Episode 6 - The Fool Monty
23 November 2010
Synopsis: Mr Burns is told he has about six weeks to live. He announces this news to the town and they all cheer. He tries to kill himself but the resulting fall only wipes his memory. Bart takes him in but the town agree that they should all be allowed to take revenge upon him. The town share out their time with him and Lisa uses her time to take him to his house. Once there he regains his memory and concludes that his hatred has kept him alive.
The Good: The Avatar opening couch gag was fun. As were the cat themed panic news casts (Apocalypse Meow and The Purrfect Storm).
The Bad: After last week's aberration we are back to appallingly bad television. The story had no purpose and was filled with incredulous jokes.
The story saw Mr Burns condemned by a build up of diseases to only six more weeks of life. That simple story was ignored throughout his memory loss. I know The Simpsons is a cartoon and whacky things happen. But when we are expected to believe that people would genuinely abuse or harm a decrepit man who they know is slowly dying then we are being asked too much.
Worse than that though was the lack of purpose in the story. Burns' conclusion that his hatred had kept him alive for so long had nothing to do with anything he went through during his memory loss. Would it have been that hard to work out a conclusion which actually fitted the story being told? The writers seemed to have hit on some kind of idea when the school bullies all tried to use Burns as a compliant father figure in their lives. There was a possibility there that either the town might realise something valuable about what was missing in their lives. Or indeed that Burns might end up touched in some way by the experience. Either of those possibilities could have resolved his health issues or indeed why the townsfolk might accept his presence in their lives in the future.
Instead of any kind of story we just got scene after scene of mindless "comedy." Burns' crash into an actual jet plane was too stupid for words. The physics of it were so foolish that I kept waiting for him to wake up and realise this was all a dream. Then we had Homer walking him into a construction yard to cause him harm or amuse himself. Again it defies any kind of logic that that would happen. Ditto Otto using Burns' head as a bong. The connection between realism and humour is something I stress all the time and this was close to being as dumb as anything I've ever seen.
The Dick Cheney jokes were as obvious as you could imagine. They were also there to provide humour, not tell any kind of Smithers-related story.
Best Joke: You knew something was coming but I think the punch line to this was particularly effective: We join Kent Brockman reporting from Mr Burns' funeral: "A philanthropist, a humanitarian, a man of peace. These are among the people who've come today to spit in Montgomery Burns' open grave!"
The Bottom Line: So little thought goes into these plots that it remains both amazing and sad that the same people who created ten seasons of excellence are churning this crap out.
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