428. The Burns and the Bees

The Burns and the Bees(originally aired December 7, 2008)
Of all the episodes this show is rehashing now, did we really need to retread “Monty Can’t Buy Me Love”? And it can’t even focus on that premise, combining it with another boring Lisa story fighting for a new cause… yawn. Mr. Burns wins the Austin Celtics basketball team in a bet, and now finding himself figurehead as their manager, decides he wants to be a respected icon to the masses. Like in “Love,” this comes from nowhere and makes absolutely no sense. Burns is a greedy, self-serving, manipulative old bastard, and he loves it. That’s what makes Burns Burns, and why we love him so much. Now, randomly, he wants to cut loose, have fun and try to cater to these penniless lowlifes who couldn’t be more beneath him? I can’t possibly buy this premise any less. Alongside of this is Lisa discovering bees all over the world are dying due to the lack of a suitable habitat. Wow, this is almost as exciting as when she took up astronomy. She becomes their keeper when an uninfected queen bee latches onto her and she forms a bee beard. We’re not even at act two and I’m slipping in and out of consciousness.

The two stories collide when Burns decides to build a brand new stadium for his team where Lisa has set up a new bee sanctuary in an abandoned greenhouse. She is easily bested in a town hall debate by Burns’ newfound showmanship, and becomes depressed over the impending death of her beloved bees. Homer finds out Moe is harboring African bees (“I saw this ad in a gentleman’s magazine for excited African honeys, and that’s what they sent me,”) so cross-breeding them with Lisa’s bees makes them more agitating, attacking everyone at Burns’ stadium and making that their new home. This episode could not be more lifeless and boring. More neutered Burns, who is cloying and nonthreatening in every way, combined with another boring Lisa-takes-up-a-cause story. And we have another Lisa show coming up next! This is like four-in-a-row, what’s up with that?

Tidbits and Quotes
– Burns is unable to comprehend the concept of fun, yet he seems to be having a lot of it at the billionaire’s camp, starting a food fight and skinny dipping. Also, I hate all of that shit. The only time Burns should be laughing delightfully is if he’s thinking of that crippled Irishman.
– I hate Willie’s little bee graveyard, all named after celebrities with “B.” or “Buzz” in their names! Also listed is Gordon Sumner, but just so the audience doesn’t have to do any thinking, “Sting” is right under it. Not that I know Sting’s actual name, but it’s like, why bother writing it all out that way when you could just write “Sting”?
– Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, appears to give two throw-away lines. Mark Cuban has a larger role, basically filling in for Arthur Fortune as the affable billionaire Burns “aspires” to be. I don’t really know him very well, but I did enjoy his enthusiasm, especially his last scene, driving off a cliff and dying in Burns’ thoughts (“I’m out of my mind!!” “Well, that’s not much help.”)
– I do like Homer’s very cavalier attitude preparing Marge for the sight of their daughter covered in bees.
– Burns is an old man, but apparently he thinks Austria took over America, and doesn’t remember anything past the 1910s. The scene of Smithers repeatedly whispering the events of the 20th century to him is endless.
– I really like the timing of the peaceful tranquility of the thriving greenhouse… until a giant wrecking ball smashes through, nearly hitting Lisa and discombobulating her. It’s a rare ruthless act from Mr. Burns.
– Lisa is at the bar when Moe asks her what’s wrong, even though he must know; he was at the town hall meeting, and better yet, he voted for Burns’ stadium. I don’t think the writers notice these things.
– Moe whispers Homer the plan about having the two swarms of bees mate, which he mishears (“You and me?” “No, the bees!” “Oh yeah, that’s what I meant too. I have no… inclinations.”) What’s with all these jokes about Homer wanting to be gay? It’s just like the gags that imply that he does drugs, or has drugs stashed away somewhere.
– I like the one bee calling Bumblebee Man an Uncle Tom, and the bee bloopers, although it’s kinda dumb, I still chuckled.

23 responses to “428. The Burns and the Bees

  1. I will go ahead and compliment them for actually making the A- and B-stories interact, a rarity for Zombie Simpsons. Also, for making Burns mostly the sole focus of one of the stories, even though he mostly does retarded shit. I also liked… uhhh…. well, didn’t this episode reuse the Christmas opening? I liked that. Uhhh. That’s all I can think of. Most of what’s here is just too stupid — or boring — or stupidly boring — — to put up with.

