Recap / The Simpsons S 5 E 4 Rosebud

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Episode - 1F01
First Aired - 10/21/1993

"Rosebud" is the fourth episode of the fifth season of The Simpsons. It is the first episode (in production order) featuring David Mirkin as showrunner, taking over from Al Jean and Mike Reiss, who left the series to create The Critic.

It's Mr. Burns' birthday, but, despite getting everything a cold, heartless billionaire could ever want, all Mr. Burns really wants is Bobo, the teddy bear he abandoned the day he was adopted into wealth a la Charles Foster Kane. Little does he know that his long-lost childhood toy is closer than he thinks...


This episode contains examples of:

  • Accidental Hero: One of Burns' and Smithers' attempts to break into the Simpson house to steal Bobo is thwarted by Homer coming downstairs in the middle of the night in his underwear to eat 64 slices of cheese.
  • Adolf Hitlarious: Hitler blaming a teddy bear for his own failures.
  • AI Is A Crap Shoot: Prof. Frink claims his robotic bear is programmed to be just as cuddly as a normal teddy bear, but it doesn't work out that way.
  • Angst? What Angst?: Homer handles Burns's cutting off Springfield's beer supply astonishingly well. This may possibly be due to Maggie being happy with Bobo.
  • Artistic License Geography and Artistic License History: O.K., we may be able to buy that Charles Lindbergh took Bobo on his trip across the Atlantic Ocean and threw him away as soon as he arrived in Paris (since Lindbergh actually had a Felix the Cat doll when he made his famous trans-Atlantic flight, though it was night when he landed in Paris, not daytime). But Hitler grabbing the bear in the crowd? What was he doing in Paris in 1927? Wasn't he preparing the Nazi Party in Germany for winning the 1933 German elections? Or the fact that Bobo the bear somehow got stuck on top of the "Nautilius" note  in 1957 when it was last seen in Hitler's bunker in 1945?
  • As Themselves: The Ramones
  • Bad Future: In the year 1,000,000 A.D., apes rule the world, Homer is the only human alive (and has been cloned for slave labor), Mr. Burns is still alive (and kept that way on a robotic body), and Smithers' head is on a robot dog's body.
  • Blatant Lies: Mr. Burns tries to get out of offering Homer a big reward by claiming he's "strapped for cash." The ceiling above him immediately breaks and a torrent of gold and jewels falls on him.
    Burns: As you can see, this place is falling apart.
  • Bowdlerization: On Canada's Global network and on UK TV, the Ramones' performance was edited to remove the lines "I'd just like to say this gig sucks!", "Up yours, Springfield!" and "Go to hell, you old bastard!" (making it seem as if Burns was scared because of the punk music [since his line before the Ramones' performance did imply that he thought the band would play something soothing], not the profanity and the punk music - although some broadcasts allow the "Go to hell!" to survive).
    • Around the time that Princess Diana's death was fresh in everyone's minds (both in the UK and globally), the scene of Mr. Burns getting his photo taken by a paparazzo was cut to remove Burns' line, "Damn you, paparazzo" in the UK because the paparazzi was implicated in causing the car crash that killed Princess Diana.
    • In Australia, the part where Mr. Burns' security guards beat everyone up after Burns cancels the rest of the party following Homer's horrible stand-up act was cut, as well as the scene where Barney threatens Homer with a gun after Burns cuts off the beer supply and Homer slamming the door on Barney, causing him to shoot something (or someone), judging by the frightened woman's scream and an approaching cop car siren.
  • Butt-Monkey: George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter who aren't allowed at Burns' party, because they only served one term.
  • Deal with the Devil: A newspaper headline notes that Mr. Burns credits his long life to Satan. A picture below the headline shows Burns handing Satan a giant check.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: Burns' most outlandish plan to get Bobo is to hold television in Springfield hostage, and deliver his ultimatum to Homer. Funnily enough, he doesn't so much as hijack the airwaves with his own broadcast as he storms the studio of each channel, even running to a new one when Homer uses the remote.
    Burns: And if the rest of you beer-swilling, tube-rockies have a problem with that...talk to Homer Simpson.
