The first one was so much better
[7.4/10] A fun outing that, even as a second installment, feels like the franchise-within-a-franchise we would come to know as “Treehouse of Horror” nearly (gulp) thirty years later.
The frame story, with everyone eating too much candy despite Marge’s warnings, having nightmares, and then moving from bed-to-bed is a fun and relatable one. And Marge’s opening warning is a lot of fun too.
The first segment with The Monkey’s Paw is a nice riff on the “be careful what you wish for” genre of horror stories. There’s a lot of meta-humor in The Simpsons becoming rich, famous, and overexposed to the annoyance of everyone. Kang and Kodos coming to invade after Lisa declares world peace is a nice science fiction short story twist, and Ned besting Homer once again is true to form for the show, making for a pleasant button to go out on.
The middle story is a nice Twilight Zone parody. Bart with god-like powers is a scary prospect, and while a bit rushed, the segment makes the most of the concept. There’s a lot of good physical humor here, from the cat’s bizarre transformation to all the slapstick gags with Homer as a jack-in-the-box. And seeing everyone bend over backwards to be nice and friendly to Bart no matter what gets a lot of good mileage.
But my favorite segment is the last one, which sees Mr. Burns implanting Homer’s brain into a robot to complete his dream of creating a robotic worker who’ll never tire. It’s a nice Frankenstein homage and a terrific Burns story. There’s so many great Monty lines, from “the man at Radio Shack said I was mad” to “this isn’t rocket science, it’s brain surgery” to “bad corpse! stop scaring Smithers!” The whole cautionary tale is played for maximum drama and laugh, and the button with Burns getting sewn onto Homer’s head is a delightful last minute twist.
Overall, this isn’t the best THOH installment ever, but it’s impressive how well the show nailed the format down in just its second outing.