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Treehouse of Horror VI

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Halloween6a
Directed by: Bob Anderson
Written by: John Swartzwelder
Steve Tompkins
David S. Cohen
Release date: October 29, 1995
Running time: 22 minutes

"Treehouse of Horror VI" is the sixth Halloween-themed episode of the animated sitcom The Simpsons. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on October 29, 1995, and contains three self-contained segments.

The first version of the episode was very long, so it featured a very short opening sequence and did not include several trademarks established in previous Treehouse of Horror episodes. "Homer3", pitched by executive producer Bill Oakley, features three-dimensional computer animation provided by Pacific Data Images. In the final scene of the episode, Homer is sent to the real world in the first ever live-action scene in The Simpsons, filmed on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City and directed by former executive producer David Mirkin. "Attack of the 50-Foot Eyesores" includes a cameo appearance from Paul Anka, who sings the song "Just Don't Look".

SynopsisEdit

Opening sequenceEdit

Krusty is the Headless Horseman from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, holding his laughing head, and hurling it at the camera, which makes the show's title appear on screen in blood. We hear Krusty do his trademark groan.

Attack of the 50-Foot EyesoresEdit

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Attack of the 50ft Eyesores title card

In a parody of the 1958 film, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, When Homer goes to Lard Lad Donuts to get a "Colossal Donut", he denounces their advertising when he realizes that the "colossal donuts" aren't very colossal. So, in revenge, he steals the Lard Lad mascot's metal donut. In the midst of a freak storm, Lard Lad and other giant advertising figures come to life to terrorize Springfield. Homer eventually returns the donut, but Lard Lad and his friends simply keep right on destroying. Finally, Lisa goes to an ad agency, and an executive suggests not to look at the monsters. He tries to write a song, but suggests it would actually sound better coming out of Paul Anka, who performs the song "Just Don't Look" with Lisa. The citizens of Springfield do not look at the monsters, who lose their powers and become lifeless. But Homer is still paying attention to Lard Lad and the metal donut, everyone tells him to look away but he is more interested in the donut until Bart and Lisa pull him away, causing Lard Lad to collapse.

Nightmare on Evergreen TerraceEdit

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Nightmare on Evergreen ter. title card

In a parody of A Nightmare on Elm Street, Bart is outside playing Frisbee with his dog, but during this dream he has a nightmare that Groundskeeper Willie tries to kill him (using the styles of Freddy Krueger). He is slashed with a rake, and the scratches are still on his body after he wakes up. Many other kids at Springfield Elementary School also say they were terrorized by Willie in their nightmares, and what he did actually affected them. Lisa was attacked with hedge clippers that chopped off two pieces of her hair, Nelson was ran over with a floor buffer and Sherri & Terri have been slashed across their chests like Bart. When the students take a test, Martin Prince finishes early and falls asleep and is killed by Willie, who cracks a joke about Martin's situation, similar to how Freddy taunts his victims. Martin dies in class, but reanimates as an undead, psychopathic monster, only to be subdued before he can attack the frightened students. Bart and Lisa tell Marge about the monster. She says that Willie was killed in a furnace explosion because Homer turned up the thermostat (even when there was a note saying "don't touch") in the school on the thirteenth hour of the thirteenth day of the thirteenth month (the school misprinted their calendars; Homer is heard complaining about the "lousy Smarch weather"). He burned to death while the parents of the students looked on and did nothing while attending a meeting, and that he told the parents he would get his revenge by killing the children in their dreams. Bart decides that he's going to go to sleep and dream of fighting Willie. Lisa is supposed to stay awake and wake him up if he seems to be in trouble. Bart appears in his dream and attempts to get Willie, who can also transform into other things. Willie turns into a bagpipe spider and is about to kill Bart, when Lisa enters, trying to wake him up. But since she's in the dream, that means she has also fallen asleep (she claimed that she was just resting her eyes). They're about to lose the battle when Maggie appears and uses her pacifier to clog the bagpipe chimney, causing Willie to explode. The next day, everything is back to normal, and Willie doesn't have dream powers anymore, much to the children's relief.

Homer³Edit

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Homer³ title card

In a parody of Alien³ and The Twilight Zone episode "Little Girl Lost", When Homer desperately tries to avoid Patty and Selma during a visit, he hides behind a bookcase and stumbles upon a gateway to the third dimension. Homer explores the peculiar area while searching for a method to escape it when a bouncing cone stabs him in the butt. When he accidentally throws the cone in the center of the ground, point first, it starts to collapse into a sinkhole, taking Homer closer to it with increasing force, while Professor Frink outside explains to the others that Homer was in the third dimension. Chief Wiggum, enraged, shoots the wall that Homer passed into when entering the 3-D universe, but the bullets just get sucked into the black hole after Homer narrowly dodges them. Bart then ties a rope around his waist, and goes into the dimension to save Homer. However, the distance between them is too far for Bart to reach him. Homer leaps for Bart, but falls short and into the sinkhole, yelling "Crap!" Bart ends up back in the house thanks to his safety rope after the third dimension imploded on itself. Bart tells the truth about what happened, much to Marge's dismay. Hoping to provide solace, Lovejoy says to her that Homer will end up in a good place. Homer lands in a dumpster in the "real" world, where he is met by shocked "real" people. He then sees a shop named "Erotic Cakes" and he forgets his troubles.

