There once was a time during October (or November, depending when FOX aired the World Series) when I rushed to the television to watch the annual Simpsons “Treehouse of Horror” episode. For me, the “Treehouse of Horror” episodes tended to be the strongest of each season where The Simpsons could do parodies and jokes that couldn’t fit a regular episode. They allowed the writers to be creative.
But as The Simpsons wore on, the “Treehouse of Horror” episodes started becoming worse. Now they’re proof of what’s wrong with the current day Simpsons. They’ve become lazily written and poorly plotted. Last year’s episode in particular was horrendous.
So I wasn’t expecting much from “Treehouse of Horror XXIII,” but as it turns out I rather enjoyed it. It is not a classic episode and isn’t even near some of the best, like “Treehouse of Horror V”. But’s it a vast improvement over the episodes in recent years and there actually were a few laughs.
The first segment, “The Greatest Story Ever Holed,” was probably the weakest of the three. The short revolved around the creation of a black hole that Lisa hides in the basement that eventually becomes used as a garbage disposal.
The segment did not conclude well but there wasn’t really any major groans and a few chuckles. Not great but not awful either.
The second segment, “Un-Normal Activity,” was the strongest of the three and one of the better movie parodies The Simpsons has done in recent years. The reason being is that there hasn’t really been any parodies of Paranormal Activity, unlike that dreadful Avatar spoof last year. Also unlike that Avatar parody the episode didn’t just rehash the story but put it in their own world.
Unfortunately, there were problems. I felt the short should have been longer and that the ending was too crude and out of place. But it actually was pretty decent and not something I wouldn’t recommend.
The final segment, “Bart and Homer’s Excellent Adventure,” spoofed Back to the Future, which might have felt a little dated but wasn’t too bad. In it, Bart goes to the past and prevents Marge from marrying Homer, who instead picks Artie, who becomes Bart’s actual father.
I’m a fan of Jon Lovitz and I always like when he does voice work for The Simpsons (and I also noticed a subtle reference to The Critic). The story was kind of sloppy, but not terrible.
So this episode was actually not too bad. It’s far from being great but one of the better episodes in recent years. I’d recommend some of the older episodes more, but it’s at least worth a watch.