The 2019 Special – the Simpsons Halloween Special XXX – opens in a Halloween maternity ward where Marge gives birth to her third child – a boy. Eager to avoid more Bart-style mayhem, Homer agrees to swap him for a baby girl who’s just been born. It’s a fun homage to “The Omen” and ties in nicely with this being the series’ episode 666. It goes on long enough that, again, it pretty much qualifies as a fourth entry in this year’s trilogy of terror.

Danger Things

“Look what the Hell year is this anyway? I’m really getting confused.”

Simpsons Halloween Danger Things

The first proper entry in the Simpsons Halloween Special XXX is too late to feel topical yet too early to be nostalgic. The Simpsons’ aimless swipe at Netflix‘s biggest pop culture hit has some decent gags but doesn’t seem to have paid enough attention to the source material to really skewer it. It relies on repeating too many of the same tired character beats albeit in ‘fancy dress’. The references to the show feel more like tickboxes than actual jokes and the surfeit of Van Houtens drag the whole thing down.

Heaven Swipes Right

“Yeah, God sold out to Google.”

Simpsons Halloween Heaven Swipes Right

When Homer chokes on a hot dog at a ballgame, upon arrival in Heaven he learns that he passed before his time. Seeing Homer convince Marge of his identity in a new body is one of the best jokes of the whole show. And while his near-instant Homer-isation of each body he gets is initially fun, it loses focus in not explaining why he gets so many do-overs or why. The odd ending suggests the writers didn’t have any idea how to make it land either.

When Hairy Met Slimy

“That’s alright – I have thirty-two sexual identities: I’m Klingon-curious, always up for some Wookie-nookie, or an artoo-threesome, not to mention some Deep Space Nine or possibly Jabba the butt.”

Simpsons Halloween When Hairy Met Slimy

Perhaps a victim of the extended intro story, this third chapter doesn’t get the time it needs to really achieve its potential. It rushes through the story and gives too little screentime to Mr Burns’ role as the villain. The ‘romance’ between Kang and Selma feels like it has more comic potential than it’s permitted here and again the impression is that the writers had only a superficial knowledge of their target so the humour ends up ablative, only scratching the surface. It also goes some way to explaining the increasingly scattergun references at the story meanders to a close and the jokes start to feel more like brainstorming ad-libs than fully formed gags.


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