Posts Tagged ‘Burns’ Heir

23
Aug
14

Saturday Marathon Open Thread

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Per IGN, here’s the schedule for the next 24 hours:

8/23 11:00 AM ET – “Burns’ Heir”
8/23 11:30 AM ET – “Sweet Seymour Skinner’s Baadasssss Song”
8/23 12:00 PM ET – “The Boy Who Knew Too Much”
8/23 12:30 PM ET – “Lady Bouvier’s Lover”
8/23 1:00 PM ET – “Secrets of a Successful Marriage”

Season 6

8/23 1:30 PM ET – “Bart of Darkness”
8/23 2:00 PM ET – “Lisa’s Rival”
8/23 2:30 PM ET – “Another Simpsons Clip Show”
8/23 3:00 PM ET – “Itchy & Scratchy Land”
8/23 3:30 PM ET – “Sideshow Bob Roberts”
8/23 4:00 PM ET – “Treehouse of Horror V”
8/23 4:30 PM ET – “Bart’s Girlfriend”
8/23 5:00 PM ET – “Lisa on Ice”
8/23 5:30 PM ET – “Homer Badman”
8/23 6:00 PM ET – “Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy”
8/23 6:30 PM ET – “Fear of Flying”
8/23 7:00 PM ET – “Homer the Great”
8/23 7:30 PM ET – “And Maggie Makes Three”
8/23 8:00 PM ET – “Bart’s Comet”
8/23 8:30 PM ET – “Homie the Clown”
8/23 9:00 PM ET – “Bart vs. Australia”
8/23 9:30 PM ET – “Homer vs. Patty and Selma”
8/23 10:00 PM ET – “A Star is Burns”
8/23 10:30 PM ET – “Lisa’s Wedding”
8/23 11:00 PM ET – “Two Dozen and One Greyhounds”
8/23 11:30 PM ET – “The PTA Disbands”
8/24 12:00 AM ET – “‘Round Springfield”
8/24 12:30 AM ET – “The Springfield Connection”
8/24 1:00 AM ET – “Lemon of Troy”
8/24 1:30 AM ET – “Who Shot Mr. Burns? Pt. 1″

Season 7

8/24 2:00 AM ET – “Who Shot Mr. Burns? Pt. 2″
8/24 2:30 AM ET – “Radioactive Man”
8/24 3:00 AM ET – “Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily”
8/24 3:30 AM ET – “Bart Sells His Soul”
8/24 4:00 AM ET – “Lisa the Vegetarian”
8/24 4:30 AM ET – “Treehouse of Horror VI”
8/24 5:00 AM ET – “King-Size Homer”
8/24 5:30 AM ET – “Mother Simpson”
8/24 6:00 AM ET – “Sideshow Bob’s Last Gleaming”
8/24 6:30 AM ET – “The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular”
8/24 7:00 AM ET – “Marge Be Not Proud”
8/24 7:30 AM ET – “Team Homer”
8/24 8:00 AM ET – “Two Bad Neighbors”
8/24 8:30 AM ET – “Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield”
8/24 9:00 AM ET – “Bart the Fink”
8/24 9:30 AM ET – “Lisa the Iconoclast”
8/24 10:00 AM ET – “Homer the Smithers”
8/24 10:30 AM ET – “The Day the Violence Died”

Looks like it’s gonna be a Season 6 kinda afternoon.  I will be dipping in and out on the Twitter machine, since this is the kind of event at which it excels.

14
Apr
14

Quote of the Day

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“Okay, let’s make this sporting, Leonard.  If you can tell me why I shouldn’t fire you without using the letter e, you can keep your job.” – C.M. Burns
“Uh, okay, um, I’m a good work . . . guy.” – Lenny
“You’re fired.” – C.M. Burns
“But I didn’t say-” – Lenny
“You will.” – C.M. Burns
“Eeeeeeee!” – Lenny

Happy 20th anniversary to “Burns’ Heir”!  Original airdate: 14 April 1994.

