Another Treehouse Of Horror, another milestone as Simpsons Halloween Special XXVII coincides with episode 600 of the series overall. Homer takes the family out Christmas tree shopping during Halloween but the Christmas Tree lot turns out to be a trap set by Sideshow Bob, Kang, the Leprechaun from Halloween Special XII and, of course, still-never-funny Frank Grimes. Can you guess how they get out of this tight scrape? That’s right, Maggie kills all the bad guys. Again.
With the first intro out of the way, we’re then treated to the actual couch gag, a parody of “Planet Of The Apes” which probably would have been better as a full segment, especially given what follows. It’s a tendency towards false starts which will plague the specials from hereon out.
“My name is Peeta, like the healthy bread. My name is also Peeta, like the animal rights organisation.”
Another flaccid parody, where the show can’t decide if it’s aiming at “The Hunger Games” or “Mad Max” so does both and hits neither target. Once again, it has no ideas apart from creating ‘special edition’ versions of the usual characters and the bankruptcy of ideas means it doesn’t so much as end as just stop. Thankfully.
“The only invisible killer I believe in is God.”
Lisa’s imaginary friend returns on a murderous rampage, and free of the need to hit a tickbox of parody references, the series discovers some of its old wit again. It’s still a little bit too fond of brutal violence but thanks to an energetic vocal performance from Sarah Silverman, it carries it off. Even the ending feels organic and earned, which these days is a real rarity for the Simpsons Halloween Specials.
“Violence never solved anything. Except this.”
There’s nothing more on-brand for Halloween than spy thrillers, right? Although it recycles the series’ go-to musical cues for Bond references, the crosshairs are firmly held on “Kingsman: The Secret Service” as Moe inducts Bart into his covert agency. For the first time in quite a while, the Simpsons manage a spoof which is pretty much on target; one which even manages not to feel like an “Austin Powers” rip off. All in all, probably the highlight of The Simpsons Halloween Special XXVII.