Last night, for the 22nd straight year, dating back to 1990, The Simpsons aired its annual Treehouse of Horror episode. The results were, well, a little underwhelming, as you’ll soon see below. What’s below, you may ask? Well, I’ve ranked all 66 segments from every Treehouse episode, including last night’s, from worst to first, with a plot description, reason for said ranking, and a memorable quote. If you just want to read the quote part and look at the pretty pictures, I totally get that.
So, brew up a Skittlebrau using the candy you’d have otherwise used for trick or treaters, and let’s do this.
#66. “The Diving Bell and the Butterball,” Treehouse of Horror XXII
Reason for Ranking: It’s everything I hate about later-era The Simpsons episodes, in one segment. From the stale parodies (really, Spider-Man?) to uncalled for fart jokes, “Diving Bell” is the single worst Treehouse yet. His costume also too closely resembles that of Pie Man’s, the single worst episode of the entire show.
Memorable Quote: “OK, I’m on the floor. I can’t move. So far, a normal Sunday morning.”
#65. “Don’t Have a Cow, Mankind,” Treehouse of Horror XX
Reason for Ranking: “Munchers” means “zombies,” and The Simpsons have covered zombies before (season four’s “Dial Z for Zombies,” which we’ll get to later) with much better results. Which is to say: SIMPSONS DID IT.
Memorable Quote: “Dad, are you becoming a muncher?” “I think the better brains is, which brains is a brains?”
#64. “E.T., Go Home,” Treehouse of Horror XVIII
Reason for Ranking: The skit ends with Homer suffocating Kodos with a pillow, this after the military blows up the heads of dozens of aliens. That’s neither clever nor funny; it’s just violent. There’s a terrible racism joke in there, too.
Memorable Quote: “You hit me in my 700 testicles.” (Another reason why this is ranked #64.)
#63. “House of Whacks,” Treehouse of Horror XII
Reason for Ranking: The only funny joke involves Dennis Miller. That’s never a good sign.
Memorable Quote: “Hey, cha-cha, I got more features than a NASA relief map of Turkmenistan.” “Isn’t that the voice that caused all those suicides?” “Murder-suicides.”
#62. “Untitled Robot Parody,” Treehouse of Horror XIX
Reason for Ranking: The Mattel and Mars-Bar Quick Energy Chocobot Hour was funnier, and that episode didn’t end with the residents of Springfield being used as Foosball players.
Memorable Quote: “Wait a minute. We’re missing Sex Toy. Where have you been?” “Where haven’t I been?”
#61. “B.I.: Bartificial Intelligence,” Treehouse of Horror XVI
Plot: I’ll let the baffling Wikipedia description take care of this: “Bart cuts David [Bart’s replacement] in half…Before being destroyed, David tries to hold Homer hostage, but Bart also cuts Homer in half from the waist as retribution for abandoning him…Homer has to be fused with David’s legs, which then break into pieces due to his weight…Before the situation can get any crazier, it is revealed that the entire robot scenario is a dream conjured by Homer’s demonically possessed mind as he is being exorcised.” Yeah.
Reason for Ranking: There’s a four-year gap between when A.I. was released and when “B.I.: Bartificial Intelligence” aired—and that’s the best they could come up with? An Exorcist parody?
Memorable Quote: “Dad, wake up! You’re not a robot! You’re just possessed by the devil.”
#60. “Master and Cadaver,” Treehouse of Horror XXI
Plot: Homer and Marge go on a sailing trip for their second honeymoon. While on the water, they pick up a castaway named Roger, who was thrown overboard from his old ship for trying to stop someone from being poisoned. The honeymooners don’t believe him, though.
Reason for Ranking: Too many twists and turns, not enough laughs, and an absolutely terrible final scene, involving Maggie in a Clockwork Orange spoof.
Memorable Quote: “They should call this one Recipe for Murder.” “What do you mean ‘this one’?” “Never mind.”
#59. “The Day the Earth Looked Stupid,” Treehouse of Horror XVII
Plot: The residents of Springfield begin rioting (and getting naked in the mud?) when they hear Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds broadcast, and it’s not until the next day that they’re told it was all a hoax. So when aliens actually do begin to attack, they believe it’s another ruse.
Reason for Ranking: Speaking of stupid endings, the final scene of “Earth” involves Kang and Kodos wondering why the citizens of Earth didn’t greet them as liberators with “Operation Enduring Occupation.” I actually saw this episode screened at an event where Matt Groening was present, and this conclusion bombed (sorry…) even with the show’s creator present.
