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Ranking All 30 Simpsons ‘Treehouse of Horror’ Halloween Specials

Not all Simpsons Halloween specials are created equal. Legendary critic Nathan Rabin rewatched all 30 'Treehouse of Horror' episodes to create the definitive ranking.

By this point in its long, distinguished, often glorious, and violently uneven life, The Simpsons’ annual Halloween horror anthology “Treehouse of “Horror” has become every bit as much a staple of Americana as the spooky pop culture touchstones it has lampooned.

“Treehouse of Horror” is so venerable, popular, and influential that its satirical takes on classic movies, books, and legends have sometimes supplanted their inspiration in the public imagination. Multiple generations, for example, know The Devil & Daniel Webster primarily, if not exclusively, as the “Treehouse of Horror” segment where Homer Simpson sells his soul to Ned Flanders’ Devil in exchange for a donut rather than as a classic short story about the power of the American justice system to overcome supreme evil or as a classic movie with Walter Huston in an Oscar-nominated turn as a wily devil.

To binge-watch every episode of “Treehouse of Terror” in chronological order over a period of days is to both court madness and confront the show’s steep, inevitable decline in highly concentrated form. It’s a long, sometimes exhausting journey that begins as a gleeful jaunt through some of the best, most beloved, and eminently quotable television of all time and ends as something of an endurance test.

After all, if a show has been on the air for ten seasons, it would be naive and unrealistic to expect it not to feel a little tired. The Simpsons, however, has been on the air for over three times as long so it’s unsurprising that its greatness has faded and the law of diminishing returns kicked in hard decades ago.

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New “Treehouse of Horror” episodes used to be low-level pop culture events. Now they’re something to endure out of a sense of grudging obligation and nostalgia. With the thirty-first “Treehouse of Horror” hitting the airwaves on November 1st here’s a definitive ranking of the previous thirty episodes. I rewatched all 30 episodes on Disney+, so you didn’t have to.

30. Treehouse of Horror XXX (2019)

It speaks to how exhausted “Treehouse of Horror” is at this late stage in its existence that its thirtieth incarnation opens with a prologue riffing on The Omen with Maggie as a baby infected with Satanic evil just two episodes after a parody of The Exorcist with, you guessed it, Maggie as a baby infected with Satanic evil.

What follows is similarly exhausted: the Stranger Things parody “Danger Things” lampoons the cult show’s predilection for clumsy, ham-fisted 1980s signifiers by lazily piling on Reagan-era kitsch, “Heaven Swipes Right” provides a digital update of Heaven Can Wait and “When Hairy Met Slimy” gives the business to The Shape of Water with a star-crossed romance between Kang and Selma that marks the second and hopefully final time a “Treehouse of Horror” segment has exploited the comic potential of the phrase “Jabba the Butt.”

The 666th episode of The Simpsons isn’t just bad for a milestone episode or a “Treehouse of Horror” episode: it’s just plain bad. “Treehouse of Horror” once consistently managed to be both hilarious and terrifying. Given how long the show has been on the air, it is perhaps not surprising that at a certain point they seem to have given up on being scary. What’s less forgivable is that somewhere along the line they seem to have given up on being funny as well.

29. Treehouse of Horror XXVII (2016)

“In hell they make you watch them all in order!” the ghost of Frank Grimes observes early in the twenty-seventh “Treehouse of Horror.” It’s a joke with a painful sting of truth since the early “Treehouse of Horror” are a little slice of comedy heaven while the later episodes represent the torments of the damned.

The landmark 600th episode unfortunately offers more dispiriting signs of creative exhaustion. A bizarrely dated Flashdance gag at the start of a dire Hunger Games parody would feel at home in a Seltzer-Friedberg atrocity or a lesser episode of Family Guy. “MoeFinger” feels similarly off-brand and desperate in its take on the already half-forgotten James Bond riff Kingsman: The Secret Service. A segment where Lisa’s imaginary friend wracks up a real-life body count isn’t particularly funny or scary but at least belongs in a horror-themed anthology.

