Simpsons Did It!: “A Star Is Burns”

Do cartoon crossovers work?  Maybe?

Look, this episode features Jay Sherman, the critic, from the animated series The Critic.

In order to drum up interest after Springfield was found to be the worst town in America, Marge suggests a film festival, which went over much better than Patty and Selma’s idea to leach off Seinfeld‘s popularity or Bart showing off giant pictures of his own butt.  Don’t take an escape plan from Milhouse.

I’m not quite sure how this film festival thing is supposed to work since all the entries come from people who already live in Springfield.  The only outsider is judge Jay Sherman, invited by Marge for reasons that are surely not to promote a different animated series.  I mean, this isn’t Jon Lovitz’s first time on The Simpsons.  At least Bart is available to offer some meta-commentary on Jay being around at all.

But a film festival offers one town resident a chance to rehabilitate his image.  No, not Ned Flanders.  He has a five-fingered God on speed dial if something goes wrong during his Biblical epic.  I refer of course to Mr. Burns, who the townspeople see as something of an ogre.  Though how an energy monopoly has falling profits is beyond me.  And what better way to get a sympathetic movie made than with Steven Spielberg?  Oh, he isn’t available…then get his non-union Mexican equivalent, Senor Spielbergo.  That man will find a way to use the Bumblebee Man.

Burns is at a loss, though, as to why he can’t be made better.  He’s just like Oskar Schindler, as both are factory owners who made shells for the Nazis…but Burns’ actually worked, dammit!

The festival starts, and as Jay has made Homer feel a little jealous since the man’s arrival, Homer manages to talk his way onto the festival jury.  That turns out to be a good thing, because while Burns’ epic that suggests he is everything from E.T. to Jesus draws boos from the crowd and not “Boo-urns”es, Burns did bribe Mayor Quimby and Krusty to vote his way.  Barney had managed to create an achingly beautiful art film about his alcoholism, but Homer had missed it and voted for Hans Moleman getting hit by a football to the groin.  That sorta stuff wins Oscars if you cast George C. Scott as the guy getting hit, especially if he’s voiced by another Critic regular like Maurice La Marche, but that sort of thing shouldn’t win in Springfield.

Fortunately, Homer has a change of heart after reviewing Barney’s movie.  Barney wins the grand prize, a lifetime supply of Duff beer.  Yeah, that couldn’t be a problem.  Jay goes home.  Mr. Burns gets nothing but frustration.

Did we learn anything?  Only that Homer’s skin blemish was neither pimple nor boil.  It was a gummi bear.


Defender of the faith, contributing writer, debonair man-about-town.

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