Episode - 3F14\\
First Aired - 2/25/1996
Smithers goes on vacation after having a mental break over not being able to save Burns from being harassed by a drunken Lenny and Homer takes his place as Mr. Burns's assistant, but all the abuse Homer takes from Mr. Burns causes him to snap and punch the old man in the face, which drives Mr. Burns to be more self-reliant.
* AntagonisticOffspring: Mr. Burns does ''not'' get along with his 123 year old mother. She apparently had an affair with President Taft which he's never forgiven her for, and he tried to pull her life support. Surprisingly, she not only pulled through she lived for ''five decades''.
* BadBoss: Mr. Burns, only this time Homer gives him a black eye for it. However, instead of firing him, Burns thanks him for forcing him to be self-sufficient.
* BaitAndSwitch: After someone comments that Smithers would probably get a job anywhere, the scene cuts to a sign reading [=AT&T=]. A zoom out reveals that the full sign reads "Ne'''at & T'''idy Piano Movers".
* DefeatEqualsFriendship: After Homer punches him, Burns is initially scared of Homer. However over time when he becomes self reliant, he thanks Homer and even puts him back to work at his old Job.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: Burns learns to respect his underlings after getting punched in the face.
* EpicFail: Homer somehow setting fire to Mr. Burns' bowl of cereal -- after pouring milk and cereal into a bowl like any of us would normally do. It's the present image for its EpicFail/WesternAnimation page.
** Also Smithers' attempted suicide: dunking his head inside of the reservoir of a water cooler to drown himself. All Burns needs to do to stop it is press the water dispenser button until it drains.
* FailureMontage: Homer tries to make Mr. Burns' breakfast, and screws up every single time. All meals catch fire. Later, Smithers fails to keep any new job he gets.
* FauxHorrific: While Smithers steps out for a moment, leaving Mr. Burns alone in his car, a drunken but friendly Lenny comes to thank him. To Burns, Lenny looks like an attacker, and even talks about "the glint of murder in his eye" on the ride home.
* MistakenForPrankCall: Mr. Burns tries to call Smithers but doesn't know how telephones work and mistakenly calls Moe's Tavern and Moe thinks Mr. Burns is pranking him.
* OhCrap: Homer when he punched out Mr. Burns.
* OverlyNarrowSuperlative: AvertedTrope. The attempt by Smithers to obtain an incredibly incompetent employee by searching through the plant's files using a large number of these ''still manages to bring up the files for every employee in the plant''. In his exasperation, he just goes for Homer.
* RageBreakingPoint: Burns' barrage of insults finally cause Homer to snap and punch him (hard enough to actually believe for a moment that he had killed Burns). This in turn caused Burns to fear him to the point where he becomes self reliant.
* SpringtimeForHitler: Out of fear his place as Mr. Burns' assistant would be taken by someone who'd eclipse him, Smithers got Homer to do the job. Homer was so incompetent Mr. Burns decided to do things by himself. By the time Smithers returned from his vacation, Mr. Burns decided he no longer needed an assistant.