28. Treehouse of Horror XXIX (2018)

 

The “Treehouse of Horror” used to showcase The Simpsons at its finest, funniest, and most ragingly ambitious but limp outings like “Treehouse of Horror XXIX” make strong arguments as to why the show should be put out of its misery at this very late stage. “Intrusion of the Pod-y Switchers” clumsily cross-pollinates Invasion of the Body Snatchers with Apple worship to make a hackneyed point about how our reliance on iPods and iPhones make us pod people in more ways than one. “Mulitplisa-ty” miscasts Lisa Simpson as a troubled young woman with a deeply offensive case of Dissociative identity disorder a la James McAvoy in Split while in “Geriatric Park” Springfield’s elderly become dinosaur-human hybrids in a way that unfortunately only underlines that The Simpsons is now nearly as old as Abe Simpson, and has roughly as much to say.

27. Treehouse of Horror XXII (2011)

By the time “The Diving Bell and the Butterball”, a flatulence-themed The Diving Bell and the Butterfly parody, has morphed randomly into a Spider-Man goof, “Treehouse of Horror” has drifted so far from where it began, thematically, tonally, and quality-wise, as to be unrecognizable. “The Diving Bell and the Butterball” at least stands out for being so off-brand and wrong. The other two segments, parodies of Dexter and Avatar, are merely forgettable.

26. Treehouse of Horror XXI (2010)

As with the simpatico parodies of “Weird Al” Yankovic, the quality of “Treehouse of Horror” segments has a direct connection to the quality of its satirical targets. The better the inspiration, the better the parody tends to be. So it’s not surprising that the show’s most iconic and revered segments derive inspiration from the likes of Twilight Zone, The Shining, and King Kong. By the time it was reduced to spoofing the low-wattage likes of tween vampire fantasy Twilight and the original Jumanji it was seemingly running on fumes. “Master and Cadaver” takes inspiration from the classy thriller Dead Calm but it is nevertheless notable primarily for its many sexy cheesecake shots of a smoking hot Marge Simpson in a skimpy bikini. It’s unfortunate when a “Treehouse of Horror” installment has little to offer beyond an abundance of animated characters showing more skin than usual.

25. Treehouse of Horror XXV (2014)

The modern incarnation of The Simpsons is haunted by the looming, ever-present ghost of its former greatness. So there’s something fascinatingly if frustratingly meta about “The Others”, a segment that makes the subtext text by having the modern-day version of the Simpsons be haunted by the rude, crude specter of the Tracy Ullman Show incarnation of the family.

The old school Simpsons look like the old version and talk like the old version but are distressingly unfunny in the manner of the modern-day incarnation of the show. The other segments, the Clockwork Orange parody “A Clockwork Yellow” and “School is Hell”, which finds Bart becomes a star student in the underworld, are slightly more inspired if less morbidly meta.

24. Treehouse of Horror XXVI (2015)

Twenty-three years after The Simpsons brilliantly satirized King Kong, “Treehouse of Horror” finally got around to his longtime nemesis and sometimes sparring partner Godzilla.  “Homerzilla” is a half-hearted shrug of a parody that weakly spoofs both the original Godzilla and its mercenary reboot for a segment that’s not just pointless, it’s meta-pointless. Elsewhere, Sideshow Bob finally succeeds in killing Bart and discovers the feeling is as empty, joyless, and unsatisfying as watching a late-period “Treehouse of Horror” entry and Lisa and Milhouse develop psychic powers in the show’s take on 2012’s Chronicle, which seems to have been largely forgotten despite only being eight years old.

23. Treehouse of Horror XXIII (2012)

When a black hole is created in Springfield its denizens, being proud Americans, immediately abuse it as a sort of cosmic dumpster in the surprisingly satirical “The Greatest Story Ever Holed.” It’s the standout segment in an episode dragged down by limp takes on Paranormal Activity and Back to the Future that, like bad Saturday Night Live sketches, don’t build to a satisfying conclusion so much as they just sort of end at a point the show decided would be acceptable.

22. Treehouse of Horror XIX (2008)

What’s frustrating about the way later “Treehouse of Horror” stray far from the field of science fiction and horror for inspiration is that the show won’t spoof a popular movie because it has a great take on it that justifies the non-spookiness. In its later years, The Simpsons doesn’t have a great take on the big movie or franchise of the moment that justified straying from spookiness: it just has a take, and, being late-period Simpsons, that take is liable to be stale and arbitrary.

The show’s take on It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is a little fresher even as it traffics in the cheap shock of The Great Pumpkin being a blood-thirsty monster. The episode’s sharpest satire ends up being accidental. In “How To Get Ahead in Dead-Vertising” Homer kills a number of celebrities so their images can be crassly exploited by soulless moneymen, including The Artist Who Fill Forever Be Known as Prince, whose image would be ruthlessly exploited after his untimely death just a few years after this first aired.

21. Treehouse of Horror XXIV (2013)

It’s hard to say what’s worse: when the “Treehouse of Horror” strikes out with satirical targets that seemingly have no place in a spooky Halloween anthology like Kingsman: The Secret Service or when it fails to glean even a single laugh out of an ostensibly perfect satirical target like the cult horror shocker Freaks, as it does in the predictably underwhelming twenty-fourth installment.

In other segments, the Cat in the Hat is a bloodthirsty sociopath in a rhyming, fantastical mediocrity that’s flashy and audacious but uninspired and the 1972 exploitation movie The Thing With Two Heads finally gets the prime-time roasting it had been crying out angrily for all these years, with not one but two distinct voices.

20. Treehouse of Horror XVII (2006)

In a painfully timely, instantly dated reference, “The Day The Earth Looked Stupid”, a riff on the fear and panic Orson Welles’ radio production of The War of the Worlds engendered, concludes with a weary Kang and Kodos grousing that they thought they would be greeted as liberators for instigating “Operation Enduring Occupation” to conquer puny earthlings but find themselves hated instead.

It’s a clumsy nod to the 2003 invasion of Iraq from a show that was once effortless in its political satire but grew increasingly clumsy and ham-fisted with time. The Blob-themed “Married to the Blob” is one big fat joke unredeemed by an appearance from Dr. Phil but the intensely Jewish “You Gotta Know When to Golem” is unexpectedly tender thanks to the charming voice performance of guest star Richard Lewis as a neurotic Golem with literal feet of clay and a heart of gold.

19. Treehouse of Horror XX (2009)

 

You’ve got to at least give “There’s No Business Like Moe Business” credit for trying something different. True to its inspiration, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, the segment takes the form of a stage musical, with all of the dialogue being sung instead of spoken but the novelty can’t make up for desperation wedded to a lack of inspiration.

“Don’t Have a Cow, Mankind” is yet another take on zombie lore, this time rooted in 28 Days Later while “Dial “M” for Murder or Press “#” to Return to Main Menu” busily mashes up many Alfred Hitchcock classics yet comes up with a lukewarm retread of the Master of Suspense’s pet themes.

18. Treehouse of Horror XVI (2005)

There’s no more foolproof formula for a killer “Treehouse of Horror” segment than spoofing a Twilight Zone episode but “I’ve Grown a Costume To Your Face”, the show’s take on “The Masks”, a morality tale about an evil family whose hideous masks become permanent as punishment for their sins, falls a little flat because it substitutes random comic anarchy for the original’s haunted moralism.

“B.I. Bartificial Intelligence”, the show’s take on A.I isn’t as spooky or as haunting as its inspiration while “Survival of the Fattest” limply spoofs The Most Dangerous Game by having Mr. Burns hunting Homer for sport.

17. Treehouse of Horror XXVIII (2017)

Over the course of three decades, “Treehouse of Horror” has resorted to self-cannibalism on countless occasions as it shamelessly recycles old themes, tropes, and characters. In “Mmm…Homer” that self-cannibalism is literal, as a hungry, hungry Homer resorts to eating his own body parts in a segment that’s short on laughs but long on damning meta-commentary. That’s a shame because while “The Exor-Sis”, its Exorcist homage, feels a little arbitrary, its Coraline parody captures both the animation style and ominous tone of its inspiration, making it a standout among mid and late-period anthologies.

16. Treehouse of Horror XVIII (2007)

“E.T Go Home” represents the best variation on a trope “Treehouse of Horror” would employ throughout the later years: what if a beloved pop-culture staple was evil?

Before “Treehouse of Horror” gave us an evil Great Pumpkin and a psychotic Cat in the Hat, the show posited Kodos (the namesake of a random Star Trek villain) as a malevolent parody of E.T bent on destruction rather than inter-planetary telecommunication. Meanwhile, a Mr. & Mrs. Smith parody is annoyingly non-spooky but also unfunny while in “Heck House” Jesus-fearing Ned Flanders once again adopts the form of the devil to scare some very naughty trick or treaters straight.

15. Treehouse of Horror XII (2001)

The Harry Potter parody “Whiz Kids” established an unfortunate precedent for future “Treehouse of Horror” installments in lampooning the big book and film series of the moment because it was guaranteed to attract attention and ratings rather than because it fit the mood and format of the show.

