25. “Treehouse Of Horror XVII” – Original Air Date: November 5, 2006
Well, one of these had to be the worst, and there just wasn’t that much to enjoy here. In the first segment, Homer becomes a giant blob, which isn’t all that scary, and kind of happens in every episode, anyway. Then, the segment with Bart using Krusty’s golem to torment his bullies falls flat, and under-utilizes Richard Lewis. Finally, the take on War Of The Worlds references the infamous Orson Welles broadcast, in which people thought Earth was really being attacked by aliens, but rather than adding anything new, it just re-tells the story, adding some weak political satire at the end. The Halloween specials are normally brilliant, but there wasn’t much to like about this one.
24. “Treehouse Of Horror XXII” – Original Air Date: October 30, 2011
A huge part of why this episode is so low is the first segment, “The Diving Bell And The Butterball,” which is by far the worst THOH segment ever. It’s an inexplicable parody of The Diving Bell And The Butterfly, in which Homer communicates through farts, and absolutely no laughter is produced. Things get a little better in the next segment, a spoof of Dexter in which Homer has Flanders kill his enemies by pretending to be God. But the final segment is a questionable Avatar parody which seems to exist simply for the sake of existing. There just isn’t much to get excited about here.
23. “Treehouse Of Horror XIV” – Original Air Date: November 2, 2003
This one just felt like a lot of wasted opportunities. In “Reaper Madness,” Homer plays Death, but frankly, it was done better on Family Guy. Then, in an inspired bit of casting, Jerry Lewis plays Professor Frink’s father, but the segment doesn’t really go anywhere. The only enjoyable segment is the third one, where Bart and Milhouse have a watch that can stop time. Their antics with this watch are thoroughly enjoyable, even if the source material (the 2001 flop Clockstoppers) was likely lost on most viewers. Still, one good segment can only raise this one so much.
22. Treehouse Of Horror XVI – Origial Air Date: November 6, 2005
The first segment, which parodies A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, came four years too late and didn’t make any sense. Things got a little better when Homer and the power plant workers were hunted as Mr. Burns played The Most Dangerous Game. Really though, the only enjoyable segment here was the final one, in which in angry witch turns the citizens of Springfield into their costumes. That was not only funny, but actually a bit frightening. Still, this one was a disappointment overall.
21. “Treehouse Of Horror XV: Original Air Date: November 7, 2004
It’s difficult to enjoy a THOH segment if all you’re thinking about is how much better it was done on Futurama, and that’s what was running through my head during the Fantastic Voyage spoof in this episode. The Sherlock take is also kind of bland, and tries to pack too much storytelling into too little time. Still, this one isn’t without its charms. The parody of The Dead Zone that begins the show is quite enjoyable, with Flanders gaining the ability to see people’s deaths. Overall, this one was pretty mediocre, but certainly not a total waste of time.
20. “Treehouse Of Horror XVIII: Original Airdate: November 4, 2007
I mean…did we really need a parody of Mr. And Mrs. Smith? Let’s be honest, that movie is pretty much only noteworthy for spawning the Pitt-Jolie union. The E.T. parody was also pretty uninspired, with the joke about Kang’s 700 testicles being the only memorable thing about it. But hey, at least we get a pretty funny Se7en parody to close things out. It was particularly enjoyable to see Flanders reprise his role as the devil.
19. “Treehouse Of Horror XXI: Original Air Date: November 7, 2010
I’ll be honest, when I started putting together this list, this was the only episode where I actually had to think just to remember what even happened. But once my memory was jogged, I remembered that the Jumanji parody was quite enjoyable, mostly because Jumanji was practically built for The Simpsons to riff on. I got less mileage out of the parodies of Dead Calm and Twilight, though, with the only memorable thing about the latter being the inherent humor of Daniel Radcliffe playing the Edward Cullen character. Overall, not necessarily a bad episode, but not all that memorable either.
18. “Treehouse Of Horror XXIII” – Original Air Date: October 7, 2012
The opening segment, in which Lisa discovers a black hole, is easily the best here. It makes perfect sense that Homer would ignore Lisa’s warnings about making the hole grow bigger and use it as a garbage disposal. The Paranormal Activity parody was just sort of average, and suffered the late-period Simpsons trend of simply re-enacting the events of the subject matter, rather than truly spoofing them. I did like the last segment, however, in which Bart goes back in time so that Marge can marry Artie Ziff and be rich. This was particularly enjoyable for The United Federation Of Homers Throughout History, which gives us all the Homers we could ever dream of.
17. “Treehouse Of Horror XX” – Original Air Date: October 18, 2009
I’ll be the first to admit, after seeing The Simpsons do so much stuff with zombies over the years, I was a bit irritated to see them do yet another segment on the topic, but there was enough quality material to keep this one enjoyable. Most notably, the final segment, which parodies Sweeney Todd was hilarious, with Homer’s blood being used the secret ingedirent in Moe’s beer, while he attempts to woo Marge. The first segment, which parodied Strangers On A Train was also solid, even if they were a bit too fond of having the characters say “criss-cross.”
16. “Treehouse Of Horror XII – Original Air Date: November 6, 2001
They probably could have done more with the 2001 parody, but the prospect of a homicidal Pierce Brosnan is amusing enough that I’m willing to overlook that segment’s lack of jokes. The second segment, in which a gypsy curses Homer is genuinely frightening, with Bart committing suicide after living with a stretched-out neck becomes unbearable. The best segment, though, was “Wiz Kids,” which gave us an inspired take on Harry Potter. The horrible creation that Bart conjures up is hilarious, as is the sight of Smithers as a snake. Interestingly, this segment came out 10 days before the first Potter movie, and was more a spoof of the books. It’s probably a good thing they got this one in early. A parody of the movies would’ve likely been straightforward and dull, but in this segment, the writers really used their imaginations.