Treehouse of Horror XII

"Treehouse of Horror XII" is the first episode of The Simpsons' thirteenth season. Because of Fox's contract with Major League Baseball's World Series, the episode first aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 6, 2001, nearly one week after Halloween. It is the twelfth annual Treehouse of Horror episode, consisting of three self-contained segments. In the first segment, a gypsy puts a curse on Homer, which puts everybody he cares about in danger. In the second segment, which is a parody on both 2001: A Space Odyssey and Demon Seed, the Simpson family buys a new house, who falls in love with Marge and attempts to kill Homer. In the third and final segment, which lampoons the Harry Potter franchise, Lord Montymort attempts to capture Lisa, a skilled magician, in order to drain her magic powers.

The episode was written by Joel H. Cohen, John Frink, Don Payne and Carolyn Omine while Jim Reardon served as the director. It was the first Treehouse of Horror since the original special to not employ "scary names" in the credits. According to executive producer Ian Maxtone-Graham, this was due to the September 11 terrorist attacks, after which the Simpsons staff tried to be more serious and sensitive. However, according to current show runner Al Jean, the "scary names" were dropped because they were too difficult to come up with. The episode contains numerous references and parodies to science fiction and horror works, including 2001: A Space Odyssey, Demon Seed, Harry Potter and Star Wars. The episode also features Pierce Brosnan and Matthew Perry as guest stars.

The episode was considered a success in the ratings when it first aired, boosting the Fox network to victory among viewers between ages 18 and 49 the night it was broadcast. Since airing, the episode has received mixed reviews from critics. In particular, critics were dissatisfied with the last segment of the show, while "House of Whacks" was often considered to be the best of the three.

"Treehouse of Horror XII"
The Simpsons episode
Episode no.Season 13
Episode 1
Directed byJim Reardon
Written byJoel H. Cohen
John Frink
Don Payne
Carolyn Omine
Production codeCABF19[1]
Original air dateNovember 6, 2001
Guest appearance(s)

Pierce Brosnan as Ultrahouse 3000's Pierce Brosnan voice and himself
Matthew Perry as Ultrahouse 3000's Matthew Perry voice

Episode features
CommentaryMike Scully
Al Jean
Ian Maxtone-Graham
Matt Selman
Carolyn Omine
John Frink
Don Payne
Joel H. Cohen

Plot

Outside Mr. Burns' manor, Smithers is standing on a ladder, trying to put up a small orange bat decoration on a weather vane. He slips on the ladder, grabs on an electric cord and slides down into an electricity box and gets zapped. A tower from Mr. Burns' mansion breaks in half, damaging a mausoleum, which opens up four caskets which in turn reveal three skeletons which all resemble Mr. Burns, dressed in various costumes. Later, we see the Simpsons dressed up in costumes, with Homer as Fred Flintstone, Marge as Wilma Flintstone, Lisa and Maggie as conjoined twins, and Bart as a hobo walking up to the mansion (with Bart and Lisa complaining that Flanders gave them toothpaste instead of candy). The family sees the building and caskets on fire, and screams in terror. They run out the gate, which as it closes, has its bars slice the family. The slices of the Simpsons continue to scream and run away. Mr. Burns, delighted, pats the orange bat as it comes to life and flies into the screen, revealing the title, "The Simpsons Halloween Special XII".

Hex and the City

Homer is cursed by a gypsy after destroying her fortune teller office. The curse soon takes effect, with Marge growing a beard from her blue hair, Lisa turning into a centaur, Bart's neck becoming long and floppy as a result of Homer strangling him, Maggie becoming a ladybug with a human head, Lenny and Carl crushed by a helicopter, and Moe stuffed into his own pickled egg jar (with Homer wondering how that happened). From Moe's and the barflies' last suggestions, Homer sets out to find a leprechaun to end the curse. Homer uses Lucky Charms cereal as bait to get the leprechaun, eventually finding one after picking through a group of other magical creatures. Homer takes the leprechaun home, but the leprechaun is extremely hyperactive and he runs amok. On Lisa's suggestion, Homer takes the leprechaun to the gypsy's office and sics him on her. The leprechaun and gypsy fight, but their struggles soon turn into passionate kissing and fondling, much to Homer's disgust. The leprechaun and the gypsy marry in a ceremony (led by Yoda) attended by other gypsies and mythical creatures, as well as the Simpson family. Homer remarks that everything ended happily, but a now fully hair covered Marge reminds him that Bart committed suicide by drowning in his cereal, and that the gypsy said apologizing will bring him back to life. Homer refuses, saying, "She's not the boss of me!".

