Episode - 4F17
First Aired - 4/20/1997While Lisa implements a recycling program, Mr. Burns discovers that he's lost his fortune (and was never told this beforehand because his accountants are sycophants/afraid of Mr. Burns' wrath) and now must live like a common man. With Lisa's help, Mr. Burns devises a plan to regain his fortune.
This episode contains examples of:
- Absurdly Dedicated Worker: Smithers continues doting over Burns even after he is fired and replaced by Lenny.
- Alcohol Hic: Homer lets one out after going through quite a few cans of beer in an attempt to help Lisa out recycling.
- All for Nothing: Despite all the recycling the Junior Achievers' Club did, they only made a check for 75 cents (which wouldn't even cover the gas for the drive over) and had to cancel their field trip to Albany (with Principal Skinner even saying they wouldn't do any more recycling). Even worse, despite Lisa saying they had collected enough paper to save a whole tree, Skinner was so angry that he ended up knocking a tree down while driving out of the recycling center.
- As Himself: Bret Hart.
- Bait-and-Switch: This line, from Skinner:Skinner: What a load of garbage... I'm ecstatic!
- Beyond the Impossible: After Lisa turned down Burns' offer, Homer experienced four simultaneous heart attacks (and a fifth one after Lisa tells Homer that 10% of $120,000,000 isn't $12,000...note )
- Broke Episode
- Call-Back: When Lisa and Mr. Burns were arguing about recycling and it went to how wealthy Burns was, Lisa produced a copy of the biography Burns wrote ("Will There Ever Be a Rainbow?") from the season two episode "Blood Feud", where Homer forces Bart to donate blood to save Mr. Burns' life under the impression that they will be given money.
- Comically Missing the Point:
Kent Brockman: Remember millionaire C. Montgomery Burns? The man who blocked out our sun, ran over a local boy, and stole Christmas from 1981 to 1985? Well, guess who's flat broke, and picking up trash for a living?Homer: Please be Flanders, please be Flanders...
- Also, when Lisa showed herself disgusted at knowing what the slurry named after her was made of, Mr. Burns thought a spoonful of it would have made her better. Sure, he didn't understand why Lisa didn't like the idea but he should have noticed she didn't.
- Contrived Coincidence: Mr. Burns ends up at the Springfield Retirement Center around the same time that Lisa shows up looking for things to recycle.
- Distant Reaction Shot: When Homer ends up in the hospital after Lisa turned down Burns' offer, he bemoans the loss of what he thinks is $12,000. Lisa then began to reluctantly clarify to him how much she actually gave upnote ; cut to the hallway with an alarm going off about a 'Code Blue'note .
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good / Hero with an F in Good: Mr. Burns has genuinely found a desire to do good, but he doesn't realize how wrong it is that Lil' Lisa's slurry is made from live sea creatures.Lisa: You're still evil, and when you try to be good, you're even more evil!
- Gone Horribly Right: Lisa teaches Burns to recycle. And boy, does he...
- Grand Finale: In the DVD commentary, the writers and producers joked that they could have ended the series with this episode, since the ending implied that Homer died of a massive heart attack.
- Honest Advisor: Burns recruits Lisa since an honest voice can help him more than the yes-men who bankrupted him.
- How the Mighty Have Fallen: The grocery store workers are surprised by Burns struggling to choose between ketchup and catsup, thinking he's shocked from being bankrupted.
- Invisible Subtle Difference: When Marge tries to recycle, she gets it wrong:Lisa: Mom, Mom! You're mixing polyethylene with polyurethane.
Homer: (aghast) Marge!
- Musical Gag: The That Girl sequence ends with the Simpson doorbell ringing the last two notes of the melody.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Lisa upon realizing what Lil's Lisa's slurry is made of.
- Nausea Fuel: The process of Lil' Lisa Slurry being made is this for Lisa and a few fans of the show.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: “You inspired it all...Lil’ Lisa.”
- Noodle Incident: It's implied that Lenny, who was Mr. Burns' replacement at the plant, was every bit as ruthless as his predecessor, if not more so. When Smithers visits the Simpson house with Burns, he is surprised to see Homer at home:Smithers: Simpson! What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be at work?Homer: I made a mistake and Lenny sent me home to think about what I'd done, but I can't remember what I did, so I'm watching TV.Smithers: Well, Lenny's reign of terror is over. Mr. Burns bought back the plant this morning.
- Riches to Rags: Mr. Burns, thanks to listening to spineless yes-men. Lisa helped him to become wealthy again.
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Lisa refuses to accept her share of the profits from Mr. Burns' sale of the Lil' Lisa's slurry factory. Many fans have argued whether this was wise of her or not.
- Shout-Out: The sequence when Mr. Burns tries to ask Lisa to help him spoofs the Title Sequence of That Girl.
- The scene where a confused Mr. Burns goes to a grocery store is inspired by an apocryphal account of George H.W. Bush being amazed at a grocery scanner.
- The recycling center is called "Uriah's Heap", named after the character Uriah Heep from David Copperfield. The hippie who owns the center is modeled after Dennis Hopper's photographer character from Apocalypse Now.
- The scene where Lisa runs down the streets of Springfield, trying to stop everyone from using Lil' Lisa's slurry spoofs Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Soylent Green.
- Spoof AesopHomer: Well, Lisa, I hope you learned your lesson. "Never help anyone".
- Straw Nihilist: Bart, on recycling:Bart: (to Lisa) Ah, recycling is useless, Lise. Once the sun burns out, this planet is doomed. You're just making sure we spend our last days using inferior products.
- Took a Level in Kindness: At first, it seems Mr. Burns has become a Benevolent Boss. However, we soon see the full extent of his recycling program...
- Undying Loyalty: Smithers continues caring for Burns even upon his bankruptcy. He even lets him live in his house.
- Villains Out Shopping: Mr. Burns goes grocery shopping. Hilarity Ensues.
- Yes-Man: Mr Burns' poor investments go unnoticed because of this, with all his advisers too spineless to disagree with him. He even calls them this trope and chews them out. They still agree with him. The situation even provides the trope's page quote.
- Your Answer to Everything: Smithers says he didn't warn Mr. Burns about the Great Depression because he still wasn't born back then. Mr. Burns says it's Smithers' excuse for everything.