I will not sleep through my education
Couch gag: The couch falls through the floor.
Director: David Silverman
Synopsis: Mr Burns desperately needs a blood transfusion and only Bart has the same rare blood type. Homer expects riches to be poured upon the family but receives only a thank-you card. Homer takes matters into his own hands as Mr Burns grapples with his near-death experience.
Discussion: This episode has some great quotes in it. For example:
Homer: Hello, my name is Mr Burns. I believe you have a letter for me.
Mail guy: OK Mr Burns, what’s your first name?
Homer: I… don’t know.
Homer’s motivation through the episode is greed, while Bart doesn’t really have a motivation other than doing what he’s told. Bart is also happy with the eventual reward, an Olmec head. It’s really the first time we see Mr Burns’ vulnerability and health issues, although he has appeared quite weak in earlier episodes. What really shines here is Homer’s sarcasm and lengths he goes to in order to prevent Mr Burns seeing his sarcastic letter. The final scene in which the family sit around the Olmec head discussing the moral of the story is also really well done; it goes against everything a half hour family sitcom stands for. TV’s standard formula is problem -> crisis -> resolution -> moral (or lesson learned). So by the Simpson family not having a moral (even though there’s a resolution), it’s taking the mickey from other half hour sitcoms.