  2. terrible episode

    Well this is where I signed off. Can’t remember this one being egregiously terrible. I can’t remember anything about it expect Mark Cuban is in it and the last line is “Hi, I own a minor league hockey team!” (not the worst final line I could hear from ZS)

    Time for my patented Cake Analogy!

    Season 1 is like someone bakes you a cake, and while it tastes a bit off in places, you definitely want some more.
    Season 2 is like the cake has been remade and WOW! It’s so much better. One of the best things you’ve ever tasted.
    Season 3 is like the cake has been refined ever further. You’re not sure if it’s humanely possible to get better than this.
    Season 4: It does get better. This is no longer just an achievement in cooking. This is an achievement in human endeavor.
    Season 5 somehow keeps up the remarkable pace. The recipe has shifted and the bakers have been switched out, but it’s great no matter who’s making it.
    Season 6 tastes just as good as season 5 did. The flavors are incredibly pronounced but never over-indulgent
    Season 7 brings in another baker (or bakers) who rein in some of the more aggressive flavors of the past two cakes and make this cake a bit more traditional. Traditional works pays off tremendously though, with one of the best cakes of them all.
    Season 8 provides a cake that is great, when compared to most other cakes, but can’t help but disappoint when compared to the ones that came before it. For the first time, the cake has definitely declined in quality.
    Season 9 gives us another new baker, who seems to know the ingredients but ends up with a cake that is somewhat appetizing, but ultimately underwhelming.
    Season 10 is like the baker goes back to retool the recipe and ends up with something nearly inedible.
    Season 11 is like the Season 10 cake has not been fixed, but rather sullied further with even more horrendous cooking. It might look better than most other cakes, but it’s awful.
    Season 12 is like the last cake has only gotten better by not getting worse.
    Season 13 brings in a new baker, one who has worked with this cake before. Perhaps he can bring it back to former glory? Alas, no. It doesn’t taste bad like season 10-12. It tastes like nothing.
    Season 14-20: You hold on and keep eating this cake, in vain hope that it gets better. Gradually, you realize that it’s only getting worse. You often find yourself struggling to get it down. Then, you finally stop kidding yourself. You throw the cake in the garbage and wish that it didn’t have to end this way.

    Godspeed Mike

    • Although I partially disagree with your thoughts on Season 8 the cake analogy was awesome just like the classic seasons 😀

    • I’ve gotta disagree with you there on Season 8. It is my second favorite season of the show (with 4 being first). Season 7 is excellent, but it is more like my 4th or 5th favorite season as opposed to first like it is for many others.

      In fact, if I were to rank my favorite seasons, they would probably be:

      Season 4
      Season 8
      Season 5
      Season 6
      Season 7
      Season 3
      Season 2
      Season 9
      Season 1

      And that is all that truly matters. Season 9 is the end of the show for me, at least, as far as my DVD collection is concerned.

      As for the show, I actually compare it to Homer going across Springfield Gorge.

      • It’s interesting, Season 8 is when I started watching new episodes (at a fairly young age). I loved every minute of it then, and I could see how 9 was worse than 8 and 10 was worse than 9, but now when I go back to Season 8, most of it feels kinda… off. A few weeks ago The Canine Mutiny was on in syndication, and it didn’t hold up to the classic Santa’s Little Helper episodes at all.

      • See, it is the episodes like “Bart After Dark,” “El Viaje de Nuestro Jomer,” “Homer’s Enemy,” and “You Only Move Twice” that make it my second favorite season. Plus, it featured the finale of Sideshow Bob and the X-Files episode..

        In fact, two of those are in my top 10 favorite episodes of all time (YOMT and EVdNJ).

        Sure, there are episodes that are not that good, but I can say the same with Season 7. I really do not care for “King Sized Homer.”

        However, I must state that Season 7 does feature my second favorite Simpsons episode of all time, “22 Short Films About Springfield.” In fact, that great thing about Seasons 5-8 is that there are maybe only 1-2 episodes I find to be all right, the rest are fantastic. Season 4 is the only season that I can say I enjoy every episode, hence why it is my favorite.

        Anyway, this discussion is pointless as we are now on to the next episode.

    • Wow, I totally agree on every single cake you mentioned.

