Sunday, October 7, 2012

Countdown to Halloween Day 7 -- "Hellarious Halloween" Might Be a Misnomer On a Couple of Fronts

Since Fox actually aired its animated shows' Halloween episodes before Halloween this year, I thought I'd go ahead and do a quick write-up on each of the "Hellarious Halloween" line-up

The Cleveland Show -- Although set during Halloween, outside of a brief digression where the Cleveland and the gang put on costumes to hide their identities, the holiday is incidental to the A-plot of them accidentally igniting a war between Stoolbend and their rival town Goochland; at the same time, the final confrontation between the two had some horrific moments; the mole-eyed Stoolbendians was probably my favorite bit of the whole episode.    The B and C plots both revolved around some costume-related mistaken identity, one intentional, the other not; neither was really worth the effort.  All in all, a pretty mediocre half-hour of TV which, to be honest, is what I've come to expect of The Cleveland Show.

The Simpsons -- The 23rd installment of "Treehouse of Horror"  -- man, does that make me feel old -- highlights one of my problems with the direction the annual Halloween episode has moved over the years, as only one of the three stories could be considered even remotely horror themed.  I don't know that the reliance on generic Sci-Fi tropes rather than Horror tropes would bother me so much if the show actually made me laugh as much as it used to.  But, outside of the gag about Homer's black-hole deformed appendages, most everything in this episode fell flat for me.

Bob's Burgers -- The most explicitly Halloween-centered show of the group was also the funniest, which wasn't too surprising to me, since I generally find BB to be the cream of the Animation Domination crop.  What was surprising to me was that almost all of my big laughs came not from my favorite character Louise, but from her brother Gene.  I guess dressing up as Queen Latifah (during her U.N.I.T.Y. phase) brought out the funny in the middle child.  When confronted with the idea of taking on teens wielding balloons filled with pee: "I can pee myself, I don't need any handouts."  After being slapped by Louise:  "I banish you from the land of Latifah!"  On hearing his sister compare the country club to a extra large miniature golf course: "The windmills are going to be GIGANTIC!" The parental-focused B-plot couldn't help but pale in comparison, but the sheer number of great moments in the kids' plot carried the episode.

Family Guy -- Despite being billed as part of the "Hellarious" line-up, this episode had zero connection to Halloween. The Nielsen-based plot was a little more nonsensical than usual, but I have to admit, I'm kind of sad we didn't get to see Breaking Bad on Roller Skates.

American Dad -- Another non-Halloween episode to finish out the night, but at least it has the excuse that Fox's weird stock-piling of episodes -- they have about two seasons worth sitting around waiting for air--  means that the writers try to avoid any sort of topical reference.  Regardless, it was easily my second favorite show of the night, if for no other reason than the suicidal lemur sequence.

Random observation tally

# of shows to reference The Warriors' "Come out and play" scene:  2
# of shows featuring jokes about fat guys having breasts: 2

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