House of Whacks

In a parody of Demon Seed and 2001: A Space Odyssey, the Simpsons buy an thrilling domotic system for their home called "Ultrahouse", which comes with three celebrity voices: Matthew Perry, Dennis Miller (whom Lisa and Marge recognize as "the voice that caused all those murder-suicides"), and Pierce Brosnan, who Marge picks because he was on the show Remington Steele. Marge finds the house, who does all the work for the Simpsons, charming. The house soon becomes infatuated with Marge after the two share a bath and decides to kill Homer. In the middle of the night, the house tricks Homer into running downstairs by frying bacon, then dispenses ice onto the floor via the refrigerator to make him slip. Homer lands on the table, which is designed to fold inward with a built-in garbage disposal in the center, sending Homer into the blades and apparently killing him. The next morning, Marge fears that Homer is dead and attempts to escape the domotic system with the kids, but Ultrahouse locks the family inside and tries to stress out the children. When Marge and the kids rush to the kitchen, they find that Homer is alive, despite cuts all over his body and a gaping hole in the back of his head. After the house attempts to kill the entire family in many ways, Homer leads a charge to the basement where he attacks the CPU's "British charm unit", which makes him speak with a rude American police-style dialect before powering down and finally shutting off. Feeling bad that she has to toss out the Ultrahouse since he was charming and witty before being driven mad by love, Marge gives the CPU to Patty and Selma, whose mundane stories about their day at work drives the CPU to attempt outrageous subdue ways; since the CPU is not willing to reach inside Selma's cleavage to get his self-destruct button, the CPU is reduced to hitting himself with Patty and Selma's Egyptian pyramid lamp.

Wiz Kids

In a parody of Harry Potter, Bart and Lisa go to the "Springwart's School of Magicry" in which young boys and girls are trained in the art of witchcraft, such as turning frogs into princes, with Lisa's turning into a perfect British one while Bart's results in a freakish, vomiting hybrid begging only for death. Lord Montymort notices Lisa's spells and he and his snake sidekick, Slithers decide to capture Lisa in order to increase his power. Montymort looks for someone to assist him and chooses Bart, who agrees to Montymort's proposal. On the night of the magic recital at Springwart's School of Magicry, Lisa attempts a "levitating dragon trick" on a gigantic dragon that is released onto the stage. Lisa is shocked to find that her spell will not work, and then notices that Bart has replaced her wand with a Twizzler. The dragon morphs into a giant Montymort who captures Lisa and begins sucking up her power. To save her from Montymort, Bart casts a spell to destroy the evil one, but is struck by lightning. In a last-ditch effort, Bart charges at Montymort and stabs him in the shin with his burnt wand. Montymort dies as his shin was the source of all his magic, and is eaten by a crying Slithers. As Bart and Lisa walk away, vowing to forget everything that happened, the leprechaun from the first story climbs onto Bart's back.

Epilogue

Pierce Brosnan, the Leprechaun, and the freakish Frog Prince exit a trailer, with fruit baskets. After the Leprechaun and Frog Prince (who were also apparently guest stars) criticize Brosnan for being allowed to park so close to the set in such a vast parking lot, Brosnan offers them a ride to their car. As Brosnan pulls out, he finds out too late that he has been taken hostage as they drive out of the parking lot in a mad haste.

Production

Pierce Brosnan Berlinale 2014
Pierce Brosnan's role as Ultrahouse in "House of Whacks" was originally intended for Sean Connery.

"Treehouse of Horror XII" was directed by Jim Reardon and co-written by Joel H. Cohen, John Frink, Don Payne and Carolyn Omine.[2] It is the twelfth episode of the annual Treehouse of Horror Halloween specials, and, due to Fox's contract with Major League Baseball's World Series, the episode was pushed back to November 6, 2001 on the Fox network, airing six days after Halloween.[2][3][4] As with the rest of the Halloween specials, the episode is considered non-canon and falls outside of the show's regular continuity. This was the first Halloween special where the writers did not have "scary names" in the credits.[5] This was due to the terrorist attacks on September 11, after which the staff were "trying to be sensitive", and, according to producer Ian Maxtone-Graham, the Halloween names would all reference the attacks had they been kept.[5] Mike Scully, who worked as showrunner for the episode, stated that the "scary names" were removed because they had also "turned into shameless plugs" for side projects done by The Simpsons' staff members.[2]

The first segment, "Hex and the City", was written by Joel Cohen.[6] The gypsy fortune teller in the segment was portrayed by Tress MacNeille while the leprechaun was played by Dan Castellaneta.[7][8] Current showrunner Al Jean stated in the DVD audio commentary for the episode that the leprechaun seen at the end of the segment was "as much as [he] had ever laughed" at the color screening for the episode.[7] He stated that the way the leprechaun moved and the way Reardon directed it was "just so funny".[7] The leprechaun has reappeared many times since the episode, becoming one of few characters on The Simpsons to "leap from Halloween [shows] to regular shows".[7]

