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Recap / The Simpsons S2 E22 "Blood Feud"

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Episode - 7F22
First Aired - 7/11/1991

Mr. Burns is in dire need of a blood transfusion, and Bart is the only one who has the same rare blood type as Mr. Burns, so Homer forces Bart to donate under the impression that the family will get a buttload of cash for the generous deed. But when all they get is a "Thank you" card, Homer writes a strongly-worded letter — which Bart ends up sending after Marge talks Homer out of putting it in the mail.


This episode provides examples of:

  • AB Negative: Mr. Burns has the very rare blood type Double-O Negative. Bart is the only other person in Springfield with this blood type.
  • Adult Fear: Your closest friend, (who happens to be extremely old,) suddenly becomes deathly ill, and there's nothing you can do other than be at his bedside and slowly watch him get worse. It's easy to see why Smithers is clearly on the verge of crying at the beginning of the episode.
  • Androcles' Lion: Homer tells a variant of the classic story (he throws in Hercules and claims it's from The Bible) to convince Bart to donate blood.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: If Smithers's blood type of B Positive was not compatible with Burns, his kidney would not have been either.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Homer hoped to secure a valuable and extravagant reward for saving Mr. Burns's life. He eventually got it in the form of a giant Olmec head that he doesn't want, has no use for, and can't get rid of.
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  • Decoy Protagonist: Bart. Homer takes over after Burns' half-hearted thank you to Bart outrages him, and - after shoving the letter into the mailbox himself - the only significant thing Bart does for the rest of the episode besides following Homer is making a prank call to Moe's Tavern for "Mike Rotch."
  • Dramatic Thunder: Happens the moment Mr. Burns calls Smithers a "Judas".
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Homer does this after being fired for his letter to Burns. Moe and Barney remind him that he should not get drunk to forget but only to improve his social skills.
  • Establishing Character Moment: While previous episodes had dabbled around with Smithers's characterisation, this one is the first to fully develop his passionate devotion to Burns, along with it conflicting with his moral compass.
    • This episode also does a complete 180-degree turn from "Simpson And Delilah" earlier in the season by showing the other side of Smithers' devotion. While Smithers showed a vindictive desire to destroy Homer for threatening his position as Burns' main lackey, here Smithers is overwhelmed with gratitude to Homer for saving Burns' life.
  • Fictional Disability: Mr. Burns is diagnosed with a fictional condition called "hypohemia" (which would mean something like "not enough blood"). It's seemingly a Fictional Counterpart to, or just an inaccurate way to describe, the real conditions hypovolemia (fluid depletion) and/or anemia (insufficient/inadequate red blood cells).
  • Hypocrite: Homer doesn't know Mr. Burns's first name despite hearing it in past episodes. Future episodes would make it a Running Gag that Burns doesn't remember Homer's name and the latter gets very annoyed by it.
  • Imposter Forgot One Detail: When Homer tries to get the letter straight from the post office.
    Homer: Hello, my name is Mr. Burns. I believe you have a letter for me.
    Clerk: Okay, Mr. Burns. Uh, what's your first name?
    Homer: (beat) I don't know.
  • I Will Show You X: Homer's "I'll show you MAD IN THE MORNING!"
  • Irony: Marge says she thinks wearing rings looks cheap, but her favorite Beatle is Ringo Starr.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While a monetary reward being his primary motivation is wrong, Homer does have a point in wanting to call out Mr. Burns for only sending a card when Bart's blood saved Burns' life.
  • Karmic Jackpot: Homer becomes enraged when Bart's donation of blood to Mr Burns fails to result in this trope and writes an angry letter. In a Spoof Aesop, Mr. Burns is initially furious and prepared to make the Simpsons suffer, but Smithers points out that Bart saved his life, and as a reward gets the family a massive Olmec monument, which is seen in their basement in later episodes.
  • Lost Aesop: Discussed in the end, when the Simpsons try to figure out a moral to the story (such as "No good deed goes unrewarded" or "The squeaky wheel gets the grease") and then realize that something that occurred contradicts the moral. They eventually conclude that "it was just a bunch of stuff that happened."
  • Love Letter Lunacy: A Hate Letter Lunacy unfolds when Bart sends off the Strongly Worded Letter to Mr. Burns.
  • Loving Details: Marge demonstrates an intimate knowledge of not just her husband but her whole family, including Homer's blood type and earmuff size, Lisa's ring and shoe sizes, and Bart's number of teeth and allergies.
  • Man Hug: Burns sends Smithers to have hired goons beat up Homer. But Smithers feels this is too harsh, especially since Burns owes his life to Homer on more than one occasion. So when giving the instructions to the goon, he teeters back and forth between letting Homer off and letting him live, to the goon's exasperation. When he asks what Homer did, Smithers bawls out "He saved Mr. Burns's liiiife!!" and collapses sobbing on his chest, holding him tight. The confused mook looks around and does the pat-pat-pat-on-the-shoulder thing.
  • Marshmallow Dream: Homer's happily munches on his pillow, imagining it as pancakes, after his anger at Mr. Burns cools off.
  • Never My Fault: Homer sarcastically congratulates Bart on his plan after it fails due to Homer not knowing his boss's first name.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • The fact that Burns even bothered to send the Simpsons a thank you card.
    • Him sending an Olmec Indian statue as a genuine show of gratitude to Bart for saving his life.
  • Prank Call: Bart calls Moe to ask for "Mike Rotch".
  • Pull the I.V.: Mr. Burns yanks his I.V off when the blood transfusion is over.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Mr. Burns's goon seems to genuinely like Homer, but will still beat him up if ordered to. Luckily for Homer, Smithers calls it off.
    Smithers: You know Homer Simpson?
    Goon: Yeah, nice guy. Play poker with him.
    Smithers: Beat him up.
    Goon: You got it.
  • Rule of Drama: This episode's plot would not have happened if Smithers did have the right blood type all along.
  • Rule of Symbolism: When we first see Burns convulsing on the floor, it is still bright outside. But when he gets his grim diagnose, it is suddenly darker outside.
  • Stopped Reading Too Soon: Homer writes an angry letter to Mr. Burns, which starts out as a fake thank you note. Mr. Burns at first reads the thank you part and is deeply touched until he later discovers the following sentences.
    Dear Mr. Burns... I'm so glad you enjoyed my son's blood and your card was just great. In case you can't tell, I'm being sarcastic. You stink! You are a senile, buck-toothed old mummy with bony girl-arms, and you smell like an elephant's butt.
  • Strongly Worded Letter: Homer's angry letter to Mr. Burns.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Homer believes Burns is one for only sending a "thank you" card after Bart's blood saved his life.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Bart took the letter behind Homer's back and shoved it into the mailbox. So, he is the reason that Mr. Burns initially planned to get goons to beat Homer to a pulp after reading the letter.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: Mr. Burns notes that his revenge on Homer left him empty.
  • Wants a Prize for Basic Decency: Homer allows Bart to participate in the blood transfusion solely on the assumption that Burns will reward the family for saving his life.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Subverted by Burns.
    Mr. Burns: I could crush him like an ant, but, no. Revenge is a dish best served cold. I'll bide my time until... Oh, what the hell, I'll just crush him like an ant.

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