It’s another long-form ‘short intro’ for 2011’s Simpsons Halloween Special XXII beginning with the kids coming back from trick or treating to be met by Marge’s latest wheeze: the Switch Witch who takes candy and swaps it for healthy items. Lying to Marge that he will donate the confiscated candy, Homer drives to a remote spot only to find himself in a bit of a “127 Hours“-style trouble. It’s a decent idea and one which could easily have been a segment of its own.

The Diving Bell And The Butterball

“Perhaps someday there will be a sure although if it requires months of difficult physical therapy, I’ll pass.”

Simpsons Halloween XXII The Diving Bell And The Butterball

A tale of paralysis based on the memoir “The Diving Bell And The Butterfly”, despite the sombre subject matter, it manages to mine a decent amount of humour and even pathos in Homer being paralysed by a spider bite, even as it takes a “Family Guy”-esque turn to the flatulent. It’s bafflingly jarring, though, when it ups the ante by having Homer suffer a second spider bite. This time it’s a radioactive one and Homer becomes a still-paralysed superhero apparently all in service of a tepid and largely irrelevant swipe at abandoned “Spider-Man” musical “Turn Off The Dark“.

Dial D For Diddily

“Spend less time on your back and more time on your knees!”

Simpsons Halloween XXII Dial D For Diddily

The writers of the Simpsons Halloween Special XXII return to the same Hitchcockian well for its title pun as 2009’s middle chapter. This time, though, it’s a tale of ‘justifiable homicide’ as Flanders homages “Dexter”. The truth behind the instructions from God is funnier still and the kills are nicely varied. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite know how to end so it tries three of four times to land a final joke.

In The Na’vi

“In Rigellian, there is no word for ‘yours’ or ‘mine’. That’s the reason we didn’t enjoy the movie ‘Yours, Mine and Ours’.”

Simpsons Halloween XXII In The Na'vi

The relative blandness of the source material doesn’t lend itself to parody, although it still manages to get a few good gags in. It takes the lazy approach of simply slotting the characters into the pre-existing narrative, an approach to ‘comedy’ which has brought us far too many ‘celebrity’ reality shows. It also means the segment ends up weirdly focussed on the sex life of a ten-year-old boy and never really recovers.

It’s probably why the segment runs short and the show ends with a satirical plea to the audience to remember the true meaning of Christmas: shopping.


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