Opening up the twelfth season of The Simpsons, the opening credits are a well-observed black and white parody of “The Munsters”. So well-observed, in fact, that it perhaps illustrates how derivative and orthodox the Simpson family set-up is in TV terms.

G-g-ghost D-d-dad

“Another broccoli related death. Oh yes, one of the deadliest plants on Earth. Why it tries to warn you itself with its terrible taste.”

Based on the Bill Cosby movie “Ghost Dad” which in itself conjures scarier thoughts that anything a Treehouse Of Horror can come up with, this tale of Homer’s hubris in the face of a deadly horoscope. Confronting St Peter at the Pearly Gates, he’s given twenty-four hours to do one good deed and earn his way into heaven. Homer’s hauntings are good for a chuckle as are his misguided attempts to do a good deed. It’s a shame they didn’t stick with the Devil looking like Ned Flanders though.

Scary Tales Can Come True

“Aw, that’s a load-bearing candy cane you clumsy oaf!”

The highlight of this collection, it’s a non-stop parade of gags parodying all manner of fairy tales, Grimm and otherwise. The mainstay is, of course, Hansel & Gretel but by far and away the best joke of the entire episode is the Witch’s boyfriend ‘George Cauldron’, although it doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to the witch being burned alive.

Night Of The Dolphin

“Hmm. Bottlenose bruises, blowhole burns, flipper prints – this looks like the work of rowdy teens. Lou, cancel the prom!”

Using the 1973 George C Scott thriller “Day Of The Dolphin” as a jumping-off point, this tale of terror is something of an environmental parable with a particular point to make about the likes of Sea World. It’s a little on the violent side, to be honest, and although it contains some strong jokes it feels like less than the sum of its parts and, given its aquatic setting makes you sad that Phil Hartman wasn’t around to give Troy McClure a role in proceedings.


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