Posts Tagged ‘Burns Baby Burns


Makeup Quote of the Day

“Next to spring and winter, fall is my absolute favorite season!” – Marge Simpson


Quote of the Day

“What a perfect outing for a beautiful autumn day!” – Lisa Simpson
“I feel sorry for everyone who’s cooped up inside watching the seventh game of the World Series.” – Marge Simpson
“Yeah, they won’t learn anything about apples today.” – Homer Simpson


Quote of the Day


“Well, if God didn’t make little green apples, it’s Homer Simpson! How long have you been here?” – Ned Flanders
“Twenty of the suckiest minutes of my life.” – Homer Simpson
“Oh-hoho, sucking down the cider, huh? Hey, word to the wise: season pass. Pays for itself after the sixteenth visit.” – Ned Flanders


Quote of the Day

Burns, Baby Burns8

“Smithers, there’s something a bit odd about young Larry.  I can’t quite put my finger on it.” – C.M. Burns
“Well, he is a bit rough around the edges, sir.  One might blame his truly heroic intake of cocktails.” – Mr. Smithers


Quote of the Day

Burns, Baby Burns7

“Whoa, this guy’s got more bread than a prison meatloaf.  He’s rich I tell you!  I never seen a place with a walk in mailbox.  Hey, who’m I talking to?” – Larry


Quote of the Day

Burns, Baby Burns6

“My name is Larry.  I’m here to see Mr. Burns.” – Larry
“Well, I hate to break it to you, Larry, but if Mr. Burns ever wants to see a stranger, he will observe him through a powerful telescope.” – Mr. Smithers


Quote of the Day

Burns, Baby Burns5

“Attention passengers, the train has been temporarily delayed because of a discarded couch on the tracks.” – Amtrak Engineer


Compare & Contrast: Burns’ Old Romances

Burns, Baby Burns4

“Aw, Pop, don’t get me wrong, it’s great to be here.  But how’s a guy like you wind up with a son like me?” – Larry

[Programming Note: Sorry for the late posting on this.  Reading Digest should be along at roughly the usual time later today.]

The most obvious repeat in “Four Regrettings and a Funeral” was the use of “Memories” for Homer’s flashback.  Par for the course for Zombie Simpsons, it was a very weak imitation.  In “Bart’s Friend Falls in Love”, we see Homer reminiscing about all the things he did with his stomach over the years, from march in a parade with it as the face, eat French fries off of it, and bounce his baby daughter on it.  It’s something we already knew about Homer (indeed, his fatness is one of his defining characteristics), and everything’s plausible while still being silly, funny and just a little bit bittersweet.  In this one, it’s a bowling ball we’ve never seen him use before (and isn’t even the Stealth Bowler), and he does things like give it mouth-to-mouth after getting pulled out of a pool with it.  The idiocy has been turned up, the sentiment turned down, and none of the things we see make any sense.  And that’s before you get to the fact that they had already used the exact same song for the exact same reason back in Season 3.

But as transparently hacktacular as that was, it doesn’t hold a candle to one of the worst tics of Zombie Simpsons: making Burns – the epitome of unlimited evil and callous greed – both sweet and sentimental.  It’s a total hollowing out of his character (one they’ve done before, of course), and what makes it especially neutering is that we’ve already seen how the real Burns acted in an identical situation back in Season 8.

Instead of using repetitive flashbacks to fill in and support an already threadbare story, “Burns, Baby Burns” uses a single one to quickly give us the very Burns-esque background to Rodney Dangerfield’s conception and birth.  It can’t be described any better than Burns does it, so I’ll just quote him:

Who should appear, but the unrequited love of my college years, Mimsy Bancroft.  Of course, by then Mimsy had her share of wrinkles and a gray hair or two.  But my adoring eye saw past those minor imperfections to her twenty-one year old daughter Lilly.

From there, Burns knocks up a woman young enough to be his daughter and then lets her family bundle her off to a “convent in the South Seas”.  After all, what else is a tyrannical, middle age plutocrat to do with an illegitimate son he doesn’t want?  By contrast, in “Four Regrettings and a Funeral”, Burns pines endlessly, his wistful music barely stops, and, just in case the title was too subtle, he repeatedly regrets letting his old flame go out loud:

She broke my first heart.


