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Exclusive: 'Simpsons' reveals Treehouse poster



Aren't babies just adorable?



Aren't babies just adorable?

Well, maybe not when they're armed to the pacifier, as Maggie Simpson is in the official mini-poster for "Treehouse of Horror XVIII," unveiled today exclusively by USA TODAY.

The annual Halloween horror-fest, airing Oct.16 as the fourth episode of its 28th season, also marks the 600th episode of the Fox animated classic.  

"We're excited because it really is the 600th episode. It's not one of those cheats where it's really 602," executive producer Al Jean jokes, referring to previous milestone celebrations that didn't quite match the exact episodic number.



The episode will put The Simpsons in rarefied territory, just 35 episodes shy of Gunsmoke's all-time record for a scripted prime time series. Fox's current deal for the animated comedy, which received two Emmy nominations Thursday, runs through episode 625, and the voice actors are under contract through a 30th season.

The Treehouse episode opens with a short segment in which Simpson foes, including Sideshow Bob, try to kill the beloved Springfield family.

The three main segments include a satire of dystopian movies in which evil Mr. Burns controls the only water in a Springfield gone dry; a story in which an imaginary friend (Sarah Silverman) from Lisa's younger days returns to kill her real friends; and a James Bond-themed segment with accents of Kingsman: The Secret Service that features bartender Moe running a secret society that tries to keep order in the world. Uh-oh!



A Bond-like anthem, performed by singer Judith Owen (wife of Simpsons stalwart Harry Shearer), closes the episode, celebrating the episodic feat.

In the mini-poster, Maggie is outfitted as a Hunger Games-like warrior, while her parents and siblings sport Halloween costumes, both references to the Treehouse episode.

Homer "is wearing a homemade Bender costume," a nod to Simpsons' creator Matt Groening's Futurama, Jean says. "Bart is a raptor. Marge is an ice cream cone and Lisa is a recycling bin."


Milestone or not, the annual Halloween episode is always special, Jean says.

"It's a big show people look forward to," he says. "Even though it's (number) 600, it's still exciting for me. I never feel like this is an old show. I feel that if this was a show that started last year, people would be excited about everything that's going on."


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