20
Feb
14

Quote of the Day

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“I have nothing to offer you but my love.” – Milhouse van Houten
“I specifically said no geeks!” – C.M. Burns
“But my mom says I’m cool.” – Milhouse van Houten

28
Jan
14

Behind Us Forever: Specs and the City

Chalkboard - Specs and the City

“This is my pride and joy: I’ve had hidden cameras planted in every home in Springfield.  I got the idea from that movie ‘Sliver’, what a delightful romp.” – C.M. Burns

If there’s one thing Zombie Simpsons has perfected, it’s taking familiar elements of The Simpsons, blasting away everything that made them wonderful, and then propping up the barely recognizable remains as though they weren’t decrepit garbage.  In its own ass backwards way, “Specs and the City” was a tour-de-force of that.  Homer actually spent time at the nuclear plant and stopped for a beer at Moe’s when he was done.  Marge was running the house.  The kids even managed to go to school.  There weren’t any magic powers or post-apocalyptic hellscapes, there was nary a drawn out chase scene nor even a bizarre celebrity cameo.  But even within those relatively calm confines, Zombie Simpsons still managed to create a husk of an episode with few to no jokes, nothing that could be called a coherent story (or ending), and lots of expository filler.

To take just one particularly wretched scene, Nelson is for some reason obsessed with the Valentine’s Day cards he gets from the other kids.  (Did I mention that it was Valentine’s Day?  Well it was, until it wasn’t anymore, and then it was again.  Yeah.)  Not only is the entire classroom set up as a line to Nelson’s desk (there was a notable and distinctly awkward absence of Mrs. Krabappel), but for some other reason Dolph and Jimbo(!) are acting as fourth grade muscle to punish kids whose cards don’t meet with Nelson’s approval.

And they weren’t the only ones who were just slapped into scenes with no regard for who they are (or were).  Incompetent Burns was back, letting Homer easily break into his office, stay there for several hours, and then allowing Homer kick him out.  Marge got mad at Homer for wearing his Google Glass thing while they were fooling around, but didn’t notice until Homer told her he was wearing them even though they were glowing through the damn sheets.  Moe gave Homer atrociously terrible advice, which wouldn’t have been bad in and of itself, except that it worked like a charm.

- So the couch gag has stopped even being a couch gag and just become another way they can kill a minute before they have to start the actual episode.

- The stress ball was dumb the first time someone swallowed it.

- “You wear them like eyeglasses, but inside the lens you see information about the people and places around you”, thanks Exposition Smithers!

- So Burns had a wall of TV screens installed behind his wall of TV screens?

- And he spent too much money on them?  Here’s a mini-compare & contrast for you, this dialogue . . .

Burns: Smithers, how much did this company lose to office supply theft last year?
Smithers: Seven thousand, forth-three dollars.
Burns: Yes, well, no more of that thanks to this twenty-six million dollar surveillance system.

. . . and this quote about the same thing from Season 3.  Notice how in one Burns is evil and competent and in the other he’s hapless and costing himself money.  These are two very different Mr. Burnses.

- And we’re supposed to be surprised that he’s spying on his employees when he’s been doing that since the start of the show?  Not to mention the whole town?  And why is Smithers shocked?

- Apparently this is also a Valentine’s Day episode.  Huh.

- Frontline/Firstline, comedy gold!

- “right after I decide if these videos are funny or die” – ah, a preview of the exact thing you’re about to do.

- Why is Marge surprised he’s wearing the glasses in bed?  He was already doing that and she can clearly see them.  And they could’ve handled his getting caught wearing them during sex well if they were so inclined.  Homer could sneak the glasses on, whisper something to them to get some information, turn on a sex app, anything but having him just wearing them and Marge somehow not noticing would’ve shown at least some care toward what they’re doing here.

- “Burns gave us those glasses so he could spy on us”, for the sweet, uncompromising love of Jebus, please just give us one scene where something happens without you telling us what it is.  Just one!