I will find Lila and win her back!

To be fair, the lost love is a much bigger part of the new episode than it was of the good one.  But the discrepancy in screentime has nothing to do with the differing characterizations of Burns.  In Season 8 he instantly blew past his heartsick regret for the younger and prettier version, insulting the mother and scandalizing the entire family in the process.  Without ever making it explicit, they show us a Burns who is callous, self centered and basically incapable of love.

In Season 25, Burns mopes and moans and is struck so lovesick by the passing of his geriatric girlfriend that he not only cares about people, he does so longer than even she asked him to.  This is a Burns of deep and abiding empathy, the polar opposite of a man who impregnated and abandoned the daughter of a woman he claimed to love.  It certainly makes him a more likable network sitcom character, but that kind of cheap teevee redemption was always beneath The Simpsons.  Zombie Simpsons, on the other hand, thinks it clever and original.


Quote of the Day

Burns, Baby Burns2

“How were his test scores?” – C.M. Burns
“Let’s just say this, he spelled ‘Yale’ with a 6.” – Admissions Officer


Quote of the Day

Burns Baby Burns1

“This may take awhile, Smithers.  Why don’t you get drunk and stumble around comically for my amusement?” – C.M. Burns
“I’ll be a one man conga line.” – Mr. Smithers


Crazy Noises: Replaceable You

Burns, Baby Burns1

“I got a wife and kids.  Oh, that reminds me, they’re probably wondering where I went.” – Larry

With its phony kidnapping and pointless police chase, “Burns, Baby Burns” does not have what you’d call a great ending.  The story didn’t really have anywhere to go, so they had Larry explain that he had to go back to his home planet, turned up some music, and had Homer tell Marge (standing in for the audience), “It doesn’t have to make sense.”  In other words, the admittedly nonsensical dance party was the Season 8 writers at least having the courtesy to acknowledge that they had backed themselves into a corner.

No such admissions or winks are likely to be forthcoming from Zombie Simpsons.  But that didn’t stop them from using the same ending in an even more nonsensical way.  Not only does music start playing for some reason, it continues to play while we see the previously murderous funeral home directors dance along with the people they were just trying to kill.  Even that wasn’t enough weirdness however, as that head shaking scene pulls back to reveal Mrs. Glick and Jesus dancing as well.

On the one hand, it makes sense in a “whatever, no one is going to care or remember anyway” kind of way.  On the other hand, it’s pretty insulting to the audience.  It’s one thing to be apathetic toward your fans, it’s another to brag about it.

[Note: We had Dave only briefly before he mysteriously vanished on us.  A subsequent e-mail turned up a picture of a gaping hole in his ceiling.  Leaky pipes are a bitch.]

Charlie Sweatpants: Shall we get started?

Mad Jon: Let’s

Charlie Sweatpants: Like so much of Zombie Simpsons, this one gets worse and worse the more I think about it.

The first time I saw it, I thought it wasn’t too awful by their standards, more or less because it had a couple of decent background jokes.

Dave: I don’t remember much

  Robot bears

Mad Jon: I can see that. It was also my initial reaction

Charlie Sweatpants: But the more I think about even those, the less they seem to matter and the more it dawns on me just how awful both plots were, how wasted Jane Lynch was, how many many MANY times they had people appear and disappear.

Mad Jon: Again, agreed. The more I think about it, the more I can only picture Homer begging or having something physically affect him. Or Marge in a variety show type comic relief appearance, or replayed joke/ideas that were shadows of their formal selves.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, what was with Marge in the shower?

Dave: It was post-modern humor, duh.

Charlie Sweatpants: It was post-something.

Mad Jon: And seriously, Jane Lynch is a funny individual, I will actually sit through occasional Glee episodes just to hear a few of her derogatory comments.

Dave: Kidding. I don’t know what the fuck was going on with that.

Mad Jon: I was waiting for Marge to say "Now here’s Roy!"

