No room for Kang or Kodos in this year’s stories, so they’re bumped up to introductory hosts in a ‘Live from fabulous Centauri City’ introductory bumper which, it turns out The Simpsons are watching on their couch, in various personas from the previous nine specials.
I Know What You Diddily-iddly-did
“Marge – you hide in the abandoned amusement park; Lisa – the pet cemetery; Bart – spooky roller disco and I’ll go skinny-dipping in that lake where the sexy teens were killed a hundred years ago tonight.”
Certainly the highlight of this collection, when Marge accidentally runs over Ned Flanders during one of his late night fog walks, Homer arranges to cover up the crime and the family get on with their lives. Until, that is, they find out that someone knows their terrible secret. Primarily taking inspiration from “I Know What You Did Last Summer”, this tale still manages to pack in a lot of Halloween fun as Flanders is revealed to be a werewolf. Homer’s ongoing commentary zinging Flanders as he’s being devoured is priceless.
Desperately Xeeking Xena
“I told you: I’m not Xena. I’m Lucy Lawless.”
When a Halloween candy x-ray machine goes awry, Bart and Lisa are transformed into Stretch Dude and Clobber Girl. It’s a smart pastiche of seventies/ eighties superhero cartoons, with a healthy dash of the 1960’s “Batman” TV show. Plenty of gags at the expense of geeks and geek culture especially the arrested development preciousness of toy collectors. Lucy Lawless makes for a fun and funny guest star, and half the fun comes from spotting the many references to pop culture in the Collector’s lair.
Life’s A Glitch, Then You Die
“That can’t be true honey – if it were, I’d be terrified.”
Dick Clarke plays himself in this Y2K-themed disaster story, as does Tom Arnold in a self-deprecating cameo. Putting Homer in charge of ensuring the computers are Y2K compliant seems like something that would genuinely happen in today’s ubiquitous kakistocracy and the morphing of the glitch into a pastiche of “Maximum Overdrive” is fun but it’s in its “The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe”-homaging finale that it finds its darkest humour as Homer and Bart take the quick way out.