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The TV List 10.27.12: Top 10 Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Shorts
Posted by Michael Ornelas on 10.27.2012





Welcome back ladies and gents! This week's topic required a lot of my time, as I watched every installment of The Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror franchise. I decided to give them all a rating (between 0.0 and 10.0), and then list my top ten. Because I watched them all and the ratings have come from the last 72 hours, I'll be including every episode on this list (not just the top ten). I had fun with this, although I'll admit that watching the later seasons was more of a burden on my time than anything else.

Regarding last week's list of annoying characters on good shows, I suppose Lori from The Walking Dead was in fact an oversight, but she doesn't really annoy me. I don't like her, but she doesn't annoy. I will, however, defend Skyler White's absence on the list. They did a good job of making her character sympathetic this past summer, and while she handles things obnoxiously, she's trapped in a horrible situation that requires rash decision-making for the good of her children (Walt truly was a monster as the seasons progressed).

Also, here are some future column topics. Please add shows I should check out before tackling them OR (and this is preferred) suggest more column ideas! The list is subject to re-ordering and change.

11/03: Top 10 Sketch Comedy Shows
11/10: Top 10 MTV Shows
11/17: Top 10 Badass Protagonists on TV
11/24: Top 10 Shows Cancelled Too Soon
12/01: 10 Funniest Shows of 2012
12/08: Top 10 Villains of 2012
12/15: 10 Biggest Disappointments in 2012
12/22: Top 10 Holiday Episodes
12/29: 10 Best Shows of 2012
01/05: Top 10 Shows That Overstayed Their Welcome
01/12: Top 10 Friend Groups
01/19: Top 10 Community Episodes
01/26: Top 10 Animated Shows
02/02: Top 10 Punching Bags
02/09: Top 10 Foreign Shows
02/16: Top 10 Talking Animals
02/23: 10 Funniest Characters on TV

Alright kiddos, here's my full list of every segment of "Treehouse of Horror," complete with a rating and the ranking, from 69-11, followed by my top 10 with the usual formatting.