- And then he tells us exactly what we’re seeing on the monitors.

- The floating head Moe scene certainly took up some time.  Well done.

- Apparently the Valentine’s Day plot is going to drag on past actual Valentine’s Day.  (And let’s not even get into the weirdness of having an A-plot where Marge and Homer are fighting and a B-plot where it’s Valentines Day and yet the holiday never comes up in the A-plot.)

- We see the happiness (Wednesday) and sadness (Tuesday) montages, and then Homer explains what we just saw in case nobody noticed the several times they put the day on screen.  Six-year-olds don’t need things explained to them this many times.

- That ending was . . . unexpected.  This episode basically had three things going on, Burns spying on everyone with Google Glass, Homer spying on Marge’s therapy sessions, and that bizarre, unconnected Valentine’s Day plot with the kids.  Not a single one of them had an ending, or even really a conflict, and they wrapped it up with a completely unrelated scene with Ralph drawing on his face.  I was actually surprised when the credits rolled.

Anyway, the ratings are in and we have a new champion for least watched episode ever.  On Sunday, just 3.91 million people wished they were playing around with Google Glass.  That easily breaks the previous record of 4.00 million people set back in Season 23.  We’ve still got half the season to go, but it looks like Season 25 is going to easily break Season 24’s recently set record for least watched ever.  But hey, there’s Legos and Mr. Potatohead now, so we’ve got those.

09
Aug
13

Quote of the Day

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“It’s a little tight.” – Bart Simpson
“Yes, that’s to correct your posture.  Soon you’ll have a mighty hump.” – C.M. Burns

19
Jul
12

Compare & Contrast: Children Perform for Burns

Audition Rejection

“Ow!” – Bart Simpson
“Excellent.” – C.M. Burns

To say that the evil and charismatic Mr. Burns enjoys having people perform for him is something of an understatement.  This is a man who has crippled an Irishman for his own amusement and tied a bundle of cash to a string to taunt an eight-year-old girl.  He kidnapped Tom Jones and made him sing while shackled to the stage.  The Burns we all know and love to hate likes to see people squirm under duress, preferably duress that he’s causing.

You can see this trait in spades in “Burns’ Heir”.  In this episode alone, we see Burns fire a pistol at a man’s feet to make him dance, laugh as Homer is plunged into an industrial smokestack, and drop Lenny into a pit while he was pleading for his job.  In keeping with his cruel and callous nature, Burns summons many of the town’s children to his mansion so that they can try to impress him and win his money.  Since he doesn’t really tell them what he’s looking for (other than no girls and no geeks), the entire idea is borderline sadistic.  Young kids have to stand on a stage so that all of their insecurities and shortcomings can be picked apart by an old man who plainly despises most of them.  True to form, Burns proceeds to humiliate the ones he doesn’t like and either applauds or instigates physical violence against the ones who really displease him.

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Give the bully an extra point.

The entire scene is exactly what we expect from Burns.  He’s evil, in charge, and taking out his frustrations and fears on people who are hopelessly weaker than he is.  The only kid who even kind of impresses him is Nelson, and that’s because Nelson’s the one who shares Burns’ contempt for the rest of them.  This is Burns wallowing in his own crapulence with no one to stop him or even mitigate his actions.

The opposite of that scene occurs in “Grift of the Magi” when Skinner takes some of the kids to Burns Manor to beg for help for the school.  In both cases, the kids are there because their adults want money from Burns, but that’s where the similarities end.  Consider, just for a minute, how everyone got there.  In “Burns’ Heir”, it’s made explicitly clear that these children are there only on the sufferance of Burns.

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See, Zombie Simpsons?  Sign gags can be in service to the plot.