"House of Whacks" was co-written by John Frink and Don Payne.[9][10] Payne, who conceived the story of the segment, based it on Stanley Kubrick's film 2001: A Space Odyssey.[10] The segment would originally end with the Ultrahouse killing Homer, and, for compensation, the family would program the house with Homer's personality.[10] The Ultrahouse was portrayed by Pierce Brosnan, however he was not the staff's first choice for the role. The role was originally intended for Sean Connery, and over the course of production, the staff considered Lyle Lovett and Gary Oldman for the role.[10] The decision remained until "someone who worked for [Lovett] decided it was somehow insulting to have him play a house", according to Scully.[2] At this point, the staff settled on Brosnan.[2] Scully stated that "Brosnan wound up doing a great job" and that working with him was "really funny".[2] Originally, the Ultrahouse would have a pompadour and play the guitar, however they changed its mannerisms to suit Brosnan's performance better.[2] Matthew Perry also made a guest appearance, playing himself as one of Ultrahouse's voice options.[2] Regular cast member Dan Castellaneta portrayed Dennis Miller in the segment (a special ending credit had to be made to avoid confusion with viewers who thought the real Dennis Miller did voice-work on the show).[2] One scene was cut from the segment.[11] The scene would take place during Marge's call to the police station, where police chief Clancy Wiggum, while answering Marge's call, is being shot at by "RoboCops".[11]

The third segment, "Wiz Kids", was written by Carolyn Omine.[7] Omine stated in the DVD audio commentary for the episode that the segment was "a really hard sell", since only about four of the writers had read Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the book the segment was based on, while the rest of the writers did not know about the book and thought viewers would not know who Harry Potter was.[8] At the time of the episode's production, four books had been written in the Harry Potter series and the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone would be released November 16, ten days after this episode aired.[8] Two scenes were cut from the segment; one of them would serve as an extension of Montymort and Slithers plotting their scheme, followed by a scene showing Bart combing his hair, while the other scene would show Groundskeeper Willie riding an enchanted lawn mower.[11] The latter scene was cut for time.[11]

Cultural references

Jk-rowling-crop
J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter books are spoofed in the episode's third segment, "Wiz Kids".

The title of "Hex and the City" is based on the title of the television series Sex and the City.[4] The segment contains a background character who looks similar to the main character from Caps For Sale, a 1938 children's book about a cap salesman who wears all his hats.[12] Cedars-Sinai is a hospital in Los Angeles.[5] One of the bunnies jumping into the pit that Bart and Homer dug is Bongo, the one-eared rabbit character from Simpsons creator Matt Groening's comic Life in Hell.[8] Among the creatures Bart and Homer find in the pit is journalist and news personality Katie Couric, as well as a pixie resembling Tinkerbell.[4] The priest at the leprechaun and the gypsy's wedding is Yoda, a character from the Star Wars franchise.[8] The plot of "House of Whacks" is based on the science-fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick, with Ultrahouse acting as a reference to HAL 9000, the antagonist of the film.[7][13] The Ultrahouse's fascination with Marge was inspired by the science-horror film Demon Seed by Donald Cammell.[10] The Ultrahouse wears gloves similar to those worn by Mickey Mouse.[2] To attack Homer, the Ultrahouse uses, among many other weapons, an automatic hammer resembling the one Homer invented in the episode "The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace".[12] "Wiz Kids" bases its plot on the Harry Potter books written by J. K. Rowling, who would later make a guest appearance in the episode "The Regina Monologues".[4][10][14]

Release and reception

In its original American broadcast on November 6, 2001, "Treehouse of Horror XII", along with a new episode of the Fox program That '70s Show, made Fox the highest rated channel that night among adults ages 18 to 49, according to Nielsen Media Research.[15] The preliminary Nielsen household rating and share and adult 18-49 rating on the Fox channel that night were 7.6 rating/11 share.[15] Media Life Magazine described The Simpsons performance in the ratings that night as "superb".[15] On September 2, 2003, the episode was released, along with the episodes "Treehouse of Horror V", "Treehouse of Horror VI" and "Treehouse of Horror VII" as part of a DVD set titled The Simpsons – Treehouse of Horror.[16] The episode was released again as part of The Simpsons: The Thirteenth Season DVD and Blu-ray set, released on August 24, 2010.[17]

