[2F31] A Star is Burns

A Star is Burns                                           Written by Ken Keeler
                                                      Directed by Susie Dietter
Production code: 2F31                        Original airdate in N.A.: 5-Mar-95
                                                  Capsule revision E, 22-Feb-97

Title sequence

Blackboard :- None due to shortened intro.

Lisa's Solo:- None due to shortened intro.

Couch      :- The family run in, except their sizes are reversed, Maggie
              being the largest and Homer the smallest.

Did you notice...

Rick Diamant:
    ... Jay has four fingers on the Simpsons and five on the Critic?

Aaron Varhola:
    ... the "Fox" graffiti on the plane?
    ... "Lowell Burns and Babaloo Smithers" in the credits to Mr. Burns'
    ... Scratchy outlives itchy?

Matthew Kurth:
    ... Jay's belch blows his pork chop (and everyone else's remaining
        food) off their plates?

Tony Hill:
    ... Todd's voice fades when obscured by the trees?
    ... Jay and the people in NYC have eight fingers too?
    ... Homer and Marge sleep with the door open even when there are
        guests in the house?
    ... Lisa plays a Girl Scout in Barney's movie?

Voice credits

- Starring
    - Dan Castellaneta (Rappin' Rabbi, Homer, Abe, Krusty, Quimby, man
      in McBain movie, announcer at airport, Hans Moleman, Barney)
    - Julie Kavner (Marge, Patty, Selma)
    - Nancy Cartwright (Bart, Todd, Nelson)
    - Yeardley Smith (Lisa)
    - Hank Azaria (Japanese father, Moe, Wiggum, Charles Bronson, man in
      McBain movie, annoyed pilot, Flintstone's announcer, Spielbergo,
      Anthony Hopkins, Chespirito, Apu)
    - Harry Shearer (Kent Brockman, Skinner, Dave Shutton, Flanders,
      God, Rainier Wolfcastle, Burns, Smithers, William Shatner)
- Special Guest Voice
    - Jon Lovitz (Jay Sherman)
    - Phil Hartman (Charlton Heston)
    - Maurice C. Lamarche (George C. Scott)
- Also Starring
    - Doris Grau (?)
    - Pamela Hayden (Japanese Mother, Milhouse, woman praising Barney's

Movie (and other) references

  + "A Star is Born" {rl}
    - episode title
  + "Seinfeld" {av}
    - bass synthesizer riff after Patty and Selma mention it
    "The Fly" {av}
    - Todd Flanders' "Help me!"
  + "The Flintstones Meet the Jetsons" {mk}
    - like "The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones" in this episode
  + "Cabaret" {rm}
    - Moe as Joel Grey dancing on his bar {av}
  + Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, Hollywood screenwriters
    - "Saturday Night Live" {dp}
    - see comments section
    - credits of Mr. Burns' film parodies it
  + the Sistene Chapel painting
    - Burns' movie opens with it
  + "E.T."
    - Burns' movie parodies it
  + "Ben Hur"
    - Burns' movie parodies it
  + "Pukahontas" {mk}
    - pun on Disney's upcoming animated film, "Pocahontas"

Previous episode references

- [8F08] "Eye on Springfield" opening is used {av}
- [9F01] God with five fingers {av}

Freeze frame fun

- Sign: {mk}
   Krusty The Clown
 "Sunrise At Campobello"
- The writers of Mr. Burns' movie: {ddg}
    - Jeff Westbrook
    - Colleen Millea
    - Robert Marra
    - Jim Tonti
    - Jerry Monaco
    - Randy Zavada
    - Ted Phillips
    - J. August
    - Steve Fein
    - Kim Madrigal
    - Marcial Pivano
    - Starr Dogg
    - Richard X. Vegas
    - Velma Crow
    - Jay Weinstein
    - Mark Lichterman
    - Emma Shannon
    - Denise Cox
    - Mike Himes
    - Lisa Baran
    - Nils Jackson
    - Geoff Fudge
    - Howie March
    - David Heyman
    - Arne Rickert
    - Maiya Williams
    - Rebecca Shannon
    - Rachel Heiden
    - Corinna Yvonna
    - Lowell Burns
    - Babaloo Smithers

Animation, continuity, and other goofs

When Jay yells "Taxi!" his lips don't move.

