‘The Simpsons’ recruits del Toro for couch gag

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“The Simpsons” is the longest-running scripted show in television history and has forged itself into everyday American society. While researching for this article, I have discovered five phrases coined by “The Simpsons” that I use on a daily basis. “Hidey ho, neighborino!” would have made a close 6th if I could find ways to subtly throw it into conversation.

Simpson, eh? Yes, there have been twenty-five years of stupid Flanders, throttling The Bartman, and Ralph Wiggum asking the hard-hitting questions like: if managers manage, and players play, “Do alligators alligate?” During those 25 years, 24 special Halloween themed episodes called “Treehouse of Horror” have aired. Fun fact: only one episode took place in a tree house!

During these specials, the typical “D’oh” is not completely forgone, but is usually followed up with Groundskeeper Willy getting axed or Maggie turning into an alien. However, preceding the “Cowabungas”, “Ay Carumbas!” and eating of shorts, there is the customary “couch gig.”

We are predisposed to like the cough gigs for their very novelty. Three minutes of breakneck motion, imagery and amusement is “The Simpsons” in all its glory. The only thing that remains fairly consistent throughout Treehouse couch gigs is the first name as the credits start rolling: Creator “Bat” Groening.

This year, good ole “Bat” and friends went all out with the recruiting of Simpsons fan and famous Mexican film director, screenwriter, producer and novelist, Guillermo del Toro. Del Toro has been associated with such films as “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Pacific Rim,” “Hellboy”— it references “The Simpsons” twice— and several others.

An expert in all things cinematic, del Toro’s compilation love letter included several of his own horror and fantasy inspirations and many other obscure and common references. At least 60 counted references to external sources can be caught, and they all work cohesively and hilariously.

However, I laughed more the second, third, fourth and, admittedly, fifth time I watched it.  I think we are getting so used to slap-stick comedy that you have to take a step back from demanding immediate hilarity and enjoy the detailed satire. Del Toro gives you a piece of art that you have to review before you can appreciate.

Hey, hey, kids! I know it sounds like a lot of work, but it is worth it. Honestly, it is a joy to watch. Everyone in the library within 10 feet of me as I grinned and guffawed can affirm the pleasure I got out of it. I found myself choking on laughter, as Carl turned into Wesley Snipes from Blade, and making the most unattractive face in the world, as Alfred Hitchcock splattered Edna Krabappel with bird seed and watched the bird descend.

Woo Hoo! 

Del Toro made it to 60 references and I only counted 15. If you appreciated this article and you have not seen the newest “Treehouse of Horror XXIV,” head on over to YouTube and be ready to replay it at least once. I have got one more for you—“Bye, everybody!”