Hey hey friends! Don’t call it a comeback… I’ve been here for years… literally. So school has ended and I’m back and at my usual antics with another episode recap for my favorite Addicts. This episode recap will cover Season 27, Episode 17: “The Burns Cage”. Not only does the title parody a movie I love but one of the characters is very similar to Agador Spartacus. How cool is it that? Anyhoo… one of the features we like to have on this site is recaps of new Simpsons episodes for all our friends who can’t watch them immediately or like our silly reviews of them. I love when there are new episodes of the Best. Show. Ever. on TV. It’s my privilege to not only watch new episodes, which I would do with or without this awesome site, but then break them down for all of you. I apologize for the delay with all of these but consider it some fun for the break where there are no new episodes. I wish I had more time sometimes for the site but blogging doesn’t feed the kiddos so school it is. Without further ado… here’s my thoughts. If you’re not used to the style, it’s basically stream of consciousness style while I watch the episode live. Paragraph breaks usually indicate new scenes. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did writing about it.
To start this off for accidental clickers who just prefer the synopsis, here’s what my DVR describes this one as “Homer tries to find a boyfriend for Smithers, who is crushed by Burns’ lack of attention; Milhouse replaces the lead in the school production of ‘Casablanca’ when Bart takes the boy out.” Now on with the recap.
A basketball player does a backwards spinning dunk through the ‘o’ of the family’s name, Apu is advertising “Easter Peeps: They Never Go Bad Because They Were Never That Good”, Bart is writing “If Villanova Doesn’t Win We Lose Everything” on the chalkboard, and the couch gag is emojis and a text conversation between Homer and Matt Groening. Meh lol.
Mr. Burns and Smithers are skydiving (I love how you see the opening title in the clouds below them) and Smithers is frightened. Burns jumps and slips out of his chute so his trusty sidekick goes to save him. Smithers chute is rainbow colored with Burns face on it. Burns is characteristic and ignores his life being saved. Smithers starts to profess his love for Monty but is interrupted by his boss who is one heck of a butthead. Smithers starts singing through the nuclear plant about his unrequited love. I enjoy all the nuclear puns to explain his heartache. Smithers then takes his sadness out on Homer, Lenny, and Carl and makes them do regular maintenance.
At Springfield Elementary, auditions are being held for the production of the school play which is interestingly “Casablanca.” Jacquelyn Jones (who looks a lot like Janey Powell) is the first audition for Ilsa and might just get the part. She’s awful but her father owns a print shop and can save the school money. Lisa tries out next and is really good. Milhouse decides to try out to get the part of Rick so Lisa will fall for him. Miss Jones is promoted a grade instead of ruining the show and Lisa gets the part but Milhouse isn’t so lucky because a new kid named Jack shows up who sounds just like Humphrey Bogart. Poor Milly is cast as Jack’s understudy.
Back to the Nuclear Power Plant where Lenny, Carl, and Homer are cleaning. They are no good at the gig and the machine they’re working on flies to pieces. Smithers tasks them to fix it. While the trio is upset over Smithers venting his frustration on them, Lenny presents that the solution is to find Smithers a woman… “a woman who can find him a man.”
The boys are at Moe’s trying to figure out how to find Smithers a guy. Homer plans to use Grinder. How he knows about it is made even funnier by the inquisitive long haul trucker who is “home straight and highway gay” but the answer doesn’t take long. Marge is in the bar too and discovered the app while looking for a pepper grinder. They know Smithers wants Burns but the feeling isn’t mutual. Then Moe goes creepy on Midge as per usual. Apparently this is why Marge doesn’t frequent the bar often. Homer peruses through Grinder (“finally a use for the internet”) and among the options that are “too smoldering, too lumberjack, too look how fun I am” is none other than George Takei. “Click me and we will boldly go to Yogurtland but be warned, I don’t care for people who Klingon.” So great that George provided his voice for the episode. Homer finds a picture of himself on the app but after he swipes, a gay lookalike shows up. Not a complete loss. Homer pays the man to visit his father and gay Homer is finally paid for acting. So many people in Springfield who look like Homer. You think Guy Incognito was one of this guy’s acting profiles? Anyhoo… Marge has the idea to invite all the men on the app to a party to see if Smithers likes any of them.
Bart and Milhouse convince Comic Book Guy to buy a half page ad for the school play by including Hulk hands in the show. Milhouse is sad he just gets to watch Lisa fall in love with Jack. I’m rolling on the floor laughing when CBG comes out dressed as Hello Kitty. Bart points out that if something happened to Jack, Milhouse would get the part.
The players of “Casablanca” are exiting dress rehearsal and Lisa compliments Jack for how amazing he is. Ralph does a good Igor impersonation and goes to his trailer which is a non-Fiji water stocked locker. The bullies of the school confront Jack and start to roughhouse him (Bart got them to do it with a free full page ad in the program) but the plan goes awry when Jack starts beating up Kearney, Dolph, and Jimbo. “His mouth wrote checks his fists could cash.” The good news is Skinner witnesses Jack whooping the bullies by “using the go around for non-merry purposes” and replaces Jack with Milhouse. The problem is that Milhouse is awful and doesn’t even know the lines. It doesn’t make any sense to him. “Why would Nazis respect letters of transit signed by DeGaul?” (That’s a funny line for a history buff like me.)