69. "Untitled Robot Parody," Treehouse of Horror XIX, 3.5/10 points
68. "Don't Have a Cow, Mankind," Treehouse of Horror XX, 4.6/10 points
67. "The Greatest Story Ever Holed," Treehouse of Horror XXIII, 4.6/10 points
66. "War and Pieces," Treehouse of Horror XXI, 5.0/10 points
65. "Tweenlight," Treehouse of Horror XXI, 5.3/10 points
64. "You Gotta Know When to Golem," Treehouse of Horror XVII, 5.5/10 points
63. "In the Na'Vi," Treehouse of Horror XXII, 5.7/10 points
62. "There's No Business Like Moe Business," Treehouse of Horror XX, 6.2/10 points
61. "Heck House," Treehouse of Horror XVIII, 6.3/10 points
60. "Bart & Homer's Excellent Adventure," Treehouse of Horror XXIII, 6.3/10 points
59. "Send in the Clones," Treehouse of Horror XIII, 6.5/10 points
58. "The Island of Dr. Hibbert," Treehouse of Horror XIII, 6.6/10 points
57. "Dial ‘M' for Murder or Press ‘#' to Return to Main Menu," Treehouse of Horror XX, 6.7/10 points
56. "The Fright to Creep and Scare Harms," Treehouse of Horror XIII, 6.8/10 points
55. "Scary Tales Can Come True," Treehouse of Horror XI, 6.8/10 points
54. "The Diving Bell and Butterball," Treehouse of Horror XXII, 6.8/10 points
53. "Mr. & Mrs. Simpson," Treehouse of Horror XVIII, 6.9/10 points
52. "Married to the Blob," Treehouse of Horror XVII, 6.9/10 points
51. "Wiz Kids," Treehouse of Horror XII, 7.0/10 points
50. "It's the Grand Pumpkin, Milhouse," Treehouse of Horror XIX, 7.0/10 points
49. "Clown without Pity," Treehouse of Horror III, 7.1/10 points
48. "The Bart Zone," Treehouse of Horror II, 7.1/10 points
47. "UNnormal Activity," Treehouse of Horror XXIII, 7.1/10 points
46. "Hex and the City," Treehouse of Horror XII, 7.2/10 points
45. "Four Beheadings and a Funeral," Treehouse of Horror XV, 7.2/10 points
44. "B.I.: Bartificial Intelligence," Treehouse of Horror XVI, 7.3/10 points
43. "How to Get Ahead in Dead-vertising," Treehouse of Horror XIX, 7.3/10 points
42. "The Ned Zone," Treehouse of Horror XV, 7.4/10 points
41. "Hungry Are the Damned," Treehouse of Horror I, 7.4/10 points
40. "Life's a Glitch, Then You Die," Treehouse of Horror X, 7.5/10 points
39. "G-G-Ghost D-D-Dad," Treehouse of Horror XI, 7.6/10 points
38. "Master and Cadaver," Treehouse of Horror XXI, 7.6/10 points
37. "House of Whacks," Treehouse of Horror XII, 7.7/10 points
36. "The Day the Earth Looked Stupid," Treehouse of Horror XVII, 7.7/10 points
35. "Desperately Xeeking Xena," Treehouse of Horror X, 7.8/10 points
34. "Frinkenstein," Treehouse of Horror XIV, 7.9/10 points
33. "In the Belly of the Boss," Treehouse of Horror XV, 7.9/10 points
32. "Time and Punishment," Treehouse of Horror V, 8.0/10 points
31. "E.T., Go Home," Treehouse of Horror XVIII, 8.1/10 points
30. "The Monkey's Paw," Treehouse of Horror II, 8.1/10 points
29. "Stop the World, I Want to Goof Off," Treehouse of Horror XIV, 8.2/10 points
28. "Starship Poopers," Treehouse of Horror IX, 8.4/10 points
27. "Hell Toupée," Treehouse of Horror IX, 8.5/10 points
26. "Easy-Bake Coven," Treehouse of Horror VIII, 8.5/10 points
25. "King Homer," Treehouse of Horror III, 8.5/10 points
24. "Survival of the Fattest," Treehouse of Horror XVI, 8.7/10 points
23. "Nightmare Cafeteria," Treehouse of Horror V, 8.7/10 points
22. "Dial D for Diddly," Treehouse of Horror XXII, 8.7/10 points
21. "Night of the Dolphin," Treehouse of Horror XI, 8.7/10 points
20. "Fly vs. Fly," Treehouse of Horror VIII, 8.9/10 points
19. "I Know What You Diddily-Iddily-Did," Treehouse of Horror X, 8.9/10 points
18. "The Genesis Tub," Treehouse of Horror VII, 8.9/10 points
17. "If I Only Had a Brain," Treehouse of Horror II, 8.9/10 points
16. "Terror at 5 ½ Feet," Treehouse of Horror IV, 9.0/10 points
15. "The Terror of Tiny Toon," Treehouse of Horror IX, 9.1/10 points
14. "The HΩmega Man," Treehouse of Horror VIII, 9.1/10 points
13. "I've Grown a Costume to Your Face," Treehouse of Horror XVI, 9.3/10 points
12. "Reaper Madness," Treehouse of Horror XIV, 9.3/10 points
11. "Dial ‘Z' for Zombies," Treehouse of Horror III, 9.3/10 points

X
"The Shinning"
Treehouse of Horror V
9.4/10 points



"That's odd…usually the blood gets off at the second floor." – CM Burns. This is an absolute classic, and probably has more great one-liners than any of the Treehouse of Horror segments. The reason this didn't place higher was the pacing – they were perhaps too ambitious in tackling The Shining which takes place over a long period of time and condensing it into a seven minute short. That being said, the parody is solid and the humor is top-notch. They also use metahumor to poke fun at TV practices (calling it The Shinning instead of The Shining to avoid a lawsuit is blatantly stated by Groundskeeper Willie), so fans of Community can enjoy this while waiting for the fourth season to start!

