We’ve certainly had an embarrassment of riches when it comes to Lisa episode in this Season, but there are still some odd gaps that the show has. We’ve had a couple episodes that let Grandpa shine lately, but we still haven’t had many Mr. Burns episodes in the last couple seasons. And that gets fixed today. Kind of. Because don’t we all want to see Mr. Burns wandering around with amnesia and being abused by the town? Because that’s what we’re getting!
Things begin with a Fox News helicopter flying to a secret meeting inside of the Statue of Liberty’s head. The Fox News executive meets with several other representatives of the main stream media who are all meeting in order to discuss the newest panic they need to invent in order to drive up ratings. They all agree that it’s time for a horrible disease, and after acquiring one they pick the housecat as the scapegoat, and start filling the population with fear.
And it works wonderfully. The people of Springfield, and especially the Simpsons, become immediately fearful of the housecat flu and begin rapidly destroying all of their cat accessories in the hopes that they can avoid the flu. And then of course a vaccine is released, and the whole town flocks to the hospital to get it. Unfortunately they only have enough for one shot per family, so people are going to have to make some hard decisions.
Things get awkward though when Mr. Burns arrives, and drives up the front of the line. He expects vaccines for himself, Smithers, and all of his hounds, despite the fact that dogs can’t get this made up disease. But Mayor Quimby is terrified of Mr. Burns’ wealth, so he allows him to buy up most of the vaccines for his dogs, much to the fury of the rest of the town. And it isn’t helped that when Burns is leaving his drives over the box with the rest of the vaccines, destroying them.
Meanwhile, Mr. Burns returns to his home and awaits his private doctor to administer the vaccines. But after running some routine blood tests before giving Burns the vaccines, the doctors makes a startling discovery. Burns has a whole variety of horrible diseases, and the doctor says that he probably has five or six weeks to live. Burns is obviously pretty distraught about this, but decides that there’s one thing he has to do before he dies.
He’s going to throw a massive party for the people of Springfield to tell them he’s dying so they can talk about how much they adore him. Because Mr. Burns is a lunatic. He then organizes a huge party, doesn’t fill in the guests about why they’re there, and expects things to go swimmingly. But when Mr. Burns announces what’s going on he finds something shocking. People are super excited about his impending death, and begin cheering.
This really flummoxes Mr. Burns, and he realizes that he’s really and truly hated. Which isn’t helped when he announces his money is going to go to create a poisonous but addictive fruit that looks like him. The town then moves from celebration to rioting, as they do, and they begin destroying the party. Burns manages to escape, and heads back to his mansion. And that night he decides that he’s going to kill himself, and goes to a cliff-side, ready to jump to his doom.
But Smithers finds him, and manages to talk him down. Unfortunately a stiff breeze kicks up and Burns is sucked off the cliff. He’s thrown through a ridiculous cartoon scenario, smashing into all sorts of things in the forest below, before landing in a clearing, unconscious. Which is where things get crazy. Because the next morning Bart finds Burns in the clearing, with massive amnesia, and unable to remember who he is or anything about human interaction.
So Bart obviously decides to make Burns think his name is Oatmeal, and takes him home to be his pet. The episode then briefly becomes an ET parody with Bart trying to take care of Burns while hiding him from his family. Meanwhile, things are getting weird all over. Smithers is incredibly depressed, and has had to take a job working for Dick Cheney. And people all over the world are traveling to Springfield so they can spit on Burns’ ceremonial grave.
And right around then the family suddenly learns the truth about Mr. Burns when he comes strolling into the living room. The family is then faced with the choice of what to do with him, and Homer believes that they should get revenge for all of the things he’s done to them. Lisa believes that his amnesia deserves him some clemency though, and tells them that he deserves a second chance. So they decide to bring him to a Town Hall meeting to let the town decide.
And they overwhelmingly want to punish Burns. Lisa tries valiantly to convince them that revenge isn’t necessary, but instead they come up with a schedule where everyone gets Burns for half an hour to do whatever they want to him. We then get a montage of things that people decide to do to Burns, like Homer and Bart getting him in to a construction yard to get into Looney Tunes shenanigans, Apu uses him as a human shield during a robbery, and Nelson pretend that he’s his dad.
But eventually people get bored. Mr. Burns ends up coming back to Homer, and he finds he doesn’t have any ideas on what to do to punish him. And because they won’t let Maggie shoot him again, Lisa decides to take him. And she’s going to do something nice for him. So Lisa leads Mr. Burns back to his mansion, which is all closed up, in the hopes that he’ll remember something. And when he sees a throne of skulls he does remember something. His old personality. Yep, Mr. Burns snaps right back to his old self.
Burns then heads over to Dick Cheney’s secret bunker to buy Smithers back, and the pair return to Springfield to get revenge on their revenge. He arrives in town in a helicopter, and announces that, after reading Stephen King’s Under the Dome, he’s decided to cover the town in a giant dome! They then point out that this has already happened to them. He then has a little hissy fit, until Marge points out that he’s now lived past his six week prognosis, and she thinks it’s because he lived a couple weeks as a good person. Burns is shocked by this idea, until he instead decides that the key to his eternal life is hatred, and he just goes back to being normal.
So yeah, this is a weird episode. I’m really not sure how I feel about it. The idea that Burns has a lot of diseases is obviously something that’s already been done, and I think the town celebrating his death is not exactly a novel idea. What is interesting though is the idea of having Mr. Burns suffer some severe amnesia and then turn sweet and naïve. That’s a pretty interesting idea, and one that pays off it pretty fun ways. I’m not sure how I feel about the ending though. Obviously they couldn’t have kept Mr. Burns like this, but him just snapping back and having not learned anything is kind of a bummer. I don’t know, I can’t really figure out what it is about the episode that’s keeping me from liking it. I love Mr. Burns, and I love the town pestering him because of all of his horrible deeds, but there’s just something about the episode that doesn’t work for me. Oh well, I’m sure there’ll be more Burns episodes in the future.
Take Away: Vengeance is a little hollow.
“The Fool Monty” was written by Michael Price and directed by Steve Dean Moore, 2010.
Categories: Lifetime of Simpsons