Memorable Quote: “We interrupt this dance music from Lamourian Roman Capital City’s Fabulous Hotel Hitler to bring you a special bulletin.”
#58. “Four Beheadings and a Funeral,” Treehouse of Horror XV
Reason for Ranking: It’s tough to tell a convincing detective story in seven minutes; it’s even tougher to tell a convincing detective story that also makes you laugh in the same amount of time. The sketch tried to do both things, and wasn’t successful in either. The opium gags were particularly forced.
Memorable Quote: “What should we do with the body?” “I want you to dust her for prints.” “What does that mean?” “The prince is coming by and I want her clean when he looks her over.”
#57. “Mr. & Mrs. Simpson,” Treehouse of Horror XVIII
Reason for Ranking: Why even bother parodying a shitty movie? It also a bit disturbing when Marge and Homer have sex on Chief Wiggum’s corpse.
Memorable Quote: “I’ll be going out late tonight. It’s midnight monkey madness at the zoo.” “Me too. I’ll be overturning all the wheelbarrows in case it rains.” “Well, enjoy your pointless activity.” “Have fun at your preposterous event.”
#56. “Dial D for Diddly,” Treehouse of Horror XXII
Reason for Ranking: It often feels like the writers begin with wanting to parody a TV show or film, then work backwards to fill in how they can spoof said TV show or film. In this case, it’s a half-baked imitation of Dexter (with some Looney Tunes thrown in there, too?), with far too few jokes. The sight of Homer burning a Bible is overly malicious, too.
Memorable Quote: “Then I got new instructions from the Good Lord himself in his favorite language, English.”
#55. “How to Get Ahead in Dead-vertising,” Treehouse of Horror XIX
Plot: A group of businessmen get Homer to begin killing celebrities, including George Clooney and Prince, to use their likenesses without having to pay any royalties. This upsets Krusty, who has recently been murdered by Homer, and he stages a retaliation.
Reason for Ranking: The parody of Mad Men’s opening titles is fantastic, but everything else felt like it was copied and pasted from other Treehouse episodes.
Memorable Quote: “Mr. Simpson, you have a talent for killing celebrities.” “Well, I’m no drunk driving.”
#54. “Frinkenstein,” Treehouse of Horror XIV
Reason for Ranking: “Frinkenstein” could have been so much better than it was. Casting Jerry Lewis as Professor Frink’s father was long overdue, but the writers shouldn’t have gone the vaguely Frankenstein route. A less parodied source would have been better.
Memorable Quote: “All your organs have been replaced with machines, but that doesn’t make you any less of a man. Except that you don’t have a penis.” (Ugh.)
#53. “Starship Poopers,” Treehouse of Horror IX
Plot: After Marge loses her baby legs for a set of tentacles, Kang and Kodos stop by the Simpsons’ house. Marge, the Intergalactic Hussy herself, reveals that Homer isn’t Maggie’s biological father; it’s actually Kang. There’s only one person who can sort out the situation: Jerry Springer.
Reason for Ranking: Well, it’s called “Starship Poopers.” But even more damning than that is it features the Simpsons going on The Jerry Springer Show.
Memorable Quote: “Homer, do something! The ceiling’s not a safe place for a young baby.”
#52. “Married to the Blob,” Treehouse of Horror XVII
Reason for Ranking: The Dr. Phil cameo is cleverer than it has any right to be, but the Homer-becoming-a-blob plot was done better in “King-Size Homer” (you know what I mean). “Married” has no drinking bird, and therefore, it’s a lesser segment.
Memorable Quote: “You’ve got a weight problem, and you know it!” “You’re right. Starting tomorrow, no bread before dinner.” “Homer, don’t sell me an outhouse and tell me it’s a Taj Mahal.”
#51. “War and Pieces,” Treehouse of Horror XXI
Plot: After rejecting a slew of board game mainstays, like Battleship, Bart and Milhouse start playing one called Satan’s Path. All the thrown-away titles start coming to life, though, and the boys have to deal with a Jumanji-like situation.
Reason for Ranking: The lampooning of the games is entertaining enough, and I like the idea of Bart and Milhouse being forced to play board games against their will, but the segment could have done a better job of integrating, say, Mouse Hunt into Springfield.
Memorable Quote: “Satan’s Path?” “It’s gotta be good if Satan put his name on it.”
