The Simpsons has been a cornerstone of television and popular culture for 33 seasons. With its 34th campaign gearing up, expect more of the formula that has made the series so successful in its historical run; comedic antics, celebrity guest stars, and the staple Treehouse of Horror.
Airing every fall in line with Halloween, these episodes have given us some of the best Simpsons moments and one-liners in the series’ seemingly interminable run. From “Dad, you killed the zombie Flanders!” and “Well, if it isn’t little…uh BOY,” to “But it comes with a free frogurt,” mention the Treehouse of Horror to a Simpsons fan, and get ready to dig out from an avalanche of references.
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The Simpsons will be deviating from its Treehouse of Horror formula in its 34th season, with this year’s drop coming in two episodes instead of the traditional one episode split into three separate scary stories. According to showrunner Matt Selman, Treehouse of Horror XXXIII will parody Stephen King’s It in one full episode, breaking from the three minisode tradition. Pennywise will give way to Krusty as the cannibalistic supernatural clown. Selman told Entertainment Weekly:
“Also, we’re tired of being constrained by the six-minute stories. It’s so hard to tell a full story. In fact, we could barely cram the It [parody into the half-hour format]. People really love those things so much, so why not expand the ‘Treehouse of Horror’ brand?”
The second installment will feature a parody of the Death Note anime series. Here’s everything else we know about Treehouse of Horror XXXIII.
Treehouse of Horror XXXIII: The Plot
The It-Pennywise parody, titled “Not It,” will likely borrow from the two-part hit movie reboot of the killer clown horror story first brought to the page by Stephen King in 1986. It and It: Chapter Two, released in 2017 and 2019, respectively, tell the story of the Losers’ Club, a band of misfit friends wandering the streets of Derry, ME, in the late 1980s. The group goes up against Pennywise the Dancing Clown, a supernatural entity that comes out of hibernation every 27 years to terrorize and kill citizens of the town.
Simpsons regular Krusty the Clown will take over the Pennywise role in the parody, stalking the kids of the Simpsons. According to the EW interview, Selman stated,
“It takes place in Kingfield, which is a spooky Maine version of Springfield.”
The pun-heavy episode is said to be inspired by the viral mashup tattoo that pictures Krusty as the menacing Pennywise. This episode bears a resemblance to the classic Treehouse installment “Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace” from Treehouse of Horror VI, which aired a lifetime ago in the early days of the series, 1995. This parody saw Groundskeeper Willie in the Freddy Krueger role, killing Springfield kids in their dreams until Bart, Lisa, and Maggie force him into a showdown.
Other great parodies of note from the Treehouse of Horror series include sendups of Soylent Green, Poltergeist, King Kong, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and the Shining.
The Death Note minisode will be one of three featured in the traditional Treehouse format, parodying the cult classic anime series based on the popular manga. The show tells the story of a haunted notebook called the Death Note. This book gives any user the supernatural ability to kill anyone whose name is written on its pages. The Simpsons team is mum on everything but the base plot for the Death Note segment, so how it will play out onscreen is anyone’s guess.
Selman tells Variety that the animation of the Death Note parody will be animated by a different studio, adding that it will be
“…“incredibly authentic ‘Simpsons’ anime. So I really think people were gonna freak out over that. We’re not trying to take on every single anime, it’s an unbelievably rich and diverse genre within itself. We’re not trying to do 20 shows and scoop it all into six minutes. It’s just one beloved thing, this show ‘Death Note.’”
Could the lead character Light Yagami be portrayed by Lisa? Yagami is described as a young genius, so that would fit. The grim purpose of the book could also fit right into Bart’s “petty thug” repertoire.
Treehouse of Horror XXXIII: The Cast
We can expect the long-standing series players to lend their voices to Treehouse of Horror XXXIII. Dan Castellaneta, who voices Homer and Krusty for the series, will appear for the “Not It” episode. Fans can also count on the motley crew of kids, including Bart, Lisa and maybe Milhouse Van Houten and Nelson Muntz, to all appear to mimic the Losers’ Club. This would mean Nancy Cartwright could show up for not only her Bart voicing duties but for Nelson as well. Yeardley Smith will voice Lisa and Pamela Hayden as Milhouse.
Series stalwarts like Homer and Marge Simpson will also make appearances, bringing Castellaneta double duty and Julie Kavner, respectively.
The Treehouse of Horror episodes usually air to coincide roughly with Halloween. Historically, the episodes are released between the second week of October and the beginning of November. There is no hard date available yet for the air date of Treehouse of Horror XXXIII.
Aside from the details and speculation above, there is no more information on Treehouse of Horror XXXIII. The episodes are definitely working from some great concepts, so hopefully, XXXIII will be a classic episode ranked up there with the best of The Simpsons.
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