Following its television broadcast and the home video release of the thirteenth season of The Simpons, "Treehouse of Horror XII" received mixed reviews from critics. Casey Broadwater of Blu-ray.com stated that the episode "is merely so-so entry in the show's annual Halloween anthology", while Colin Jacobsson of DVD Movie Guide wrote that, while it "doesn't present many significant flaws", it also "doesn't ever really shine".[13][18] He concluded his review by writing "'XII' isn't bad Simpsons, but it's mediocre".[18] Writing for Good Film Guide, Matt Wheeldon held a similar opinion, calling it "an average quality 'Treehouse of Horror' episode" and described it as being "easily watchable" and "fairly memorable, but far from the best of the bunch".[19] Nate Boss of Project:Blu stated that the episode is "At times memorable, at times forgettable" and that it "kicks off Season 13 with a smile, whimper, and thud".[20] Ron Martin of 411Mania stated that, while he does not consider "Treehouse of Horror XII" to be the worst episode of the series, "as far as 'Treehouse' episodes go, it has to be one of the weakest".[21]

Writing for Suite101, Dominic von Riedemann described the episode as a "disappointment".[22] Reviewing the episode for the Daily News of New York City before the episode's official broadcast, Eric Mink complimented it for being "fitfully funny", however he added that the episode "seem[s] short on the pop-culture digs and celebrity skewering that used to put a high gloss on the show's gleaming reputation".[4] Jennifer Malkowski of DVD Verdict however gave the episode a positive review, and referred to the episode, along with "Weekend at Burnsie's", as the two best episodes of the season.[23] She wrote that "[the episode] succeeds because of wall-to-wall laughs", and cited several scenes and gags, in particular the "horrible vomiting frog 'prince' that Bart enchants".[23] She gave the episode an A– rating.[23] Aaron Peck of High-Def Digest was also favorable, stating that the episode was "one of [his] all-time favorite 'Treehouse of Horror' episodes".[24]

"Hex and the City" garnered mixed responses from critics; Broadwater wrote that the segment was "a bit of a letdown" while Boss described it as "fairly poor".[13] Mink however felt that the segment was the best in the episode.[4] "House of Whacks" was well received. Broadwater described the segment as "brilliant" while von Riedermann referred to it as being the best of the three.[22] Boss, who was dissatisfied with the first segment, felt that "House of Whacks" "makes up for it".[20] Brosnan's guest appearance was praised; Jacobsson described the performance as "a surprisingly nice guest turn" while Boss referred to it as "killer".[18][20] Adam Rayner of Obsessed With Film wrote that the segment features Brosnan "giving his best acting turn since... The Long Good Friday?".[25] Particular scorn was aimed at "Wiz Kids", the third segment of the episode. Jacobsson stated that "Wiz Kids" "ends the show on a drab note" while Mink stated that the segment "pretty much fall[s] flat".[4][18] Boss was also critical, writing, Harry Potter, in my Simpsons? It may be more likely than you think, although, for sure, it really does stink".[20] Andre Dellamorte of Collider wrote that, even though he complimented the segment for being "bold" considering the film it parodied had not come out yet, he criticized the segment by writing "the depth of the parody stops with surface references".[26] Peck, however, described the segment as being "quite possibly one of the best and most clever spoofs of Harry Potter".[24]

