Sunday night, the annual “Treehouse of Horror” episode of The Simpsons airs on Fox.
USA Today TV critic Robert Bianco weighs in on this year’s edition.
To say the special isn’t what it once was is to state the obvious — and that’s true even considering its ability to pull in guests like Hugh Laurie and Daniel Radcliffe. But while it may be down, that doesn’t mean the show itself should be out. Indeed, in a lineup that includes the dismal Cleveland Show and the dismissible American Dad, the 22-year-old Simpsons doesn’t even come close to being the Fox cartoon that has most worn out its welcome.
It is possible, however, it has worn out the Treehouse franchise. Tonight’s three installments just seem to be reaching for jokes that aren’t there, and falling in the attempt. Maybe we expect too much from The Simpsons, but we should be able to expect more than a running ship-bound sound-effect gag that is meant to be an aural double-entendre and instead seems smutty and heavy-handed. Compare it to a classic joke about sailors and women from the third Treehouse‘s King Kong parody — the kind of joke you actually had to think about to get — and you’ll see what I mean.
You can read the full review HERE.