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The Simpsons’ Treehouse Of Horror Delivered A Twisted Take On Bambi, And I Like This Version Better

Bart in the treehouse with Lisa, Maggie, and Milhouse
(Image credit: Fox)

Warning! The following contains spoilers for The Simpsons' episode “Treehouse of Horror XXXII.” Read at your own risk!

The Simpsons often likes to poke fun at its execs and owners, though some fans feared those days were gone when Disney took over as its parent company. Luckily, successive seasons and specials have indicated Disney is okay with the comedy poking fun, and the latest "Treehouse of Horror" went above and beyond with an absolutely twisted take on the Disney classic Bambi. And as twisted as it is, I think I like it better than the original!

The special opened with a sappy forest sequence that, at first, looked like something straight out of a Disney movie. It didn’t take long for animals to start getting injured and killed as a sweet ballad played over the mildly disturbing animations, which made it very clear that this was definitely not Disney. Just check out the lyrics:

Love is a song that never ends, sunshine turns to rain. In Disney cartoons, a parent dies. Life will be full of pain. We bring tears to children's eyes, they'll never sleep again!

The scene transitioned from a raccoon with a pumpkin on his head falling to his death to "Barti," a deer fawn that looked like Bart and Bambi combined. Barti was in the midst of frolicking with his bunny buddy who looked a Milhouse version of Bambi's Thumper, when Barti’s mother (doe with Marge’s head) warned the duo of a hunter in the forest. Milhouse wasn’t too concerned, and since this is "Treehouse of Horror," he quickly had his head and leg blown off by the hunter's bullets. 

Barti and his mother ran through the forest from the hunter, but only Barti arrived back at the den. My stomach turned when I realized what came next in the original Bambi, but surprisingly, The Simpsons flipped the script. Barti’s mother escaped unharmed, but only because Homer as a buck arrived with the hunter (played by Mr. Burns) impaled on his antlers. The Homer deer then tossed the hunter around with another deer (played by Lenny) with their antlers, before they both devoured him. 

"Barti" defied the classic Disney formula of killing parents like in Bambi (and The Lion King and Frozen and plenty others), and that subversion certainly made it the most enjoyable bit of The Simpsons’ “Treehouse of Horror XXXII” for me. Granted, watching the Springfield residents play out the events of Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite was a close second, though not quite as on point as past parodies these specials have done. 

Plus, Barti gave me the idea that The Simpsons should do its own Disney special because I’d love to see the other ways the writing team could mock some of the greatest stories of my childhood. At the very least, can the next "Treehouse of Horror" deliver another twist on a Disney classic? I hope so. 

The Simpsons airs on Fox Sundays at 8:00 p.m. ET. For more on the franchise, read up on creator Matt Groening’s thoughts about some recent changes the series made with casting.

Mick Joest

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.