I think we can safely say that the writers and producers of “The Simpsons” aren’t Trump voters. And not just because, in the opening moments of Sunday’s episode (7 p.m., Fox/Ch. 13), there’s a Trump-Putin lawn sign in front of one Springfield home.
That’s quickly followed by a poll worker telling a voter, “I’m gonna need to see three forms of ID. Twelve if you’re a Democrat” — as “election supervisor” Roger Stone cackles in the background.
Not surprisingly, Homer Simpson is stumped by the choice for president, leaving young Lisa astonished.
“By all that’s decent, how could you forget everything that’s happened the last four years?” Lisa asks — and a long list of events scrolls up the screen, ranging from “Put children in cages” and "Called white supremacists ‘fine people’ to “Called Tim Cook ‘Tim Apple’” and “Can’t get wife to hold hand.”
It’s not exactly pro-Biden — he’s not mentioned, except in a shot of Springfield showing billboards touting both candidates — but it’s clearly anti-Trump. And this being the annual “Treehouse of Horror” episode, the writers have come up with the most terrifying conclusion to the election they can imagine.
You may recall that “The Simpsons” got a lot of undeserved credit for “predicting” Trump would be elected president 16 years before it happened. The March 19, 2000, episode showed us a future in which Lisa Simpson was president and says of her predecessor, “We’ve inherited quite a budget crunch from President Trump.”
But to attribute that — or any of the other times “The Simpsons” has accurately “foretold” the future — to any sort of prescience on the part of the show’s writers ignores the thousands of times they’ve gotten it wrong. They’re throwing out dozens of gags in every episode, and occasionally one turns out to match some future reality.
That’s not criticism of the show or the writers, who are the first to say that the Trump “prediction” was a wild coincidence — and they only threw it in because, in 2000, the prospect of the buffoonish real estate developer best known for his bankrupt casinos becoming president was ludicrous. Executive producer Al Jean, creator Matt Groening and other “Simpsons” writers have made it clear they threw in the Trump joke because they thought it was preposterous and laughable.
And, of course, the opening credits on the Nov. 16, 2016, episode — five days after Trump was elected — featured a scowling Bart writing on the blackboard: “Being right sucks.”
So maybe we shouldn’t get too upset about the upcoming episode, which gives us a glimpse of the future if Trump wins reelection. It’s not pretty.
If you’re wondering why the Halloween episode is airing the day after Halloween, thank baseball. It was originally scheduled for Oct. 18, but got moved when the National League Championship Series went to Game 7. A week later, Fox aired Game 5 of the World Series.
While “Treehouse of Horror” always airs around Halloween, there’s very little overtly Halloween-ish about this year’s 31st edition, with the exception of Homer hogging the candy. In one segment, “Toy Story” becomes “Toy Gory” (done in “Toy Story”-ish 3D animation); another parodies “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” with “Into the Homer-Verse”; and in “Be Nine, Rewind,” Lisa turns 9 over and over again, a la “Groundhog Day” and various other time-loop stories.
(There’s even a Harlan Ellison joke in that one, for those few of you who’ll get it.)
You can argue that “The Simpsons” isn’t as good as it was in its first decade. Or its second. Or its third. But there are laugh-out-loud moments in this Season 32 episode.
Strip dodgeball fallout
How does a “Bachelorette” villain become a hero overnight? By calling out a game of strip dodgeball.
Yosef Abrody was being set up as a bad guy on the current season of the ABC show — he was outspoken, and he came across as kind of a jerk. But then he confronted bachelorette Clare Crawley about the strip dodgeball game in the previous episode, calling it “humiliating and degrading” and adding, “I’m ashamed to be associated with you. I can’t believe I sacrificed so much to be here just to watch this distasteful and classless display.”
Even if he is a jerk, Abrody (who wasn’t one of the four naked men forced to hug Clare in that episode) was right. And rather than show an ounce of humility or regret, Crawley went on the attack, wagging her finger and saying, “Do not ever talk to me like that. ... Get out of here.”
That wasn’t all that effective given that (a) she was wrong, and (b) she was firing a guy who had already resigned.
Before anybody talks you into appearing on a reality show, remember — this is how Crawley is going to be identified and remembered for the rest of her life.
Oh, and a show SPOILER ALERT of sorts. (Don’t read if you really don’t want to know and you haven’t already heard.) ABC has basically confirmed that Crawley is quitting “The Bachelorette” in the next episode (Thursday, 7 p.m., Ch. 4) because she’s fallen in love with one of the remaining bachelors. And they’re bringing in a replacement bachelorette.
“[Host] Chris Harrison pays Clare a visit and cautions her that her journey cannot continue on its current path, only to have her make a stunning revelation,” according to ABC. “Chris shares the startling news with the guys that the cocktail party and rose ceremony are canceled.”
Whatever. According to reports, ABC had another bachelorette in quarantine more than a week before this happened, waiting for the “surprise” switch.