The result is an anthology that increasingly seems to cover prominent pop culture of all stripes rather than the spooky fodder that has inspired its best, most enduring segments. “House of Whacks”, which finds Marge being hit on by a horny sentient dream house voiced by Pierce Brosnan, is more thematically appropriate if just as short on laughs, while “Hex and the City” has only grown more problematic with time in its wildly stereotypical depiction of Romani culture via a fortune-teller’s curse that forces the Simpsons to recruit the services of an ornery leprechaun we’d, unfortunately, be seeing a whole lot of in the years ahead.

14. Treehouse of Horror XV (2004)

The Dead Zone makes for a terrific satirical target for “Treehouse of Horror”, in no small part because it has the tone, and spookiness, and twist of a top-notch Twilight Zone episode. Casting Ned Flanders as a good man haunted by sinister visions in “The Ned Zone” is inspired as well, which is more than can be said for the other two segments, the punningly and punishingly titled “Four Beheadings and a Funeral”, a From Hell pastiche about the serial slaughter of sex workers in nineteenth-century England, and “In the Belly of the Boss”, which riffs on The Fantastic Voyage by having miniature versions of the Simpsons enter Mr. Burns’ bloodstream in an attempt to save Maggie.

Maggie also rocks a Sherlock Holmes outfit, which, is honestly, not the worst.

13. Treehouse of Horror XIV (2003)

Jerry Lewis was famously the inspiration for the voice and personality and funny noises-rich vocabulary of Professor Frink so it was perhaps inevitable that he’d make his The Simpsons debut playing the nerdy genius’ even more impressive dad in “Frinkenstein”, another Frankenstein parody that finds the elder, undead Frink running amok in search of brains and various other body parts.

The other segments are less star-powered but equally strong. In “Reaper Madness” Homer is instantly corrupted with the power to kill when he ends up taking the Grim Reaper’s place and “Stop the World, I Want to Goof Off” is rooted in that trustiest and most dependable of satirical subjects, a Twilight Zone episode, in this case “A Kind of Stopwatch”, about a man blessed and cursed with the ability to stop time.

12. Treehouse of Horror XIII (2002)

In the Multiplicity-themed “Send in the Clones” Homer creates an army of clones for himself to help him with errands and life in general that pointedly includes Peter Griffin from The Simpsons clone Family Guy.

It wouldn’t be long until “Treehouse of Horror” would feel like a pale imitation of itself. Yet it still had some comic juice left when it took on Multiplicity,  The Island of Dr. Moreau (“The Island of Dr. Hibbert”, which re-imagines the family’s inappropriately chuckling physician as a mad doctor and the denizens of Springfield as half-human/half-animal mutants) and gun control in a segment where Lisa succeeds in getting all guns banned, leaving Springfield defenseless against the gun-toting zombies of an undead Billy the Kid and his Hole in the Wall Gang.

11. Treehouse of Horror X (1999)

For better or worse, “Treehouse of Horror” doubles as a time-capsule indelibly chronicling perpetually uncertain times. This is particularly true of the tenth “Treehouse of Horrors”, which partied like it’s 1999 as it took on a looming potential cyber-catastrophe in the form of a Y2K bug that ended up not being a thing but is brought to merry, malicious life in “”Life’s a Glitch, Then You Die”, which imagines a worst-case scenario where Y2K plays havoc with society by causing everything even vaguely related to computers to go kablooie simultaneously.

Then-guest Lucy Lawless plays a super-powered version of herself as an unwitting captive of a power-mad Comic Book Guy in a segment that’s unmistakably non-spooky but makes incisive satirical points about geek culture’s obsession with controlling women, fictional and otherwise. Finally, Ned Flanders is once again cast against type in an I Know What You Did Last Summer parody with a lycanthropic twist.

10. Treehouse of Horror XI (2000)

Dolphins, those playful clowns of the sea, take revenge on humanity by driving them into the ocean in a Day of the Dolphin riff that’s funny and scary in classic “Treehouse of Horror” form, but also oddly adorable.  Despite being heartless killers, they’re also unmistakably majestic. In the morbidly funny and just plain morbid “G-G-Ghost D-D-Dad”, Homer dies and is given one day to redeem his wasted life by doing a single good deed while in “Scary Tales Can Come True” Bart and Lisa try to survive a Grimm’s Brothers pastiche of witches, gingerbread housess, and rampant death.

