a Catholic church), but the censors objected to the location (they were already wary about Homer dancing naked in church, but they only allowed it if the altar scene was changed to Homer dancing naked in the front row).
  • Burn the Witch!: What accused witches are sentenced to in old Springfield until they are deemed fit to return to society again.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Lisa reveals their house had so many layers of lead paint it made "the perfect bomb shelter," meaning Homer didn't need to shop for a bomb shelter at all.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • At the end of "Easy-Bake Coven", when Lisa points out Homer is egging their house (prompting the crowd behind him to mock him), Homer sics the crowd on Lisa by calling her a witch.
    • Mayor Quimby makes fun of the French, so France launches a neutron bomb to kill him and everyone else in Springfield.
  • Don't Touch It, You Idiot!: In "Fly vs Fly", Homer warns Bart not to play with the matter transporter — which Bart then does anyway. Though to be fair to Bart, Homer wasn't exactly being careful with it himself; he manages to accidentally injure Lisa via the telepods while explaining to Bart what could go wrong. ("Ow! Someone punched me in the face!" "It was your mother!")
  • Dramatic Thunder: The final stretch of "Fly vs Fly" takes place while it's raining outside, and there's some of this just before BartFly manages to reveal himself to Lisa. (Later, when FlyBart is pursuing her, Marge shrugs off the action with "They're like this every rainy day.")
  • *Drool* Hello: Done by FlyBart in "Fly vs Fly" when it's about to attack Lisa.
  • Eats Babies: Zigzagged in "Easy-Bake Coven". Played straight when, after eavesdropping on Maude Flanders fears about what witches do, Marge, Patty and Selma decide that eating kids sounds like a great way to get back at the villagers. Subverted when, upon reaching the Flanders' house, the witches are quite happy to accept a bribe of candy, cakes and other treats instead of eating Rod and Todd. Then double-subverted when, after finishing collecting their bribes from the Wiggums, Marge complains that she wishes they hadn't filled up on children before snagging all these goodies, belching before leading her sisters off into the sky.
  • French Jerk: In "The Homega Man", Marge warns Homer about how unpredictable the French can be, "kissing a woman's hand" one moment, then "chopping off her head" the next. She's proven correct when France launches a neutron bomb on Springfield all because they didn't like a joke the mayor issued at their expense.
  • Genre Blindness: Bart clearly never watched either version of The Fly. When he manages to catch the insect, he envisions the teleporter will fuse them together into some kind of superhero, and even says "I'd be stupid not to do this!"
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: The FOX censor, appropriately enough, utters these each time he is stabbed.
  • HA HA HA—No: The Fox Censor's reaction to one of the lines in the script he is editing in the intro.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: The opening stretch of "Easy-Bake Coven" is a spoof of The Crucible, but once Marge is revealed to be an actual witch, the parody is by necessity dropped.
  • Hypocritical Humor: When instructing the family not to touch his transporter, Homer calls it a "highly 'sophistimamacated' doohickey" and then proceeds to accidentally punch Lisa in the face due to knocking his hand through the transporter to the toilet. Furthermore, he was using the transporter to use the bathroom from downstairs.
  • Ironic Death: Herman ended up perishing from a nuclear war even though his job was to help prepare other people for it — and he died standing no more than a few feet from a bomb shelter.
  • Irony: As it happens, Homer didn't need to buy a fallout shelter in "The Homega Man"; the house has enough layers of lead paint to protect them.
  • Idiot Ball: Marge in "Fly vs Fly" by not getting up to stop Homer from killing Bart (she's just annoyed with Homer's behavior); and Homer in "Easy-Bake Coven" for egging his own house.
  • Insistent Terminology: In "The Homega Man", the mutated Moe tells Homer that they prefer being called "freaks" or "monsters" rather than "mutants".
  • Laborious Laziness: In "Fly vs. Fly", Homer takes the effort to move one of the matter transporters around the house and the other end to certain rooms so he can do simple tasks like opening the fridge and using the bathroom without having to actually be there.
  • Meaningful Name: The FOX Network censor is named Fox Censor.
  • Mundane Utility: Homer uses the teleporter, which could be used to travel infinite distances, to do such things as bypass the stairs in his house and grab a beer (or cat ear medicine at one point — accidentally) from the fridge without getting up from the couch.
  • Mysterious Mist: Turns up several times with the transporter's usage in "Fly vs. Fly" in a spoof of the 1986 film. After Bart goes through, Marge even asks "What's with all this mist?" as she and the others enter the kitchen. Though when Homer demonstrates it as an easy way to bypass the stairs in his house, some of the smoke is actually the result of the seat of his pants being ablaze.