  • Epic Fail: Several by Burns in an attempt to reclaim Bobo:
    • Burns and Smithers' first attempt to steal Bobo from the Simpsons' house ends with them stuck on the climbing wire they tried to use and having to be brought down by a rescue squad the following morning.
    • The following attempt they climb into the house by ceiling, only to be halted by Homer reemerging at night to stuff himself. He stays at the kitchen all night until their suction cups fail and they fall down to his confusion.
    • When all his previous attempts to get Bobo back fail, Burns is reduced to having Smithers grovel on his knees to give Bobo back.
    • Mr Burns trying to force Bobo out of Maggie's hands, only to be outstrengthed.
    Burns: *breathless* Beaten by an infant, what could be more humiliating?
    Reporter: *snaps photo* What a scoop!
  • Faceless Goons: The guy that whips Homer to make the cupcake display turn wears a hood which covers his face.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: After Bart gives Bobo to Maggie (who proceeds to hug it), we get a close up and a dramatic chord as we are shown... a "100% Cotton" tag. Cue a Record Needle Scratch as the camera "looks" around the bear until it finally locates the "Bobo" tag. Cue the record starting back up.
  • Fan Disservice: Smithers imagines Mr. Burns erotically popping out of a birthday cake for him clad in nothing but a sash.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Burns' inability to out-muscle Maggie will become very relevant in the "Who Shot Mr. Burns" two-parter.
    • Homer watching Barney The Dinosaur with Maggie, and thoroughly enjoying the repetitive sing song, makes it no surprise when Burns' downgraded programming doesn't faze him that much.
  • Flashback: A large part of it.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus and Blooper:
    • Homer's September calendar has 31 days on it (September has 30 days).
    • When Burns interrupts Barney the Dinosaur, if you pause at the right moment, the two have swapped their backgrounds (Burns is in the grassy field, and Barney is in front of a blue screen).
  • Ignored Epiphany:
    Burns: Smithers, I'm so happy. Something amazing has happened, I'm actually happy. Take a note! [resolute] From now on, I'm only going to be good and kind to everyone.
    Smithers: I'm sorry sir, I don't have a pencil.
    Burns: Ehh, don't worry, I'm sure I'll remember it.
  • Instant Ice, Just Add Cold: It happened to Bobo during the flashback from the fifties.
  • Iwo Jima Pose: When Smithers presented a slideshow of Mr Burns's life on his birthday, one of the shots was of the Iwo Jima Pose with Mr. Burns's face superimposed onto all of the Marines. And on the flag itself.
  • Lampshading:
    • When young Burns drives off with a billionaire he drops his teddy bear. His father runs behind him and yells for him to come back as the bear is "the symbol of his youth and innocence."
    • When Homer notices Bobo's face behind their aquarium he immediately asks: "How long have we had those fish?"
  • Left Hanging: Milhouse apparently went missing, seeing that his face was seen on a milk carton. But we never find out where he went.
  • Marilyn Maneuver: Mr. Burns does this pose, in the white Monroe dress, on one of the clips Smithers shows to the crowd.
  • Nerves of Steel: When Burns announces that he's taken over all the TV channels in Springfield and diverted all its beer shipments away, Barney is so angry he pulls a gun on Homer, ominously warning Homer to give Bobo back to Burns. Homer isn't fazed at all and merely slams the door in Barney's face. This makes Barney accidentally fire, break a window and cause a woman to scream. We then hear police sirens and Barney saying "uh oh."
  • Never My Fault: Adolf Hitler blamed Bobo for his downfall.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Marge suggests the family make Mr. Burns double whatever offer he gives them, causing everyone to stare in shock. Marge retorts, "Why can't I be greedy once in a while?"
    • And then there's the fact that Homer seems to take Burns cutting off Springfield's beer supply in stride. That said, he probably didn't mind so long as Maggie was happy with Bobo.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Homer and Bart are gloating that they can demand any price for returning Bobo to Mr Burns, and Marge replies "Now I'm sure he'll offer a fair reward ... And then we'll make him double it!" When the rest of the family stares at her, she adds, "Why can't I be greedy every once in a while?"
