Much like Krusty the Clown and Joey Bishop, a lot of shows have come after The Simpsons, and the — takes deep breath — longest-running American scripted primetime television series of all-time has buried them all. Last night’s episode (and 600th overall), “Treehouse of Horror XXVII,” mocked all the “shows that were bad” that have aired during The Simpsons‘ multi-decade run, including Babes, Woops!, House of Buggin’, Too Something, Sit Down Shut Up, Celebrity Boxing, The Littlest Groom, Man Vs. Beast, and Allen Gregory, as well as The Critic, Futurama, and Untitled Seth MacFarlane Show 2017. It was a moment for deserved self-congratulations at the end of a decent “Treehouse” that began with the return of a classic one-off character: good ol’ Grimey.
(A brief note about the episode: Every “Treehouse of Horror” is at least somewhat violent — the first installment is about aliens possibly eating the Simpsons, after all. But in recent years, the violence has unfortunately become the joke; it’s not inherently funny seeing Maggie use a knife, or Moe beating up the bullies. “The Shinning” works so well because there’s a build to Homer axing Groundskeeper Willie in the back; if the segment had been made now, Homer would slaughter Marge in the first two minutes. It’s a discouraging development. That being said, I enjoyed the pop culture mashups of Hunger Games and Mad Max: Fury Road and James Bond and Kingsman: The Secret Service, and the visual gags were as splendid as ever. Special shoutout to Willie as the bagpipe-playing Doof Warrior.)
In the classic (and controversial) season eight episode, “Homer’s Enemy,” the life-like Frank Grimes enters Homer Simpson’s cartoonish orbit, and ends up accidentally killing himself. In “Treehouse of Horror XXVII,” he’s one part of the Furious Four, along with Sideshow Bob, Kang or Kodos, and the evil Leprechaun who told Ralph to burn things, who are out to kill the Simpsons. (The Screamapillar was nowhere to be found.) But their plan gets sidetracked when they do an Irish jig, for some reason, and Marge decapitates the would-be decapitators. Everyone except Grimey, that is, who’s already dead, doomed to an existence down there. (He did have a fondness for hookers…) The one good thing about Hell: you get to watch The Simpsons. The bad thing, according to Grimes: “They make you watch them all in a row.”