#50. “In the Na’Vi,” Treehouse of Horror XXII
Reason for Ranking: In the past, The Simpsons would have actually parodied Avatar, pointing out its many, many faults. Instead, they ended up with a vaguely entertaining segment that went for the easy jokes, rather than actually trying to send up the source material. Disappointing.
Memorable Quote: “In Rigelian, there is no word for ‘yours’ or ‘mine.’” “That’s the reason we didn’t enjoy the movie Yours, Mine and Ours.”
#49. “Dial ‘M’ for Murder or Press ’#’ to Return to Main Menu,” Treehouse of Horror XX
Reason for Ranking: I had to look up this segment before remembering what it was about, and even after doing so, I still can’t quote a single line, besides the one below. That’s never a good sign. The black and white was really pretty, though.
Memorable Quote: “Lisa Simpson in detention? My horoscope said I would see something interesting today, but I thought that would be the horoscope itself.”
#48. “Homer’s Nightmare,” Treehouse of Horror II
Reason for Ranking: Blasphemy, I know, but compared to the other classic-era Simpsons episodes, “Homer’s Nightmare” doesn’t hold up. It’s neither scary nor funny, and it would have been wise to continue the “Homer as gravedigger” plot, rather than make it a straight-up Frankenstein spoof.
Memorable Quote: “You hear that, sir?” “No, I didn’t. Who is it? Frankenstein? The Booger Man?”
#47. “You Gotta Know When to Golem,” Treehouse of Horror XVII
Reason for Ranking: Richard Lewis as a centuries old creature from Jewish mythology who does as he’s bid should have been the greatest thing ever, but it took too long for the Golem to begin talking, depriving of us essential Lewis time.
Memorable Quote: “I feel so guilty! I’ve mangled and maimed 37 people and I told a telemarketer I was busy when I wasn’t! I’m not a good man.”
#46. “The Fright to Creep and Scare Harms,” Treehouse of Horror XIII
Reason for Ranking: The premise is a little strained, and quickly becomes stretched out, too. It’s not really a good sign if a segment overstays its welcome after only seven minutes. Moe using Professor Frink’s time machine to find some “cavemen hookers” (don’t ask) is particularly unfunny.
Memorable Quote: “Another tragedy prevented by gun violence!”
#45. “In the Belly of the Boss,” Treehouse of Horror XV
Plot: Thanks to a mishap involving Professor Frink’s shrinking ray, Maggie crawls inside a pill, right before Mr. Burns swallows it. The rest of the family has to be shrunk, too, and go after Maggie, inside of Mr. Burns.
Reason for Ranking: The conclusion is similar to “Homer’s Nightmare,” with the familiar scene of Burns and Homer becoming one. They couldn’t have chosen another character to go inside of?
Memorable Quote: “If I say we’re still hungry, we’re still hungry! You don’t wanna piss off somebody who can kick you in the crotch from the inside!”
#44. “Heck House,” Treehouse of Horror XVIII
Plot: Bart, Lisa, Milhouse, and Nelson are tricking the town, after being denied treats, and it’s up to Ned to teach them a HELLRAISING (get it?!?) lesson about what happens when you resort to vandalism.
Reason for Ranking: Spider-Pig cameo!
Memorable Quote: “That concludes our Halloween show for this year. I just wanna say that for those watching this network, you’re all going to Hell, and that includes FX, Fox Sports, and our newest devil’s portal, The Wall Street Journal. Welcome to the club!”
#43. “Tweenlight,” Treehouse of Horror XXI
Reason for Ranking: Is there a big crossover between the Simpsons and Twilight communities? Yeah, didn’t think so, and although the segment isn’t bad, it’s also not really appealing to the show’s fanbase, either.
Memorable Quote: “You’re a vampire! I should be afraid, but I’m not.” “Come, Lisa. Let us go over the trees the way a bat does, by jumping.”
#42. “Hell Toupée,” Treehouse of Horror IX
Plot: Homer gets Snake’s luxurious hair after the jailbird is sent to the electrocution chair. Once the hair’s fused to his scalp, Homer starts thinking like Snake, and goes after those who sent him to the Big House in the first place, including Bart.
Reason for Ranking: Snake’s never been a favorite of mine (except for when he’s working as the wallet inspector), so I’ve never been much of a fan of “Toupée,” unlike World’s Deadliest Executions, which I LOVE.
Memorable Quote: “That’s what I call a bad hair day!”
#41. “Survival of the Fattest,” Treehouse of Horror XVI
Reason for Ranking: I actually enjoy the Fat Wreck Chords’ compilation Survival of the Fattest, featuring NOFX and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, more than I do the Simpsons segment of the same name. Then again, very few things in life are better than Hi-Standard’s cover of “California Dreaming.”
