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!"
- Bribe Backfire: Mr. Burns' blatant attempt to bribe the government inspector only puts himself in more hot water.
- 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".
- 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 torpedos Mr. Burns' campaign with one serving.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Marge. Throughout the episode, she keeps acting as though Homer is oppressing the family by making them support Mr. Burns out of a genuine political belief. There are two problems with this: first, Homer never directly orders Marge to vote for Burns, and when Burns decides to come to the Simpson house for dinner, Homer resorts to begging—not force, begging—on his hands and knees to get Marge to go along with it; second, he bluntly tells her that the only reason he is voting for Mr. Burns (again, just him—no attempts to coerce Marge into voting for Burns are made) is because the old man is his boss and would likely fire him if Homer voted for Bailey. She openly sabotages the campaign anyway (and seemingly kills Blinky to do so), then has the nerve to expect Homer to take the fall for her actions when Burns throws a temper tantrum as a result. Her attempts to comfort Homer at the end of the episode can be interpreted as her saying that Homer is a loser who's never going to amount to much since his goals are so pathetic.
- How much of Marge's behavior is jerkass-ish is debatable. Early seasons Burns was an utter tyrant who would have been a truly monstrous Governor. So he had to be stopped. Moreover Homer resorted to begging Marge to allow Mr. Burns to come for dinner only after agreeing to it & the accompanying media circus without even consulting her. True, she was not brave enough to stand up to Burns & stop his tantrum. but the chances are that he would have made Homer his target in any case; since Homer, & not Marge work for him. Finally her consolation of Homer was probably intended to show him that no matter what Burns did, there were a few simple joys of life he couldn't take away.
- 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 motto is "Not just another state."