Episode Recap: Monty Burns’ Fleeing Circus (S28:E1)

Well, hello hello friends… How ya bean dune peanuts?

Wookiee taking a break from schoolwork for a moment to pop in with another episode recap for y’all. I know I haven’t been around a ton but life is pretty crazy this month. Ad a lot of you know, 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. In rare from, I’m starting off the season immediately in an effort to stay caught up with episode recaps for Season 28 . While I can’t promise this will last, I love when there are new episodes of the Best. Show. Ever. on TV and 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 stuck to the stream of consciousness format which most of you should be familiar with by now. Basically I watch the episode once for my enjoyment and then a couple more times slowly to catch as much as I can while jotting down notes. Without further ado… here’s my thoughts on Season 28, Episode 1: “Monty Burns’ Fleeing Circus”.

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To start this off for accidental clickers who just prefer the synopsis, here’s what my DVR had as an episode synopsis:

“When a fire levels Springfield, Mr. Burns agrees to the Simpsons’ pleas that he fun the town’s rebuilding, on the condition that he gets to put on a variety show.”

Now on with the random recap observations of yours truly… fair warning, this is SPOILER heavy.

It all starts with Vote Kodos, Make the Universe Great Again (already the political bashing has started in the season), Nelson’s billboard advertising “Why are they hitting themselves? How to bully-proof your kid.” Bart writing “This arm needs Tommy John surgery,” Lisa on the harp, and a beautimous couch gag inspired by Adventure Time. I wasn’t sure how the animators planned on doing this feat but I couldn’t have asked for a better imagining. It’s Simpsons Time!

Our favorite family is on a stroll on a beautiful day. Apu’s baby carrier for all of the octuplets doesn’t have him as enthused. Okay, they’re actually looking for the car since Homer forgot where he parked it the night before but it is “a beautiful day to be in denial.” It may be a nice day but that all ends when they come across people staring up in the sky in terror. There’s nothing there. What’s going on!?!

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Oh no! The Lard Lad statue is missing and the police need to “file a report with the Bureau of Missing Statues” just like the missing Rodin Thinker statue. Wiggum not knowing the name of the statue even though it’s obvious from his thinking posture is great. Also great that you pronounce Auguste Rodin’s last name like a Godzilla nemesis. Anyhoo… the citizens of Springfield decide to either “fan out and search or bunch up and a riot.” It’s a pretty even split and ends up in what may be the first time the citizenry does not demolish Springfield. I loved the quick scene of the Quiet Riot and Kent Brockman with his “shuffling papers.”

Lard Lad’s parent company, Tianjin Mining and Smelting and Donuts,” decides to rebrand with a new statue. Apparently rebranding just means admitting failure lol. Of course, everyone shows up for the unveiling of the new statue. Mr. Lee Fong, pronounced Robert Chan, shows up for the unveiling with the “model for the original Lard Lad, Mr. Laird Ladd.”

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Bring in the “bold, focus-grouped, new look.” A metallic monstrosity of a statue that now graces a lot of our Springfields. My subtitles state it makes a mechanical whirring as it spins. Just like a lot of us, the Springfieldianites are silent at this example of “manager overthink.” At least Wiggum finally thought of the name of Rodin’s statue.

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Lisa urges people to give the new statue a chance but Lenny points out it is a steel monstrosity just like the Eiffel Tower. It doesn’t take long for the statue to grow on the people but “the massive concave reflective surface” ends up focusing “the sun’s beam in a deadly ray.” Bring on the hilarious destruction of Springfield.

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Ah, so that’s why the riot wasn’t used for destruction. Solar lasers are way more fun: Marty’s Mirrors, Kevin’s Kindling, and Ed’s Extinguishers (Just Closed Yesterday) is my highlight but there’s a lot of fun to be had. The prison scene and laser eye surgery center get runner-up status. It’s all just very clever. Thankfully Lard Lad’s parent company also has “and Tarps” on their name “for neutralizing our deadly, new Lard Lad” statue. Too bad the town is decimated.

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“The time for mourning and blaming our mayors has passed. We will rebuild. We will rebuild.” As the town chants along, it’s enough to bring a glimmer of hope to the viewer. Problem is we forget what show we’re watching. Six months later the town is still the same and oddly still smoking. Homer and family drive over a super bumpy street (you’ll have to forgive me for thinking of it as Main Street still all cracked and broken) right past the Mayor Quimby Billboard from the episode tie-on. It has been 259233 minutes since his last broken promise. Yes I’m the nerd who divided the number by 60 minutes and 24 hrs to see if it came out to 6 months. The total was 180.02 days so yes.

