Lifetime of Simpsons

S20 E08 – The Burns and the Bees

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Well, another week has come and gone. And you know what, I kind of can’t figure out what they were doing with the time periods of these episodes. We somehow went from Fourth of July one day, to the day after Christmas the next, to today’s which I guess doesn’t take place at any particular time, but does feature a special opening sequence that’s Christmas themed. None of that’s really important, but it was something weird I noticed. Anyway, on with the episode!

Things start off with Mr. Burns and Smithers heading to some sort of Billionaire’s Retreat, which basically seems like a summer camp for rich people. Sort of like Bohemian’s Grove, but without all the owl worshiping. We see the rich people just hanging out and playing stupid games together. This whole scene is a little odd, and doesn’t really go anywhere for quite some time, but it’s nice to see Smithers and Burns, I feel like the show has been kind of ignoring them lately.

We then head out to Springfield Elementary where Bart is ready to show off his latest prank. He’s spray-painted the sign for a women’s bathroom, which is outside the school for some reason, and watches as Principal Skinner walks right in because he assumes it’s a men’s room. Everyone makes fun of Skinner, and the bullies take note of Bart’s pranking. They then challenge Bart to do something pretty mean, even by his standards. Drop a bees nest on the second-graders.

Bart is a little concerned about this, but goes through with it anyway. He chucks a rock at the hive, which falls down into the crowd of second-graders. However, no bees come out. Lisa starts to investigate the hive, and finds that all of the bees are dead inside. This of course concerns Lisa, and she starts to wonder what’s wrong with the bees. And, oddly enough, it turns out that Willie is an avid apiarist, and tells Lisa that bees are dying all over Springfield.

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But before we figure out what’s killing all of the bees we have to cut back to the Billionaire’s Retreat, where things are getting odd. Mr. burns is participating in a high-stakes poker game that requires him to put up Smithers as a bet. Burns ends up winning the hand, and his prize is getting a basketball team from the Rich Texan. So that’s pretty cool. Burns now owns a basketball team, and moves them to Springfield.

Back to the bees! Lisa is very distraught over the dissapearance of the bees, and goes to Homer to complain. He doesn’t really care about the bees, until she explains that this will lead to a lack of honey. Homer then has an insane fantasy about a honey-related dystopia, which convinces him to help Lisa save the bees. So the two meet up with Professor Frink in a field of flowers to discuss what’s going on and how they can help.

Frink claims that all of the bees are dying because they’ve been infected with “bee measles” and the only way to repopulate Springfield is to get an uninfected queen. Frink actually finds an unaffected queen and they get it to sting Lisa’s face, and keep it there. The queen is then trapped, on Lisa’s face, and a whole bunch of bees arrive to take care of the queen. Yep, Lisa’s going to have a colony of bees growing on her face! But this is a sacrifice that Lisa decides is worth it, and she gets ready to live with the bees until they’re healthy enough to live on their own.

Meanwhile, Mr. Burns has decided to check in on his new team, and actually goes to a game. And when he gets there he finds that the other team is also owned by a billionaire. Mark Cuban. And Burns does not like Mark Cuban. He finds him too happy and pleasant, trying to figure out what Cuban’s secret it. And Cuban doesn’t really want to keep anything secret, and just tells Burns that he enjoys life, and spends his money having fun, telling Burns to give it a shot.

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But what about the bees you ask? Why, they’re still living on Lisa’s face, a whole colony on her goddamn face. However, Marge thinks she may have an answer to their problem. She’s found an abandoned greenhouse out in the middle of nowhere, and her and Lisa decide that this will be the perfect place for the colony to set up a massive hive so they would repopulate Springfield. Because I guess a greenhouse-sized beehive is less unsettling that one on a little girl’s face.

Tag! Back to Burns! He’s decided to take Mark Cuban’s advice, and is actually going to go to some of the games for his basketball team, and try to make himself part of the festivities. Which is a terrible plan. He begins showing up at all of the games, and it’s a serious bummer. He doesn’t know America’s national anthem, he has Victorian cheerleaders, the stadium is generally terrible, and he even shoots the gorilla mascot for the team, assuming that it’s a real animal to kill. And people are not pleased. So Burns has to search his soul, and tries to do what Mark Cuban would do. He’s going to build a fancy new stadium.

And where is he going to build it? Why right where Lisa’s greenhouse full of bees is! And you were thinking that these plots where never going to interact, didn’t you? Burns completely demolishes the greenhouse, and Lisa is forced to carry the bee colony around in a big plastic jug. She thinks she may have a way to save the bees when she organizes a Town Hall meeting about the bees, but Burns shows up with the plans for the stadium and no one cares about Lisa or her bees.

Lisa is incredibly crushed, and keeps carrying around the jug of bees, even going with Homer to Moe’s with them. But Lisa gets too distraught and leaves the bar without the bees. And that’s when Moe offers to help out. He tells Homer that he has a collection of Africanized killer bees in the back room, and tells Homer that if they cross-breed Lisa’s bees with his the offspring will be more violent and thus able to protect themselves.

We then cut to sometime in the future where Burns’ new fancy stadium is about to open. And that night Homer takes Lisa up to the hills surrounding the stadium and shows her the new race of super bees that he and Moe have created. Lisa’s a little horrified at the mutants that Homer has created. And this is not helped when the bees leave their apiary and head straight for the stadium. They fly in through the skyboxes that Burns installed, and quickly sting all of the participants, making them flee. The bees then take over Burns’ stadium, turning it into a massive hive. So Lisa’s happy, but poor Burns is no longer allowed in the billionaire’s club, since the whole stadium debacle made it so he doesn’t quite have a billion dollars.

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This episode is very odd. I’m really bummed that we haven’t been getting enough Mr. Burns episodes lately, and this one was not quite what I was looking for. Honestly, it’s a little strange that the Burns and the Lisa plots seem completely unrelated for almost the entire time. They do kind of come together nicely, but it then just becomes a typical “Mr. Burns is an asshole” plot with nothing special too it. As it stands this is just a kind of forgettable episode. I know that in real life we’re having some trouble with bees dying, so you’d think that this would be an episode about Lisa dealing with real-life issues, perhaps making the Plant the culprit. But instead they just say “bee measles” and move on. I don’t know, this is just kind of a nothing episode. Which is a lousy way to end the week, but there we are.

Take Away: Take care of bees?

“The Burns and the Bees” was written by Stephanie Gillis and directed by Mark Kirkland, 2008.

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