For the first of what would go on to become many times, the Halloween Special has the duty of also being the Season Premiere, opening with Homer setting himself on fire while lighting a pumpkin before the grim reaper sits on the couch using the bodies of the Simpsons as a footstool.
The Thing And I
“You went into the attic? I’m very disappointed and terrified.”
A fun twist on the ‘evil twin’ trope, the segment’s at its best when dealing with Marge and Homer’s desperate attempts to cover up their shameful secret and once Hugo is revealed it runs out of steam a little, only to recover again at the end with a revelation of who the evil twin really is. It also gave the Craggus clan the oft-referred to notion of being exiled to the attic so survive on a bucket of fish heads although, to date, it’s a punishment which hasn’t been meted out. Yet.
The Genesis Tub
“We have learned to imitoot you exahctly.”
Based loosely on the “Twilight Zone” episode “The Little People”, it perhaps doesn’t make the most of its premise due to its short run time but it’s fun enough, especially Lisa’s journey from watchful protector to disgruntled deity.
“We must move forward, not backward; upward, not forward and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!”
A salutary lesson in the dangers of topical humour, this Clinton vs Dole election satire may have played like gangbusters at the time but seems twee and terminally naive in today’s toxic political climate. When it’s riffing on generic political schtick it’s pretty funny but when it leans on knowing or caring who Bill Clinton or Bob Dole were, it just feels stale.