18
Jul
11

A Hunka Hunka Burns in Love Makes Baby Jesus Cry

Marge Gets a Job5

“That woman, she’s so captivating! Smithers, my heart’s pounding like a jackhammer.” – C.M. Burns

I occasionally see people make the argument that the show recovered somewhat once Al Jean took over as show runner from Mike Scully, but I’ve never agreed with that. This episode was one of the very last of the Scully era, and it’s wall-to-wall with things that have become tropes during Al Jean’s now decade long run with Zombie Simpsons. You have the totally unrelated Act 1, the complete wussification of Burns, Homer getting hurt worse than Daffy Duck ever did, and characters inexplicably appearing and disappearing from scenes. Except for the HD, you could drop this episode into Season 15 or 22 or anywhere else and no one would notice.

Seven guys on this one.

1:00 – And we open with playful banter between Jean and Scully as Jean is heaping praise on Julia Louis-Dreyfus who plays Burns’ girlfriend in this one.

2:15 – We’re still talking about Louis-Dreyfus.

2:40 – Fun tidbit from Selman, George Takei lives on his street and will come out in his Star Trek uniform on Halloween.

3:05 – Jean recounts a time Takei was on a UK documentary about the show. Jean does a Takei impression and says, “They are seditious, malicious, all of the icious except delicious.” It’s funny.

3:30 – Following that enjoyable (and semi-related to the episode) tangent, we’re off on our first unrelated tangent about what Bob Hope used to give out for Halloween.

4:15 – Now we’re off on a Woody Allen tangent. Newsflash, he hasn’t been on the show.

5:50 – Here’s a fun Zombie Simpsons note. They’re discussing how the character model for Burns is shaped like a vulture, but in this episode he’s often smiling and worried so they had to redraw the way he looks to make him more friendly. “He’s designed to look evil all the time and we had to kind of wing it when he’s always supposed to be happy through the whole show.” Eat it, Zombie Simpsons.

6:30 – A long time dictum of from Groening is to keep the number of lines on each face down.

7:30 – Fun animation note, when drawing facial expressions or left handed things a lot of the artists will look in a mirror to get it right. In the episode, which they’ve been studiously ignoring as per usual, Burns has just fallen in love with a meter maid and is now at the carnival with her.

8:30 – Burns and his girlfriend are talking on a Ferris wheel, and that was both a) hard to do and b) would be easier now with the computer machines.

9:30 – The meter maid used to drive some kind of food truck before it got changed. No one remembers why, but on screen Homer just went chasing a dog past Burns’ mansion and is now having a private conversation with Burns while whats-her-face waits patiently. I don’t know the precise scene or moment when this show stopped caring about who was in what scene, but they’ve clearing done it by now.

10:50 – Someone mentions how the first thing they do when they have a supporting character episode is think how to get the family involved. Here it means Burns has decided to take Homer with him as a third wheel on all his dates. Brilliant.

12:35 – Quick aside to note that Carl just got fired but that he’ll be working there again next week.

12:50 – There’s a montage of Homer going on dates with them, and occasionally reviving Burns with a needle several times. They seem to think this is hilarious.

13:10 – Wondering if this one had a different third act before the “jailbird” one. The response: “Perhaps”.

13:40 – Long silence here.

14:05 – Someone, can’t tell who, “I love when Homer acts like a teenage girl.” When was the first time he did that, I wonder? Season 9? 10?

15:05 – Discussing how man times they’ve had Gloria back on as Snake’s girlfriend.

15:50 – Lots of silence here, broken by the occasional bout of real laughter and nervous laughter.

16:50 – See above comment.

17:50 – See above above comment. Homer’s getting hit by Snake while we get lame relationship dialogue.

18:00 – Jean points out how Homer just got smashed in the jaw with a gun, which would be the worst thing that’s happened to most of them, but he’ll be fine in the next scene. I can’t quite tell if they know stuff like that detracts from the show (especially when it’s paired with the string music of suspense like it is here) and don’t care, or if they just don’t know.

18:20 – More of the nervous laughter, and now Lisa is at the hostage scene for no reason. They acknowledge this, but just laugh at it.

19:10 – Long silence here as the world’s most boring hostage stand off continues.

19:25 – Total silence continues as Homer’s crotch catches on fire.

19:45 – First noise from the commenters in quite a while is one (1) guy nervously laughing.

20:00 – They’re complimenting the backgrounds now. Not much in the way of commentary about Burns breaking into a flaming cabin.

21:00 – Wondering about Burns sudden strength, Jean asks if they had Burns accidentally taking his medicine from earlier. They think so, but no one can remember why they took it out. Thrilling insights like that one make me glad I got this disc from Netflix instead of paying for it.

21:40 – And now the whole family is at this random cabin way out in the woods. This merits a brief mention on the commentary, but that’s all.

