Production code: FABF-18
Lisa prepares to read a poetic tribute to Geezer Rock, a rock formation outside Springfield resembling an old man in a mountain, in honor of its anniversary. When Homer attempts to remove a tree in one of Geezer Rock's "eyes", he causes it to collapse, interrupting Lisa's performance. Lisa finds an outlet for her poem through her homemade newspaper The Red Dress Press.
In the meantime, the rocks collapsing overcome and seemingly kill Mr. Burns. He survives and is appalled to find that the Springfield populace shows more sadness over Geezer Rock's destruction than his apparent death. Mr. Burns then buys every media outlet in Springfield - including the skywriters - and begins seeding the media with pro-Burns and pro-nuclear power propaganda. Angered by Burns' overtaking, Lisa organizes a news crew to manage The Red Dress Press and encourages the populace to think against the overflow of Burns propaganda. Naturally, Burns declares war in various ways (having goons attack their car, cutting off the power to the Simpsons house, and ruining Lisa's reputation). Touched by his daughter's determination, Homer composes an article in his own homemade paper The Homer Times praising Lisa for her effort. Various Springfield residents print their own newspapers to get their own voices out there, encouraged by Lisa's actions. Mr. Burns stops his media takeover, but rather than admit defeat, he and his Ambiguously Gay assistant, Smithers, go on a shopping spree.
This episode contains examples of:
- Actually Pretty Funny: Skinner loves Bart's cartoon about "Principal Skinrash." Granted, he may or may not realize it's supposed to be him.Skinner: I once had a principal like that.
- All Girls Like Ponies: Mr. Burns offers three ponies to Lisa as a bribe. She reluctantly refuses. The ponies turned out to be evil, anyway.
- And There Was Much Rejoicing: Everyone for Burns' supposed death.
- Big Stupid Doo Doo Head: When Lisa is writing an article for the Red Dress Press:Lisa: Dear readers, you hold in your hands the last paper not controlled by the Burns media empire. We are not afraid to say Montgomery Burns is a monopolistic, self-aggrandizing... (briefly looks away in thought) ...stinky pants.
- Biting-the-Hand Humor: Burns admits at the end that nobody but Rupert Murdoch can own all media and he and Smithers praise him while looking directly at the audience.
- Bowdlerization: In the UK, the following scenes are cut:
- The Squeaky-Voiced Teen throwing himself off a cliff over Futurama's cancellation (and landing in a car with two teenagers making out in it).
- Mr. Burns' suckling on a mother mole's teat during his escape from being crushed by the rocks.
- Groundskeeper Willie's line about the new tractors being "shite" (the UK way of spelling "shit"; the "i" sound in this version is long, like in the words "line" and "mite") was cut down to "I've reviewed the new tractors."note In America, the last word is bleeped out in reruns.
- Call-Back: Homer listening to "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls.
- Captain Obvious: During Principal Skinner's flashback about his mimeograph, there was an ad about a chair for sale stating it was "good for sitting".
- Comically Missing the Point: Principal Skinner doesn't realize "Principal Skinrash" is a parody of him.
- Cosmopolitan Council: Going off the tattered remains of clothing on the skeletons, Mr. Burns' League of Evil seemed to consist of a military officer of some kind, a samurai, an Arab warrior with a Sinister Scimitar, a cowboy, and a Mad Scientist.
- Epic Fail: Burns' attempt to stomp on an ant leads to him getting pushed over by it.Burns: Take my wallet and leave me alone!
- Everyone Has Standards: As evil as Burns is, the moment he is most exasperated about Lisa being a political zealot is when she won't stop pontificating even to say if she likes or dislikes modern music.
- Go-Karting with Bowser: Attempted. After Mr. Burns tries and fails to buy out Lisa's paper, and realizes he can't throw her out until her mom comes to pick her up, he decides to kill time by engaging in a more casual conversation about popular music with her. Unfortunately, Lisa's still only thinking about her political causes.
- Forgot to Feed the Monster: When Mr. Burns decides to call for the League of Evil, he opens a room with skeletons of people who were his league. As Smithers points out, "Even monsters need air".
- Hypocritical Humor: When Mr. Burns has Homer drugged so he may dish on Lisa, Homer mentions Milhouse having a thing for her and then laughs because it's funny when "...nerds don't know when they're nerds". Burns also laughs, saying that self-delusion is the most pathetic thing. He then passes a mirror, seeing himself as a younger and more fit self, and chuckles "Hello, Beefcake Charlie".