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The family turns to Mr. Burns to save the town. He goes to trap door them but apparently already did that from his upstairs office. Burns is ready to say no to funding repairing the town but Marge mentions options like “reducking the duck pond or fixing up the Springfield Bowl.” Bring on a quick black and white flashback of the Bowl and a young Monty and all of a sudden Burns is agreeing to fixing up Springfield provided he can throw a variety show. Thankfully his celebration wins over his potential destroy Springfield option. You can always count on Smithers to keep Burns unconfused I guess. They’ll try the nice option first.

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“Old Man Giver”aka Mr. Burns, the “unlikely angel, the devil himself” is ready to help Springfield rise out of its ashes like a phoenix. That’s “the mythical bird, not Phoenix the cultureless Mars-scape of the Southwest.” Ouch.  Burns announces open auditions and I’ll skip his misogynistic comment about women. At the Springfield Bowl (The skunk smell is gone!), we learn Crazy Cat Lady can sing operatic soprano beautifully once she coughs up a hairball.

Burns isn’t in the mood for well-trod Puccini though. Back to the black and white flashback of the “Pee-Wee Pageant of 1913” and “little butterscotch drop” Monty Burns ready to go on stage with the encouragement of his mommy. Monty likes mommy’s licks. Umm… okay. Cute but strange.

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“The butter scotch soon turned to bitter squelch” and the Blues Brothers dance behind Burns as he talks. He wants the stage full of high-spirited snaggle-toothed kiddos like his memory. Burns prowls the schoolyard looking for acts. Lisa even gets a gig as his assistant director solely based on her clipboard opening skills. Lisa takes the gig to find out what Burns is really up to. She offers to be an act too but there’s no room in Burns’ show for “Adolphe Sax’s vile-sounding O-phone.”

Meanwhile at the Nuclear Plant, “it’s out with the old and in with the brew” as Homer and the plant workers party hearty with Burns being absent. Probably not safe to swim in the nuclear waste, limbo under inanimate rods or drink green cocktails (not Lenny!) but they’re having fun. Shooting alarm buzzers may also be a bad idea.

Oh well, at least Burns still has kids to perform like Ralph’s amazing spaghetti act… okay, not an act but still hilarious. Burns exclaims that everyone is incompetent and that he’s not going through it a second time. We discover Burns has not been telling everyone “a vast amount.” “What part of what I’ve never told you don’t you understand?” More flashbacks… people laughing at Burns as he’s a laughing-stock. Just like his past, no show will ever be good enough. Poor Milhouse… I was impressed by you getting a sword and canary cage down your gullet.

Homer is filling his super soaker with lemonade because Carl will have one on Monday full of iced tea and they’re going to Arnold Palmer Lenny. Marge isn’t too impressed but I’m impressed at this extremely accidental topical joke occurring on the same day the world lost famous golfer Arnold Palmer ;eft his corporeal form to golf in the next existence. RIP Mr. Palmer… like Homer, I also enjoy the drink you made famous. Marge’s worry over silliness at work when Homer is the safety inspector is right though. She urges Homer to be responsible but I think Homer’s plan to get out-of-town quick may have been the wiser choice. Also… the reveal that Homer’s friends consider him the leader because he’s a little taller. Marge is full of introspection here. “With above average height comes above average responsibility.” I agree Homer… Wow and Wow.

Burns wants to open the show with someone getting shot into a cannon. Lisa’s laughter at the impossibility gets Burns nervous and the show is cancelled. Now Dolph’s spinning of the wedgied nerds on poles has gone from an act back to just bullying. Bummer. I guess I’ll always wonder what they needed a rhino in a top hat for. Dang I love writing sentences like that. Lisa has ruined the excuse for Springfield Elementary to get out of school (including Skinner)… double bummer.

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Lisa goes to Burns’ mansion to try and convince the billionaire she made cry to come back and do the show. “Shan’t.” Something is wrong. Burns has weird lines around his eyes. “It’s such a tragedy on that beautiful face.” Smithers takes Lisa to Burns’ media room (next to guest phones, clones, and torture rooms) where we learn the lines are from Burns “watching something on the Mutoscope.” Lisa learns more about Burns’ back story after paying the nickel for the machine (lots of old-timey stuff including a live action silent film being projected on the wall). Seeing as I’m currently studying public amusements and Nickelodeons, I loved this. During the pageant in 1913, Burns had a wardrobe malfunction of his cute little sailor outfit that revealed his tuckus to the audience, hence the laughter from earlier. Even Charlie Chaplin, Babe Ruth, and Steamboat Scratchy laughed at him. “Within days, half of America was cranking to my bottom.” Lisa urges that he listen to the Ha-ha, Ho-ho, and Tee-hees of the silent crowd and Burns is convinced to do the variety show again.

