05
Jul
11

“Burns’ Heir” Spews Truth

Wings

Image yoinked from Wikipedia.

“But I did get Paul McCartney out of Wings.” – Conformco Guy
“You idiot!  He was the most talented one!” – Homer Simpson

Even with twenty years of viewings under my belt, I am continually amazed at the sheer number of cultural references and allusions in The Simpsons.  There isn’t a guest voice and the focus of the episode is a story about Burns and Bart, but they bring up or crib from about five different movies and make fun of half a dozen celebrities.  They toss them off with remarkable speed so that things never slow down or feel heavy handed.  You the view just have this steady stream of moments of where cultural awareness is rewarded. 

Five guys on this one.

0:40 – Jace Richdale recounts how David Mirkin told him on his first day that he had to pitch stories, and he came up with this one without putting much thought into it. 

1:20 – Mirkin’s talking about the exodus of writers after Season 4 and how he brought on Richdale. It’s very complementary in an anodyne, DVD commentary sort of way.

3:00 – Groening recounts how they did a promotion with Burger King with an environmental message. They were going to give some of the money to an environmental group, but no one would take their money because they were making plastic cups and other landfill fodder.

3:50 – The THX sound joke earned them a call from George Lucas and company who then used it in actual movie theaters.

5:10 – Still discussing the THX thing, they had a big argument for whether or not a person’s head could explode. They came down in favor.

5:40 – Joking about the prevalence of head explosions in Jane Austen novels.

7:10 – Laughing about the boot kicking Bart and Homer’s reaction bleeds into Homer’s lesson about never trying.

8:30 – Laughing at Bart’s destruction of Burns property.

9:00 – Still laughing.

9:20 – I know I’ve said this every time I’ve written up one of these older commentaries, but the contrast with the commentaries from Seasons 12 and 13 couldn’t be more stark. They’re clearly proud of this episode (justifiably), and they really like watching it and talking about it. There’s never a moment where they’re thinking “Well, what do we talk about now?” because they’re having such a good time.

11:20 – Apparently people ask about the Homer eating flowers thing a lot.

12:15 – They’ve been giggling for the last forty seconds or so.

13:15 – Discussing the robotic Richard Simmons that got cut from here. Apparently Simmons turned them down because he didn’t want to be a robot.

15:45 – The whole Bart driving thing, hitting the Christmas village, was a rewrite after the original idea involving a car and a train was deemed pointlessly hard to animate.

17:00 – Getting back to the Richard Simmons robot, they cut it because it always died when they were reviewing it. But it killed whenever one of them would show it when they were giving a talk at a comedy festival or the like.

18:30 – The James Woods part in “Homer and Apu” was originally written for Michael Caine, but he turned them down so they put him in here playing Homer.

20:00 – Marveling and laughing at Lenny both a) not saying the letter “e” until after the trap door opens and b) just going right into it, like he’s accustomed to completely insane orders from Burns.

21:50 – And we end on them laughing at Hans Moleman.


6 Responses to ““Burns’ Heir” Spews Truth”


  1. 1 Thrillho
    5 July 2011 at 9:06 pm

    “18:30 – The James Woods part in ‘Homer and Apu’ was originally written for Michael Caine, but he turned them down so they put him in here playing Homer”

    Wow, I can’t believe I never realized that. I love when commentaries have factoids that are actually interesting.

    My favorite (or at least one of my favorites) gag in this episode is the marquee advertising Siskel and Ebert: The Movie, and how it got “Two Thums Up” from S&E. (Well, I’d imagine Siskel would have had some nitpicks, but I digress.)

  2. 5 July 2011 at 10:54 pm

    (If someone could convince me that this is funny, then I will be a happy man.)

    While I just love this episode and all of its funny jokes (from “A bird has become petrified and lost its sense of direction” to Lenny saying “E” falling down the shaft), the one joke I never really got in this episode was Homer’s laughing after Bart gets kicked by the boot. The kicking (and the long preparation leading up to it) was pretty funny, but I always felt that Homer’s laughing kind of dragged a bit too long, not to mention that even as a kid watching this episode in syndication, I never really did find this bit funny.

    All of the rest of the episode is just superb, though, thank goodness.

    • 3 RCreed
      6 July 2011 at 3:12 am

      Don’t judge everything on how funny it is. It showed Homer has no empathy for his son, giving reason for Bart not wanting to return back to him later in the episode.


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