References

  1. ^ "Treehouse of Horror XII". The Simpsons.com. Fox Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on November 27, 2010. Retrieved December 31, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Scully, Mike (2010). The Simpsons season 13 DVD commentary for the episode "Treehouse of Horror XII" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  3. ^ Ryan, Andrew (2006-11-04). "Pick of the Day: The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror XVII". The Globe and Mail. p. 12.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Mink, Eric (November 20, 2001). "So-So 'Simpsons' still can't be beat". Media Post News. NY Daily News. Retrieved December 31, 2010. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  5. ^ a b c Maxtone-Graham, Ian (2010). The Simpsons season 13 DVD commentary for the episode "Treehouse of Horror XII" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  6. ^ Cohen, Joel (2010). The Simpsons season 13 DVD commentary for the episode "Treehouse of Horror XII" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Jean, Al (2010). The Simpsons season 13 DVD commentary for the episode "Treehouse of Horror XII" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  8. ^ a b c d e Omine, Carolyn (2010). The Simpsons season 13 DVD commentary for the episode "Treehouse of Horror XII" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  9. ^ Frink, John (2010). The Simpsons season 13 DVD commentary for the episode "Treehouse of Horror XII" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  10. ^ a b c d e f Payne, Don (2010). The Simpsons season 13 DVD commentary for the episode "Treehouse of Horror XII" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  11. ^ a b c d Jean, Al (2010). The Simpsons season 13 DVD commentary for "All Deleted Scenes" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  12. ^ a b Selman, Matt (2010). The Simpsons season 13 DVD commentary for the episode "Treehouse of Horror XII" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  13. ^ a b c Broadwater, Casey (September 5, 2010). "The Simpsons: The Thirteenth Season Blu-ray Review". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved December 31, 2010.
  14. ^ "The Regina Monologues". The Simpsons.com. Fox Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on March 6, 2009. Retrieved December 31, 2010.
  15. ^ a b c "'24' loses to 'NYPD Blue' opener". Media Life. November 7, 2001. Archived from the original on June 11, 2010. Retrieved December 30, 2010.
  16. ^ "The Simpsons - Treehouse of Horror". Amazon.com. Retrieved December 30, 2010.
  17. ^ "The Simpsons: The Thirteenth Season". Amazon.com. Retrieved December 30, 2010.
  18. ^ a b c d e Jacobson, Colin (September 2, 2010). "The Simpsons: The Complete Thirteenth Season [Blu-Ray] (2001)". DVD Movie Guide. Retrieved December 31, 2010. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  19. ^ Wheeldon, Matt (September 22, 2010). "The Simpsons: Season 13: DVD Review". Good Film Guide. Retrieved December 31, 2010.
  20. ^ a b c d Boss, Nate (September 8, 2010). "The Simpsons: The Thirteenth Season". Project-Blu. Archived from the original on June 22, 2011. Retrieved December 31, 2010. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  21. ^ Martin, Ron (September 15, 2010). "The Simpsons Season 13 DVD Review". 411Mania. Retrieved December 31, 2010.
  22. ^ a b von Riedemann, Dominic (September 8, 2010). "The Simpsons The Thirteenth Season DVD Review". Suite101. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  23. ^ a b c Malkowski, Jennifer (September 6, 2010). "The Simpsons: The Complete Thirteenth Season (Blu-Ray)". DVD Verdict. Archived from the original on December 9, 2011. Retrieved December 31, 2010. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  24. ^ a b Peck, Aaron (August 31, 2010). "The Simpsons: The Thirteenth Season (Blu-ray)". High-Def Digest. Retrieved December 31, 2010.
  25. ^ Rayner, Adam (September 20, 2010). "DVD Review: THE SIMPSONS SEASON 13". Obsessed With Film. Archived from the original on November 26, 2010. Retrieved December 31, 2010. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  26. ^ Dellamorte, Andre (September 17, 2010). "THE SIMPSONS: Thirteenth Season Blu-ray Review". Collider. Retrieved December 31, 2010.

External links

Brawl in the Family (The Simpsons)

"Brawl in the Family" is the seventh episode of The Simpsons' thirteenth season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on January 6, 2002. In the episode, the Simpsons family get arrested for domestic violence, prompting social worker Gabriel to move in and make the family functional. After the family is declared acceptable, Amber and Ginger, the cocktail waitresses Homer and his neighbor Ned Flanders married in Las Vegas, show up at their doorsteps.

"Brawl in the Family" was directed by Matthew Nastuk and was the first full episode Joel H. Cohen received a writing credit for. It was the first episode on which Al Jean served as sole showrunner. The idea for the episode was pitched by Jean, who wanted to produce a sequel to the season 10 episode "Viva Ned Flanders", which he thought had a "loose end". The episode features Jane Kaczmarek as Judge Constance Harm, and Delroy Lindo as Gabriel.

In its original broadcast, the episode was seen by approximately 12.8 million viewers, making it the 28th most watched program the week it aired. Later that year, the episode was nominated for an Environmental Media Awards in the category "Television Episodic - Comedy", which it ultimately lost to the Dharma & Greg episode "Protecting the Ego-System". Following its home video release, "Brawl in the Family" received mixed reviews from critics.

Carolyn Omine

Carolyn Omine is an American television writer. Born and raised in Hawaii, she studied theater and art at the University of Hawaii, while singing in a punk band in Waikiki. She eventually graduated from the University of California Los Angeles with a degree in Design.

She has studied and performed improv and sketch comedy with The Groundlings, UCB, and Funny You Should Ask.

She began writing for television on the staff of Stand By Your Man, the American version of the British comedy, Birds Of a Feather. She has written for several sit-coms including Full House and for animated shows including Aah! Real Monsters!

Since 1998, she has been on the writing staff of The Simpsons. She also directs the vocal performances. She was credited as “Executive Producer” by The Simpsons' 17th season, which changed to “Producer” in the 18th season after the birth of her son.

She has won four Emmy Awards and two Annie Awards for writing on The Simpsons.

She continues to perform improv, sketch and stand up.

Don Payne (writer)

William Donald "Don" Payne (May 5, 1964 – March 26, 2013) was an American writer and producer. He wrote several episodes of The Simpsons after 2000, many of these with John Frink, whom he met while studying at the University of California, Los Angeles. The duo began their careers writing for the short-lived sitcom Hope and Gloria. Payne later moved into writing feature films, including My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006), and co-wrote Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), Thor (2011) and its sequel Thor: The Dark World (2013). Payne died from bone cancer in March 2013.