3dHomer

Homer in the 3rd dimension ("Did anybody see the movie Tron?"

Homer3D

Homer in the real world

ProductionEdit

"Treehouse of Horror VI" was the first of two Treehouse of Horror episodes to be executive produced by Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein. The episode was "so long" because, according to Oakley, "all three of these segments are very complex stories [...] and it's hard to fit three complete stories into 21 minutes." Because of the length, the episode featured a very short opening sequence and did not include several trademarks established in previous Treehouse of Horror episodes, such as Marge's warning or wraparounds.[1] The first segment, "Attack of the 50-Foot Eyesores" was written by John Swartzwelder, who had previously worked at an advertising agency.[2] "Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace" was written by Steve Tompkins and has been described by David X. Cohen as "one of the scariest [segments]."[3] "Homer3" was written by Cohen, although the idea was pitched by Oakley. The original idea was that Homer would visit several dimensions, including one where eveything was made of paper cut-outs, but they decided that it would be too complicated.[1]

The episode includes a cameo appearance from Paul Anka, who sings the song "Just Don't Look". Anka was briefly mentioned by Marge in "Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy." In response, he sent a letter to the producers in which he thanked them for the mention. After receiving the letter, they decided to ask him to guest star.[1] According to David Mirkin, he tried to get Al Gore to host the episode, but the producers got no response to their request. "There was an eerie silence," Mirkin said. He added that "if the VP decides now to pursue this showbiz offer, it's just too late... He missed his chance."[4]

In the final scene of the episode, Homer is sent to the real world in the first ever live-action scene in The Simpsons. It was filmed on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City[3] and directed by David Mirkin, who later said that Fox "couldn't have been less supportive" because they thought it would be too expensive.[5] The scene involves a crane shot which pulls back as the credits are shown. Fox "begrudgingly" allowed Mirkin to use a crane for the ending. The scene was filmed on a sidewalk with the crane on the street and Mirkin was not able to fully stop traffic for the shot. Because of this, when the camera swings around, a line of cars can be seen backed up on the street.[5] The erotic cakes store as well as the filming was located in 13567 Ventura Boulevard.

AnimationEdit

THOH6 - 3D transition

In what Bill Oakley considers the "money shot", Homer steps into the 3D world

A large portion of "Homer3" was three dimensional and computer animated. Supervising director David Silverman was aiming for something better than the computer animation used in the music video for "Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits.[6] The animation was provided by Pacific Data Images (PDI). The animators at PDI worked closely with the normal animators on The Simpsons and worked hard not to "reinvent the character[s]". The Simpsons animators storyboarded the segments and showed the PDI animators how they would have handled the scenes. While designing the 3D model of Bart, the animators did not know how they would show Bart's hair. However, they realized that there were vinyl Bart dolls in production and purchased one to use as a model. One of the most difficult parts for the PDI animators was to make Homer and Bart move properly without making them look robotic.[5]

One of the key shots in the segment was where Homer steps into the 3D world and his design transitions into 3D. Bill Oakley considers the shot the "money shot" and had a difficult time communicating his idea to the animators.[5]

Background jokesEdit

Several background jokes were inserted into "Homer3". The PDI animators inserted a Utah teapot, which was the first object to be rendered in 3D, and the numbers 734 (which on a phone pad correspond to PDI).[5] Several math equations were also inserted in the background, one of the equations that appears is 178212 + 184112 = 192212. Although a false statement, it appears to be true when evaluated on a typical calculator with 10 digits of precision. If it were true, it would disprove Fermat's last theorem, which had just been proven when this episode first aired. Cohen generated this "Fermat near-miss" with a computer program.[7] Other equations that appear are Euler's identity and P = NP which is a reference to the famous P vs NP problem, and similarly contradicts the general belief that in fact P ≠ NP.[3] The code 46 72 69 6E 6B 20 72 75 6C 65 73 21 is an ASCII-hexadecimal string that decodes to "Frink rules!". There is a signpost with x,y, and z, which sadly does not point in the right directions, and also lots of basic shapes littered across the screen.[3]

