Amid a season that will already see the show crossing paths with Futurama and Family Guy (and apparently Bob’s Burgers within that), The Simpsons will now come face-to-face with another animated series to which it has only the most superficial of resemblances: old Simpsons. According to Entertainment Weekly, this year’s 25th “Treehouse Of Horror” will not only have viewers beholding the ravages of age upon themselves, but also upon the show, as the Simpsons family encounters the Simpsons family as they looked circa 1987-1990. That was a time when Tracy Ullman was entertaining America with songs, sketches, and crudely drawn filler material—and now the lattermost, at least, will be coming back to haunt us all.
The “Treehouse” segment is structured as a parody of The Others, with the Simpsons discovering they share their home with another ghost family that looks and sounds a lot like them, if maybe they were left on a radiator overnight. As showrunner Al Jean points out, “We’ve implied that they were murdered and buried under the house, so this is expanding that thought.” He’s referring there to their corpses’ brief cameo in the episode “Adventures In Baby Getting,” but also to the Guillermo del Toro-directed sequence from last year’s “Treehouse” that, [SNORT], clearly depicted them as being buried under Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. I mean, are we to believe that this is some sort of, ha, magic power plant that’s also the Simpsons’ house or something? Boy, I really hope that someone etc. etc.
Anyway, regardless of such never-before-seen narrative inconsistencies in The Simpsons, this crossover will be their lengthiest reunion since Bart and Lisa maybe, sort-of ran into their Witness Protection versions, “Lester and Eliza.” And that will require Dan Castellaneta to put on his old Walter Matthau-aping grumble, alongside with whatever everyone else was doing back then. “People remember Dan’s, but Nancy [Cartwright]’s is different too,” Jean says. “It was lower-register, and you can see in the difference in this segment. It was really funny to get the interplay [between the two versions of the Simpsons] and for the actors to see the voice evolution. The great thing is we didn’t have to ask—we already had the cast hired for the Tracey Ullman Simpsons.”
No word on whether the episode will also reveal where Tracey Ullman is buried.