  • New England Puritan: "Easy-Bake Coven" is a parody of The Crucible and its portrayal of witch hunt in the name of God. It's set in 17th-century New-England-like Springfield. Edna Krabappel is a fallen woman and wears a scarlet A on her chest as a reference to The Scarlet Letter. 75 women have been processed and burned at the stake as witches. Marge pleads everyone to come to their senses and says that this witch hunt is turning into a circus. Naturally, she's accused of witchcraft. It turns out she really is a Wicked Witch, and flies off on her broomstick to her family's and the townsfolk's horror.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Maude talking to her husband about how witches steal and eat children in "Easy-Bake Coven" gives Marge and her sisters the idea to do just that, as originally they were just going to steal peoples' shoes.
  • Ninja Prop: The TV rating stabbing the FOX censor.
  • Not Me This Time: In "Easy-Bake Coven", Marge the witch insists that Lenny's turnip crop was destroyed by gophers and she had nothing to do with it, after having boasted about the things that she did do.
  • Oh, Crap!: The mutants' faces look positively scared, right before Marge and the kids shoot them.
  • Parting Words Regret: After moaning that Aquaman can't marry a woman without gills, Comic Book Guy looks up to see the nuclear missile about to hit him.
    Comic Book Guy: (sighs) I wasted my life.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Homer watches a Chris Farley/David Spade movie at the theater, most likely Tommy Boy, as Homer gleefully says "Oh, Spade... why did you put Farley in charge of the bees?".
    • WitchSelma refers to WitchMarge's husband as "Durwood" a la Bewitched's Endora referring to Darrin by that name (among others).
    • WitchMarge and her witch sisters click their back heels on the brooms to make them fly a la Witch Hazel.
    • Wearing a black hood and with paling skin, Mutant Burns says to Homer "And now, you must die."
    • In "Easy-Bake Coven", Mrs. Krabapple is wearing a Scarlet A on her chest.
    • Mike Scully's scary nickname in the end credits is Mike "Agent" Scully.
    • The title of "Fly vs. Fly" is a parody of MAD Magazine's "Spy vs. Spy", written in the Spy logo font.
    • In Bart's fantasy of becoming a super-creature by merging with the fly, there's a double shout-out: "Look! Up in the sky! It's Superfly!"
  • Sweet Tooth: Unsurprisingly, FlyBart loves maple syrup and eats sugar straight from the sack while the family watches TV...while Homer tries to sneak some for himself!
  • Take That!: In "The Homega Man", the "Withstandinator" bomb shelter includes a Gary Larson calendar. Homer flips through each page, saying "I don't get it." Since this is Homer not getting it though, this could be a downplayed example.
  • The Un-Favourite: Lisa in "Easy-Bake Coven"; Homer even goes so far as to accuse her of witchcraft just because she told him he was egging their own house, causing the other villages to laugh at him.
  • Three Shorts: As per usual.
  • Trial by Ordeal: Used to determine whether or not Marge is a witch in "Easy-Bake Coven".
    Wiggum: OK, here's how the process works. You sit on the broom and we shove you off the cliff.
    Marge: What?!
    Wiggum: Well, hear me out; if you're innocent, you will fall to an honorable Christian death. If you are, however, the bride of Satan, you will surely fly your broom to safety. At that point you will report back here for torture and beheading.
  • Wall Crawl: FlyBart can do this and uses it to get the drop on Bart and Lisa from above at one point.
  • The Weird Sisters: In "Easy-Bake Coven", Marge and her two elder twin sisters Patty and Selma are witches who intend to eat the children of the Springfieldians.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Homer does this twice in two segments by trying to kill Bart in "Fly vs. Fly" and telling everyone his own daughter Lisa's a witch in "Easy Bake Coven".
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: In "Fly vs. Fly", Marge says "He may be a horrible freak, but he's still my son. I'm sure we'll grow to accept him in time." As the next scene shows, it only took an hour for them to accept FlyBart.
  • Whole Plot Reference: "Fly vs Fly" is one to The Fly (1958) and its 1986 counterpart. When Bart steps into the teleporter with the fly, he's going for the latter but gets the former.
  • Wicked Witch: Marge, Patty, and Selma in "Easy-Bake Coven".
  • Would Hurt a Child: In the second and third shorts; Homer attempts to kill Bart for messing with his transporter in "Fly vs. Fly", and then accuses Lisa of witchcraft to cover up for his own stupidity in "Easy-Bake Coven".
  • Your Mom: Yeardley Smith's (voice of Lisa) name in the end credits, which in Halloween specials are usually gag names.

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