      About the season 8 discussion here, it is in a strange spot: it is an absolutely Classic season and has some legendary episodes, but it’s the first time one starts to notice some scenes (if not entire acts) , characters or lines, being off and giving a weird sensation. They seem just small bits if analyzed in a whole season, but you cannot help but notice them when you directly compare to the glorious previous seasons (season 1 included).

  3. Why do they have Lisa get drunk on Milk isn’t she meant to be pissed off not pissed (British slang for drunk incase you were wondering) it’s these types of lame gags that drive me up the wall and this was re-used when they made Bart get drunk off of apple juice… pathetic…

  4. terrible episode

    I love season 8 but of all the classic seasons (2-8) it’s the one that’s easiest to nitpick and thus the weakest.

    • I think season 8 shows a show that is comfortable enough with itself to experiment quite a bit — the “off” quality mentioned above is a strength, imo — and play with the conventions of the series, while still having great episodes. I don’t think there’s a single unfunny episode in all of season 8 — I used to HATE “Spinoff Showcase” but upon rewatch it remains significantly hilarious — whereas 9 is probably the first time I noticed any significant chinks in the armor of the almighty Simpsons. Even season 9 feels godlike compared to any recent years, but it’s also the first time I felt like episodes felt tired and weak. That being said, I still think this is a show that has produced at least 200 truly great episodes, what other show can say that?

  5. Good review as always Mike. Also: I am desperate now, tired of still watching the Simpsons on FOX… Yes I still watch them from time to time… To the point of watching an alternate series intro series premiere of Family Guy on youtube:

    second family guy pilot from 1996

    • I wonder what Larry & Steve the Cartoon Network show would’ve been like? and Rob have you seen the 1995 version that Seth MacFarlane made in college?

      • No Patrick I have not seen the 1995 version of what Seth made in college. I know, from reading the youtube comments on this and other videos, that Seth did work on a few other cartoons on TV btw. I would love to see what he did in college and in his early years besides this.

      • That’s true he used to work on Jonny Bravo, Cow and Chicken and Dexter’s Lab.

    • Amusingly, I ended up watching this one a few days ago. The fact it has Family Guy style humor (albeit less raunchy) but an entirely different visual style makes me wonder how and why Seth changed the art style he used.

  6. Yes! You are correct 🙂

  7. Wow, Seth MacFarlane worked on those cartoons? Funny to read, never knew that.
    I grew up watching those cartoons on CN over and over (couldn’t get enough).

    About this episode, I kinda liked the seperate jokes and gags. As a whole story, it was kind of uninteresting and random, but it was definately watchable. Funny things:

    – Willie: “The bees are dead. And not just here, all over the world. From Glasgow clear to Edinborough, and noone knows why.”
    – Rupert Murdoch changing his net worth from $6,8 bln. to $ 76,8 bln.
    – Fortune 4 lotto numbers are: nine! “pff. Knew it.” Seven. “Duhuu”. Three! “WHAT?” and…”Booring!” TV off
    – Lisa convincing Homer to help her save bees. The No-Honey dream and the last: “Let’s go, Lisa. We’ve got some worms to save!. “Bees.”
    – Homer’s attempt to not scare Marge by asking about her biggest fear
    – I liked Cuban’s stuff including in Burns his dream (“I’m outta my mind!”)
    – Homer’s “I knew it” and ripping his shirt after hearing about the Springfield excitement
    – ‘My country this of thee, Austria-Hungary!” cracked me up although it doesn’t make any sense. Smither’s telling about the current situation in Europe was kinda funny at the end: “The European Union?! Good heavens.”
    – “First, one announcement. I regret to inform you we are not offering child care tonight. I don’t know who that guy was you were leaving your kids with.” The total shock of the audience was funny
    – Liked how they all loved Muk Mu and from the start. “Please don’t take our freak!” “I love you, Muk Mu!”
    – ”I’m going home. Gimme the keys to my bikelock.” ”Are you sure?” “Gimme the keys!” “Ok, ok. Dunno why i had ’em in the first place.”
    – the ‘Bees rule’ and bloopers
    – Ending was kinda funny with Burns screaming at the millionare who tells him he owns a minor league hockey team


  8. Oh, man! I really thought you would like Sex, Pies and Idiot Scrapes and The Burns and the Bees. Between this episode and Dark Knight Court, I think it’s funny to show a more heroic side to Mr. Burns, but have him be comically bad at being good because being evil is all he knows and they don’t want to change 100% of his character.

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