The Simpsons – Series 13, Episode 18

“I didn’t lie, I was writing fiction with my mouth.”

Homer Simpson

I recently received a request for a post about the Simpsons. So here it is. This is one I watched last night. For some reason best known to Matt Groening, it is called Hunka Hunka Burns In Love. And I’ve just realised why that’s funny. It’s a pun.

You see, this is one of the “vindicate Mr Burns” episodes. Mr Burns, the archetypal evil millionaire figure, goes through most Simpsons episodes being, well, evil, dredging the sea bed, poisoning fish, sacking staff randomly, etc. But just occasionally you get an episode where he comes out quite well. Like this one.

Something I’ve always liked about The Simpsons is the elaborate sequence of events leading to the main storyline of the episode, so the story often ends up in quite a different place to where it started. For instance, in this one, a visit to Chinatown leads to a meal in a Chinese restaurant, which leads to the Simpson family’s complaints about the rubbish fortunes in the fortune cookies, which leads to Homer writing his own fortunes, including this one: “You will fall in love on Flag Day.” Mr Burns picks this one up and…well, you can see where this is going. Mr Burns goes on the pull and tries to impress a younger woman.

This isn’t one of the best episodes ever. The best ones have some kind of message, like the ones where Homer declares his love for Marge. Or they have a political comment to make, like the one where Bart’s behaviour gets corrected by big pharma in an experiment that goes wrong.

But it was OK. I particularly liked the bit where Kent Brockman, the TV anchorman, said “two citizens have been missing for over 20 minutes”. Which is more of a satire on plot devices than anything else. But you know. There has to be some satire, or it wouldn’t be The Simpsons.