I’ve been saying it a lot lately, but there’s been a significant lack of Mr. Burns in this era of the show. It used to be that we’d get like four or five episodes that revolved around the loveable villain every season, but lately we’ve been lucky to get one. Which is a shame, because I really adore the guy. So here we go, a Mr. Burns episode. Cherish it!
The episode starts off with the Simpsons heading off to Chinatown to gawk at sight-gags. Man, the Simpsons really go on a lot of weird trips together. Anyway, they wander Chinatown, looking at a real dragon and end up getting some luck at Bob’s Big Buddha. So they have a good meal, and of course are rewarded with some fortune cookies. Unfortunately, they realize that the fortunes are pretty lame. Homer’s was about how troublesome geese can be.
So of course Homer has to complain to the management about the fortune cookies. And shockingly, the manager actually cares about this complaint, and reveals that he has a writing staff in-house churning them out. And boy is he impressed by Homer’s fortune suggestions. So impressed that he gives Homer a job on the spot, bringing him into the writer’s room and telling them they all need to step up their game. Especially Woody Allen.
So yeah, Homer has a new job. He starts working from home, making up a whole bunch of fun little fortunes that the people of Springfield start to love. They all start to think that the fortunes are real, and everyone’s having a great time. Which is where Mr. Burns comes in. He and Smithers order some takeout and when the meal is over Burns is shocked to find that his fortune promises that he’ll find true love on Flag Day. And wouldn’t you know, that day is Flag Day!
So Smithers and Burns hit the town, looking for love! The travel around Springfield, stopping at some rich people soiree that ends with Mr. Monopoly stealing the lady of Burns’ affection and a visit to a nude female fire station (strip club). So the night hasn’t gone great. And it gets worse when they head back to Burn’s limo and find that a cop is writing him a ticket. But when they approach the officer it turns out she’s a beautiful woman named Gloria. And taking this as a sign, Burns asks her out, despite him being 200 years old, and her being 30-something. But she agrees for one date.
Sometime later the two head to a carnival, and actually have a good time. Burns is struggling to seem hip and fun, but he does a decent job and the two shockingly have a pretty great time. However, Gloria can’t get over the age-gap, and tries to shut down the romance. But Mr. Burns is persistent, like all creeps, and tries to insist that he does all sorts of fun, youthful stuff with his buddy Homer, who just so happens to be walking by. Homer goes along with it, and convinces Gloria that she should give Burns another shot, and she agrees.
So a couple nights later the awkward little trio head out to Disco Stu’s to dance and be young. Burns is handling himself pretty well, while taking gasps of oxygen from a little tank in his coat. And the date goes so well that Gloria decides to have sex with Burns, which seems illogical, but he has some crazy ancient aphrodisiac that gives him super-stamina and lets him perform. We also get to see Homer take the drug, run home, and have sex with Marge that’s apparently so loud that not only do the kids hear it, but Ned too.
And once medicated sex has occurred, the two actually seem to be in love! They start going on all sorts of silly dates, with Homer awkwardly accompanying them, and their relationship really starts to blossom. It even gets to the point that Burns decides to propose to Gloria, in the dorkiest way possible. The old ring in the bowling ball trick! And shockingly, she says yes. And to celebrate Burns heads off to get champagne from the bowling alley, while Homer congratulates Gloria.
But disaster strikes when we see that Snake is heading into the bowling alley to rob it. But this isn’t going to go in the way you’d expect from that setup, because as soon as Snake gets inside the alley he recognizes Gloria as his old girlfriend. Apparently they used to date, until Snake got arrested the last time, and now he wants her back. She refuses, saying that she’s engaged to Mr. Burns now, but he doesn’t take no for an answer, and kidnaps her, and Homer when he tries to fight back. So the three leave the building, as Gloria’s wedding ring falls to the ground.
Burns finds the ring and comes to the conclusion that Homer and Gloria must have run off together, and he vows vengeance. But while that’s going on we see that Snake is driving Homer and Gloria to his secret hideout, trying his best to convince Gloria that he’s changed and that she should come back to him. She just keeps refusing and they eventually get to the hideout where Snake ties Homer up and keeps harping on Gloria.
Meanwhile, Mr. Burns has reported the kidnapping and the police have started to swarm out, trying to find Snake’s hideout. They quickly find the hideout, and once their realize that Homer isn’t the kidnapper, he’s just another victim. So the police try negotiating with Snake while Homer does his best to break out. Which doesn’t go well, because his idea is to burn the ropes with a fire, and ends up lighting the whole damned hideout on fire.
So Homer and Snake run out of the building, scared of the fire, leaving Gloria behind. And Mr. Burns cannot abide that. After mustering up some courage Burns marches into the burning building, and after a little bit of time the pair comes bursting out the hideout, but with Gloria saving Mr. Burns at that point. So they both safe and in love! That is until Gloria realizes that she still has a thing for Snake, since we obviously couldn’t end this episode with Burns in a new relationship. So Burns is alone again, and commiserates with the Simpsons about the fact that she likes bad-boys and he’s completely evil, while also having a big conversation about facial hair.
I kind of like this episode. Homer and Mr. Burns palling around is always fun to me, and I really liked seeing them do their best at being young and youthful. But despite some great humor, there was something about the episode that kind of rubbed me the wrong way. Shitty men’s rights activist stuff. Both Burns and Snake can’t take no for an answer in this episode, and just keep complaining to Gloria, trying to convince her to change her mind and be with them. And that’s obnoxious. The kinds of guys who think that they can change a woman’s mind, and that they deserve to be loved by whoever they are fixated on, are pretty much the worst. I’m positive that this episode wasn’t trying to allow this kind of behavior, and it’s just my 2016 eyes looking at it, but it was just a little odd to me.
Take Away: Don’t be a creep and obsess over a woman. They can make up their own minds.
“A Hunka Hunka Burns in Love” was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by Lance Kramer, 2001.