IX
"The Thing and I"
Treehouse of Horror VII
9.5/10 points



"You finish your fishheads, then we'll talk!" – Marge Simpson. This is one of those stories where every plot point hit perfectly and the pacing was spot on. Hugo (Bart's conjoined twin, separated at birth) was actually a really interesting character that I wish would have been brought back in some capacity (which would have been possible if the Treehouse of Horror series was considered canonical). The ending came as no surprise to anyone, revealing Bart to actually be the innately evil twin. Great moments of suspense made this one of the better horror entries in the series, and that's exactly why I think it very much deserved to place ninth overall.

VIII
"Bad Dream House"
Treehouse of Horror I
9.6/10 points



"Come on, man. Do it! Do the blood thing! Come on, do it! Do it do it do it do it!" – Bart Simpson. This was the first short on the first episode of the series. It's a classic haunted house scenario (via the "Indian burial ground" setup), and there were plenty of great visuals to hammer that idea home (blood dripping everywhere, floating object, and a warp in the kitchen). The way the house drove the family to almost kill one another led to one of the better climaxes in the ToH series, but I specifically loved the conclusion of the house essentially committing suicide by vanishing into nothingness instead of bearing through life with the Simpson family. I'm impressed that this still holds up despite airing twenty-two years ago, but lo and behold, it's in the top ten.

VII
"Bart Simpson's Dracula"
Treehouse of Horror IV
9.6/10 points



Abe: "Quick! We have to kill the boy!" Marge: "How'd you know he's a vampire?" Abe: "He's a vampire?!" Giving Burns the role of Dracula was brilliant casting, and made this thing just work. Lots of great comedy mixed with great horror (the higher up the list, the more they have elements of both). The Super Fun Happy Slide is my favorite gag in this short (with Homer stabbing Burns' crotch being a close second). These Treehouse of Horror episodes seem to work better when the mythology of what they're parodying is older. The more recent stuff tends to fall flat, and this is a perfect example of why to look to the past for source material.

VI
"Attack of the 50-Foot Eyesores"
Treehouse of Horror VI
9.7/10 points



"Whoa…another acid flashback. Man, I'd hate to be driving a bus right now!" – Otto Mann. The set-up and the destruction in this episode are fantastic, and the solution to solving the monster problem (ignoring them on account of them being advertisements) was plenty creative. The only problem was that the "Just Don't Look" jingle sang by Lisa sounded like it was being played by a middle school symphony. But this one has always stood out in my memory as one of my favorites. The deaths are creative, and it's topped off with Chief Wiggum shoots the captain of the high school basketball team because he was tall and boasts "They're not so tough" before having it pointed out that he wasn't a monster.

The 10 Episodes of TV I Enjoyed Most This Week
10. The League – "The Freeze Out"
9. Parks & Recreation – "Halloween Surprise"
8. The Walking Dead – "Sick"
7. Modern Family – "Open House of Horror"
6. Childrens Hospital – "Attention Staff"
5. South Park – "A Nightmare on FaceTime"
4. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia – "Maureen Ponderosa's Wedding Massacre"
3. Homeland – "New Car Smell"
2. Dexter – "Run"
1. American Horror Story – Asylum – "Tricks and Treats"

…and the worst episode I watched: The Big Bang Theory – "The Holographic Excitation"


V
"Citizen Kang"
Treehouse of Horror VII
9.7/10 points



Random crowd guy: "Well I believe I'll vote for a third party candidate!" Kang: "Go ahead, THROW your vote away!" There's more political humor here than horror humor here, and it still manages to be one of the best bits in the history of this yearly tradition (because aliens are still somewhat related to the horror genre). The pinnacle of this episode's comedy is Homer jettisoning the real Bill Clinton and Bob Dole into space (killing them in the process) immediately after they had agreed to work together. Soaking Homer in rum to negate credibility was another great moment, as logic would dictate some high-tech alien chemical. The ol' bait ‘n switch. It's s