9. Treehouse of Horror VIII (1997)

“Oh, I’ve wasted my life” Comic Book Guy realizes shortly before being blown to smithereens by a giant bomb in the I Am Legend/Omega Man parody “Homega Man.” It’s the kind of perfect, beautifully observed, and the laugh-out-loud moment these once-glorious anthologies were full of.

The following segments are similarly full of moments like that, like when Homer Simpson scoffs at paying two dollars for a matter transformer at Professor Frink’s yard sale and haggles the price down to thirty-five cents for literally miraculous technology in the gloriously disgusting The Fly parody “Fly Versus Fly”, or when an old time version of Mayor Quimby tells a trio of witches being punished with death, “I sentence you hags to be burned at the stake until you are deemed fit to re-enter society” around the time of the Salem Witch Trials. The show is still capable of these moments but these days they’re the exception rather than the rule.

8. Treehouse of Horror IX (1998)

“Hell Toupee” might just represent jailbird Uber-criminal Snake’s finest moment on The Simpsons. The two-fisted tale finds Snake’s evil hair running amok and controlling Homer’s brain after a cut-rate transplant.

It’s followed by “The Terror of Tiny Toon”, a Stay Tuned riff that finds Bart and Lisa entering the world of their very favorite television show, Itchy & Scratchy, which unfortunately for them is defined by its ultra-violence and sneering disrespect for the sanctity of human life.

Things close out with another showcase for Kang and Kodos, this time in the form of “Starship Poopers”, where Kang is revealed to be a half-alien Maggie’s real father. The alien and the Simpsons try to resolve their conflict on The Jerry Springer Show, a reminder that “Treehouse of Horror” thrives on timeliness in a way that can’t help but make it feel more than a little dated. It should be noted, that like Kodos, Kang, also, gets his name from a one-time ’60s Star Trek villain and one of the OG Klingons. The original Kang, played stoically by Michael Ansara, might be funnier than the Simpson’s Kang, especially when he reappeared on Deep Space Nine in the late ’90s, around the time these Treehouses were airing.

7. Treehouse of Horror VI (1995)

By this point, “Treehouse of Horror” hasn’t just exhausted the comic possibilities of Kang and Kodos: it’s beaten much lesser characters into the ground as well, like the angry leprechaun and the Lard Lad Donuts mascot, who runs amok alongside other corporate mascots in “Attack of the 50-Foot Eyesores”, one of the first “Treehouse of Horror” segments to feel less than essential.

Thankfully the other segments are keepers. “Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace” smartly casts Groundskeeper Willie as Freddy Krueger, a role that smartly exploits his barely concealed murderous rage towards humanity, particularly children, while the groundbreaking and visually audacious “Homer3” features 3-dimensional animation and the show’s first live-action sequence, which occurs when Homer leaves behind the 2D animated world, and the 3-D animated world behind for our crappy live-action world, with its erotic cakes and various other sordid delights.

6. Treehouse of Horror IV (1993)

Satan unexpectedly but deliciously takes the form of the godliest man in Springfield in “The Devil & Homer Simpson”, which pits a figure of supreme evil who looks and talks exactly like Ned Flanders against the Simpsons in a legal battle for Homer’s eternal soul in what is perhaps the single most satisfying adaptation of Stephen Vincent Benet’s classic short story.

Particularly in the early years, “Treehouse of Horror” couldn’t go wrong spoofing the Twilight Zone. “Terror at 5 1⁄2 Feet” is another instant classic parody of Rod Serling’s spooky brainchild; the story of Bart battling a fearsome gremlin only he can see is legitimately scary as well as laugh out loud funny. “Bart Simpson’s Dracula” closes things out with a visually audacious tribute to Francis Ford Coppola’s giddily excessive take on vampire lore.

5. Treehouse of Horror V (1994)

“Treehouse of Horror V” opens with Marge, that eternally ignored, the motherly voice of reason and caution, warning that the evening’s entertainment will be too scary for children. It’s a bit, of course, but she’s not at all wrong. In its glorious prime, The Simpsons delighted in traumatizing children with blood-soaked terror tales involving adult caretakers trying to murder and/or eat the children in their care, sometimes successfully.

In the brilliant Kubrick parody “The Shinning” Homer tries to murder his family with an ax after sadistically being deprived of beer and TV, the only things keeping him sane, while in “Nightmare Cafe” the school cafeteria has delicious new mystery meat made up of a whole lot of student bodies. Adults merely wreak havoc with the fabric of time and space in “Time and Punishment”, an inventive take on the classic Ray Bradbury short story “A Sound of Thunder” that’s way more definitive, despite being a parody, than the flop 2005 feature film adaptation of the same name starring Ed Burns and Ben Kingsley.

