With Halloween falling on a Saturday this year, kids get a full day in anticipation of the year’s premier sugar rush and adults get even an even larger than usual dose of sweaty crowds in costumes that might be offensive if they weren’t so glaringly lazy….yah!
If you’re not up for fighting off the hoards of Donald-Trumps-with-his-dick-in-a-box and sexy chiropractors, here’s some viewing suggestions you can snuggle up with, just you and your box of technicolor nightmares:
For the Traditionalist:
Every The Simpsons “Treehouse of Horror”
Wikipedia tells us that as of this year, there are 26 of these mini-masterpieces, most featuring the hilarious, very muder-y alien duo, Kang and Kodos. How many should you watch, you ask – well, how much time do you have in between opening bags of mini-candy bars? If you’re really a Halloween introvert like me, the answer is an infinite amount, or approximately the rest of this weekend, so go get started. And if not, at least sit down with Treehouse of Horror V” in which the Matt Groening and Homer give Kubrick and Jack Nicholson a run for their money:
- Available to watch here: FXX is running a Treehouse of Horror marathon starting from 12:30 pm
For the Fashionistas
Bob’s Burgers “Full Bars” (Season 3 Ep 2)
“Nice to meet ya, now let’s Trick or Treat ya”. Sure, the grown-up’s plot involves a guinea-pig related murder mystery, but as any true Bob’s Burgers connoisseur knows, in this goofy group it’s the kids who have the most fun. There’s a seemingly endless number of quotable lines here, including Tina’s tragic description of her costume: “This year I’m a mommy mummy, and I’m single and I’m working two jobs and I’m just trying to get back out there.” Louise is a frighteningly unsupervised Edward Scissorhands and Gene, as always, does Gene:
When the three of them decamp to an island full of more upper-class families, they find that the grass really is greener sometimes – here the Halloween treats flow like wine and houses are even giving out full-sized candy bars (which, c’mon, as Gene points out, “How does this not topple your economy!?”) The rest of the episode is classic Bob’s Burgers, touching hilariously on issues of class, puberty, friendship and how we all have that one prize we’d risk it all for – for Louise and her siblings, it’s the full bars, for the Sophomore boys, it’s skinny dipping with Amanda.
- Available to watch here: Netflix streaming
For the Brave:
American Horror Story, Season 1
Most Ryan Murphy projects walk the delicate line between deliciously over the top and hot mess insanity for a season or two, before they tip right on over into full on hot mess. So it goes with American Horror Story – I stuck around for seasons two, three and part of season four (that’s the one staring Kathy Bate’s talking, dismembered head, right?), and while there were some salvageable elements of each – Season 2’s X-Files pastiche, any scene with Jessica Lange – I just can’t wholeheartedly endorse the blatant sloppiness Murphy so often tries to pass off as outre horror.
But where those additional years go wrong, season one nails the entire concept – a one-off terror extravaganza mini-series where Murphy throws everything at the wall and it all sticks. This is the one truly scary entry on my list so be prepared to hide under your slanket while every ghastly thing you can think of happens to this unfortunate LA hipster family who just happen to move into Murder House (and, really, they couldn’t find anything else? I know prices are high on the westside, but sheesh). Staring a meal of raw pigs brain and Connie Britton’s always on point hair.
- Available to watch here: Netflix streaming
For the Crier
E.T.the Extra Terrestrial
I’m always surprised to realize this movie actually came out the year before I was born, because I swear it could be part documentary about my childhood. My parents weren’t divorced back then and I didn’t play hookey from school to hang out with a cool alien (I played hookey from school to binge watch Three’s Company and hang out with my grandma if you must know), but there’s just something about the way Elliott and his peers run through their world, his mom and the other adults always just out of center of the camera, that captures the aching loneliness and soaring freedom of a late 80s/early 90s childhood. And no, I’m not already tearing up right now, damn you, pre-war-movies Spielberg!
The Halloween tie-ins are great too – there are parts that are genuinely frightening: E.T.’s first appearance in the backyard, the space-suited NASA guys invading Elliott’s home, and then the whole plots comes to revolve around the holiday – who can forget that pivotal scene where E.T. and Drew Barrymore are embarrassed to find they’ve picked out the same ghost-in-a-bedsheet costume, or Elliott’s mom as a sexy but sad divorcee kitten. Oh and if you’re not sobbing yet, just think about those wilting flowers while listening to 5 minutes of this:
- Available to watch here: you should probably own a copy of this, but if not it’s available for rent from Amazon
For Everyone, especially Kevin
Community, “Epidemiology” (Season 2, Episode 6)
With Jeff dressed as David Beckham and a soundtrack full of Abba, how does this party go so wrong? Just ask the Dean who brought the arm-surplus ground meat to the buffet. It’s part of my annual Halloween ritual to sit down and watch this episode, usually right after I’ve given up on trying to carve some cool pop culture reference into a damn pumpkin, and it never fails. Every throw away line is funnier than the one before it, and as far as smart comedy takes on zombie films go, it’s right up there with Sean of the Dead. Really it’s just one of those Community episodes that goes to prove, when Dan Harmon is on, he is God. And at the end you realize it’s as full of lessons as it jokes – stay away from sketchy taco meat, fear your fellow humans, don’t let them eat you, and yeah, save them if you can. Also, as Shirley points out:
(Oh and to top it all off, if you’re name happens to be Kevin, there’s a little something extra for you from George Takei himself! This is some quality TV folks)
- Available to watch here: Hulu streaming