Episode - 2F23
First Aired - 3/5/1995
with The Critic
, which was in the middle of its second and final season after a Channel Hop
Springfield has of late developed a reputation as the least cultured city in America, and a town hall meeting is called to address the issue. Nobody is particularly enthused when Marge gets up to speak her piece, but her suggestion of a film festival that would feature locally-produced fare is well-received. Ned Flanders sets to shooting a retelling of the baby Moses story (which nearly ends with his son getting swept up by the river, only for God Himself to save Todd), Bart goes for fly-on-the-wall documentaries (Homer in the Shower
, Homer on the Toilet
, and The Eternal Strugglenote
), and Mr. Burns decides to produce a Biopic
— of himself, seeing it as a great way to remake his public image. Hiring Steven Spielberg
's "non-union Mexican equivalent" Señor Spielbergo to direct, he winds up playing himself in A Burns for All Seasons
Marge examines the work of nationally-televised film critics to choose one to invite to Springfield to serve on the festival jury, and with Lisa's encouragement picks Jay Sherman. He is enthusiastic about judging the festival and the Simpsons host him as a houseguest, though Bart feels dirty about talking up the quality of his show.
Unfortunately, Homer develops an inferiority complex thanks to Jay's presence. Not only are Marge and the others impressed by Jay's intellect and wit, he proves to hold his own in more lowbrow activities as well — burping contests, knowing the words to "I Wish I Were an Oscar Meyer Weiner", etc. To prove to Homer that she respects him and his intelligence, Marge reluctantly honors his request to serve on the jury alongside her, Jay, Mayor Quimby, and Krusty the Klown (which means Martin Scorsese
At the festival, Mr. Burns's ego-stroking film receives a nasty reception and he bribes both the mayor and Krusty to vote it as Best Film. Marge and Jay back Barney's touching document of his own alcoholism, Pukeahontas
, leaving Homer to break the tie. Unfortunately, his
favorite film of the lot is Hans Moleman Productions' Man Getting Hit By Football
, so the jury is deadlocked and Marge is embarrassed. Jay encourages Homer to rethink his decision, and rewatching Pukeahontas
convinces him that it deserves his support. Barney wins the Best Film award, and temporarily swears off booze until he learns that he's won a tanker truck's worth of Duff Beer to go along with his statuette. All seems well — Marge is proud of Homer and thinks that Mr. Burns learned his lesson...
But an epilogue reveals that Mr. Burns, stung by his failure to win at the festival, pushes his film through to the Academy Awards
and bribes everyone in the industry to vote him Best Actor. The good news is that he still
loses to George C. Scott (as the title character in a remake of Man Getting Hit by Football
This episode contains examples of (YMMV):
- Actor Allusion: It's Bart that goes out of his way to praise Jay's show as something everyone should watch (though doing so admittedly makes him feel dirty). Ironically, Nancy Cartwright voiced Jay's sister, Margo (a role originally for Margaret Cho, but the higher-ups thought she wasn't a good fit).
- Brick Joke: When Jay demonstrates that he has a more impressive burp than Homer...
Wow! How many Pulitzer Prize
winners can do that? Jay:
Just me and Eudora Welty. (later in the episode, during the voting for the best movie of the festival) Krusty:
Now let's get going. I've got a date with Eudora Welty. (we hear a burp similar to Jay's) Krusty:
- Burn the Witch!: An example of how backward Springfield is culturally — Grampa heads up a mob preparing to burn Principal Skinner at the stake for claiming that the Earth revolves around the sun.
Grampa: (gets his picture taken) You've stolen my soul!
- Burping Contest: Homer won first prize at one and tries to use this to stand up against Jay, who has won the Pulitzer Prize. Jay proves himself to be at least as good a burper (if not better), and explains that only he and Eudora Welty can claim both that talent and a Pulitzer among their achievements.
- Crossover: The first for The Simpsons, and the only one intended to boost interest in the show it was crossing over with (one that had, in its first season, established The Simpsons as a fictional show in its universe). This was not by choice for the showrunners; Matt Groening was unhappy enough with the whole business that this is the only episode that does not credit him onscreen as executive producer.
