Ah, a crazy Mr. Burns episode, the best way to end the week. He’s just the best guys.
The episode starts off with a really goofy gag where Homer wins an employee raffle, which turns out to just be the “honor” of being a human chimney sweep for some industrial chimneys in the Plant. It’s such a weird joke, and I love it so much, because of course Mr. Burns makes people get wrapped up and dunked into a chimney, and call it a prize. Burns also apparently watches the chimney sweep thing on a TV while taking a bath in a top hat, because Mr. Burns is classy as hell. But when Mr. Burns starts complaining about the sharpness of the sponge Smithers is using on his back, Smithers goes to get a new one and ends up placing the sharp sponge on Burns’ top hat, which pushes him below the water, beginning to drown him. Burns’ life then flashes before his life, and we get a three great memories: him being a rude baby, him shooting the feet of a hobo to make him dance with a flintlock, and him sabotaging a Greenpeace boat. But Mr. Burns survives his drowning, and comes out of the bath with a vengeance. He also has gotten a taste of his own mortality, and realizes that he doesn’t have an heir for his vast fortune due to his hectic schedule and lethargic sperm. Smithers of course suggests that he gets the fortune, but Burns informs him that when he dies Smithers is going to be buried alive with him like a Pharaoh’s servant. So Burns decides he needs to find an heir!
And he goes about getting one with the craziest idea ever. He films what’s essentially a movie trailer, that’s a parody of the one for that weird Robin Williams movie Toys, that plays before movies, where he just stands there in a field telling the people of Springfield that he’s going to be hosting auditions for kids to become his heir. And it amazingly ends with him having to dance and sing the “Let’s All Go to the Lobby,” song. So the whole town heads out to Burns’ mansion to try and get their kids listed as his heir. We see Milhouse’s pitch, which is just saying he has nothing to offer but his undying love:
Burns: “I Specifically said ‘no geeks!’”
Milhouse: “But my mom says I’m cool.”
Oh Milhouse, I’m so like you it’s frightening. We also see Nelson just be a bully (which Burns likes), Martin sing show-tunes before being punched by Nelson, and Lisa who gets disqualified for being a girl. Then Bart comes out and reads from a note card that Homer wrote, which has him saying “hello Mr. Curns, I bad want money now. Me Sick. So pick please me, Mr. Burns.” This doesn’t go well, and Bart ends up getting kicked in the butt with a giant robotic boot for his troubles. But as the family heads out, sad that they didn’t get the money, Homer teaches them the important lesson of “never try.” But Bart is mad, and decides to go on a rampage on Burns’ property before leaving. He throws rocks through his windows, destroys his statues, fills his car up with water, and removes the sign prohibiting solicitors so Burns gets mobbed by salesmen. This impresses Burns, since Bart is a creature of “pure malevolence,” so he decides to make Bart his heir.
Bart then signs a contract making him Burns’ legal heir, to which Homer right away tries killing the old man. It doesn’t work, and since Burns seems very sad and lonely as he leaves, Marge tells Bart that he should go spend time with him. So Bart has an incredibly awkward dinner with Burns, before learning how to abuse his new power. Burns makes Krusty deliver a pizza in person to Bart, while just playing a rerun of him informing the kids that the Falkland Islands had been invaded. Burns also shows Bart that he has secret cameras hidden all throughout Springfield, and they watch various townsfolk do things in private, like Moe reenacting Taxi Driver, and Homer eating tulips in the bathroom. And all this new-found wealth and power goes to Bart’s head quickly, and he begins acting like a complete brat, since Burns acts that way. Homer sends Bart to his room after he fed Santas’ Little Helper the end-piece of their meatloaf, to which Bart storm out of the house to go live with Mr. Burns, which was all part of his plan. Homer storms to the mansion, assuming Burns will release bee spewing hounds at him, but Burns just shuts the door, and has won the day.
So Homer and Marge do what they always do when they find themselves in a legal problem, they head to the mall to see Lionel Hutz, who is also now repairing shoes. And, as per usual, Hutz loses the case pretty handily, to the point where Judge Snyder finds Mr. Burns to not only be Bart’s guardian, but his biological father. They’ve really got to stop hiring Lionel Hutz. So Bart begins his life as Mr. Burns’ child, which starts off with Burns buying him a sports-car, which he goes on a rampage with. And while Bart is enjoying squandering wealth, the Simpsons have hired a deprogramer to abduct Bart like he’s in a cult, and get him to come to his senses. Unfortunately he kidnapped the wrong person, but on the plus side, Hans Moleman now believes he’s Bart, and loves Homer and Marge like they’re his parents, which Homer is on board for.
But things aren’t perfect in Burns’ mansion, because even though Bart has all these toys and a ridiculous model train, none of his friends want to spend time with him, and he’s getting really lonely. Even though Burns loves Itchy and Scratchy, Bart announces that he wants to go home to his family, to which Mr. Burns brings him back to his room full of monitors and shows him what’s going on in the Simpsons’ house. We then see four obvious actors who are doing approximations of their voices announce that they don’t miss Bart and don’t want him to come home. This works on Bart, and he decides to embrace his destiny as a Burns. Then the next day, after getting outfitted with a horrible suit like the one Burns wears, Bart learns that they’re going to have some fun and fire employees. They call Lenny in, and give him the chance to defend his job if he can explain why they shouldn’t fire him without using the letter ‘E,’ which is hilarious. Lenny fails, and the next person they call in is Homer. Bart gets a real conflict going, and ends up taking the right path and he “Fires” Mr. Burns, who goes falling down the trap door that he had just sent Lenny down. So Bart heads home with his family, cut out of the will but with the knowledge that he did the right thing. Homer then cuts the emotionality of the ending by introducing Bart’s new brother Hans Moleman, before kissing his little peanut head. And man do I love the last line as we cut to the credits of Marge just saying that she “wants that thing out of her house.” Thing. Jesus Marge.
This is a really fun episode, as you would except from such a ridiculous premise. Mr. Burns is always awesome, and it was a lot of fun seeing him struggle to know how to spend time with a child. I think it’s perfect that he loves Itchy and Scratchy, and that he would just give Bart a car despite the fact that he’s too short to see and too young do drive it. Plus any episode that finds the excuse to have Homer kiss Hans Moleman has to be great.
Take Away: Wealth does not equal happiness, and Estonian dwarves are good actors.
“Burns’ Heir” was written by Jace Richdale and directed by Mark Kirkland, 1994.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons