|"Treehouse of Horror VII"|
|The Simpsons episode|
|Episode no.||Season 8|
|Directed by||Mike B. Anderson|
|Written by||Ken Keeler|
David S. Cohen
|Original air date||October 27, 1996|
|Couch gag||The Grim Reaper is on the couch. The family runs in, but keel over and die one by one. The Reaper then puts his feet up on the corpses of the Simpson family.|
David S. Cohen
Mike B. Anderson
"Treehouse of Horror VII" is the first episode of The Simpsons' eighth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on October 27, 1996. In the seventh annual Treehouse of Horror episode, Bart discovers his long-lost twin, Lisa grows a colony of small beings, and Kang and Kodos impersonate Bill Clinton and Bob Dole in order to win the 1996 presidential election. It was written by Ken Keeler, Dan Greaney, and David S. Cohen, and directed by Mike B. Anderson. Phil Hartman provided the voice of Bill Clinton.
Bart and Lisa begin to hear strange noises coming from the attic. Homer claims not to know what they are talking about, even though he is seen heading into the attic with a bucket of fish heads. Bart and Lisa investigate, and discover there really is a monster. Homer and Marge go into the attic, and discover that the creature has escaped, prompting Marge to call Dr. Hibbert. He explains that Bart has a siamese twin brother named Hugo. The two were conjoined twins separated soon after birth, but it was discovered that Hugo was too evil to live in society, so the Simpsons kept him chained in the attic, where Homer fed him a bucket of fish heads once a week. The rest of the family leaves to search for Hugo, leaving Bart behind, but he discovers that Hugo never left the house. Hugo takes Bart to the attic and ties him up, so that he can reattach himself, but Dr. Hibbert bursts in and knocks out Hugo. He then realizes that Hugo's scar is on the wrong side, and Bart is the evil twin. Bart responds by telling them not to look so surprised. In an attempt to correct their wrong, Dr. Hibbert and the Simpson family sit down to a turkey dinner with Hugo, leaving Bart locked in the attic with Hugo's bucket of living fish heads to eat.
Lisa performs a science experiment to see if cola will dissolve a tooth, and Bart shocks Lisa as part of his project to prove that nerds conduct electricity. The tooth is also shocked; it undergoes an unusual reaction and creates a race of miniature beings. Lisa discovers this the next day and marvels at how the people in her universe evolve at a rapid rate (evolving to the point of the Reformation by the time Lisa has come back from breakfast). Bart destroys some of the ecosystem in Lisa's tub universe, and Lisa responds by insulting him under her breath. The now futuristic tub people respond by sending a squadron of space ships to attack Bart. Lisa is then threatened by Bart, who says he will destroy the tiny world when she is not around. Lisa is then shrunk and beamed down into the tub, where the citizens explain that they regard her as God, and they want her to do something about Bart, whom they regard as the Devil. She says she can help them if they unshrink her, but they tell her they have not figured out the technology to do that. Bart grabs the tub and submits it in the science fair, and Lisa is forced to watch from within as Bart wins first prize. Realizing that she is now stuck in the small universe forever, Lisa orders her citizens to grovel and bring her some nice shoes and some socks too.
While out fishing, Homer is abducted by the two aliens, Kang and Kodos. When they demand that Homer point them towards Earth's leader, Homer informs them of the upcoming presidential election and says the winner could be either Bill Clinton or Bob Dole. Kang and Kodos kidnap both Dole and Clinton from the White House and the Republican National Committee, placing them in suspended animation tubes and assuming their forms through "bio-duplication" to ensure that one of them will become the next leader. Before returning Homer to Earth, the aliens soak him in rum, so nobody will believe him. As the election nears, the impostor candidates are seen to be acting strangely, holding hands in public and making bizarre declarations in unhumanlike monotone. Later on, Homer stumbles upon the badly hidden spaceship and tries to save Dole and Clinton from the suspended animation tubes. Both candidates agree they should join forces to defeat the aliens; however, Homer accidentally ejects them into space. On the day before the election, Homer crashes the spaceship into the Capitol and reveals the candidates' real identities. However, despite being exposed, Kang and Kodos declare to the people that they still have to choose one of them because it is too late to get new candidates, and voting for a third party candidate has never worked before. Kang is subsequently elected President of the United States and enslaves all of humanity, including the Simpsons themselves. Although a slave for life, Homer proudly boasts that he voted for Kodos.
Like the previous two Treehouse of Horror episodes, "Treehouse of Horror VII" does not feature any wraparound segments. "The Thing and I" was written by Ken Keeler, "The Genesis Tub" was written by Dan Greaney, and "Citizen Kang" was written by David X. Cohen. Despite the similarities, "The Thing and I" was not based on the plot of the 1982 film Basket Case. "The Genesis Tub" was originally pitched by Cohen, and it was later referenced in the South Park episode "Simpsons Already Did It", when they pointed out that The Simpsons had gotten the idea from the 1962 Twilight Zone episode called "The Little People". The sequence where tiny spaceships attack Bart in "The Genesis Tub" marks one of the first uses of computers in The Simpsons animation. The computer was used to build models for reference and the animators later retraced it. The 1996 Presidential election occurred a few days after the airing of this episode. According to Cohen, the "Citizen Kang" short violated every rule of The Simpsons as it locked the episode in one time and named specific candidates.
In "The Thing and I", Homer sings "Fish Heads", a 1980 novelty song by Barnes & Barnes. Homer crashing the flying saucer into Capitol dome in the "Citizen Kang" segment is a reference to Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, a 1956 film. In "The Genesis Tub", the Tooth City space ships that attacked Bart strongly resembled the Transformers Decepticon character Scourge's vehicle form.
In its original broadcast, "Treehouse of Horror VII" finished 31st in ratings for the week of October 21–27, 1996, with a Nielsen rating of 10.5, equivalent to approximately 10.2 million viewing households. It was the third highest-rated show on the Fox network that week, following Millennium and The X-Files.
In 2017, IGN called "Citizen Kang" the best segment of the entire anthology, and placed the episode itself as number one in its ranking of all "Treehouse of Horror" episodes. The A.V. Club named Kang/Bob Dole's line, "Abortions for some, miniature American flags for others!", one of the best lines in the history of the show.
The ska punk band named I Voted for Kodos takes its name from Homer's line, "Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos", at the end of "Citizen Kang". In a 2000 Entertainment Weekly article, Matt Groening ranked this episode as his seventh favorite in the history of the show.
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