It happens every year about now. "The Simpsons," that animated money-making satire on Fox TV, airs its "Treehouse of Horror" episode to coincide with Halloween — or at least as close to the holiday as possible, given the uncertainties of the World Series.
But this year the show is scheduled to air the first week in November, two days before the midterm congressional election, and it has caused more of a stir than usual.
A synopsis helps explain why.
The segment, titled "The Day the Earth Was Stupid," is a takeoff on Orson Welles' infamous 1938 radio broadcast, "The War of The Worlds."
Dig out your history books.
Welles' broadcast caused widespread panic back then, despite repeated assurances that it was fiction.
Back to the future.
In the Simpson's version, the confusion the radio broadcast created sets the stage for an invasion by Kang and Kodos, the lime-green aliens who have appeared in every Halloween, sorry — "Treehouse Horror" special. The parallels to the U.S. occupation of Iraq are not subtle.
After the aliens destroy Springfield, home to the Simpson clan, they talk about the invasion and the occupation that will follow.
"Well, the Earthlings continue to resent our presence," Kang says. "You said we'd be greeted as liberators!"
"Don't worry," says Kodos. "We still have the people's hearts and minds." In the show's characteristic over-the-top sarcasm, Kodos then holds up a brain and heart.
"I don't know," says Kang. "I'm starting to think 'Operation Enduring Occupation' was a bad idea."
Kodos disagrees. "We had to invade. They were working on weapons of mass disintegration."