Saturday Morning Cartoons

“Perhaps you’d be more comfortable talking to Snappy the Alligator.” – Mr. Smithers
“Maybe.” – C.M. Burns

The episode where Burns sells out to the Germans occurs halfway through Season 3. By this early point in the series we’ve already seen him gleefully cancel employee Christmas bonuses, run for governor, run down a child in his car, commit Homer (involuntarily) to a mental hospital, and rage scald Smithers with hot tea. As a human being he is comprehensively vile, uncaring about the pain his actions inflict and rich enough to cause damage on a scale most evil people could only dream about.

And yet . . . as Smithers himself says, “People think that because he’s rich and powerful and cruel he doesn’t have feelings like other men, but he does.”

This is part of what makes Burns such an enduring villain. Sure, he’s a grotesque; but there’s a logical (albeit vile) humanity to him. Like many an old person, he has regrets about how he could have spent his younger years, but his are about “wiping out nations with the stroke of a pen”. And as twisted as he is, he does have a tender side. Expressing it and indulging it just happens to destroy people’s lives, but to Burns that is incidental.

Enter Snappy the Alligator, a hand puppet Smithers uses to soothe his boss and coax him into revealing what he’s really feeling. It’s ludicrously childish, but it’s also funny as hell. A hundred million dollar decision upon which the fates and livelihoods of his workers depend comes from an old man talking to some green felt.

That’s Burns in a nutshell: bugfuck crazy, indiscriminately cruel, and deeply, deeply sad. Lucky for no one, his folk guitar class was cancelled and he bought the plant back. Capricious comedy at its finest.

4 Responses to “Saturday Morning Cartoons”

  1. 1 jeltranksss
    12 April 2020 at 10:04 pm

    Glad you’re posting again. Hope you’ve been doing okay.

  2. 2 Anonymous
    13 April 2020 at 4:43 pm

    Yes, the real Burns does have a bit of a soft spot, somewhere deep, deep down inside. Then Zombie Simpsons decided he was really a marshmallow and his cartoon villainy was cheap and superficial. But we all know Burnsy is the kind of man who can laugh at the memory of a crippled Irishman for days, not a trail old geezer who wants everybody to love him.

    Also, a recommendation: How about a Quote of the Week? There are many more yet to be used, though if you’re going to do this [Day of the week] Cartoons thing semi-regularly, that’s interesting too.

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