- Last Disrespects: Homer, Lenny and Carl are ready to dance on Mr. Burns' grave when he shows up alive and asks whose grave they intend to dance on. They claim it's the unknown soldier's grave and Burns tells them to carry on.
- Legion of Doom: Burns has a League Of Evil, which he keeps in his secret compartment. They’ve long since suffocated. He initially gets visibly distraught over the sight of their skeletons before telling Smithers to gather their watches.
- Never My Fault: Burns as usual:Smithers: Your goons did run her off the road, sir.
Mr. Burns: I can't be held responsible for what my goons were ordered to do!
- No One Could Survive That!: Normally rocks coming down on a person like that would greatly injure or kill them. Burns, however, manages to survive because his "svelte physique" allowed him to crawl through air pockets.
- Noodle Incident: Invoked when Homer panics that tourists losing interest in Geezer Rock would mean no one buying his roadside corn. Marge tells him that he doesn't sell roadside corn. Homer flatly responds "There's a lot you don't know about me, Marge. A lot that would shock you."
- No Sympathy: Lisa claims her team chicken out for quiting her news business even though they were recovering from a hitman attack that Burns set out.
- Person as Verb: When Professor Frink expresses shock at Mr. Burns being alive, Burns merely chuckles and notes that he "pulled a Jesus".
- Precision F-Strike: Willie's statement that the new tractors are all "shite" remains the harshest use of profanity on the show.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent:
- Getting run off the road into a "rattlesnake sanctuary" isn't a pleasant experience.
- The three ponies which Burns attempts to bribe Lisa with are quickly revealed to be evil mutants with forked tongues, sharp fangs and reptilian sclerae.
- Rule of Three:
- Bart pays Homer a three-dollar fine to get out of a year-long grounding.
- The goons that run Lisa and company off the road come in three: a black car ramming them, a helicopter swaying them with its landing skids, and a helmeted goon on a Segway that knocks them into a "rattlesnake sanctuary".
- Shout-Out: The beginning of the episode was a reference to the collapsing of the Old Man Of The Mountain, which was a symbol of New Hampshire.
- Soapbox Sadie: Mr. Burns gets a poke at Lisa's tendencies to this when, after their confrontation, they are forced to make awkward small-talk:Mr. Burns: So... what do you think about today's popular music scene?
Lisa: I think it distracts people from more important social issues.
Mr. Burns: My God, are you always on?!
- Sophisticated as Hell: While decrying him in her publication, Lisa describes Mr. Burns as a "monopolistic, self-aggrandizing stinky pants."
- Spit Take: Mr. Burns's spit completely drains him of his bodily fluids.
- Spoof Aesop: At the end, Lisa manages to overthrow Mr. Burns media empire by inspiring the rest of Springfield to print their own newspapers, breaking his monopoly. Then Homer discloses his thoughts on the events to the audience.Homer: See, Lisa? Instead of one big shot controlling all the media, now there's a thousand freaks xeroxing their worthless opinions. I couldn't be prouder.
- Strong Ants: After publicly humiliating Lisa by telling the public that she has a crush on Milhouse - which may or may not be true - Burns attempts to crush an ant with his foot; said ant pushes the weak Mr. Burns to the ground, scaring the old man enough into attempting to give up his wallet to the ant, as if he were being robbed.
- Suicide as Comedy: The Squeaky Voiced Teen attempts suicide because his favorite show got cancelled. Not only is this a completely irrational reason to attempt suicide, but the show in question got uncancelled later on anyway (twice!), rendering his suicide attempt pointless.
- Take That!: Lisa hires kids from the school to work on her paper, giving them jobs based on their expressed strengths: for instance, Nelson's good at "making nerds cry," so he becomes her TV critic. Ralph Wiggum has, of course, got nothing, so she makes him...a feature columnist. We later learn that he's been scooped by the Chicago Tribune.
- Worth It: When Mr. Burns cuts off the Simpsons' power supply in an attempt to thwart Lisa, Homer runs in with two batteries and puts them into a boombox, singing along with it until those batteries run out.Homer: That was totally worth it.
- Women Drivers: When being chased by Burn's obviously male goons hired to get rid of Lisa, Homer confuses them for being women driving poorly when they attack his car and run it off the road.