Over the long run of The Simpsons, there have been many episodes which feature three mini-stories that are held together by a backbone story plot. The reason for three segments is due to the commercial break structure of the show.
Treehouse of Horror episodes
The Treehouse of Horror episodes are the most well known, but there have been many others. They began in season 2, and each season since has had one Treehouse of Horror episode. After season 5, the backbone story was removed from the Halloween episodes, but the three mini-stories still remain.
Treehouse of Horror episodes
- Treehouse of Horror from Season 2
- Treehouse of Horror II from Season 3
- Treehouse of Horror III from Season 4
- Treehouse of Horror IV from Season 5
- Treehouse of Horror V from Season 6
- Treehouse of Horror VI from Season 7
- Treehouse of Horror VII from Season 8
- Treehouse of Horror VIII from Season 9
- Treehouse of Horror IX from Season 10
- Treehouse of Horror X from Season 11
- Treehouse of Horror XI from Season 12
- Treehouse of Horror XII from Season 13
- Treehouse of Horror XIII from Season 14
- Treehouse of Horror XIV from Season 15
- Treehouse of Horror XV from Season 16
- Treehouse of Horror XVI from Season 17
- Treehouse of Horror XVII from Season 18
- Treehouse of Horror XVIII from Season 19
- Treehouse of Horror XIX from Season 20
- Treehouse of Horror XX from Season 21
- Treehouse of Horror XXI from Season 22
- Treehouse of Horror XXII from Season 23
- Treehouse of Horror XXIII from Season 24
- Treehouse of Horror XXIV from Season 25
- Treehouse of Horror XXV from Season 26
- Treehouse of Horror XXVI from Season 27
- Treehouse of Horror XXVII from Season 28
Several episodes do not fall into the normal pattern of 3 mini-stories.
In "22 Short Films About Springfield," Bart and Milhouse wonder about the various stories happening around Springfield. The episode inspired Simpsons creator Matt Groening to come up with a concept of a possible spin-off series called Tales from Springfield, about the recurring characters of Springfield, but the series was never picked up.
In "Springfield Up," flashbacks of several characters are used, featuring them at different points of their lives.
The episodes "Another Simpsons Clip Show" and "All Singing, All Dancing" are more properly categorized as clip shows but also fit the pattern of a vignette anthology type story. The separate items are taken from previous episodes, but the backbone story used influences the overall clip content. In "Another Simpsons Clip Show," the theme is love stories, and "All Singing, All Dancing," has a musical theme.
The other clip show episodes could be considered anthology stories. However, with "So It's Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show," "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular," "Behind the Laughter," and "Gump Roast," the central backbone story is not connected to the clip content, which is much more random and general.
In this format, the same story line is told from several different perspectives (points-of-view, or POV). This storytelling technique, made famous by Akira Kurosawa's film Rashomon, has been used by several other FOX shows, including Malcolm in the Middle and Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles.
In "Trilogy of Error," the story is told from Homer's POV, then Lisa's, then finally Bart's.
"The Seemingly Never-Ending Story" is another POV story, with several different threads telling the same narative from different perspectives.
List of Episodes
What follows is a list of these episodes.
- Treehouse of Horror XVI
- Simpson Christmas Stories
- The Seemingly Never-Ending Story
- The Wettest Stories Ever Told