January 22, 2022

Gabbing Geek

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Simpsons Did It!: “Undercover Burns”

In which Mr. Burns learns the power of friendship, but at what cost!?

The Simpsons returned because animation doesn’t need to worry quite so much over social distancing, and as an added bonus, starting this season the show will use People of Color actors to play People of Color characters, starting with Homer’s pal Carl in this very episode.

Truth be told, I could barely tell the difference, so that’s fine by me.

It’s “Take Your Child to Work Day” at the Springfield Nuclear Plant, a day so festive that Lenny hired some kids to play his own children.  Sure, the “touch the plutonium” booth seems a little sketchy, but…wait, Mr. Burns paid for a fair full of fun stuff for kids?  That doesn’t seem quite right.

And it shouldn’t, because as soon as the parents leave, the real reason for things is revealed as “Put Your Child to Work Day” and all the rides are booby traps because Mr. Burns needs people with small hands to pull stuff out of other stuff.

That’s some Snowpiercer level of evil right there.

However, Lisa is smart and manages to evade capture, and then she follows Burns to remind him child labor laws are a thing.  Now, you’d think Burns could handle a small child by releasing the hounds or something, but instead, he flees his worst enemy:  accountability.

And that means hiding in the men’s room.  Lisa does follow him in there until she realizes where she is and leaves over how gross it is.  Burns, meanwhile, hiding in a stall decides to read the graffiti and see what his employees think of him.

And, aside from the leaking cucumber, he’s horrified.  It’s…not good.  And the women’s room isn’t any better since someone was burning him in effigy in there, and Burns didn’t even realize you could burn an effigy.

So, what to do?  Well, if you’re Mr. Burns, you complain to Smithers and then arrange to go undercover as a regular employee.  Bringing in the best mask makers, robotics specialists, and a guy with a voice chip modulator, Burns can now go in looking like a man half his age (apparently, that’s 78), but more like the Homer’s age.  And he has the voice of guest star David Harbour.  Introducing himself as Fred, he soon befriends Lenny, Carl, and Homer, even though he too has to flee the hounds when lunchtime ends.

But then he gets to tell Smithers off in front of the others and that makes him popular enough to score an invite to Moe’s, a place that didn’t really agree with travel documentarian guest star Phil Rosenthal.  Burns, now known as Fred, even gets to sit in Barney’s spot.  Barney isn’t too upset either since Moe added a drive through window.

Well…it does look like Barney still has his Plow King truck, so at least he’s been able to meet the payments.

Now, you’d think that Burns would still be Burns, but since he’s also Fred, he can tell himself off behind closed doors and impress everybody, giving lavish gifts at work to all the people who work there.  It’s so fancy, Homer actually wants to go to work, even on Saturdays, though that does give his family a chance to enjoy a bit of the roast turkey Marge had prepared for breakfast.

So, there has to be a catch to all this.  And there is.  The Plant is now losing money, and Smithers is concerned.  The only thing to do is expose Burns, and that means telling Homer, but not telling Burns so the let-down is gentle.  And it almost works except  Burns’s robot suit loses an arm, and Homer has to explain to him that people aren’t supposed to like their bosses.  It’s, like, a rule.  And Burns realizes this is right and resets the status quo.

In an epilogue, Smithers introduces another new employee to Homer and the others, but suspicious, Lenny releases the hounds on the guy who, it turns out, was not Burns.

Yes, apparently, Lenny can release the hounds too.  How disturbing…

Oh, and welcome back to another season of The Show That Will Not Die.

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