22:00 – We close on someone plugging Swartzwelder’s novels and then praising Julia Louis-Dreyfus again.


5 Responses to “A Hunka Hunka Burns in Love Makes Baby Jesus Cry”


  1. 1 fudge
    18 July 2011 at 6:21 pm

    “4:15 – Now we’re off on a Woody Allen tangent. Newsflash, he hasn’t been on the show.”

    What is something they said on this tangent? I’m curious, since I’m a big Woody Allen fan… as you probably know, while his actual voice has never been on the show, he’s almost a 3rd tier character at this point, considering how his likeness has appeared in MANY episodes (I’d say more than any other celebrity they lampoon, besides obviously the Tyson and Schwarzenegger parody characters — oh wait, Schwarzenegger “himself” is in the movie! Ugh) or how many references there are to him (“I’m a neurotic nerd who likes to sleep with little girls.” and I am pretty sure the crab making scene is a reference to Annie Hall). Anyway, just curious what they had to say about him, if you can remember or if it was anything noteworthy at all.

    “5:50 – Here’s a fun Zombie Simpsons note. They’re discussing how the character model for Burns is shaped like a vulture”

    That’s interesting, since there is that LAST EXIT TO SPRINGFIELD Burns lookalike. While he might be shaped like a vulture facially, I’m pretty sure they modeled his usual stance/walking after a praying mantis. Haha.

  2. 2 D.N.
    18 July 2011 at 6:47 pm

    I’ve got nothing against the idea of Burns falling in love – “Marge Gets a Job” was able to pull it off, but of course, even though Burns was in love in that one, he was still a total bastard throughout. In this shitty episode, though, they made Burns a lovelorn wuss who needed Homer’s advice.

    “A long time dictum of from Groening is to keep the number of lines on each face down.”

    Seems to me that dictum’s been adhered to much more in the Zombie Simpsons era, which doesn’t surprise me as it fits in with their tendency to make everything look bland. In the earlier episodes, you’d see more detailed faces (for instance, gnarled old people) than you’d see now.

  3. 3 Charlie Sweatpants
    18 July 2011 at 10:24 pm

    @fudge There really wasn’t much to it. There was some back and forth conversation about whether or not he’d ever actually been on the show, but they eventually got it straight that they’d portrayed him a lot but never gotten him to guest voice. I think they did say they’d asked him a few times.

    @D.N. “I’ve got nothing against the idea of Burns falling in love – “Marge Gets a Job” was able to pull it off, but of course, even though Burns was in love in that one, he was still a total bastard throughout. In this shitty episode, though, they made Burns a lovelorn wuss who needed Homer’s advice.”

    Exactly. In both “Lady Bouvier’s Lover” and “Marge Gets a Job”, Burns falls in love/chases a woman, and there’s nothing wrong with it because of the very Burns way he goes about it. He mentions past romances a lot too. The problem is him turning into this sopping wet blanket who depends on Homer (of all people) for advice and support. This was also one of those episodes where they take the “Burns is really weak” thing way too far. That he can’t take candy from a baby or crush a paper cup, that’s funny. But in Zombie Simpsons they’ve turned him into this inhuman rag doll, like Gumby but less interesting.

  4. 4 Chris
    19 July 2011 at 12:43 am

    You know, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this episode, but I read this entire post and couldn’t remember it…then I went to wikipedia and I still don’t remember it…shows you how memorable this was. I can remember awful episodes like Homer vs. Dignity and Saddlesore Galactica, but I can’t remember this one. Then again, those were epic in their awfulness, whereas this one just seems mostly boring.

    “18:00 – Jean points out how Homer just got smashed in the jaw with a gun, which would be the worst thing that’s happened to most of them, but he’ll be fine in the next scene. I can’t quite tell if they know stuff like that detracts from the show (especially when it’s paired with the string music of suspense like it is here) and don’t care, or if they just don’t know.”

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d be happier if they just admitted on these commentaries that they know these episodes are shit, and that they stopped caring sometime during season 10 and everything since has simply been going through the motions. I would appreciate the honesty and candor, rather than pissing on my head and telling me it’s raining.

    You can’t tell me that Al Jean doesn’t know this is shit. He was show-runner with Mike Reiss during the brilliant seasons 3-4, two of the greatest seasons in the history of television. I have a hard time believing he doesn’t at least have an inkling as to what made those seasons so good, and what made Mike Scully’s years such a disaster.

  5. 5 Thrillho
    19 July 2011 at 10:52 am

    Ugh, this episode. The only funny thing I can remember was the visual on the fortune cookie writers sitting at their typewriters with very thin pieces of paper, and it wasn’t even THAT funny.

    And yeah, the fact that Burns suddenly becomes strong for a second was something that always pissed me off. In a later episode, he literally can’t even crush an ant.


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