When the workers of The Simpsons sat down to write down the thirty-first version of the present’s annual “Treehouse of Horror” Halloween anthology in 2019, they knew that the 2020 Presidential election could be the scariest topic they might sort out. That’s why “Treehouse of Horror XXXI,” which airs on Oct. 18 at eight p.m. on Fox, opens with an election parody that’s not for the faint of coronary heart. “We predict what is going to occur on January 20 if individuals like Homer don’t smarten up somewhat,” longtime Simpsons showrunner, Al Jean, teased through the all-star The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror at Paley Entrance Row 2020. “Amazingly, most of it was written a 12 months in the past, and all of it nonetheless appears true!” (Watch the panel above.)
Simpsons followers know that the present has a knack for seeing into the long run, whether or not it was predicting President Donald Trump back in 2000 or calling the winners of multiple Super Bowls. However there’s one factor that the writers didn’t predict whereas writing their very own 2020 election parody: that People could be casting ballots for both President Trump or Vice President Joe Biden through the midst of a lethal pandemic.
Fortunately, the present’s prolonged manufacturing course of allowed them to right the historic file on the final minute. When viewers watch the “Treehouse” phase this weekend, they’ll see that Springfield has a coronavirus-era masks coverage that everybody — besides Homer, natch — abides by. “The masks got here later,” Jean revealed, remembering how he requested the episode’s director, Steve Moore, to make sure that Springfield’s assorted residents masked up. “We mentioned, ‘Put everybody in a masks in Springfield besides Homer.’ [The masks] look totally different on everyone. It was nice.”
Hosted by Yeardley Smith, the voice of Lisa Simpson, the Paley Entrance Row 2020 panel allowed Jean and Moore — in addition to govt producer Matt Selman and supervising director Mike B. Anderson — the prospect to mirror on thirty years of “Treehouse” antics. The very first “Treehouse of Horror” aired on Oct. 25, 1990, and Jean remembers being unsure of how viewers would reply on the time. “There was a worry that that is an animated present watched by kids,” he recalled. “We had been afraid individuals could be working away. Within the first present, I don’t suppose anyone died. Now we’ve got 1000’s!” And people are simply those not sporting masks…
In honor of the 30th anniversary of “Treehouse,” listed here are another tales about this horrifically hilarious franchise culled from the Paley panel and the KYR Information Leisure archives.
“The Raven” is forevermore
It’s arduous to choose the only greatest “Treehouse of Horror” phase, however Smith has a go-to private favourite. “I’ll always remember the parody we did of ‘The Raven,’” the actress says through the Paley panel, referring to the story that closed out the very first “Treehouse” anthology in 1990. “It was so superbly animated and I simply suppose at the moment you hadn’t seen something like that in animation.” Talking with KYR Information Leisure in March, Smith mentioned that the unique “Treehouse” nonetheless stands aside from the pack when it comes to its scare issue. “It was darkish,” she mentioned. “It was form of a parody of horror, nevertheless it was a lot edgier than the present ‘Treehouses of Horror’ that we do. They went to the mat.”
In a 2015 KYR Information Leisure interview celebrating the 25th anniversary of the primary “Treehouse,” David Silverman — who directed “The Raven” phase — mentioned that he was particularly informed to make their Poe homage funnier. “[Executive producer] James Brooks was like, ‘You want extra jokes on this,’” he recalled. “So he threw out the concept of Bart because the Raven saying, ‘Eat my shorts.’ And I attempted to seek out different locations the place humor could possibly be added. I had loads of enjoyable arising with fascinating pictures; one in all my favorites is the Raven’s point-of-view of Homer because it’s flying across the room.”
Kang and Kodos, sittin’ in a tree(home)
Talking of freaky elections, one of many all-time basic “Treehouse” segments aired every week earlier than the 1996 presidential election that returned Invoice Clinton to the White Home over Bob Dole. In The Simpsons universe, after all, the true winners had been slobbering aliens, Kang and Kodos. (In a extra correct sense, Kang was the winner and enslaved humanity as a reward.) The duo made their debut six years earlier within the “Hungry Are the Damned” phase of the unique “Treehouse,” and rapidly turned common with each audiences and the animators. “That’s the one I bear in mind watching an early minimize of and going, ‘Wow, that’s actually humorous,’” Jean informed KYR Information Leisure in 2015. “It set the tone for what adopted.”
Simpsons solid members Harry Shearer and Dan Castellaneta have voiced Kang and Kodos because the starting, although Smith believes that they switched components someplace alongside the way in which. “I imagine they’ve swapped. One used to do Kang and the opposite Kodos and now vice versa.” By design, the aliens not often seem outdoors of the “Treehouse” collection and their origins — and even their gender — are always altering. “I believe they had been sisters as of final time, weren’t they?” Anderson mentioned through the Paley panel in response to a fan query about how Kang and Kodos self-identify. “I believe their most well-liked pronouns are ‘gleep’ and ‘glorp,’” joked Selman.
Jean, in the meantime, has different issues on his thoughts. “If we determine what they’re, are we gonna must recast?” the showrunner mentioned of Kang and Kodos — a realizing reference to this previous summer time when producers introduced that white actors would now not voice Springfield’s residents of colour within the wake of Black Lives Matter protests over the demise of George Floyd.
Subsequent 12 months’s ‘Treehouse’ will function some parasites
At the same time as they’re making ready to launch “Treehouse of Horror XXXI” into the world, The Simpsons crew is already arduous at work making “Treehouse of Horror XXXII,” which is able to hit the airwaves in October 2021. And subsequent 12 months’s episode will function a phase impressed by this 12 months’s history-making Finest Image winner from South Korean auteur, Bong Joon-ho. “We’re going to do a phase primarily based on Parasite,” Jean revealed. “So we have already got a fantastic storyline that we’re simply taking and changing into The Simpsons.”
“Treehouse of Horror XXXI” airs Sunday, Oct. 18 at eight p.m. on Fox; previous seasons of The Simpsons are currrently streaming on Disney+.
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