Jim Reardon

Jim Reardon (born 1965) is an American animation director and storyboard consultant best known for his work on the animated TV series The Simpsons. He has directed over 30 episodes of the series and was credited as a supervising director for seasons 9 through 15. Reardon attended the Character Animation program at the California Institute of the Arts in 1982, where one of his student projects, the satirical cartoon Bring Me the Head of Charlie Brown (1986), has become a cult classic through the likes of YouTube. He was hired by John Kricfalusi as a writer on Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures and later worked on Tiny Toon Adventures. He has been described by Ralph Bakshi as "one of the best cartoon writers in the business".Reardon supervised the storyboard department and co-wrote the Pixar film WALL-E with Andrew Stanton, which was released on June 27, 2008. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for WALL-E at the 81st Academy Awards.

Joel H. Cohen

Joel H. Cohen is a Canadian writer for Saturday Night Live, Suddenly Susan and The Simpsons. He is the younger brother of one-time Simpsons writer Robert Cohen, who penned the season three episode "Flaming Moe's". Cohen received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1988 from the University of Alberta. He was born in Calgary.

In addition to his work on The Simpsons, he is also the author of the best-selling book "How to Lose a Marathon". The book is a retelling of Joel's training for and running the New York marathon. It was released April 4 2017 by Abrams and as an audiobook by Audible.

John Frink

John Frink (born May 5, 1964) is an American television writer and producer. He has written several episodes of the American animated sitcom The Simpsons, many of which he co-wrote with his former writing partner Don Payne. Frink and Payne started their career in television writing for the short-lived sitcom Hope and Gloria. They wrote their first episode of The Simpsons in 2000, and Frink still works on the show as a writer and executive producer.

Lenny and Carl

Lenford "Lenny" Leonard and Carlton "Carl" Carlson are recurring characters in the Fox animated series The Simpsons, voiced by Harry Shearer and Hank Azaria, respectively. They are best friends of Homer Simpson and work with him at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. Lenny and Carl are rarely seen apart and have a close relationship. Each possesses a master's degree in nuclear physics, but are often portrayed as blue-collar working men.

Life in Hell

Life in Hell is a comic strip by Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, Futurama, and Disenchantment, which was published weekly from 1977 to 2012. The strip features anthropomorphic rabbits and a gay couple. The comic covers a wide range of subjects, such as love, sex, work, and death, and explores themes of angst, social alienation, self-loathing, and fear of inevitable doom.

List of The Simpsons home video releases

The Simpsons is an American animated television sitcom created by Matt Groening for Fox. It is a satirical depiction of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by its eponymous family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield, and lampoons American culture, society, and television, as well as many aspects of the human condition. The family was conceived by Groening shortly before a pitch for a series of animated shorts with producer James L. Brooks. Groening created a dysfunctional family and named the characters after members of his own family, substituting Bart for his own name. The shorts became a part of the Fox series The Tracey Ullman Show on April 19, 1987. After a three-season run, the sketch was developed into a half-hour prime-time show that was an early hit for Fox.Throughout the years, many episodes of the show have been released on DVD and VHS. When the first season DVD was released in 2001, it quickly became the best-selling television DVD in history, although it was later overtaken by the first season of Chappelle's Show. The first eighteen seasons are available on DVD in Regions 1, 2, and 4, with the twentieth season released on both DVD and Blu-ray in 2010 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the series. The Simpsons Movie, a feature-length film, was released in theaters worldwide on July 27, 2007, and it was later available on DVD and Blu-ray worldwide on December 3, 2007 and on December 18, 2007 in the U.S. On April 8, 2015, showrunner Al Jean announced that there would be no more DVD or Blu-ray releases, shifting focus to digital distribution. Two years later, following fan protest, it was announced on July 22, 2017 that Season 18 would be released on December 5, 2017 on DVD with the possibility of further seasons if sales are strong enough. The release was the first since early-December 2014.

Lord Voldemort

Lord Voldemort (, in the films; born Tom Marvolo Riddle) is a fictional character and the main antagonist in J. K. Rowling's series of Harry Potter novels. Voldemort first appeared in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, which was released in 1997. Voldemort appears either in person or in flashbacks in each book and its film adaptation in the series, except the third, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, where he is only mentioned.

Voldemort is the archenemy of Harry Potter, who according to a prophecy has "the power to vanquish the Dark Lord". Nearly every witch or wizard dares not utter his unmentionable name, and refers to him instead with such expressions as "You-Know-Who", "He Who Must Not Be Named" or "the Dark Lord". Voldemort's obsession with blood purity signifies his aim to rid the wizarding world of Muggle (non-magical) heritage and to conquer both worlds, Muggle and wizarding, to achieve pure-blood dominance. Through his mother's family, he is the last descendant of wizard Salazar Slytherin, one of the four founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He is the leader of the Death Eaters, a group of evil wizards and witches dedicated to ridding the Wizarding World of Muggles and establishing Voldemort as its supreme ruler.