Memorable Quote: “Mr. Burns is inviting you to a hunting party.” “Don’t accept this invitation dad. Hunting is cruel!” “Lisa, animals don’t feel death. That was proven by the scientists at Black Angus.”
#40. “Wiz Kids,” Treehouse of Horror XII
Reason for Ranking: It’s around this area of the list where segments aren’t exactly bad, but they’re not exactly good, either. “Wiz Kids” is pretty much the definition of mediocrity, at least in Treehouse terms. (It was also later revealed that many of the writers hadn’t read Harry Potter when this episode was in production, so they used the source material as only the slimmest of templates, like the Slithers joke.)
Memorable Quote: “Sloppy work as usual. Lisa’s casting spells at an eighth-grade level; you’ve sinned against nature.”
#39. “Scary Tales Can Come True,” Treehouse of Horror XI
Plot: In an elaborate fairy tale take-off, Homer abandons Bart and Lisa in the middle of woods to help solve the family’s food shortage problem. They end up imprisoned at an evil witch’s house, and Homer’s forced to begrudgingly rescue them after Marge criticizes his decision.
Reason for Ranking: They stole a joke from The Brady Bunch, replacing George Glass with George Cauldron. Even if it’s actually just an homage, they probably could have aimed higher.
Memorable Quote: “Boy, dumping your kids in the forest sure gets your hands dusty.” “What? You threw our precious babies into the woods? We could have sold them!”
#38. “There’s No Business Like Moe Business,” Treehouse of Horror XX
Plot: In this off-, off-, off-Broadway musical, Homer’s blood is used to sweeten Moe’s beer, while Moe is acting sweet towards his forbidden love, Marge, who thinks her husband left her because he’s gay. In other words, it’s Sweeney Todd, kind of.
Reason for Ranking: I love a good Simpsons musical, y’know?
Memorable Quote: “This is the best musical in light-years.” “Light-years measure distance, not time.” “You know what I meant.”
#37. “Easy-Bake Coven,” Treehouse of Horror VIII
Plot: In 1649, witch burnings are all the rage, and Marge has been accused of being a Warted One. For once, the senseless rioting in Springfield is correct, because Marge, along with Patty and Selma, are actually witches and fly around on broomsticks.
Reason for Ranking: Not only does the episode feature Marge, Patty, and Selma as witches, an always-winning combination, “Coven,” thanks to the narration of the Sea Captain, explains how the idea of trick or treating can to be. It involves child cannibalism. Yes.
Memorable Quote: “If they’re really witches, why don’t they use their powers to escape?” “That sounds like witch-talk to me, Lisa.”
#36. “G-G-Ghost D-D-Dad,” Treehouse of Horror XI
Plot: Homer reads in his Horoscope that he’s going to die, after receiving a compliment from an attractive colleague. It’s not the rattlesnake bite (or compliment from Lenny) that does him in—it’s a piece of broccoli Marge forces him to eat. When in Heaven, St. Peter instructs Homer to do one good deed for gaining admission past his Gate.
Reason for Ranking: Man, if this episode had come out when I was a broccoli-hating kid, I would have quoted it EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. You eat broccoli, you end up getting a noogie from Satan. Thanks, MOM.
Memorable Quote: “That horoscope was baloney. Nothing happened except the pick-axe in my head, the rattlesnake bite, and the testicle thing.”
#35. “Stop the World, I Want to Goof Off,” Treehouse of Horror XIV
Plot: Bart and Milhouse order a stopwatch from an old comic book, which allows them to literally stop time. Boys being boys and all, they have some fun with this, including giving the Pope a wedgie and using Oscar de La Hoya as a punching bag. Things are going swell until the watch breaks.
Reason for Ranking: It’s pretty much the same idea as “War and Pieces,” but funnier, because it involves torches and pick-axes and Martin getting mauled in a mob.
Memorable Quote: “Do you realize what this means?” “Yeah, but you say it first.”
#34. “Life’s a Glitch, Then You Die,” Treehouse of Horror X
Plot: Homer’s laziness ruins the festivities of December 31, 1999/January 1, 2000, when the Y2K virus spreads worldwide, causing computers everywhere to go haywire. Humanities “best and brightest” are invited onto a spaceship off Earth before it explodes, and Homer and Bart scheme their way on to it.