At the Simpson home, they’re throwing a party with no agenda. The house is full of suitors for Smithers who knows what they’re up to. There’s a man named Tom Collins and even George Takei shows up.
Smithers goes to the bar to have a vodka tonic before leaving and meets none other than Julio. Julio gives great massage and fixes Smithers pinched nerve in his neck. Love may be in the air over Peruvian Tapas. Smithers heads off with Julio and Homer is given three days off. Cue a gay song about celebrating lol and a montage of Smithers dating Julio. Smithers is in a good mood but Burns is not happy. Smithers actually quits his job. So funny watching Burns triy to trigger trap doors while Smithers deftly avoids them. Burns forgot who installed the system.
Burns replaces Smithers with Lindsey Naegle who is not a good replacement. She refuses to unleash the hounds, thinks Burns is sexist, and reveals his mistreatment of the hounds. Leave it to Burns to have the man who tends to the hounds (who doesn’t have health insurance and might have rabies) also be the Head of Human Resources. All because Lenny wanted time off for his sister’s funeral. Oh no, not Lenny!
Smithers is preparing for a date with Julio at Luigi’s but Julio is not too thrilled when Smithers starts cutting his food. He doesn’t see what Waylon saw in Monty. The two prepare to make a trip to Havana, Cuba.
Lisa is upset about what a bad actor Milhouse is. Marge suggests to treat him like he’s perfect so he’ll get better. It sort of has worked for her with Homer. At least Homer fixes his error on their taxes. The difference between a refund of two million dollars and owing thirty seven bucks is quite an accomplishment for Homer.
Havana, Cuba. “Our Castro District Is Much Different Than Yours.” There’s a parade on the streets and Smithers is happy in a new world with Julio. Problem is that Julio dressed as the buzzard of death which looks a lot like Montgomery Burns. Julio is not okay with everything reminding Waylon of his former boss. “I bet that mural of HIM being driven out of Cuba in 1959 reminds you of him.” Cuba is not a big fan of Burns apparently. Julio is a man who needs at least twenty percent commitment like a cell phone charge and their relationship is over. A masked Julio dances in sadness.
Burns meanwhile laments the loss of Smithers. His lawyers recommend lots of money and Burns tasks them with writing a personal letter of apology straight from the heart.
It’s time for the school play. “Casablanca” one night and then a kindergarten presentation of “Equus” the following day. Springfield Elementary certainly likes mature themes. (I wouldn’t buy too much into that because a later sign says that “Top Gun” The Opera is being done when we see Willie at Valet Bicycle Parking.) Lisa takes her mom’s advice and gives Milhouse encouragement before the show. It works too. Milhouse does very well. The play earns Homer’s “highest praise, get throughable.” We discover at the end that it wasn’t Milhouse though but actually Jack in disguise. “Is Milhouse okay?” “Is Milhouse ever okay?” Lisa walks off into the night with Jack to go get a drink at the local soda fountain.
Burns and Smithers are having dinner at Luigi’s. Luigi made a special cheese pizza dinner for their reunion. Burns got there by Uber. He thought it was going to “be a Wehrmacht staff car but turned out to be a (gasp) Prius driven by a (shudder) woman.” Burns is prepared with his written apology, a check for a million dollars, and a lifetime broadway pass to all shows. He forgot the Starbucks gift card but it doesn’t matter. Smithers knows Monty better than that and doesn’t want money or a letter written by his lawyers. He just wants to know why Burns wants him back. Burns owns up to knowing how much Waylon cares about him and gives him something he’s bottled up inside for many years… his performance review… “It’s (steeples fingers) excellent.” Amazingly it’s enough and the two are reunited.
The last scene is Smithers and Milhouse drinking at Moe’s. Milhouse heard they served ten-year-olds and Moe admits that was in reference to his pickled eggs. Milhouse wonders why guys do such stupid things for dames. Moe mentions Jack aka the weird Bogart kid and that he’s gonna get a mule to go on an expedition to find some gold (watch “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” arguably one of Humphrey’s best acting performances ever). Here’s what Smithers said. “Let me tell you about dames Milhouse. I know nothing about them. But as for love, what keeps you going is the thrill of the chase, the possibility that one day you might get what you want even though the reality is you probably never will.” So sad but at least there’s the hilarity of Moe chasing gold instead of dames. Shots mirror the movie I mentioned and there’s even a still lampooning “The African Queen” which is one of my mom’s favorite movies. The end.
So there you go… the recap for the episode where Smithers was supposed to finally come out to Burns but actually didn’t. While I enjoyed the episode, it didn’t fulfill all the hype I expected. I would have liked to have seen much more drama between Burns and Smithers or the relationship between Julio and him to have been developed more. I thought this was supposed to be a two-parter but guess plans change. George Takei was a saving grace for me. Did you know they considered him before Leonard Nimoy for my favorite episode? Anyhoo… not sure what else to say. This one gets a solid B for me. Any new Simpsons is always welcome as far as I’m concerned. The Bogart stuff was fun. What did you think of the episode? Anything in particular that struck your fancy? Sound off in the comments. I’ll be back with more recaps soon.