Matthew Perry

Matthew Langford Perry (born August 19, 1969) is a Canadian-American actor, comedian and playwright who gained worldwide recognition for his role as Chandler Bing on the NBC television sitcom Friends, which ran from 1994 to 2004. By 2002, due to the vast popularity of the sitcom, the six-member main cast ensemble, including Perry, was each making $1 million per episode.

Along with starring in the short-lived television series Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Perry has appeared in a number of films, including Fools Rush In (1997), The Whole Nine Yards (2000), and 17 Again (2009). In 2010, he expanded his resume to include both video games and voice-over work when he voiced Benny in the video game Fallout: New Vegas.Perry was the co-creator, co-writer, executive producer, and star of the ABC sitcom Mr. Sunshine, which ran from February to April 2011. In August 2012, Perry began starring as Ryan King, a sportscaster, on the NBC sitcom Go On. The series was canceled on May 10, 2013. Perry co-developed and starred in the 2015 CBS sitcom The Odd Couple portraying Oscar Madison. The series was renewed for a second season on May 11, 2015 and for a third season on May 16, 2016.

Pierce Brosnan

Pierce Brendan Brosnan (; born 16 May 1953) is an Irish actor, film producer, activist, architect and environmentalist. Born in Ireland, Brosnan became a naturalised American citizen. After leaving comprehensive school at age 16, Brosnan began training in commercial illustration, then went on to train at the Drama Centre in London for three years. Following a stage acting career he rose to popularity in the television series Remington Steele (1982–1987), which blended the genres of romantic comedy, drama, and detective procedural. After the conclusion of Remington Steele, Brosnan appeared in films such as the Cold War spy film The Fourth Protocol (1987) and the comedy Mrs. Doubtfire (1993).

In 1994, Brosnan became the fifth actor to play the secret agent James Bond in the Eon Productions film series, starring in four films from 1995 to 2002 (GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day). He lent his likeness for Bond in the video games GoldenEye 007, The World Is Not Enough, James Bond 007: Nightfire and James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing, providing his voice for the latter. During this period, he also took the lead in other films including the epic disaster adventure film Dante's Peak (1997) and the remake of the heist film The Thomas Crown Affair (1999). Since leaving the role of Bond, he has starred in such films as the musical/romantic comedy Mamma Mia! (2008), the Roman Polanski-directed political thriller The Ghost Writer (2010) and the action spy thriller The November Man (2014).

In 1996, along with Beau St. Clair, Brosnan formed Irish DreamTime, a Los Angeles-based production company. In later years, he has become known for his charitable work and environmental activism. He was married to Australian actress Cassandra Harris from 1980 until her death in 1991. He married American journalist and author Keely Shaye Smith in 2001, and became an American citizen in 2004, holding dual citizenship in the United States and Ireland. He has earned two Golden Globe Award nominations, first for the television miniseries Nancy Astor (1982) and next for the dark comedy film The Matador (2005).

Simpsons Tall Tales

"Simpsons Tall Tales" is the twenty-first episode and season finale of The Simpsons' twelfth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 20, 2001. In the episode, Homer refuses to pay a five dollar airport tax to fly to Delaware, which forces the family to ride in a livestock car of a train instead. There they meet a singing hobo who tells three tall tales which include Homer as Paul Bunyan, Lisa as Connie Appleseed (a female version of Johnny Appleseed) and Bart and Nelson as Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn respectively.

"Simpsons Tall Tales" was directed by Bob Anderson and written by John Frink, Don Payne, Bob Bendetson and Matt Selman. The idea for the episode was pitched while the series' staff were coming up with story ideas for the twelfth season. The staff had noticed that viewers responded well to "Simpsons Bible Stories", and decided to write another trilogy episode because of the warm response.

The singing hobo in the episode was voiced by Hank Azaria. He would originally be voiced by Jim Carrey, but he dropped out when he found out that he was too busy to record his lines. In its original broadcast, the episode was seen by approximately 7.8 million viewers, finishing in 33rd place in the ratings the week it aired. Following its home video release, the episode received mixed reviews from critics.

The Parent Rap

"The Parent Rap" is the second episode and official premiere of the thirteenth season of The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 11, 2001. In the episode, Bart and his father, Homer, are sentenced by the cruel judge Constance Harm to be tethered to each other as a result of Bart stealing Police Chief Wiggum's car. Eventually, Homer's wife, Marge, is fed up with the punishment and cuts the rope, which instead leads to Judge Harm sentencing them to have their heads and hands locked up in wooden stocks.