Reason for Ranking: Two simple words: Tom. Arnold. And I mean that as a compliment.
Memorable Quote: “Man alive, what a stink-o thousand years! Blimp wrecks, teenagers…then again, we had two TV shows with Andy Griffith.” “And eleven with Robert Urich.”
#33. “Bad Dream House,” Treehouse of Horror I
Plot: The Simpsons move into a new house, an Indian burial ground-built house where the walls bleed and objects fly through the air. It’s also a house that tells each member of the family to kill each other, because it wants to be left alone.
Reason for Ranking: It’s the very first Treehouse segment, so there are obvious deficiencies, but overall, it’s quite good.
Memorable Quote: “They are all against you, Bart. You must kill them all. They all must die…” “Are you my conscience?” “I…yes, I am.”
#32. “Bart’s Nightmare,” Treehouse of Horror II
Reason for Ranking: It’s pretty good, and totally in character for Bart having a bad dream about getting along with Homer, but not as awesome as the video game Bart’s Nightmare or as terrifying as the Tracey Ullman short, “Bart’s Nightmare.”
Memorable Quote: “Well, class the history of our country has been changed again, to correspond with Bart’s answers on yesterday’s test. America was now discovered in 1942 by…Some Guy. And our country isn’t called America anymore. It’s Bonerland.”
#31. “Desperately Xeeking Xena,” Treehouse of Horror X
Reason for Ranking: If Bart was a superhero, he would use his powers mostly for good, but also for pranks, and this segment does a good job of keeping consistent to the character, something that’s tough to do in a Treehouse episode. Plus, Lucy Lawless.
Memorable Quote: “In episode BF12, you were battling barbarians while riding a winged Appaloosa, yet in the very next scene, my dear, you’re clearly atop a winged Arabian. Please do explain it.” “Ah, yeah, well, whenever you notice something like that, a wizard did it.”
#30. “I’ve Grown a Costume on Your Face,” Treehouse of Horror XVI
Reason for Ranking: There’s a really dumb ending, involving the Bewitched theme and Dennis Rodman discussing the perils of adult illiteracy, but everything before that is a lot of fun, with the Bumblebee Man turning into a bumblebee and Lisa into Albert Einstein. The segment also involves Maggie, and that doesn’t happen often.
Memorable Quote: “Now, which one of our beloved regulars are you? Lindsey Naegle? Helen Lovejoy? Old Jewish Man?”
#29. “It’s the Grand Pumpkin, Milhouse,” Treehouse of Horror XIX
Plot: Milhouse’s wishes come true when the Grand Pumpkin turns out to be real, but he’s super pissed that humans carve up his kind for FUN. There’s only one creature who can save the town now: Tom Turkey, at least until he hears what we do to turkeys…
Reason for Ranking: Begins as a simple Peanuts parody, but becomes a funny story in itself and successfully integrates another holiday, which doesn’t always work.
Memorable Quote: “Touch me and I’ll cut your friend.” “What do I care? That’s a yellow pumpkin.” “You’re a racist!” “All pumpkins are racist. The difference is that I admit it.” “I’d rather die than hate!”
#28. “I Know What You Diddily-Iddily-Did,” Treehouse of Horror X
Plot: Marge accidentally hits and kills Flanders while he’s on of his fog walks. Homer decides that the only reasonable course of action is to stage Ned’s death. After convincing Maude that her husband has passed, the Simpsons find the phrase, “I KNOW WHAT YOU DID” all over their house.
Reason for Ranking: For a solid month after this episode aired, I sung, “Guess I forgot to put the foglights in,” to the tune of Golden Crisp theme song, every day. It was an unbearable time to be around me.
Memorable Quote: “Neddy? Where have you been?” “Hi Maude-diddily. I’ve been having fun with my pal Homer. Diddily.” “Oh, I’m so relieved. Whenever you go on one of your late-night fog walks I get so worried.” “Relax, I’m fine. But when I do die, I don’t want any autopsies!
#27. “The Island of Dr. Hibbert,” Treehouse of Horror XIII
Reason for Ranking: It’s a lot fun seeing which animals the residents of Springfield are turned into. Homer is, naturally, a walrus, but the Squeaky-Voiced Teen and Luigi becoming a donkey and guinea pig, respectively, are clever choices.
Memorable Quote: “The House of Pain? I guess this is where you pay the bill. Why am I always funny when no one’s around?”
#26. “Hungry are the Damned,” Treehouse of Horror I
Reason for Ranking: Kang and Kodos are so good in this segment that they’ve appeared in every Treehouse since.
