128th-Final, Round 9: Lisa’s Pony vs. Treehouse of Horror IV

128th-final, round 9: 8F06 vs. 1F04.

8F06: “Lisa’s Pony” (Season 3 / November 7, 1991)
Written by Al Jean & Mike Reiss. Directed by Carlos Baeza
Showrunners: Al Jean & Mike Reiss

The Simpsons 8F06 Lisa’s Pony

vs.

1F04: “Treehouse of Horror IV” (Season 5 / October 28, 1993)
Written by Conan O’Brien, Bill Oakley, Josh Weinstein, Greg Daniels, Dan McGrath, Bill Canterbury
Directed by David Silverman. Showrunner: David Mirkin

The Simpsons 1F04 Treehouse of Horror IV

(Every time I come on here and apologize for not posting anything for so long and then vowing to do a better job from now on it only gets worse, so I’m not even gonna do that today.)

Whenever a Halloween special comes up on the tournament I go in thinking, well, even if it’s good I’m not gonna pick it over a decent regular episode, right?

Right. But this was a close one. “Treehouse of Horror IV” really is that good, and if I’m ever to rank the Treehouses o. H. I’m sure it will be near the very top. But I’m not doing that today.

The winner: “Lisa’s Pony,” of course.

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Round 17: Like Father, Like Clown vs. Lisa’s Pony

Round 17: 8F05 vs. 8F06.

8F05: “Like Father, Like Clown” (Season 3 / October 24, 1991)
Written by Jay Kogen & Wallace Wolodarsky
Directed by Jeffrey Lynch & Brad Bird
Showrunners: Al Jean & Mike Reiss

The Simpson family waiting for Krusty the Clown

The weird thing watching this episode again was that I barely remembered any of it. I must have seen it when it was first on TV and then again when the DVDs came out, but for some reason it just didn’t make an impression. I was also surprised at how dated it looks and feels, especially compared to “Flaming Moe’s” from the same year. The third season is the one where the show really found its footing, I think, and this episode shows just enough second season residue to stand out as an “old” episode.

  • This has nothing to do with this episode, but on the DVD commentary Jay Kogen talks about the time he went to Germany to oversee the casting of the local voice actors, and how the Germans “tried to convince us that this really angry, horrible sounding Homer was really the same thing as our goofy Homer here, that in Germany the most lovable German screams and yells and is horrible and mean and angry all the time.” So that explains that.

8F06: “Lisa’s Pony” (Season 3 / November 7, 1991)
Written by Al Jean & Mike Reiss
Directed by Carlos Baeza
Showrunners: Al Jean & Mike Reiss

Lisa Simpson playing the saxophone for her horse.

For the second time in a row we have to episodes that were produced back-to-back competing against each other. (Will this trend continue into next round? Yes. Yes, it will.) This is happening purely by chance: I put all the episodes in random order before I entered them into the bracket to avoid just that. But here we are.

There are things in “Lisa’s Pony” that place it unmistakably in the third season, but there are also a lot of signs of the great timelessness the show would achieve just a year later. I love the elaborate references to “2001,” “The Godfather” and “Little Nemo,” and of course I’m a sucker for Homer and Lisa stories.

  • I was amazed when I found out that “My Ding-a-Ling” was a real thing.
  • So Apu dated Princess Kashmir?
  • Wikipedia says that Matt Groening, Sam Simon and Jim Brooks showran this episode, which could be kinda plausible because Al and Mike wrote it, but on the commentaries (both the regular one and the hidden one) Al and Mike both identify themselves as writer and showrunner for this episode. So I’m going with that. (In your face, Wikipedia!)

The winner: 8F06: “Lisa’s Pony.”