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American History X-cellent

Billboard: Duffman advertising the new Duff 200 “nothin’ but booze”

Hot dogs are not bookmarks

Couch gag: The Simpsons sit on the couch and the house, nothing but a painting, falls down around them. 

Director: Bob Anderson

Guest Voices:
Kevin Michael Richardson as Mr Burns’ cell mate
Joe Mantegna as Fat Tony

Synopsis: Mr Burns is imprisoned for possessing a stolen painting, giving power of the nuclear plant to Smithers, who turns out to be a worse boss than Burns. 

Discussion: OK, so Lisa and Bart have some sort of subplot about ants that no one really understands nor cares about, so let’s just forget it exists. 

The episode opens with Mr Burns in jail, being broken out by a gang who appears to be Homer, Lenny and Carl. Mr Burns then relates the story of why he’s in jail. It’s a fairly decent narrative, disrupted only by Bart and Lisa fighting over ants, and an over-long scene of Marge telling Homer to eat a rotten pumpkin. Mr Burns’ story itself is actually pretty good but not great- it has potential to be a really great storyline but just doesn’t quite take the jump. Mr Smithers seems like a cool boss but quickly turns into a tyrant, leaving Homer, Lenny and Carl no choice but to break out Mr Burns from jail. 

I like the way the story was told, leaving a mystery from the very beginning, but the story itself wasn’t that interesting. Mr Burns’ time in the prison seemed like a parody of movies such as The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption but it was kinda hard to actually place references into the films; it was reminiscent of, but not a direct parody. The whole prison bit could have been more interesting instead of Mr Burns just bouncing around meeting people; I was waiting for an escape plot or some hair-brained scheme to go terribly wrong. Instead, the bit that does go terribly wrong is Lisa and Bart. Oh wait, I said we were going to forget that existed, didn’t I? 

Again, it’s an episode that starts off well, has a great idea behind it, but fails to execute it properly. It’s a shame because it has potential to be such an awesome episode. 

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