Memorable Quote: “We offered you paradise. You would have experienced emotions a hundred times greater than what you call love. And a thousand times greater than what you call fun. You would have been treated like gods and lived forever in beauty. But now, because of your distrustful nature, that can never be.” “For a superior race, they really rub it in.”
#25. “Fly vs. Fly,” Treehouse of Horror VIII
Plot: Homer buys a transporter from a garage sale, using it to fetch beer and go to the bathroom with more efficiency. One night, he tries to transport himself and a fly, thinking they’ll become some kind of superhero, but they’re instead mutated into a giant fly, with a human body.
Reason for Ranking: The writers probably chose a fly just for the segment title pun, but that’s fine, because it works. It’s believable that Bart would think he could take a short cut towards becoming a superhero. I also like the threat “I’ll axe you good” a lot.
Memorable Quote: “Hey, dad, can I use the transporter sometimes? Please, I swear I’ll be careful!” “Sorry, but this is a highly sophisti-ma-cated doo-wacky. If you don’t use it responsibly, KA-BLAM-O!”
#24. “The Terror of Tiny Toon,” Treehouse of Horror IX
Plot: Bart uses a piece of plutonium as a battery for the remote control, which results in him and Lisa being sucked into the TV, where the encounter their favorite cat and mouse duo, Worker and Parasite—I mean, Itchy and Scratchy!
Reason for Ranking: It’s always fun when The Simpsons acknowledge that they’re, in fact, a cartoon. The more eye-popping, the better, and it’s amazing that it took them until the ninth Treehouse to have the characters interact with Itchy and Scratchy.
Memorable Quote: “Oh, Homer you’re not going as a hobo again?” “Going where?”
#23. “Night of the Dolphin,” Treehouse of Horror XI
Plot: Lisa lets a dolphin named Snorky escape from Marine World, because his trainers taunt and humiliate him for our amusement. The fugitive tells his underwater buddies what the humans have been doing to their kind. Things get real ugly real quick for our race.
Reason for Ranking: Some day, when the dolphins rise from the seas and are about to kill us all, this sketch will seem a lot less funny and a lot more prophetic. Until then: OMG THE DOLPHINS ARE TALKING. NOW GO HIT A BALL WITH YOUR DOLPHIN NOSE.
Memorable Quote: “Bottlenose bruises. Blowhole burns. Flipper prints. This looks like the work of rowdy teens. Lou, cancel the prom.”
#22. “Reaper Madness,” Treehouse of Horror XIV
Reason for Ranking: It’s funny enough to be higher, but the fact that Family Guy had pretty much already done the same plot, with superior results (Norm Macdonald as the Reaper), knocks “Madness” down a little.
Memorable Quote: “Death, we miss you so much! You were a busboy in the restaurant of life, clearing away the oldies and the sickies and the junkies. And you made NASCAR racing exciting!”
#21. “Terror at 5½ Feet,” Treehouse of Horror IV
Reason for Ranking: Not only is the script solid, the animation is perfect. Without a rainy, grey, dull atmosphere, “Terror” wouldn’t have worked.
Memorable Quote: “Hey Bart, look. Krusty trading cards. The long-awaited Eight Series.” “Krusty visits relatives in Annapolis, Maryland. Krusty poses for trading card photo.” “Hm…he seems to be running a little low on ideas.”
#20. “Bart Simpson’s Dracula,” Treehouse of Horror IV
Reason for Ranking: It’s not often that a Treehouse sketch is creepy, but the sight of Bart hovering outside of Lisa’s bedroom used to give me the chills. I also really like the episode’s final reveal, about who the Head Vampire actually is.
Memorable Quote: “The only way to get Bart back is to kill the head vampire: Mr. Burns!” “Kill my boss? Do I dare to live out the American dream?”
#19. “Dial ‘Z’ For Zombies,” Treehouse of Horror III
Plot: Dead bodies from the local cemetery come back to life after Bart utters an incantation from The Time Life Book of Magic and Spells, Vol. II. The zombies take over the town, and take out Principal Skinner, Krusty the Clown, and others.
Reason for Ranking: Zombies, before zombies became a tiring, pop culture cliche. Also: “He was a zombie?”
Memorable Quote: “Take that, Washington! Eat lead, Einstein! Show’s over, Shakespeare!” “Is this the end of Zombie Shakespeare?”
