Episode - 7F01
First Aired - 11/01/1990Bart and Lisa's discovery of a three-eyed fish in a river near the nuclear plant prompts Mr. Burns to save his tarnished image by running against Governor Mary Bailey in the upcoming election.
This episode contains examples of:
- Appeal to Flattery: The flip side is invoked in Burns' campaign jingle: "Only a moron wouldn't cast his vote for Monty Burns!"
- Ascended Extra: Blinky was just a throwaway gag in his previous appearance (see Continuity Nod). Here, his existence is a major plot point.
- Bribe Backfire: Mr. Burns' blatant attempt to bribe the government inspector only puts himself in more hot water.
- Characterization Marches On: Mr. Burns is outraged that it will cost approximately $56 million to bring the power plant up to code. Sure, that is a lot of money, but he behaves as though he can't afford it (even getting drunk and crying over it) despite later episodes confirming his net worth is roughly $16.8 billion.
- Then again, he is also usually known to be greedy, so he has the money but he didn't probably want to pay.
- Continuity Nod: Bart pastes the picture of him catching Blinky in a scrapbook next to one about how some vandal took a statue's head.
- Blinky first appeared as a throwaway gag in "Homer's Odyssey".
- Did Not Think This Through: Did Marge really expect Mr. Burns to not throw a fit after she destroyed his campaign? Status Quo Is God was the only thing that saved her and her family from the old man's wrath.
- Digging Yourself Deeper: Subverted. Homer thinks this is happening when Mr. Burns glares at Homer for saying that he (Mr. Burns) could afford to run for office when no honest man could. His babbling in fact inspires Mr. Burns to put himself in the running for governor so he can keep his plant from closing down.
- Dirty Coward: Marge. After single-handedly destroying Mr. Burns's campaign, she cowers behind Homer when Burns throws a temper tantrum and lets him take the fall for her.
- Hidden Disdain Reveal: In a discussion with another member, Burns' advisor admits pleasant surprise that their "cornball stunt" is actually pulling off, making it no surprise when he abandons the old guy the moment his popularity is left in tatters.
- Irony: Mocked. After losing the campaign, Burns gives an analogy to the situation that he believes is this. He doesn't quite grasp the trope however:Burns: Ironic, isn't it, Smithers? This anonymous clan of slack-jawed troglodytes has cost me the election, and yet if I were to have them killed, I would be the one to go to jail. That's democracy for you.Smithers: You are noble and poetic in defeat, sir.
- Misplaced Retribution: Mr. Burns threatens to ruin Homer's life after Marge destroys his campaign single handedly. Granted as with most obligations he has towards Homer, it doesn't seem to go anywhere.
- Mundane Made Awesome: The scene where Mr. Burns spits out the piece of fish meat is done entirely in slow motion, and the accompanying camera crew follows its every motion while it's in the air.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Homer gave Mr. Burns the idea to run for governor. Mostly because Mr. Burns was making him nervous by glaring at him for making a comment that he can afford to.
- Plot Hole: How Marge actually got hold of Blinky to cook it is never explained, especially since it seemed to be in Burns' possession to begin with.
- Pragmatic Hero: Homer knows that Mr. Burns does not deserve to win the election, but still votes for him because Mr. Burns is his boss and would likely fire him out of spite if Homer voted for Mary Bailey.
- Shout-Out: Many of the scenes (and parts of the plot) in this episode are taken from Citizen Kane.
- Spanner in the Works: Marge single-handily torpedoes Mr. Burns' campaign with one serving.
- Status Quo Is God: Twofold.
- Mr. Burns forgets all about the Simpsons by the time of his next appearance, even though Smithers remembers the incident.
- Since Mr. Burns lost the election, the safety regulations he violated are still in effect, thus he'd have to pay the $56 million clean-up fee to keep the plant from shutting down. He doesn't, and the plant remains hazardous and poorly run, yet it isn't shut down.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Marge. She treats Homer like a pariah for supporting Mr. Burns, despite Homer's blunt declaration that he is only doing so because the old man is his boss and would likely fire him out of spite if Homer voted for Mary Bailey. Admittedly, Homer did abruptly reveal Burns' plan to come to the Simpsons' house for dinner without consulting her, but it must once again be pointed out that Mr. Burns is Homer's boss and the richest, most powerful man in Springfield (to the point of being called an outright autocrat by Kent Brockman), so it wasn't like Homer could have said no to Mr. Burns. Despite this, she openly and directly sabotages the campaign anyway (and seemingly kills Blinky in the process), and when Mr. Burns predictably turns nasty, she cowers behind Homer and lets him take the fall. While Mr. Burns was a tyrannical scumbag who did not deserve to win the election, Marge had no right to foist the consequences of her actions onto her husband and should have tried to stop Burns' tantrum herself, or at least stand up to him when Burns vowed revenge on Homer and insist that the old man target her instead. Even her attempt to comfort Homer afterwards rings hollow for two reasons: she still refuses to take responsibility for what she did; and Mr. Burns could easily destroy the "biggest dreams" she listed off if he ever put his mind to it.
- Viewers Are Goldfish: Burns is caught on camera saying the viewers of his political ad will be eating out the palm of his hand, and they still fall for his obviously politically-motivated plea to accept Blinky as a natural product of evolution.
- Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The plot centers around a gubernatorial race for a state that is never mentioned. This episode could arguably be the Trope Namer since it's the first one where the lack of a state name is kind of an issue.
- Irony: Apparently, the state's motto is "Not just another state."