Round 121: Treehouse of Horror XIX vs. Bart the Daredevil

Round 121: KABF16 vs. 7F06.

KABF16: “Treehouse of Horror XIX” (Season 20 / November 2, 2008)
Written by Matt Warburton
Directed by Bob Anderson
Showrunner: Al Jean


Season 20? I don’t have that! That’s not online! Is it good? Did I think it was good? Did I even see it? I think I did, when it first aired? There’s a one minute clip of it online. I watched it. Made me wish I watched “Peanuts” instead.

7F06: “Bart the Daredevil” (Season 2 / December 6, 1990)
Written by Jay Kogen & Wallace Wolodarsky
Directed by Wes Archer
Showrunners: James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Sam Simon

The Simpsons 7F06 Bart the Daredevil

Fun episode. My favorite part is definitely Lisa’s school recital. There are a few minor things that will probably mean it won’t stay in the tournament until the final rounds, but here it’s the clear winner.

The winner: 7F06, “Bart the Daredevil.”


Round 112: In the Name of the Grandfather vs. Beyond Blunderdome

Round 112: LABF11 vs. AABF23.

LABF11: “In the Name of the Grandfather” (Season 20 / March 22, 2009)

Written by Matt Marshall
Directed by Ralph Sosa
Showrunner: Al Jean

The Simpsons flopping about like fish out of water


I guess I must have at one point thought this episode wasn’t entirely terrible, because somehow it ended up here in this tournament. Oh, well.

AABF23: “Beyond Blunderdome” (Season 11 / September 26, 1999)
Written by Mike Scully
Directed by Steven Dean Moore
Showrunner: Mike Scully

The Simpsons AABF23 Beyond Blunderdome

I watched the first act. Then I turned it off because I remembered a) the rest of the episode and b) that I will have to (attempt to) watch it again, since…

The “winner”: AABF23, “Beyond Blunderdome.”

Round 1: Gone Maggie Gone vs. Treehouse of Horror II

The Simpsons seasons DVD box sets

Yeah, so I decided I wanted to do an NCAA Tournament-style bracket to determine which one my all-time favorite episode of “The Simpsons” is.

The bracket, featuring 256 episodes of the show, randomly paired, exists as a spreadsheet, which you can view here. My goal is to write about each match, and how I came to my decision, here, but, let’s be honest, when have I ever seen anything I started on this thing through?

Can’t hurt to try, though. And at least this is something I’m actually passionate about. Not like writing about movies, which I hate just about as much as I love watching movies.

First Round! LABF04 vs. 8F02 (128th-final 1 of 128)

LABF04: “Gone Maggie Gone” (Season 20 / March 15, 2009)
Written by Billy Kimball & Ian Maxtone-Graham
Directed by Chris Clements
Showrunner: Al Jean

Lisa Simpson, Keep Out! Or enter, I'm a sign, not a cop.

I don’t know exactly when this started (maybe I’ll find out during this tournament), and probably it was a gradual thing that can’t be pinpointed to a specific episode, but the first thing I notice (and am bugged by) during these later year episodes is just how much most of the voices are different from the way they sounded in, let’s say, seasons 4 to 12.

I’m not going to summarize the episodes, by the way. If you’re just dying to know what happened here you can read the Wikipedia page linked above or, I dunno, watch the thing? I’ll just list a few things I liked or maybe didn’t like.

  • The solar eclipse animation is pretty… pretty, but in the same way the voices throw me off I’ll never get used to these computer animations on the show. Yes, I am a cranky old man.
  • I liked the Ratatouille scene. It was fun, well done, a nice nod to Brad Bird (whatever happened to him?) and most importantly, it didn’t end, as I feared, with Angry Homer. I don’t like Angry Homer.
  • The riddles were pretty clever and fun, too.
  • I love Rube Goldberg machines, but again with the 3D animation…
  • The whole nun flashback, and the nuns singing “O Fortuna,” I enjoyed that.

Using the same 5-star rating system I employ on Letterboxd, I’m giving this… 3.5 stars.

8F02: “Treehouse of Horror II” (Season 3 / October 31, 1991)
Written by Al Jean, Mike Reiss,
Jeff Martin, George Meyer, Sam Simon and John Swartzwelder
Directed by Jim Reardon
Showrunners: Al Jean & Mike Reiss

Mr. Burns and a robot

“You clinking, clattering cacophony of collagenous cogs and camshafts, take… that!

Oh my! Characters are off-model, everybody’s got giant pupils, not everyone has found their voice yet (Lenny!) – this is a long way from the clean, polished look and feel of the computer-assisted years. It’s not quite in that zone (you know… the zone?), yet, but it’s getting there. As Halloween shows go, this is pretty tame. There’s still the wrap-around story connecting all three segments, something the cut-down runtime of the episodes just doesn’t allow for these days. (These days being anything after the mid-nineties, I guess.)

  • Pretty solid, joke-wise. I laughed a lot more than on the other episode. (“Oh good, the curtain’s on fire.”)
  • Bart’s nightmare is based, sometimes shot-for-shot, on an old “Twilight Zone.” To my shame I must confess that, even though it’s on Netflix Instant, I still haven’t watched a full episode of that show. I saw some of the new “Outer Limits” way back when, does that count?
  • My favorite segment is the third, with Burn’s robot. Lots of beautiful animation here.

This one gets 3.5 stars as well. Only, like, 3.54, to be exact.

So, congratulations, 8F02, you are advancing to the first 64th-final! Which will happen… one day. I’m sure. Only 127 more pairings to go til then.