Tuesday, October 21, 2014


In this year's edition of The Simpsons’ popular Halloween season special episode - aka, Treehouse of Terror XXV - the second segment was an extended riff on one of Stanley Kubrick's most popular, yet controversial, films: A Clockwork Orange.

While some might find it odd that an ostensible children's cartoon should be so thoroughly influenced by a film that was once rated-X for its "ultra-violent" content (including a vicious rape), this episode, like most Treehouses of Terror that have come before, was rated TV-14, and thus aimed at a slightly older, more knowing cohort. In any case, A Clockwork Orange has long since ascended to the pantheon of global cinematic milestones, so the haters had better get used to its (admittedly somewhat ugly) presence on the scene.

Furthermore, Clockwork isn't the only Kubrick film to be referenced during this segment. Here and now, I will attempt to catalog all the Kubrick references to be found in The Simpsons' A Clockwork Yellow.

1. First, the title, which seems to be not just a rather obvious riff on A Clockwork Orange, but also a play on the infamous Mad Magazine parody of said film, titled A Crockwork Lemon… lemons being yellow and all.

2. The Simpsons writers have made up their own version of NadSat - the language spoken by Alex in Clockwork - and it's pretty clever. I won't bother detailing all the lingo used, as that would require me printing the entire script. Suffice it to say that it's a long-running gag, and it works well.

3. The music is essentially the same as Walter Carlos' iconic Clockwork Orange score. The "Duff Dudes" furniture takes the place of the naked lady sculptures, and the entire mise-en-scene and choreography of Clockwork Orange is slavishly followed.

4. Although Moloko signs plaster the wall of the bar, it's Duff that has the variety of flavors. So, instead of Moloko VelocetDrenchrom and Synthmesc, you have Duff TipsySurlyDizzyQueasySleazy and Edgy.

5. "The old in-out, in-out", being a euphemism for sex and/or rape in ACO, becomes a game to be played with the automatic doors (at the UKWIKE-MART) in ACY.

6. In this direct parody of the record store scene in ACO, "Dum" (Homer) strolls past albums titled in parody of various Kubrick films. There's "Dr. Strangelaugh" (a play on Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, featuring the ever-chuckling Dr. Hubbard), "Paths of Gravy" (a play on Paths of Glory), "Full Milton Jacket" (a play on Full Metal Jacket) and "D'oh!Lita" (a play on Lolita).

7. Instead of Beethoven, whom ACO's Alex refers to as "Ludwig Van", Dim wants to listen to soul singer Luther Vandross, whom ACY's Dum refers to as "Luther Van".

8. A clever play on the sped-up sex scene from ACO, in which the Clocwork Orange novel is read by Marge, and Dum just eats stuff. They do flip the mattress, as in ACO, which is a nice touch.

9. A very Kubrickean sans-serif interstitial title card, more likely to be seen in 2001 and The Shining than in Clockwork, but there you go. It's still Kubrickean!.

10. A direct parody of the most popular image from ACO, only this time, poor Moe is watching Fox.

11. The infamous Home Invasion scene from ACO is replayed with only a single victim this time...

12. ...and the infamous penis sculpture murder from the Cat Lady's house in ACO turns into a Shmoo sculpture murder in ACY.

13. Just as Pete and Georgie become police and turn on Alex in ACO, so to do Moe's former cohorts, only this time...

14. ...they decide to rejoin him, just in time to recreate an iconic slo-mo stroll from ACO!

15. Time for another Home invasion.

16. Uh-oh. Looks like they decided to drop in on Springfield's version of Somerton, the evil-dripping Rothschild chateau featured so prominently in Eyes Wide Shut! As Mr Burns declares, reflecting the sentiments of many critics in 1999: "Welcome to the most frustrating, befuddling and, yes, erotic book launch party that you've ever attended!" The book in question just happens to be a great big Taschen coffee table book. The fact that Taschen has put out some of the most coveted (and pricey) Kubrick-related books in the history of publishing cannot be a simple coincidence, here.

17. Just like the party Tom Cruise gate-crashes in EWS, this place is chock-a-block with "be-costumed weirdos".

18. "Sex blockers, keep blocking!" A reference to the egregious censorship suffered by EWS between the time of Kubrick's death and its theatrical run.

19. Moe intrudes on Full Metal Jacket's Private Gomer Pyle in the latrine, getting ready to... well... you know.

20. One of perhaps a dozen or so 2001 references in the history of The Simpsons.

21. And another!

22. "Even I forget what this is in reference to!" Poor Barry Lyndon... it can't get any respect, despite being a masterpiece.

23. Moe was cured, all right!

24. After dozens upon dozens of Kubrick references in The Simpsons, we finally, at long last, get a Kubrick CAMEO! I bet he would have loved it...

25. ...even though they make him out to be a bit of a megalomaniacal sour-puss at the end, there.


Well, that's all the references I could spot! If you were able to find any others, please list them below, in the comments section for this story!

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