Charlie Sweatpants: The Jane Lynch thing was really frustrating, because she was nice, then she was evil, then she was incompetent.

And if getting hugged sets her into a murderous rampage, fine, whatever. But why wasn’t that what made her start hating Homer in the first place?

The whole "she goes nuts thing" just fell right the fuck out of the sky with about four minutes left.

Mad Jon: Yeah, that was convenient and out of place. But we had to get Homer back in the position that he rarely occupies. You know, as a SNPP employee.

Charlie Sweatpants: I thought of you when they actually showed him at the plant, but as they proceeded to make it nothing like him actually have a job there, even one he sucks at, I figured you’d sour on it quickly.

Mad Jon: It was moderately to severely frustrating.

Charlie Sweatpants: Burns appeared and disappeared a couple of times, they changed his office for no real reason, and the Homer was allowed to just show up on the stage.

Mad Jon: Also Homer got to do his Zombie speak-in-a-loud-whisper deally.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, that’s never good, like he’s being sarcastic just for the audience’s benefit. "Stage whisper" isn’t something a guy like him should be doing much, if ever.

Mad Jon: And I guess no angry rant about this would be complete with out mentioning the paycheck scene.

Charlie Sweatpants:  Oh, that was painful.

Mad Jon: As much as I hated that plot, I am actually more upset with the robo seal / Bart and Martin reunion.

Charlie Sweatpants: By all means, proceed.

Mad Jon: Let’s start with the Bart/Martin combo.

  We’ve seen this before, and it was good.

This was a rehash of that with Martin forcing some extra nerdy phrases that weren’t believable.

  Next, and this may be my biggest issue, was Milhouse.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s like they’ve decided him having a crush on Lisa is getting old, so they’re making him stalk Bart . . . or something.

Mad Jon: The t-shirt?

I am used to Milhouse embarrassing himself. In fact it used to be quite hilarious. Now it’s a complex, I think he may need professional help.

  But what rivals that for my biggest complaint is the simple plot foreshadowing they did with the crossed wires.

If this was an episode of Dora the Explorer, I could see that being subtle yet effective.

  But, having never seen an episode of Dora, I have to assume that even Zombie Simpsons is at least aiming for an audience with a higher intelligence level.

Charlie Sweatpants: The crossed wires thing was annoying, especially since it apparently gave them razor sharp teeth.

Mad Jon: This is, of course, overlooking the run on jokes, like Frink and Miss Wyoming, the fact that the one nerd’s voice was completely different, and Super Nintendo Chalmers still doesn’t care about any other school in his district.

Charlie Sweatpants: No need to overlook them completely. There was plenty to dislike here.

Mad Jon: Also that apparently there is a worm hole in the Nerd Bunker that allows them to automatically show up at the old folks home after remote-controlling the sealbots for their entire journey.

Charlie Sweatpants: Most of those run on jokes were just that lame and desperate fan service.

Mad Jon: Also Nambla.

Charlie Sweatpants: Characters appear and disappearing was happening so often I almost lost track. It was nice of the school to let Grampa and the Old Jewish Guy just walk onto the playground during recess.

Mad Jon: Very accommodating.

Charlie Sweatpants: Not to mention Burns going to the Simpson home, the aforementioned geek wormhole, and Nelson appearing in Bart’s bedroom.

Mad Jon: Fair enough, I was wrong to single out the one wormhole when apparently they were having a convention in this episode.

I apologize to everyone who had a hand in that poor excuse for plot development.

Charlie Sweatpants: The one at the end was the worst. It was almost enough to distract me from the cheap keyboard music that accompanied the roboseals to the old folks home.

Mad Jon: Excuse me, poor excuses.

Charlie Sweatpants: And let’s not forget the little dance party.

Mad Jon: And man, the ending. It couldn’t fall apart around itself fast enough.

My notes actually say, "So Nothing! Let’s Dance!"

Charlie Sweatpants: Somewhere Rodney Dangerfield weeps.

I would like to briefly mention the Paul Blart non-parody.