#18. “The Ned Zone,” Treehouse of Horror XV
Plot: Ned gets hit in the head with a bowling ball, and afterwords, whenever anyone comes in physical contact with him, he sees how they’re going to die. And how Homer’s going to destroy the entire town.
Reason for Ranking: Hans Moleman gets eaten by a group of alligators. I could watch that for hours at a time, and the rest of sketch is incredibly solid, too, including the apocalyptic ending.
Memorable Quote: “If you must kill our dad, remember the family motto: not in the face.”
#17. “Hex and the City,” Treehouse of Horror XII
Reason for Ranking: Fine, I’ll admit it: I love a good leprechaun joke, and this one has leprechaun jokes by the dozen! It also highlights the differences between a goblin and a hobgoblin.
Memorable Quote: “You know, I was hexed by a troll, and a leprechaun cured that right up.” “Hey, you know what’s even better is Jesus. He’s like six leprechauns.” “Yeah, but a lot harder to catch. Go with a leprechaun.”
#16. “The HΩmega Man,” Treehouse of Horror VIII
Plot: The French launch a nucelar bomb towards Springfield, and after it hits, there’s only one man left alive: Homer, who had been inspecting fallout shelters and not understanding Far Side cartoons. Or so he thinks.
Reason for Ranking: The French frog joke is a little obvious, but the premise, and Homer singing Edwin Star’s “War” in church, is good enough to withstand the too easy stereotype.
Memorable Quote: “Now, this baby is called ‘The Withstandinator.’ It can take a six megaton blast. No more, no less.”
#15. “Send In the Clones,” Treehouse of Horror XIII
Plot: Homer’s new hammock is magical, and it creates clones copies of anything or anyone that spins around on it. So, of course, Homer creates multiple copies of himself to shirk doing any responsibilities.
Reason for Ranking: It’s a pretty silly episode, I’ll admit, but the sight of hundreds of Homers is pretty amusing, especially when they take the form of Tracey Ullman Homer, Morbidly Obese Homer, and Peter Griffin Homer, among others.
Memorable Quote: “Let’s all go out for some frosty chocolate milkshakes!”
#14. “Nightmare Cafeteria,” Treehouse of Horror V
Reason for Ranking: You know you wanted to try a Jimbo Burger or Üterbraten when you first saw the episode, too.
Memorable Quote: “Relax, kids, I’ve got a GUT feeling Üter is around here. After all, isn’t there a little Üter in all of us? In fact, you might even say we just ATE Üter and he’s in our stomachs right now! Wait…scratch that one.”
#13. “The Genesis Tub,” Treehouse of Horror VII
Reason for Ranking: There aren’t nearly enough Treehouse episodes solely about Lisa, but this one’s so good, with such a fantastically bleak ending, that I can almost look past that. Almost. (“The Genesis Tub” would also be parodied in the South Park episode, “Simpsons Did It.”)
Memorable Quote: “Tiny little people! My God! I’ve created life!” “Lisa! Breakfast! We’re having waffles!” “Ooh! Waffles!”
#12. “Homer³,” Treehouse of Horror VI
Reason for Ranking: Because I remember watching this episode when it first aired in 1995, and thinking, “WOAHHHHH, 3D PRETTY.” Also that it looked very expensive.
Memorable Quote: “I don’t want to alarm you, Marge, but I seem to be trapped in here.” “I better call Ned. He has a ladder.”
#11. “King Homer,” Treehouse of Horror III
Reason for Ranking: Monkeys are funny—Homer as a monkey, even funnier. “King Homer” also contains one of my favorite conversational exchanges on the show (see below).
Memorable Quote: “Hey, I heard we’re goin’ to Ape Island.” “Yeah, to capture a giant ape.” “I wished we were going to Candy Apple Island.” “Candy Apple Island? What do they got there?” “Apes. But they’re not so big.”
#10. “The Raven,” Treehouse of Horror I
Reason for Ranking: “The Raven” was included in the first Treehouse, and it’s the one that people talked about the next day. If not for the skit, with narration from James Earl Jones, who knows if the Halloween episode would have become an annual tradition all these years later?
Memorable Quote: “And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor; and my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor shall be lifted—nevermore!”
#9. “The Thing and I,” Treehouse of Horror VII
Plot: Marge, Homer, and Dr. Hibbert tell Bart that his formerly-conjoined twin, Hugo, is living in the attic. He’s been served fish heads by Marge and Homer to keep him alive over the years, but he’s escaped.
Reason for Ranking: Sick and twisted, with a solid conclusion that explains a lot about Bart.