Meanwhile, the party has gone bonkers at the plant. Even Zutroy is seen partying. I’m just happy they appear to be drinking real alcohol instead of plant run-off now. Well, one guy is smoking a rod so maybe not better. There’s pizza and Homer who wants everyone to get back to work as a “public trust” bringing electricity to lightbulbs and toasters. They agree once the microwave popcorn is done in the core. Uh oh.

At the Springfield Bowl, “Monty Bruns Presents Release the Sounds.” It’s a packed audience and all starts with a silent film of Burns and Smithers and vehicular manslaughter. “Well, that’s the easiest time anyone’s had parking at the Springfield Bowl.” A funny joke if you’ve ever been to the real Hollywood Bowl this new location parodies. Let’s just say I agree with Homer’s rant about stacked parking from “Bart’s New Friend” (S26:E11). Burns doesn’t like the laugh the joke produces but it’s on with the show. Rod and Todd musically bring back the ghosts of both Maude and Edna to a frazzled Ned, Nelson has a ventriloquist act with Sockey, the Octuplets with bells, Sherri & Terri with magic (errr, more manslaughter?), and a fireworks finale. Well, sort of, more like exploding nuclear popcorn. Nothing an Arnold Palmering of Homer by Lenny and Carl can’t make more hilarious. The show ends fantastic until Burns reprises his act complete with golden slippers and a repeat bum showing courtesy of the impact of photons form a spotlight.

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Burns is ready to pounce on Lisa and when she turns to a town that might have her back, all the two thousand occupants of the Bowl somehow made it out really quickly. Failed cart-wheel aside, Burns anger subsides quick due to advanced age and Smithers taps Burns foot as Lisa plays her German kazoo.

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The last bit is Lisa reading about the show in the newspaper and Homer revealing that the Simpsons always fail because of a mishap thousands of years back involving ignoring a certain couple in Bethlehem looking for a room and Jesus’ mom hoodwinking them a la Bewitched. Must have happened since they looked just like Marge and Homer. Oh yeah… one last shot of the Springfield-destroying Lard Lad statue being lowered onto the Tire Fire and Ralph ending things a la Porky Pig.

And th-th-th-th-th-that’s all folks. The premiere episode of Season 28 of the Simpsons. It might be the TSTO tie-in that influenced my opinion but I really digged this episode. Compared to last season’s premiere, this one is miles ahead. I felt like the plot was well put together and there were lots of hearty laughs to be found. Lots of characters were used for the zaniness and I enjoyed it as much the second time I watched it. Final grade on a blah/meh/oooh/aaaah/ wowza/woo hoo scale… wowza.

What did you think of the episode? Like all the items that now appear in the game? How would you rate it? Surprised I started off the season on schedule? Sound off in the comments and happy tapping friend. Best part about this tie-in is everyone should get all the freebies this time around. Thanks for stopping by and much love.

TTFN… Wookiee Out!

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7 responses to “Episode Recap: Monty Burns’ Fleeing Circus (S28:E1)

  1. I really enjoyed this episode as well. Not sure if it was because of the tie-in. But ironically, I found the Mr. Burns plot (the meat of the episode) was meh. But the little cameos and one-liners from all the others was awesome: Apu with the front view of the baby carrier, Crazy Cat Lady’s audition, Sherri & Terri’s “trick”, Jimbo’s “bullying”, Nelson’s ventriloquism, etc.

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  2. Great post Wookie 😃
    This must have taken you ages considering school and life in the way!
    LOVING the banner btw

    Like

  3. Enough with the downloads, I can’t put my phone down & pick it up without having to downloaded a update!

    Like

  4. In my mind, it’s already been expressed that Eleanor (The cat lady) has an amazing singing voice.

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  5. Thanks for the description, I hope I’ll be able to watch it one day there in France !
    Out of topic but … so many commercial breaks in your country… 😐

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    • Brother, you do not know the half of it. That is why so many new shows went to a one hour format. 20 minutes of show, 40 minutes of commercials. They even cut the opening credits and shrink the end credits to fit more commercials. With everyone using a PVR it is quite sad really.

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    • Haha, yea, commercials are absurd here. That’s why people are quickly ditching cable TV for online watching – fewer commercials. I have all the old Simpsons DVDs, and the early episodes are commonly 23+ minutes, with some even breaking 24. Modern episodes hover around 20, which is actually pretty good. There’s a CBS show I watch where some of the episodes have been 17-18 minutes recently. I can’t imagine watching that on cable TV!

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