Mad Jon: Please

Charlie Sweatpants: I thought "Written in a Week" on the marquee was kinda funny, but it rapidly made me think of this entire episode. Compare that to, say, Earnest Goes Somewhere Cheap from "Cape Feare" or Earnest Needs a Kidney from "Bart the Lover".

  I’d submit that Paul Blart is a decent 2010s equivalent to the Earnest movies, and this gave it way more respect and screen time than it deserves.

Mad Jon: Agreed. Kevin James isn’t really Ernest, but somewhere some dude 20 years older than me is saying that Jim Varney isn’t really ‘so and so’.

Still, I didn’t find it funny. So there.

Charlie Sweatpants: I just meant it as a quick comparison. Where you can see the difference is that in the before time, in the long long ago, they just went through it real quickly. Now they think it’s okay to take a bunch of time and show scenes to make it clear to everyone that Paul Blart isn’t funny.

Mad Jon: I would say that maybe we can lump this kind of thing in with that whole foreshadowing thing I bitched about earlier. Someone in the group writing session probably said, "I dunno, maybe we should play this out more, I think people won’t understand that we are making fun of Paul Blart."

Charlie Sweatpants: Zombie Simpsons has never been big on trusting the audience to get things. If at all possible, they will bludgeon it into our faces.

  So you might be right there.

Mad Jon: They are like that friend that no one in the group really likes because he keeps feeling the need to explain his un-funny joke even more.

  Kind of like I just did there.

Charlie Sweatpants: Don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re working in ephemeral text only, they’ve got voice actors, animation, and (one assumes) an editing process.

  They shouldn’t have to explain the joke.

Mad Jon: Thanks for believing in me.

Anymore crime scenes worth investigating? Or for that matter, anything you feel like not un-praising?

Charlie Sweatpants: I dunno. This one was so all over the place. From Homer and Burns stretching and being physically kicked around, to the surprise villains in the funeral home industry, to the sudden appearance of – I cannot believe they did this – Dancing Jesus, I just don’t know what there is to say.

Mad Jon: Only because you hit it on the head, I would like to re-iterate how correct you were in your original statement.

  5 minutes after I first watched this, I was thinking "huh, I guess during our chat I will pull out the ‘more boring than bad’ defense."

  Then I started thinking about it.

Then I started chatting about it with you guys, and I couldn’t stop the hate from leaving my fingers.

  But yeah, I don’t really have much more to add either.

Charlie Sweatpants: Okay then, let’s hope Dave’s not somewhere dancing with Jebus.

Mad Jon: Still would be a better use of his time than this.

Edit: As requested in comments, here’s the picture Dave sent:

Dave's Ceiling Hole


Quote of the Day

Bancroft Beauties

“Who should appear but the unrequited love of my college years, Mimsy Bancroft.  Of course, by then Mimsy had her share of wrinkles and a gray hair or two, but my adoring eyes saw past those minor imperfections . . . to her twenty-one year old daughter Lily.” – C.M. Burns


Monty Burns for Mayor, Updated

As a once and future New Yorker, I can’t say I’m surprised that mild billionaire Michael Bloomberg (who’s now convinced he’s a king – bonus points if you caught that reference) easily won last November’s election and will be serving a third term as mayor of New York City. The man spent $102 million of his own money on his campaign – an ungodly sum of money, but a mere a drop in the bucket when you consider that he has $17 billion sitting in his coffers. I’m not complaining, of course; if you’ve got the means, who am I to dictate your spending habits? Besides, Bloomie was clearly the most qualified person for the job and hell, I would’ve happily voted for him.

What’s interesting to note though is had the election been limited to write-in votes, lovable tyrant centenarian Charles Montgomery Burns would have won instead with 25 whole votes. This is according to a recent analysis of Board of Elections data, which also reports that the deceased Rodney Dangerfield (Burn’s son Larry in the mediocre “Burns, Baby, Burns”) got just one measly vote. Well Monty, good effort. Maybe next time you can bend the rules a bit to better alter the outcome.

And while we’re on the subject of writing-in our favorite Simpsons characters in legitimate elections, I’d like to bring up a previous article from Charlie’s Friday Link Dump last week, wherein one forward-thinking South Jersey resident voted for Mayor Quimby. See, we Americans aren’t all pickup trucks, shotguns, Walmarts, cheap beer, and fast food. We can, occasionally, have a wicked sense of humor too.