Cultural referencesEdit

The title of "Attack of the 50-Foot Eyesores" is a reference to the film Attack of the 50 Foot Woman.[8] "Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace" is a parody of the film A Nightmare on Elm Street and its sequels,[8] and Bart's dream at the opening of the segment features many elements similar to the cartoons of Tex Avery.[9] Willie changing shapes while sinking in the sand box is similar to the T-1000's "death" in Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Martin's dream references The Pagemaster. The segment "Homer³" is a parody of The Twilight Zone episode "Little Girl Lost", in which a girl travels through a portal to the 4th dimension.[9] He even describes the series as "that twilighty show about that zone." The film Tron is also mentioned by Homer as a means of describing his surroundings (it is claimed that nobody in Springfield saw the film).[8] The segment where Bart ties a rope around himself and enters the 3D world in an attempt to rescue Homer is a reference to the film Poltergeist. The building Homer encounters inside the third dimension is a recreation of the library from the PC game Myst accompanied with the library's theme music briefly playing in the background. The three-dimensional rotation shot of the dimensional vortex is a reference to the green glowing grid in the opening credits of the Disney film The Black Hole.[8] In "Homer3", as he is about to fall in the black hole Homer says, "There's so much I don't know about astrophysics. I wish I'd read that book by that wheelchair guy." This is a reference to the bestseller A Brief History of Time by astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, who uses a wheelchair.[9] In "Attack of the 50 Foot Eyesores", some of the mascots are parodies of real life mascots. For example, the giant walking unnamed peanut is a parody of Mr. Peanut.[9] The Lard Lad roars like Godzilla.

ReceptionEdit

In its original American broadcast, "Treehouse of Horror VI" finished 21st in the ratings for the week of October 23 to October 29, 1995, with a Nielsen rating of 12.9. It was watched in approximately 12.4 million households.[10] The episode was the highest-rated show on the Fox network that week.[11]

The authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, described it as "Complex, very assured and very clever, the computer graphics are outstanding, and the final scene – as Homer enters our dimension – is one of the highlights of the entire series."[8] Colin Jacobson of DVD Movie Guide said, "'Attack of the 50-Ft. Eyesores' stands as the strongest of the three segments. It doesn’t blast off the screen but it seems imaginative and fun. The Nightmare on Elm Street parody has its moments and comes across as generally entertaining. However, it lacks the bite the best pieces offer. Unfortunately, 'Homer3' gives us the weakest of the bunch. It tosses out a few funny bits, but it mostly feels like an excuse to feature some 3-D animation."[12] Ryan Budke of TV Squad listed "Homer3" as the fourth best Treehouse of Horror segment and gave honorable mention to "Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace".[13] Will Pfeifer of the Rockford Register Star called the episode "the best of the annual Halloween episodes."[14] In the July 26, 2007 issue of Nature, the scientific journal's editorial staff listed the "Homer3" segment among "The Top Ten science moments in The Simpsons", highlighting Cohen's "178212 + 184112 = 192212" equation.[15]

AwardsEdit

In 1996, the "Homer³" segment was awarded the Ottawa International Animation Festival grand prize.[16] The episode was also submitted for the Primetime Emmy Award in the "Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming less than One Hour)" category because it had a 3D animation sequence, which the staff felt would have given it the edge.[17] The episode would eventually lose to Pinky and the Brain. Bill Oakley later expressed regret about not submitting an episode with a more emotionally-driven plot.[18]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Oakley, Bill. (2005). Commentary for "Treehouse of Horror VI", in The Simpsons: The Complete Seventh Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  2. Weinstein, Josh. (2005). Commentary for "Treehouse of Horror VI", in The Simpsons: The Complete Seventh Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Cohen, David X. (2005). Commentary for "Treehouse of Horror VI", in The Simpsons: The Complete Seventh Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  4. "The Veep Ignores Chance To Play With The Simpsons", Daily News (1995-07-17). Retrieved on 23 December 2008.  Template:Dead link
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Oakley, Bill; Weinstein, Josh; Johnson, Tim; Silverman, David; Mirkin, David; Cohen, David X. "Homer in the Third Dimension" (2005), in The Simpsons: The Complete Seventh Season DVD. 20th Century Fox.
  6. Silverman, David. (2005). Commentary for "Treehouse of Horror VI", in The Simpsons: The Complete Seventh Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  7. Greenwald, Sarah (2005-04-06). A Futurama Math Conversation with David X. Cohen. Appalachian State University. Retrieved on 2009-01-07.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Martyn, Warren; Wood, Adrian (2000). Treehouse of Horror VI. BBC. Retrieved on 2008-06-24.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Template:Cite book
  10. Associated Press (1995-11-02). "Sports events five of top 10 shows", South Florida Sun-Sentinel. 
  11. Associated Press (1995-11-02). "Nielsen Ratings", The Tampa Tribune. 
  12. Jacobson, Colin (2003). The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror (1994). DVD Movie Guide. Retrieved on 2008-10-08.
  13. Budke, Ryan J. (2005-10-26). The Five: Best Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Segments. TV Squad. Retrieved on 2009-02-24.
  14. Pfeifer, Will (2000-01-16). "Here's a look at five classic episodes", Rockford Register Star. 
  15. Template:Cite journal
  16. "Past Award Winners", Ottawa International Animation Festival. Retrieved on 18 October 2007.  Template:Dead link
  17. Primetime Emmy Awards Advanced Search. Emmys.org. Retrieved on 2007-11-09.
  18. Template:Cite video

External linksEdit

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This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Treehouse of Horror VI. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Halloween Specials Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.
The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror

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See also: Halloween of Horror

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