mostly, The Simpsons Annual Treehouse of Horror special events occur in their own personal continuity. This allows for any tonal shifts, character deaths, or plot twists to bedevil Springfield before the setting resets for the next brief period. It also gives the episodes a natural freedom of movement.
In particular, some iterations of a long-running series have technically canonical relationships with the rest of the series — something that will be discussed later. The Simpsons Finally it was abandoned. As described in the DVD description for the episode The Simpsons: The Complete Second Season“Treehouse of Horror” was received as an opportunity to break the usual restrictions on the series – which is well established, especially in those first scenes.
How can the first Treehouse technically be canon?
The original “Treehouse of Horror” leaned into the meta-element from the intro, with Marge Simpson taking center stage at the beginning of the episode to warn viewers that the show was particularly scary. But the episode itself — featuring the introduction of Kang and Kodos with a retelling of Edgar Allan Poe. The crow — comes with a framing device firmly planted in standard Simpsons reality. Short shots focus on Bart, Lisa and Maggie sitting in the treehouse telling scary stories after trick or treating. The framing device connects Wild Adventures to the main show — a trend that continued for the next two seasons.
Both of the next two Treehouse episodes featured similar sarcastic statements, with Homer and Marge speaking directly to the audience. Season 3’s “Treehouse of Horror II” sees Homer, Bart and Lisa eat a lot of candy when they come home from trick-or-treating, leading to a series of nightmares — including Twilight Zone parody — used as shorts. It mostly plays with what seems to be standard canon for the series — at least until the episode “The Twist of Horror” ends with Mr. Burns’ head attached to Homer’s body. Still, it continues the trend of portraying the show’s imagined situations through the show’s main characters. This continued in Season 4’s “Treehouse of Horror III”, which mostly focused on the scary stories told at the Halloween party at the Simpsons’ house.
How the Horror Treehouse has changed over the years
These technical canon connections ended in Season 5’s “Treehouse of Horror IV,” which consisted entirely of meta-framing devices, exploring the anthology of horror in error. Night gallery Bart replacing Rod Sterling. After that, the tangent connection with the ground The Simpsons Reality has been removed from Treehouse episodes. It coincides with the addition of direct parodies in the Treehouse episodes and speaks to the general evolution of the special (and the show around it). As the series embraced increasingly cartoonish elements at the height of its Golden Age, even the meta warnings stopped following the “horror vine.”
These weren’t the only changes to the traditional Halloween episode over the years. The episodes were originally featured as part of the intro “Funny Tombstones”, but this was removed in “Treehouse of Horror V”. Following the 6th episode of “Treehouse of Horror V”, the meta-warnings given to the audience have been replaced by various cold openings. Horror name variations of the typical credits were added in “Treehouse of Horror II” and ended briefly before Season 12 and Season 13’s Treehouse episodes returned by popular demand. This is also explained in the DVD commentary for that episode. The third season of The Simpsons.
The end of established relationships marked a change in the Treehouse of Horror specials and the show as a whole. As the series goes on, it gets more cartoonish and weird — for better or for worse. The Treehouse episodes followed, with the previous shorts lacking much of the cartoony over-the-top gore and violence that foreshadowed future horror entries in the series. It’s a minor quirk of the franchise as a whole, but it quietly highlights one of the show’s most important evolutionary steps, embracing the alien without being bound by the confines of a more grounded reality.