- Delayed Reaction: Rainer Wolfcastle accosts Jay on the street long after their interview is over, having just realised he's been insulted. Jay distracts Wolfcastle by telling him his shoes are untied and grabs a taxi. Hours later, Wolfcastle realises he's wearing loafers.
- Deleted Scene: A cut scene on the Simpsons season six DVD shows the elderly members of the Springfield Retirement Home doing a porno film called What The Poolboy Saw.
- Another cut scene showed the Devil from The Critic who's also auditioning for the part of Mr. Burns, who thought he's perfect and made him his understudy.
- Deliberately Monochrome: Pukeahontas.
- Did I Just Say That Out Loud?:
Jay: How can you vote for Burns' movie?
Krusty: Let's just say it moved me...to a bigger house! Oops, I said the quiet part loud and the loud part quiet.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Jay Sherman learns what happens when he talks trash about MacGyver in front of Patty and Selma, although it was actually Homer.
: You badmouthed MacGyver
, didn't you?
- Epic Movie: A Burns for All Seasons is intended as this.
- Ghost in the Machine: When the voting gets deadlocked, Homer claims that his mind is going a mile a minute. His mind is represented by monkeys picking fleas off each other. After some encouraging words from Jay, Homer announces that he has some serious thinking to do. The same monkeys are then shown doing calculus on a blackboard.
- Groin Attack: The whole point of Man Getting Hit by Football.
- Historical Hero Upgrade: A Burns for All Seasons is Mr. Burns doing this for himself.
- Homage: Moe Better Booze is this to Cabaret's "The Money Song", while A Burns for All Seasons shamelessly recasts Mr. Burns as such characters as E.T. and Jesus Christ (!) as portrayed in Ben Hur.
- Insult Backfire:
Rainer: The film is just me in front of a brick wall for an hour and a half. It cost $80 million.
Jay: (contemptuous) How do you sleep at night?
Rainer: On top of a pile of money with many beautiful ladies.
Jay: Just asking. Yeesh!
(eventually Rainer picked this up, and wasn't very pleased)
- A female viewer commented on how beautiful Barney's movie was. Barney was sitting next to her and thanked you. She was then disgusted by him.
Woman: Eww! Did something crawl into your mouth and die?
Barney: It didn't die.
- Mangled Catchphrase:
Smithers: Sir, the actors are here to audition for the part of you.
Mr. Burns: Excellent.
Mr. Burns: Next!
Mr. Burns: Next!
Homer: Exactly! .... D'oh!
Mr. Burns: (getting aggravated) Next!
Bumblebee Man: Excelliente!
- Poor Man's Substitute: In-universe parody.
Smithers: He's unavailable.
Mr. Burns: Then get me his non-union Mexican equivalent!
- Sistine Steal: The opening credits of A Burns for All Seasons are set against one with Mr. Burns in Adam's place.
- Something Completely Different: McBain — Let's Get Silly, a stand-up comedy film with McBain bombing onstage and bombing the audience after they heckle him.
- The episode itself is different from most Simpsons episodes as it's the first one to cross over with another show. Sadly, Matt Groening promised that his show wouldn't stoop to such cheap gimmicks, and when he found out it was, he took his name off the credits for that episode.
- Strange Minds Think Alike:
(Everyone "boo"'s to Mr. Burns' movie.)
Mr. Burns: Are they booing at me?
Smithers: Uh, no, they’re saying "Boo-urns, Boo-urns."
Mr. Burns: (stands up to face the audience) Did you people say "boo" or "Boo-urns"?
(Everyone screams "boo!" and throws snacks at him)
Hans Moleman: I was saying "Boo-urns".
- Terrible Interviewees Montage: Of the actors vying to play Mr. Burns. He decides to just play himself when none are to his liking.
- That Poor Car: Jay outdoes Homer with a foghorn burp that sets off car alarms.
- Those Wacky Nazis: Mr. Burns compared himself to Schindler in that both built shells for the Nazis except that Burns' worked.
- William Shatner: As voiced by a soundalike, he auditions for the role of Mr. Burns.