Memorable Quote: “But what to do with poor Hugo? Too crazy for Boy Town, too much of a boy for Crazy Town. The child was an outcast. So, we did the only humane thing.” “We chained Hugo up in the attic like an animal and fed him a bucket of fish heads once a week.” “It saved our marriage.”
#8. “Lisa’s Nightmare,” Treehouse of Horror II
Reason for Ranking: It’s the very first “The Simpsons are going to…!” episode, but most people forgot about it, so it’s an easy way to win a bet with a friend who’s a fan of the show. Also, it mocked the idea of The Simpsons as a brand being everywhere before anyone else did, proving yet again how well the writers thought ahead.
Memorable Quote: “Sir, I must strongly advise you: Do not purchase this. Behind every wish lurks grave misfortune. I, myself, was once president of Algeria.” “Come on, pal, I don’t want to hear your life story. Paw me!”
#7. “Attack of the 50-Foot Eyesores,” Treehouse of Horror VI
Plot: Homer steals Lard Lad’s gigantic metal doughnut. Due to a freak lightning storm, Mr. Lad and other oversized advertising figures come to life during the night, searching for the missing doughnut and wrecking havoc on Springfield.
Reason for Ranking: “Eyesores” taught me more about the power of advertising in seven minutes than Mad Men has over four seasons.
Memorable Quote: “If your advertising agency created all those giant characters, you must know how to stop them.” “Well sir, advertising is a funny thing. If people stop paying attention to it, pretty soon, it goes away.” “Like that old woman who couldn’t find the beef?” “Exactly.”
#6. “The Devil and Homer Simpson,” Treehouse of Horror IV
Reason for Ranking: Making Christian, do-gooder Ned Flanders the Devil is genius, and Homer picking at his pastry head answers the eternal question, “If you were a giant doughnut, would you eat yourself?”
Memorable Quote: “Who’s that goat-legged fellow? I like the cut of his jib.” “Er, Prince of Darkness, sir. He’s your eleven o’clock.”
#5. “Clown Without Pity,” Treehouse of Horror III
Reason for Ranking: Among the show’s many, many, many Twilight Zone spoofs, this one is the funniest and the best, if only because the conclusion is so stupid (obviously the doll shouldn’t be set on Evil!), it’s brilliant.
Memorable Quote: “That doll is EVIL, I tells ya. EVIL. EEEEEEVVVVIILLLLL.” “Grandpa, you said that about all the presents.” “I just want attention…”
#4. “Citizen Kang,” Treehouse of Horror VII
Reason for Ranking: It masterfully parodies Presidential elections, and politics in general, by proving it’s all a bunch of shit that doesn’t really matter anyways. Either way, you’re boned. But don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos.
Memorable Quote: “I am looking forward to an orderly election tomorrow, which will eliminate the need for a violent blood bath.”
#3. “The Shinning,” Treehouse of Horror V
Plot: Mr. Burns’ sea monkeys, otherwise known as the Simpsons, arrive to look after his creepy looking lodge. But when he cuts the cable and removes all the beer, Homer starts going something something. Go crazy, perhaps. Oh, and Willie gets hit in the back with an axe, and dies.
Reason for Ranking: Because when you think of The Shining, you think of “The Shinning.”
Memorable Quote: “Come, family. Sit in the snow with Daddy and let us all bask in television’s warm glowing warming glow.”
#2. “Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace,” Treehouse of Horror VI
Reason for Ranking: It’s a pitch-perfect parody of a horror movie classic, yet funny enough that even if you haven’t seen Nightmare on Elm Street (or any of its 1,453 sequels), you can still love it.
Memorable Quote: “It all started on the thirteenth hour, of the thirteenth day, of the thirteenth month…” Stupid Smarch weather, indeed.
#1. “Time and Punishment,” Treehouse of Horror V
Plot: After Homer breaks the toaster, which in itself is after Homer jams his hand into said toaster (twice), he fixes it, and during a test toast, travels through time. He explores alternate realities and learns an important lesson about dinosaurs. Namely, don’t sneeze on them.
Reason for Ranking: The entire reason I wrote this article is because I wanted to include the quote below, one of my all-time favorites from The Simpsons. (I’m getting married next year, and I’ve already requested for one of my friends to repeat it to me.)
Memorable Quote: “OK, don’t panic. Remember the advice your father gave you on your wedding day.” “If you ever travel back in time, don’t step on anything, because even the tiniest change can alter the future in ways you can’t imagine.”
Josh Kurp went a little something something while putting this together.