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Recap / The Simpsons S22 E6 "The Fool Monty"

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A "secret conclave of America's media empires", in order to improve ratings and keep the public watching the news, release a deadly disease and create a hysteria surrounding it. When Mr. Burns finds out that he's caught it and is near death's door and that no one cares if he dies (in fact, they're ready to celebrate), Burns decides to end it all himself, but botches it, loses his memory and ends up as the Simpsons' latest house guest.

Tropes featured:

  • Aesop Amnesia: Lisa defends Burns despite the last time she helped him.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: When Burns is pronounced dead, everyone (except Smithers) is happy that he's gone, to the point of showing up to his funeral for the sake of spitting in his grave.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comparison: When Kent is reporting at Burns' funeral.
    Kent Brockman: A humanitarian. A philanthropist. A man of peace. These are among the people that have gathered at Springfield cemetery today to spit in Mr. Burns' grave.
  • Call-Back:
  • Even Evil Has Standards: One of the media conspirators found it wrong to falsely announce a new epidemic to scare the masses. He instead suggested spreading a real disease so the news wouldn't be false.
  • Genre Blind: Everybody in Springfield just assumes Mr. Burns is dead without even seeing his body. It's even worse because it's not the first time they've made that mistake.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong:
    • Homer wants to get revenge on Burns but Marge stops him and decides that the town should give a fair and just sentence for Burns. Cut to the meeting hall where the Mayor and every townsfolk unanimously agrees on getting revenge on Burns. In a Freeze-Frame Bonus, Homer gives a smug look to his dismayed wife that's almost saying "I Told You So".
    • Lisa takes Mr. Burns to his home as a sign of good gesture before telling him that any person can change. Then Burns, having regained his memories, turns around and says that they can change back.
  • It's Been Done: Inspired by Under the Dome, Burns plans to seal the town under a glass dome. Then Lenny mentions that it had been done already.
  • Last Disrespects: People come at Mr. Burns' funeral just to spit in his grave. So many that the grave has to be drained at one point.
  • Never Found the Body: Nobody finds Mr. Burns' "corpse" after his failed suicide attempt but everyone just assumes he's dead.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Lisa decides to take Burns to his manor... where he snaps out from his amnesia.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: NBC's representative at the secret conclave of media companies resembles then-CEO Jeff Zucker, with the accompanying Butt-Monkey status.
  • Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The owners of the various media companies are depicted as this, holding secret meetings inside the Statue of Liberty crown and calling themselves a "secret conclave of America's media empires". The episode shows them plotting to manufacture a crisis and drive up ratings by releasing a deadly disease and blaming it on house cats.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Of all the people to treat Mr. Burns well, the unrepentant criminal Snake wants to take him ice-skating, defying Apu's expectations that he would make him a criminal accomplice.
    • Burns attempts to do this by giving Ralph a lemon-drop...but this injures him, leading him to Yank the Dog's Chain by taking the candy back.
  • Power Of Hate: Burns learns that his hatred was what saved him from falling to his illness. He mockingly thanks Springfield for giving him the key to immortality. Homer happily replies "You're Welcome".
  • Rage Breaking Point: Burns's continuous selfish actions culminates to where almost everybody in Springfield wants him dead...."again"
  • Series Continuity Error: How come Mr. Burns doesn't remember the events of The Simpsons Movie? He was technically trapped under the dome along with everyone else, and was seen rejecting Apu's pleas to share his power during the crisis. He should know that It's Been Done. It can be justified by the fact that Mr. Burns is often depicted as incredibly forgetful.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The title is a pun on the phrase "the full Monty".
    • At the end, Burns goes to see a school performance of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? featuring Nelson and Lisa.
    • Mr. Burns hides in Bart's closet and Marge does not notice him buried among the various dolls and puppets, in a scene lifted from ET The Extraterrestrial; to drive the point home, there's an E.T. doll among the others. Burns also eats the stuffing from a Bongo doll.
    • When Mr. Burns ends up on a construction site, Raymond Scott's "Powerhouse" plays. It is also heard over the closing credits.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: When Homer learned Burns survived his failed suicide, he suggested treating Burns the way he "screwed" them. Mayor Quimby later suggested the same thing and the people approved.
  • Take That!:
    • To Fox News (as always) and the mainstream news media in general, who are depicted as corrupt and wanting nothing more than to scare their viewers into staying tuned. The episode satirically portrays them as a Nebulous Evil Organization that plots to unleash a deadly disease and blame it on house cats solely to drive up ratings, while the newscaster delivering the story, Kent Brockman, uses Weasel Words and declares “mild thirst, occasional hunger, tiredness at night” to be symptoms.
    • The Center for Disease Control is depicted as being in the pocket of the media; here they are called the Center for Disease Disinformation, scare the public with a model depicting the unlikely absolute worst-case scenario, and are responsible for implementing the absurd guidelines.
  • Tempting Fate: Lisa says she'll show Mr. Burns not everyone hates him. Maggie then aims a shotgun at him.
  • Why Didn't I Think of That?: After Mr. Burns tries covering the town with a dome (and then a cube of bulletproof plexiglass), a couple of citizens that even if he were to go through with it, the people of Springfield could just dig themselves out—one even sarcastically wonders why they didn't bother doing it the first time. (Remember: the Simpsons did use a tunnel out)