4. Treehouse of Horror I (1990)

Kang and Kodos emerged as the one-eyed, multi-tentacled breakout stars of the first “Treehouse of Horror.” Like many of the very best “Treehouse of Horror” episodes, this derived loving inspiration from a classic Twilight Zone episode, in this case, “To Serve Man.” “Hungry Are the Damned” offers a glorious twist on the famous shock ending of the original by punishing The Simpsons and the rest of humanity not for being too trusting but for being too suspicious. Elsewhere in this maiden entry in the beloved anthology, Sam Simon just barely re-imagines “The Raven” as a vehicle for Homer and Bart’s squabbling, and a haunted house essentially commits suicide rather than face the unenviable fate of having the Simpsons live inside it. The “Raven” is shockingly joke-light for golden age Simpsons and “Bad Dream House” is a little slight but “Hungry Are the Damned” more than makes up for it.

3.Treehouse of Horror IIII (1992)

In “Clown Without Pity”, yet another classic “Treehouse of Horror” segment inspired by a classic Twilight Zone episode, Homer visits a mysterious bazaar where he purchases an evil, sentient Krusty Doll from a mysterious peddler who is also a purveyor of frozen yogurt, or “frogurt” (that’s good) that’s cursed (that’s bad) but comes from free sprinkles (that’s good) containing Potassium Benzoate (that’s bad).

The episode’s take on King Kong, “King Homer”, is just as instantly iconic and quotable, particularly Carl’s desire to go to Candy Apple Island rather than Ape Island because even though they also have apes there, they’re not quite as big. “Dial “Z” for Zombies”, meanwhile, finds Bart accidentally resurrecting the dead to feast on the living in the perfect conclusion to a damn near perfect episode.

2. Treehouse of Horror II (1991)

It’s crazy that “Treehouse of Horror” has resorted to spoofing egregiously non-spooky fare like The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and Transformers when there are 156 episodes of the original Twilight Zone alone for it to parody.

The second “Treehouse of Horror” drank lustily from that deep pool of inspiration with a pair of terror tales borrowed from Rod Serling’s iconic horror and science-fiction anthology. “Bart’s Nightmare” takes inspiration from the classic Twilight Zone episode “It’s a Good Life” about a telekinetic boy whose God-like powers cause everyone around him to tremble in fear of his demented juvenile whims. Bart is perfectly typecast as a supernatural force for mischief and the medium of animation allows for some truly disturbing imagery.

Like The Twilight Zone, “Treehouse of Horror” could not resist giving its own twist on the classic fear fable “The Monkey’s Paw”, about a haunted artifact that grants wishes that backfire ironically and hilariously. The final segment, an irreverent take on Frankenstein with Homer’s brain being implanted in a robot, isn’t quite as fresh or as funny, but that’s to be expected as “Frankenstein” is most assuredly not Twilight Zone-derived.

1. Treehouse of Horror VII (1996)

It’s tough to beat the “To Serve Man” parody “Hungry Are the Damned” as aliens Kang and Kodos’ defining moment but “Citizen Kang” manages that tricky feat by using the intergalactic destroyers to mercilessly lampoon the compromises and limitations of our country’s two-party system.

In “Citizen Kang” Kang and Kodos take over the bodies of Bill Clinton and Robert Dole in the run-up to the 1996 presidential election to teach earthlings about the futility of voting for anyone other than a Republican or a Democrat, no matter how transparently evil or ill-equipped for the job.

“Citizen Kang” might just be the most quotable “Treehouse of Horror” segment of all time. It gave the world “Abortions for some, miniature American flags for others”, “Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos” and “We must move forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!”

Even by golden age standards, it’s a savagely satirical political satire that’s both pointed and hilarious. In the other rock-solid segments, “The Thing and I” and “The Genesis Tub”, we meet Bart’s hitherto unknown feral twin, who has a secret of his own, and Lisa accidentally ends up becoming a God of tiny things when her science experiment unexpectedly produces microscopic life forms that evolve at an astounding rate. They aren’t as brilliant as “Citizen Kang” but literally nothing else is, within the world of “Treehouse of Horror” or outside of it.

Watch all the Treehouses of Horror on Disney+ here.

And again, a new one airs on November 1, 2020, also on Disney+