With the baseball post-season now over, Fox’s Sunday animation lineup returns Sunday night for the first time since Oct. 9 – with one brand-new series and one old one that’s continuing a tradition that is now 22 seasons old.
The latter is “The Simpsons” and its 22nd annual Halloween special, “Treehouse of Horror XXII” (8/7c). This season, “TOHXXII” – our hip Text-able acronym for this new “Treehouse” special – comes just in time for Halloween, on Halloween Eve (always a big holiday in our house). In past years, “TOH” has sometimes aired several weeks after Halloween, due to scheduling and production issues that had many of us scratching our heads over a Halloween special that was airing halfway to Thanksgiving.
But not this year. “TOH 22” has three main segments, plus a shorter fourth one to open the episode.
Thanks to the goblins in the Fox publicity department, we’ve already seen the episode, so we can advise you to watch out for these highlights:
“Dexter” fans will love hearing the eerie theme music to that killer Showtime series in this “Simpsons” episode. In the segment, one of the residents of Springfield turns out to be Dexter-ish.
In the same segment, watch for a great visual reference to the classic Roadrunner/Wile E. Coyote cartoons of yore. We love it when “The Simpsons” pays homage to classic animation. In fact, the show does it often in its Halloween specials. If memory serves, we’ve seen the Simpson family dressed as “The Flintstones” and the characters from Peanuts. And there was also the “Simpsons” spoof of the Charlie Brown “Great Pumpkin” special a few seasons back that was probably the finest segment they’ve ever produced for “TOH.”
Meanwhile, the new entry in Fox’s Animation Domination lineup (well, let’s point out here that it’s not hard to dominate a category when you’re the only one in it!) is “Allen Gregory,” which springs from the mind of comedy wunderkind Jonah Hill.
The formerly portly Hill, 27, provides the voice of the title character, a spoiled 7-year-old boy who is the son of two gay men. Allen is accustomed to wealth, and comports himself in the manner of an aloof, snobby, sophisticated grown-up. In this way, he reminds us of Stewie on “Family Guy” – a child with the cynicism and verbal skills of an adult.
In the series premiere, Allen is “forced” to attend a public elementary school (named the Feldstein school – which happens to be Hill’s real last name) because, unbeknownst to him, his wealthy dads have fallen on hard times. At his new school, Allen is challenged to fit in with ordinary kids. This challenge is great indeed – Allen is the kind of kid who brings a selection of sushi and a bottle of Pinot Grigio to have for lunch.
If that sounds unbelievable, even for a cartoon, well, that’s because it is unbelievable. As for the rest of the show, you be the judge.
“The Simpsons’ ” “Treehouse of Horror XXII” airs Sunday night at 8/7c on Fox. “Allen Gregory” airs at 8:30/7:30c.