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Friday, October 31, 2008

"The Simpsons" goes trick-or-treating for 19th time

One of the quirkiest traditions of this time of year is watching "The Simpsons" annual new "Treehouse of Horror" episode -- after Halloween. Because Fox currently owns the broadcast rights to the World Series, and November is a ratings "sweeps" month, "The Simpsons" Halloween episode almost always airs after All Hallow's Eve, when it's horror-themed slapstick proves a little out of date. The show doesn't even make self-deprecating jokes about it any more, it's been this way for so long. This year the 19th installment airs on Sun., Nov. 2 at 8 p.m. and, as usual, features three segments: "How to Get Ahead in Dead-vertising," "Untitled Robot Parody" and "It's the Grand Pumpkin, Milhouse," which satirize, respectively, AMC's "Mad Men," Transformers and "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" and other Peanuts specials. The amusing titles for the "Mad Men" spoof are already on-line:

"Treehouse of Horror XIX" seems unusually, uh, leaky this year. The episode's election-themed prologue, involving a faulty voting machine, has been on-line for several weeks already. (In a sign of just how long "The Simpsons" has aired Halloween specials, one of its most amusing political-themed chapters dates to 1996. "Citizen Kang" featured slobbery aliens Kang and Kodus impersonating Bill Clinton and Bob Dole.) Anyway, here's the new prologue, which at least airs ahead of Tuesday's Election Day.

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