The episode was written by George Meyer and Mike Scully, who also served as the show runner for the episode, and Mark Kirkland worked as the director. The writers based the story on “a couple of incidents” in real life in which troublesome children, through alternative sentencing, were tethered to their parents. The episode marks the first appearance of the infamous and notoriously cruel Judge Constance Harm, who is played by actress Jane Kaczmarek.

When it was first broadcast, “The Parent Rap” was watched by 14.4 million viewers, making it the second most watched show of its timeslot that night. After its release on DVD and Blu-ray, however, the episode garnered mixed reviews from critics.

The Simpsons (season 13)

The Simpsons' thirteenth season originally aired on the Fox network between November 6, 2001 and May 22, 2002 and consists of 22 episodes. The show runner for the thirteenth production season was Al Jean who executive-produced 17 episodes. Mike Scully executive-produced the remaining five, which were all hold-overs that were produced for the previous season. The Simpsons is an animated series about a working-class family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional city of Springfield, and lampoons American culture, society, television and many aspects of the human condition.

The season won an Annie Award for Best Animated Television Production, and was nominated for several other awards, including two Primetime Emmy Awards, three Writers Guild of America Awards, and an Environmental Media Award. The Simpsons ranked 30th in the season ratings with an average viewership of 12.4 million viewers. It was the second-highest-rated show on Fox after Malcolm in the Middle. Season 13 was released on DVD in Region 1 on August 24, 2010, Region 2 on September 20, 2010, and Region 4 on December 1, 2010.

The Simpsons episode guides

Five official episode guides for American animated sitcom The Simpsons have been published by HarperCollins since 1997. The first guide covers seasons 1 to 8, while the following three cover seasons 9 to 14 (two seasons each). The fifth was released in 2010 and covers seasons 1 to 20.

Treehouse of Horror II

"Treehouse of Horror II" is the seventh episode of The Simpsons' third season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on October 31, 1991. It is the only Treehouse of Horror episode to date where each segment name is not stated inside the episode. It is the second annual Treehouse of Horror episode, consisting of three self-contained segments, told as dreams of Lisa, Bart and Homer. In the first segment, which was inspired by W. W. Jacobs's short story The Monkey's Paw and The New Twilight Zone episode "A Small Talent for War", Homer buys a Monkey's Paw that has the power to grant wishes, although all the wishes backfire. In the second part, which parodies the Twilight Zone episode "It's a Good Life", Bart is omnipotent, and turns Homer into a jack-in-the-box, resulting in the two spending more time together. In the final segment, Mr. Burns attempts to use Homer's brain to power a giant robotic laborer.

The episode was written by Al Jean, Mike Reiss, Jeff Martin, George Meyer, Sam Simon and John Swartzwelder while Jim Reardon was the director. The episode is presented in a similar format to the previous season's "Treehouse of Horror" and contains several similarities to the previous episode, such as Marge's opening warning, the tombstones in the opening credits and the appearance of the alien characters Kang and Kodos. "Treehouse of Horror II" was the first episode that employed the "scary names" idea, in which many of the credits have unusual names. The episode contains numerous parodies and references to horror and science fiction works, including The Twilight Zone, Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, The Thing with Two Heads and Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

In its original airing on Fox, the episode had a 12.1 Nielsen rating and finished the week ranked 39th. The episode received positive reviews, and in 2006, IGN listed the third story as the eighth best Treehouse of Horror segment. The episode was nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards: Outstanding Individual Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Comedy Series or a Special and Alf Clausen for Outstanding Music Composition for a Series.

Treehouse of Horror XXI

"Treehouse of Horror XXI" is the fourth episode of The Simpsons' twenty-second season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 7, 2010. This is the 21st Treehouse of Horror episode, and, like the other "Treehouse of Horror" episodes, consisted of three self-contained segments: In "War and Pieces", Bart and Milhouse discover a real-life board game that they must win to return home; in "Master and Cadaver", Marge and Homer go on a honeymoon on a sailboat, and rescue a mysterious castaway named Roger; and in "Tweenlight", Lisa falls in love with a vampire named Edmund.

"Treehouse of Horror XXI" was written by Joel H. Cohen and directed by Bob Anderson. Daniel Radcliffe and Hugh Laurie both guest starred in the episode. The first segment references Jumanji, the second is a loose parody of Dead Calm and the third satirizes the Twilight novel and film series. The episode also contains references to The Office, A Clockwork Orange and Sesame Street.

In its original airing on the Fox Network during the November sweeps period, the episode had a 3.7 Nielsen rating viewed in approximately 8.2 million homes. Critical opinion of the episode was mixed, with "Tweenlight" generally being regarded as the best of the three segments.

Treehouse of Horror XXVII

"Treehouse of Horror XXVII" is the fourth episode of the twenty-eighth season of the animated television series The Simpsons, and the 600th episode of the series overall. It aired in the United States on Fox on October 16, 2016.

Season 13
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