Isn't Barney the same age as Homer?  They were seniors in high school
together in [7F10].  {av}

Since when has Marge found belching funny?  In MG06 and the Oprah
Interview she's all over Bart, Lisa, and Homer for it.  {mk}

Come to think of it, Lisa said she outgrew burping contests in 8F08.

Lisa in Barney's film!  Wouldn't Homer have seen or heard her?  (Then
again, Homer isn't the most supportive parent....)  {av}


[controversial shows get long Review sections - ed]

Jeff Noble: This episode was the worst of all time.  I was impressed by
    the joke where Bart was watching TV and remarked "The Jetsons Meet
    the Flintstones?  Oh, no, not another stupid tie-in cartoon," and
    Jay and the rest of the Simpsons family walk in.  But otherwise, it

Jeff Harrison: Sorry.  This was one of the worst shows ever.  I am in

Rudolph Pospisil: Did tonight's Simpsons suck or what?

Rod Arz: Tonight's episode was great.  Granted it had some lame spots,
    Homer's questioning of whether Marge thinks he is smart was painful,
    but otherwise I thought tonight's episode was very good.  I also
    like the Critic so maybe that had something to do with it

Merrick Weintraub: This was a blatant sell-out.  A show with no plot (or
    a rehashed several times over plot).  The jokes were horrendous, the
    writers were taking ridiculous stabs at nothingness -- it was funny
    to see Homer keep erasing the name Simpsons only to keep seeing
    Simpsons on the cardboard?  What the hell was that?

Alex Werner: Well, this was a mixed effort.  There were a great number
    of truly funny gags; however, there were quite a few things that
    didn't work.  But there were enough laughs to make me watch the show
    again immediately.  Grade: B

John V. Goodman: Even the self-referential bit about being a crossover
    for The Critic couldn't redeem it.  It had a few moments.  But
    unless they slapped it together in 3 or 4 hours I wasn't impressed.

Rick Diamant: After giving a D+ and two D-'s to the episodes I watched
    last year before giving up on the show, I give this one a solid A.
    Did I give up on the show too soon last year, or is the show
    completely different from the end of the previous run?

Robert Matthews: I think it was genius, the funniest episode yet this
    season.  The entries in the film festival were varied, but frankly,
    my vote went to the killer parody of Cabaret, with Moe as Joel Grey
    dancing on his bar.  But the real killer was the Eudora Welty joke.

Alexander Beckers: There was some serious weirdness going on.  I still
    don't quite get what the Critic was doing there.  I mean, cheesy tv
    shows like Empty Nest and Golden Girls do cross-overs, not OFF.

Charles T. Kelly: I'm not going to say that there was nothing redeeming
    about this episode, but from the funny couch scene until about 15
    minutes into the episode, I almost fell asleep!  It was _so_ boring.
    I simply can't remember any _funny_ parts.

Christine Tiplady: The episode plunged downhill immediately after "Eye
    on Springfield" and only sunk lower each moment.  Ugh.  Eesh.  Ick.
    Erg.  THE CRITIC ISN'T FUNNY!  I didn't want to watch The Critic, I
    wanted to watch The Simpsons!

John J. Wood: Grade: A. OK...there were a few awkward moments, and
    indeed this was a Critic pro-mo episode, but this episode was loaded
    with *great* gags -- I was laughing throughout the episode to the
    very end (George C. Scott!)  Last night restored my faith...really!

David J. Kathman: Tonight's episode was HILARIOUS!  I was laughing
    almost continuously for the first 15 minutes, and after that I was
    laughing most of the time.  All right, the Critic business was
    gratuitous, but don't you think they knew that?

Nicholas Kessler: I happen to think Jon Lovitz is great, and I loved The
    Critic in its previous run.  Anyway, the character seemed to fit
    pretty well with this episode, which was, by all standards, an
    incredibly lame one from start to finish.

Scott Fujimoto: OK, let's review why this episoded sucked: Stupid Homer.
    Totally predictable jokes.  Writing that just was not funny.  In
    fact, I could spot three funny jokes in the whole episode.  But the
    rest was blah.  Grade: D-.

Aaron Varhola: This episode is the best and worst of OFF on display.
    The gags worked when they were inserted into the plot to make it
    move.  They did not work when they were used one after another to
    get cheap laughs.  Uneven, but fairly entertaining.  B-/C+.

