"The Simpsons" towers over all other animated series at the Emmys. In its 26 seasons (and counting), this FOX Sunday night staple has racked up 81 Emmy nominations in all, with 28 wins. Among these, "The Simpsons" has won Best Animated Program 10 times out of 25 nominations. However, its last win in this top race was back in 2007.
This year "The Simpsons" producers have submitted the annual Halloween episode, "Treehouse of Horror XXV." It kicks off with Bart Simpson sent to school in hell, then turns into a parody of "A Clockwork Orange" that devolves into a send-up of all the works of Stanley Kubrick and concludes with the Simpsons clan haunted by previous incarnations of themselves.
Past editions of this Halloween special have reaped 13 nominations, including bids in this category in 1996 and 2013 as well as nine for Music Composition and two for Sound Mixing. However, they lost all of those races. This year's episode is up against two previous category champs, a returning nominee and a first-time contender.
Last year's winner, "Bob's Burgers," is back and has entered "Can't Buy Me Math." Tina, the eldest of the main character's children, starts dating fellow nerd Daryl (voiced by Aziz Ansari) in an effort to increase their clout so they end up with people for whom they truly pine. However, Tina finds herself falling for Daryl. A Tina-centric episode is what helped the show win last year after two losses.
Five-time champ "South Park" (2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012) reaped its 14th bid and entered the episode "Freemium Isn't Free." Stan becomes hooked on a gaming app featuring Canada's biggest celebrities, Terrance and Phillip. The pair object to being used for this kind of product and it's revealed that this is part of an evil plot hatched by the Canadian devil, Beelzeboot. The social commentary on how such apps target vulnerable people makes this a very tempting pick.
Ater scoring its first nomination last year, "Archer" is back and has submitted the episode "Pocket Listing." The gang at the spy agency (formerly called ISIS) is tapped to help the CIA swindle the ruling monarchs of a foreign ally by tricking them into viewing a piece of real estate. Various spies engage in selfish behavior which leads to many close calls for the mission. This was one of the best reviewed episodes of the season. It marked a welcome return to having all the characters participating in the mission and the animation detail is striking.
The final nominee is "Over the Garden Wall," a Cartoon Network miniseries that had 10 episodes of between 10 and 15 minutes in length. Two brothers, Wirt (Elijah Wood) and Greg (Collin Dean) get lost in a magical woods and find their way back home through a series of misadventures. Another miniseries, "The Penguins of Madagascar," picked up this prize in 2012. As the only long-form entry, "Over the Garden Wall" could be the apple in a basket of oranges for Emmy voters.
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Photo: "The Simpsons," Credit: FOX