IV
"The Raven"
Treehouse of Horror I
9.8/10 points



"You know what would have been scarier than nothing? ANYTHING!" – Bart Simpson. This explains why Edgar Allen Poe's name was in the writing credits. This worked so well as a parody, and while it's nothing groundbreaking from a comedic stand-point, it was an almost perfect adaptation that was a worthy closer to the first Treehouse of Horror. I was surprised by how much merit this held in the horror category, mostly achieved by the animation of Homer, who conveyed genuine terror. It really brought this whole thing together and allowed the Simpson family rendition of "The Raven" stand the test of time.

III
"Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace"
Treehouse of Horror VI
9.8/10 points



"Lousy Smarch weather!" – Homer Simpson. It took them long enough to do a Nightmare on Elm Street parody! And this was handled brilliantly – the backstory was there, the horror was great (having seen this before I was old enough to see the source material, this was scary!), and the comedy holds up well. Groundskeeper Willie was the right choice for the villain here. The moment when Bart realizes that Lisa had fallen asleep too was good twist before Maggie saves them. And I love the ending where Willie (now harmless) gets off the bus and unmenacingly threatens them ineffectively.

II
"Homer³"
Treehouse of Horror VI
10.0/10 points



"Huh? That's weird. It's like something out of that twilighty show about that zone." – Homer Simpson. This was the coolest-animated thing I'd ever seen up until the point in my life that this aired (at least for a good month or so until Toy Story came out). Seeing The Simpsons in 3-D was awesome, and they used the gimmick to maximum effect. Homer fleeing to avoid Patty & Selma totally worked for his character, and I loved everything the animators did in the third dimension. I had this episode recorded on VHS and I've probably rewatched it 30 or 40 times, so it's with a little bit of bias that this episode places so high on the list. I was also surprised by how good the animation looks now despite being so antiquated at this point. The writer of this bit (David S./X. Cohen) is also one of the executive producers on Futurama, so it's no wonder that this has so much smart humor in it.

I
"The Devil and Homer Simpson"
Treehouse of Horror IV
10.0/10 points



CM Burns: "Who's the goat-legged fellow? I like the cut of his jib." Smithers: "Uh, Prince of Darkness, sir. He's your eleven o'clock." The Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror bits are at their best when they combine horror and comedy, and I feel this did the best job of that mixture. There are scarier ones, and there are funnier ones (not many though), but this is what I consider to be the pinnacle of Treehouse of Horror. The visual of Homer being forcefed donuts in Hell is one that has stuck with me ever since seeing this as a child. The horror half of this episode had super high stakes and a great and clever payoff in having Homer's soul belonging to Marge since their wedding. This is the best ToH segment, and it'd be the first one I showed someone if they were wanting an introduction (although that'd be weird given the longevity of the series and it's an oddly specific way to approach it).

Well that was fun. Some rough entries down the stretch, but overall an enjoyable experience. Took a lot of time, but I'm pretty happy with what's reflected in the outcome. For anyone wondering, the highest scoring full episode of Treehouse of Horror was the sixth one (all three made the top ten list, and it got a whopping 29.5/30 points). Please voice your favorites down below – I love reading them (even if they're delivered in an attacking way). And now I shall binge on sketch shows to know what I'm talking about next week. Ciao!