Crazy Noises: Burns Baby, Burns

In an attempt to fill the summer with love, hate and pointless Simpsons commentary we at the Dead Homer Society are going to spend some time overthinking Season 8.  Why Season 8?  Because Season 8 is when The Simpsons really began to deteriorate into Zombie Simpsons.  That’s why.  Because we’re cutting edge and ultra-modern we’re using a newfangled, information-superhighway fad called a “chatroom” to conduct our conversation.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “methadone”).

Today’s episode is 804, “Burns Baby, Burns“, click here for yesterday’s discussion of 803 “The Homer They Fall“.

Mad Jon: I am sure I’m not alone when I say this one is markedly worse

Dave: I’ve never found Rodney Dangerfield funny

Mad Jon: The first and biggest problem is Rodney Dangerfield.

Charlie Sweatpants: I always think of these two as being peas in a pod, basically because they were back to back and everyone was disappointed with them.

But I agree, Dangerfield was not the kind of guest you want to turn and entire episode over to.

Mad Jon: He was funny before I could get a boner.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, his best work in this episode is when they basically rehash the dinner party scene from Caddyshack. Dangerfield insulting bluebloods is funny.

The rest of it gets real thin real fast.

Mad Jon: true true

Dave: yep

I thought the Yale jokes were inspired

Mad Jon: Yale could use an international airport

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, the total whorishness of it was great.

Mad Jon: This episode was almost as boring as the zombies are too

I just never feel like watching it, and if it comes on I ignore it or flip to the next one.

It’s like taking the second dose of methadone

Charlie Sweatpants: I wouldn’t go that far, there are some decent gimmicks, the “Gone Drinkin'” sign is pretty funny. But I can sum up in two words why it sucks: phony kidnapping.

Mad Jon: ugh

Dave: phony kidnapping, the cliched party resolution

Charlie Sweatpants: Oh yeah, if you thought the fan man ending was tacked on and pointless, welcome to the party for no reason.

Well, I guess they were still channeling Caddyshack, but that doesn’t make it a good reason.

Though the whole premise – long lost relative – is very television-y.

It feels formulaic.

And that’s before the phony kidnapping which Homer is oddly intent upon.

Mad Jon: I get the feeling they were trying to grab the same energy you got from Homer’s college pranks

He may as well of rolled Rodney up in a carpet and thrown him off a bridge

Dave: heh

Charlie Sweatpants: But those ended in immediate disaster, the phony kidnapping gets dragged out for the entire third segment.

Dave: Ludicrous kidnapping aside, I thought homer’s fatherly dialogue at the end (and the kids’ reactions) was solid

Mad Jon: I know the difference, you know the difference, that doesn’t mean someone who wrote his college thesis on ‘life experience’ knows the difference

They took their eyes of the ball because it was so easy to hit last time

Charlie Sweatpants: Homer’s dialogue when he’s insulting his kids, yeah that was good, but then it turns all mushy and serious. He counts on his kids love? Since when?

Dave: yeah, that got schmaltzy quickly

Charlie Sweatpants: But then Dangerfield doesn’t stick around, right?

I mean, it’s more shoddy storytelling. Oh yeah, he’s got a family of his own so now we’ll never have to see him again. It just feels so TV.

Herb Powell had two legitimate story arcs and they wrapped themselves up nicely. This was the opposite of that.

Mad Jon: Very good comparison

Dave: agreed

Charlie Sweatpants: So other than Dangerfield sucks (most of the time), the story is cliched and it still can’t find an ending, so we have anything else to throw at this one?

Er, that should be “do we have anything else”.

Beer is good.

Mad Jon: I like beer

Dave: hooray beer

beer I had earlier, anyway

Mad Jon: Until you spilled your water apparently

your glassware had it’s revenge for your traitorous barbarism

Dave: I’ve learned my lesson, trust me

Mad Jon: I got nothing else, watching this episode is like watching the town drunk sleep. I was waiting for something good, but then this happened.


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