  • Pun: Two signs the crowd carries after Mr. Burns banned all alcoholic beverage in order to get Bobo the bear back are "We want bear" and "We want beer".
  • Recognition Failure: Mr. Burns thinks the Ramones are The Rolling Stones.
  • Shaming the Mob: Done by the mob themselves, interestingly enough: after bursting into the Simpsons' house and being seconds away from leaving with Bobo, one look at how upset Maggie was over her toy being taken away was enough to have them give it back. And tellingly enough, the closest thing to a leader the mob had, Moe, was the first to notice.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The opening scenes with Burns in his bed and him going away from his parents during his youth are straight out of Citizen Kane.
    • The chanting soldiers in front of Burns' mansion reference the Witches' soldiers in The Wizard of Oz.
    • Mr. Burns claims he misses Sheriff Lobo.
    • Mr. Burns apparently owns Excalibur, the only nude photo of Mark Twain, the first draft of the US Constitution with the word "suckers" in it, the Ten Commandments, the Venus de Milo and a mummy.
    • Smithers' fantasy of Mr. Burns jumping out of a cake singing "Happy Birthday" references Marilyn Monroe singing "Happy Birthday" to John F. Kennedy, which she didn't do out of a cake though.
    • Mr. Burns' younger brother is George Burns, who also was 100 years old by the time he passed away.
    • Homer prepares to do stand-up by practicing in front of the mirror with a golf club in his hand, referencing comedian Bob Hope.
    • Former presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush are seen getting in line to visit Burns' party, but Bush is not allowed inside because he only served one presidential term. Outside he is greeted by Jimmy Carter, who was also sent away.
    • Homer watches Barney The Dinosaur. It becomes a Take That! when Mr. Burns interrupts it.
    Barney: "Two plus two is four, two plus two is four, two plus two is four..."
    Homer: "(chuckles) Heh, heh, heh, I can see why this is so popular."
    • One of the channels Homer flips to broadcasts Soul Train, but here it is named "Soul Mass Transit System".
    • The final scene with Homer in the future cloned and enslaved by apes references Planet of the Apes.
    • In Homer's Imagine Spot about having his own recording studio, Homer sings the old Big Mac jingle.
    • The slideshow presentation at Mr. Burns' birthday party is set to Diana Ross' Do You Know Where You're Going To?
  • So Unfunny, It's Funny: The sitcom starring Burns and Smithers.
  • Special Guest: The Ramones, albeit with Marky and C.J. instead of Dee Dee and Tommy.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Sort of. To avoid admitting to Smithers he was having a nightmare about his lost teddy bear Bobo, Burns claimed he was having one about missing the TV show Sheriff Lobo. Then we get to see Homer, who actually was dreaming about missing Sheriff Lobo.
  • Special Effect Failure: In Universe example: Unlike the more well-done Iwo Jima example, Mr. Burns has a cut-out picture of himself poorly taped onto Muhammad Ali's body during his legendary defeat (and pose) over Sonny Liston. You can even see the scotch tape visibly on the picture.
  • Take That!: To television, in general.
    [Watching Mr. Burns' bad sitcom]
    Lisa: Is it my imagination, or has TV gotten worse?
    Homer: Eh, it's about the same.
    • The first show Burns interrupts is Barney the Dinosaur.
  • Tempting Fate: After Mr. Burns attempt to take Bobo from Maggie by force failed, he wondered what could be more humiliating and a paparazzo showed up to photograph him.
    • Depressed because he gave up a fortune by refusing to give Bobo back, Homer says his life can't get any worse. Cue Smithers calling him on the tannoy to report for much worse duties.
  • There Was a Door: The robot bear escapes by going through the walls of Burns' mansion.
  • Too Dumb to Live: One of the ice diggers, who went all the way to the Antarctic to get Apu some ice, brings the bags to Apu and says: "You've gotta start selling this for more than a dollar a bag. We lost four men on this expedition!" Apu apathetically challenges him to think of a better way to get ice, and the man can't come up with one.
  • Unishment: Out of all the torturous acts Burns attempts on Homer to force Bobo back, the television hijack fails miserably. Homer actually ends up enjoying his and Smithers' new programming.
  • Whole Plot Reference: Citizen Kane.

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