Shows of which I have seen every episode (including shows still on the air):
Da Ali G Show; American Dad!; American Horror Story; Andy Barker, P.I.; Andy Richter Controls the Universe; Angry Boys; Aqua Teen Hunger Force (including name changes); Archer; Arrested Development; The Batman; Batman Beyond; Batman: The Animated Series; Beast Wars; Better Off Ted; The Big Bang Theory; Big Bite; Black Mirror; Bob's Burgers; The Boondocks; Bored to Death; Boss; Breaking Bad; Brickleberry; Bunk; Childrens Hospital; China, IL; Clerks: The Animated Series; The Cleveland Show; Clone High; Comedy Bang! Bang!; Community; Conan (on TBS); The Critic; Curb Your Enthusiasm; Delocated; Dexter; The Drunk & On Drugs Happy Funtime Hour; Eagleheart; Eastbound & Down; Ed; Entourage; Episodes; Family Guy; Firefly; Flight of the Conchords; Franklin & Bash; Freaks & Geeks; Friends; Frisky Dingo; Futurama; Game of Thrones; Go On; Happy Endings; Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law; Homeland; House of Lies; How I Met Your Mother; Human Giant; Hung; The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret; The IT Crowd; It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia; Jackass; Jon Benjamin Has a Van; Justified; Key & Peele; Kid Notorious; The King of Queens; The League; Louie; Lucky Louie; Luther; The Middle; Modern Family; Monk; Mr. D; Mr. Show with Bob & David; My Name Is Earl; NTSF:SD:SUV::; The Office (UK); The Office (US); Parks & Recreation; Party Down, Portlandia; Rhett & Link: Commercial Kings; Scrubs; Sealab 2021; Seinfeld; Sherlock; The Simpsons; Sons of Tucson; South Park; Spiderman: The Animated Series; Sports Show with Norm MacDonald; Star Wars: Clone Wars; Summer Heights High; Superjail!; Tenacious D; That ‘80s Show; Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!; Titus; Tosh.0; Trailer Park Boys; Twin Peaks; Ugly Americans; Undeclared; Up All Night; The Venture Bros.; Viva La Bam; The Walking Dead; We Can Be Heroes; The Whitest Kids U' Know; Wildboyz; Wilfred; Workaholics; 30 Rock

Shows I'm currently watching:
Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes; Cheers; Dinosaurs; Mad Men; Malcolm in the Middle; Manimal; The Mighty Boosh; Most Extreme Elimination Challenge; The Powerpuff Girls; Psych; Robot Chicken; Shameless (US); Sons of Anarchy; The State; That ‘70s Show; Tiny Toon Adventures; Upright Citizens Brigade; The Wire

Shows on my radar, but haven't yet started
All in the Family; Animaniacs; Battlestar Galactica; Becker; Boardwalk Empire; Boston Legal; Boston Public; Boy Meets World; Californication; Castle; Chappelle's Show; Chuck; Covert Affairs; Criminal Minds; Dallas; Death Note; Doogie Howser, M.D.; Downton Abbey; Dr. Who; The Drew Carey Show; Everybody Loves Raymond; Farscape; Frasier; The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air; Fringe; Gargoyles; Girls; The Good Wife; Greg the Bunny; Happy Days; Haven; Home Improvement; Home Movies; Homicide: Life on the Streets; House; In Living Color; The Jeffersons; Just Shoot Me!; The Kids in the Hall; King of the Hill; Lie to Me; The Life & Times of Tim; Lost; M*A*S*H; Metalocalypse; The Mitchell & Webb Situation; Monty Python's Flying Circus; NewsRadio; Northern Exposure; Oz; Peep Show; Person of Interest; Pinky & The Brain; The PJs; Reaper; Reno 911!; Rescue Me; Roots; Samurai Jack; The Shield; Six Feet Under; The Sopranos; Spin City; Sports Night; Stella; Suits; Taxi; That Mitchell & Webb Look; The Tick; The Twilight Zone; Upright Citizens Brigade; Weeds; The West Wing; White Collar; Will & Grace; The X-Files; 24; 3rd Rock from the Sun; 8 Simple Rules

Thanks again for reading – feel free to voice your agreements or disagreements below!
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