By contrast, in “Grift of the Magi”, the kids just show up and start putting on a show which Burns, for some unexplained reason, sits patiently and watches.  Having the episode skip over the how and why of Skinner and his charges getting into Burns Manor, as well as the how and why of Burns paying attention instead of instantly releasing the hounds, is yet another example of the declining give-a-shit level of the show as it became Zombie Simpsons. 

It wouldn’t have been hard for them to come up with some kind of excuse or joke for how they all got into Burns Manor or why Burns is listening to them.  Maybe they poisoned the hounds, maybe the security guards are all illiterate, who knows?  Anything would’ve been better than the nothing they actually did.  No sooner has this episode said that it’s impossible to get into Burns Manor than Skinner and the kids just appear, and Burns is fine with it.  They don’t even care enough to give us a single line (from Burns, Skinner, anyone) that makes light of the fact that they just skipped over a gaping plot chasm and contradicted one of the most well established traits of one of their best known characters.

Somewhat impressively, things manage to get even worse once the little production actually starts.  Skinner’s play is predictably stupid and cut rate, nothing wrong with that, but then Burns falls for it, not realizing it’s for charity until the very end.  This is a man who wanted to drive on after he hit Bart with his car, a man who kidnapped a Brazilian soccer team to work in his nuclear plant, a man who was once accurately described by Judge Snyder as having an, “unbelievable contempt for human life”.  No part of the real Burns would ever be so gullible as to find Skinner’s toddling morality play plausible or so empathetic to care that someone might be served rat poison:

Nelson:  Hmm, which one of these is the salt?  Too bad I’m an idiot cause my school closed.  Oh, well.
Burns: No, that’s the rat poison!

It actually goes downhill from there, but in just that single exchange we can tell that Burns simply isn’t who he’s supposed to be anymore.  The smart and unlimitedly cruel Burns is gone, and in his place is a doddering fool who is dumb and caring.  As Bart and Ralph(!) get their turns on stage, this new Burns continues to lap up their transparent bullshit:

Skinner:  Now, who in Springfield will eat the poisoned broth?  It could be anyone, even Mr. Burns.
Burns: This play really speaks to me.

[…]

Ralph Wiggum: Hello, I’m Dr. Stupid.  I’m going to take out your liver bones.  Oops, you’re dead.
Burns: I never liked that Dr. Stupid.
Skinner: Mr. Burns, I’ll be honest.  We had a hidden agenda tonight. 
Burns: [gasps] No!

This is precisely the kind of weak, stupid, and generally helpless Burns that never existed during The Simpsons.  Compare that to the way Burns reacts to the kids who are auditioning to become his heir:

Milhouse: I have nothing to offer you but my love.
Burns: I specifically said no geeks!
Milhouse: But my Mom says I’m cool.
Burns: Next.
Nelson: Gimme your fortune or I’ll pound your withered old face in!
Burns: Oh, I like his energy.  Put him on the callback list.

This is the real Burns: mean, evil and with no patience for those who aren’t.  When he eventually settles on Bart for being “a creature of pure malevolence”, he does so because Bart is smashing his windows and decapitating his statues, actions that would presumably shock and horrify the feeble man in “Grift of the Magi”. 

On top of all that (of course), is the fact that in “Burns’ Heir” the scene with the performing kids is crucial to the overall story, whereas in “Grift of the Magi” it’s an unnecessary and time filling detour that has almost nothing to do with the main plot.  But plot irrelevance is par for the course in Zombie Simpsons.  The real damage here is to Burns, and by extension to the show, since turning him into a husk of himself destroys all the fun that comes with having a wealthy man who revels in the misery of others.

08
Jun
12

Quote of the Day

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“Due to my hectic schedule and lethargic sperm, I never fathered an heir.  Now, I have no one to leave my enormous fortune to, no one.” – C.M. Burns
“Ah-hem.” – Mr. Smithers
“You, Smithers?  Oh, no, my dear friend.  I’ve planned a far greater reward for you.  When I pass on, you shall be buried alive with me.” – C.M. Burns
“Oh.  Goody.” – Mr. Smithers




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