Debuting in Season 2 of The Simpsons, “Treehouse of Horror” has developed into an annual custom for the long-running animated sequence. A group of vignettes and satires of horror tales and sci-fi conventions, the episodes have remained a fan-favorite conference of the present because it’s grown and altered over its three-plus a long time on the air.
Notably, Futurama (in some ways a sister present to The Simpsons and at the moment due for its third revival on Hulu) initially had its personal model of the “Treehouse of Horror.” While it lacked the vacation cogitation, it was additionally a reasonably horror-centric half-hour of animation. But after two entries, the “Anthology of Interest” idea was roughly deserted — partly as a result of Futurama, as a present, did not actually need its personal “Treehouse of Horror.”
‘Anthology of Interest’ Was Futurama’s Version of ‘Treehouse of Horror’
“Anthology of Interest” was the sixteenth episode of Futurama’s second season. Pairing Chris Louden and Rich Moore with a trio of writers, the episode focuses on Prof. Farnsworth’s latest invention, the What If Machine. Fry, Bender and Leela in flip ask the machine a query, prompting a brief non-canon vignette taking part in out the state of affairs. The episode obtained a sequel in Season 3, which adopted the same trajectory and performed with overt parodies of early video video games and The Wizard of Oz. By distinction, the primary “Anthology of Interest” successfully performs out as a sequence of quietly scary subversions made for darkish comedy — similar to “Treehouse of Horror.”
Each section options loads of loss of life and mayhem — “Terror at 500 Feet” recasts Bender as an invading robotic from area, destroying a lot of New New York, and killing Zapp and Kif earlier than being introduced down by a large radioactive Zoidberg. “Dial L for Leela” sees a extra assertive Leela give into some surprisingly vicious impulses, ultimately murdering all the crew save for Fry. “The Un-Freeze of a Lifetime” is an early trace on the present’s true mythology, and ends with Fry’s dim-witted defiance of destiny inflicting the entire collapse of the universe as we all know it. They’re every enjoyable, darkish takes on colorfully foolish sequence, a enjoyable Futurama reply to The Simpsons’ annual Halloween particular. But as Futurama continued to evolve, it highlighted why it did not essentially want its personal “Treehouse of Horror.”
The Core Difference Between The Simpsons & Futurama
The Simpsons, by its very nature, is rooted to actuality. While it is turn out to be more and more cartoonish and options loads of zany unbelievable storylines, it is finally a present a few household doing their greatest to thrive in a jaded American city, with financial considerations, marital strife, and existential dread complicating the weird and completely happy moments in life. The “Treehouse” Specials — utterly faraway from these purposeful limitations — get to interrupt all earlier conventions. The final distinction between Futurama and most exhibits typically, however particularly The Simpsons, is that it might break conventions each episode. The far future setting and cartoonishly superior expertise made the universe an more and more versatile place, the place histories might be retconned with ease, and any setting that might be imagined might be defined.
Unlike The Simpsons — which thrives when it will get to interrupt the foundations — Futurama breaks the foundations regularly. It did not want an annual likelihood to take action, when every episode can casually ship Bender to school, introduce a planet precisely like rural Scotland, or unveil misplaced truths of the universe. Episodes might turn out to be prolonged parodies of sci-fi conventions or play with the very legal guidelines of the universe, and nonetheless be a part of the present’s evolving canon, due to the best way the world had developed to embrace any idea. Even exhausting guidelines within the universe on ideas like time-travel had been subverted continuously — with the present even poking enjoyable at itself for this pattern in later seasons.
Why Futurama Doesn’t Need a ‘Treehouse of Horror’
This is not to say Futurama gave up on the anthology method totally, however it stepped additional away from tales of terror and additional embraced overt parodies. Like with the later “Treehouse of Horror” specials, the grounded framing system connecting the nominally non-canon episode to the principle sequence was eliminated. Instead of taking part in up the characters for horror as within the unique “Anthology of Interest” episode, later anthology episodes like Season 6’s “Reincarnation” or Season 7’s “Saturday Morning Fun Pit” had been direct parodies of animation types (like “Reincarnation’s” prolonged riff on early anime conventions) or traits in older cartoons (just like the extraordinarily violent G.I. Joe parody in “Saturday Morning Fun Pit”).
Futurama’s format speaks to the uniquely versatile world created by the present’s embrace — and frequent subversion — of numerous sci-fi inspirations and scientific explorations. Futurama developed right into a considerate and often-times purposefully bizarre present that might change genres, play with tones, and stay targeted on the distinct and fleshed-out central forged. It’s an attention-grabbing comparability to The Simpsons, which additionally developed and expanded however by no means forgot the baseline guidelines that outline the present — a component the present has even quietly mocked about itself. As such, The Simpsons nonetheless wants “Treehouse of Horror” to turn out to be absolutely untethered. Because Futurama already operates on that degree regularly, nevertheless, the present does not actually need its personal “Treehouse of Horror.”