Season of the Count: Bart Simpson’s Dracula
Dracula might be the most powerful monster in all of fiction.
I don’t mean skill sets here – Michael and Jason could probably rip him in half – but in terms of media clout, who can match him? From Bram Stoker’s original novel, the artist also known as Vlad the Impaler hasn’t met a media platform that he couldn’t enforce his will upon. Whether it’s adaptations of his source novel, millions of books, TV shows, and other movies that he has appeared in, the Count always wants centre stage. So lets talk about how The Simpsons threw something together with vampires.
The Simpsons has become one of those media phenomenas that, if it mentions you, you know you’ve made it. Season five’s Treehouse of Horror was an especially reverent one for the show – previous entries dealt with haunted houses, Grampa seeing a lot of movies, and many people’s (myself included) introduction to Edgar Allan Poe in their take on The Raven. The three stories that make up Treehouse of Horror IV deal with the devil, recreate the most famous Twilight Zone episode, and finally, give Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie, and an unknown assailant the vampire treatment.
This episode was my introduction to vampires. While it’s called Bart Simpson’s Dracula, this short story takes aim at as many vampire story conventions as it can hit. There is the wonderful adaptation of Mr Burns and Smithers into Dracula and Renfield, the echoes of The Lost Boys as Bart’s pitch to Lisa becoming a vampire is that they can stay up all night, the confusing inference that smoking was worse than vampirism. Best of all is the wonderful way that the best Treehouse of Horror stories could make bad writing into brilliant jokes; see the super fun happy slide in the vampire lair, Chief Wiggum suspecting a Mummy and destroying all the Egyptian exhibits in Springfield Museum, and finally the fact that Marge being the head vampire makes no damn sense at all.
Despite Dracula not actually being in this story, his animated shadow over-(um)shadows proceedings. He’d officially made it in TV terms as soon as The Simpsons took him on, and this was my delightfully silly introduction to the man himself. He had my attention, I wanted to know everything about him, but I also wanted to know just how horrifying Pennsylvania really was.
Check out the rest of the Season of the Count series on No But Listen!
By Kevin Boyle
(header image via Gizmodo)