Robert F. Josey: Tonight's show was easily one of the worst Simpsons
    ever.  It seemed crass, nothing more than a thirty-minute promo for
    the Critic.  Simps ons as a billboard, an advertisement.  It was
    truly sickening.

Ross Kouhi: Let's face it: sooner or later, with the Simpsons so
    popular, the show will be destroyed by the very system and facet of
    society that it has made its reputation criticizing.  This
    shameless, blatant promotion of "The Critic" could well be the
    narrow end of the wedge for that.

Warren Hagey: This show was disappointing after last week.  I did like
    the couch scene, however, and there were some good moments, but
    overall it wasn't that great.  My favorite scene was the mention of
    cartoon crossovers.  The whole plot of whether or not Homer is smart
    was just pathetic.  C+

Marc Singer: While I can't call this one the *worst* ever, because lots
    of the individual jokes were funny and because nothing can sink to
    the depths of "Bart Gets an Elephant" or "Bart Gets Famous," the
    half-hour promo for "The Critic" really reeked.

Chris Courtois: Ugh!  I don't blame Matt Groening for taking his name
    off of the credits of that one.  Many of the gags were recycled,
    unfunny, or both.  Ironically the crossover aspect was one of the
    few things that actually worked in this episode.  It gets a D.

Aaron Rossetto: This easily has to be one of the funniest Simpsons in
    recent memory.  I found myself laughing out loud through most of the
    episode.  Yes, to promo _The Critic_ was admittedly cheap; but it
    worked somehow.

Don Del Grande: A-Minus - sorry, Matt, but this was one of the funniest
    episodes of the season.  It might have gotten an A, but the bits
    about the animation being off and the voices (especially Barney's)
    changing were true.

Matthew Kurth: For an episode that basically came from the production
    staff of "The Critic" (watch the credits carefully) this one does a
    pretty good job masquerading as a regular episode of "The Simpsons".
    Just a fairly solid episode. 7/10

Yours truly: I gotta say I liked it; they wove the two shows together
    quite well.  All the movie clips were great: Apu, Moe, Hans, Barney
    (brilliant), Burns (riotously funny).  Grade: B.

Comments and other observations

Matt Groening's reaction

Groening's name is conspicuously absent from the credits in this show.
    Some excerpts from a Los Angeles Times article from 3-Mar-95 (thanks
    to Elson Trinidad for typing this in):
    "The Simpsons" creator Matt Groening is so angry with executive
    producer James L. Brooks for cross-promoting "The Critic" on this
    Sunday's episode that he has yanked his name from the credits.
    "I am furious with Matt," Brooks said.  "He's been going to
    everybody who wears a suit at Fox and complaining about this.  When
    he voiced his concerns about how to draw 'The Critic' into the
    Simpsons' universe he was right and we agreed to his changes.
    Certainly he's allowed his opinion, but airing this publicly in the
    press is going too far.
    "This has been my worst fear .  .  . that the Matt we know privately
    is going public," Brooks added.  "He is a gifted, adorable, cuddly
    ingrate.  But his behavior right now is rotten.  And it's not pretty
    when a rich man acts like this."
    Groening said his decision has nothing to do with [Al] Reiss or
    [Mike] Jean [creators of 'the Critic'].  His dispute is with Brooks
    and the cross-promotion, or crossover.
    "The two reasons I am opposed to this crossover is that I don't want
    any credit or blame for 'The Critic' and I feel this (encroachment
    of another cartoon character) violates the Simpsons' universe,"
    Groening said.  " 'The Critic' has nothing to do with the Simpsons'
    He fears that fans of "The Simpsons" will "accuse us of making the
    crossover episode just to advertise 'The Critic.'  That's why I've
    had my name removed on this episode."

Kent Brockman on culture

Steve Frayne conjectures, "In order to set up the plot at the beginning
    of the episode, Kent describes Springfield as the least popular city
    in America.  He goes on to point out Springfield ranks, in culture,
    dead last.  Culture is defined as the totality of socially
    transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all
    other products of human work and thought.  Entertainment is defined
    as something that amuses or pleases, especially a performance or
    show.  Its easy to deduce that something that is high in
    entertainment value would be high in cultural value.  Thus, its hard
    to imagine that Springfield could be dead last in the United States
    in culture when it was described in 9F19 as the entertainment
    capitol of this state during the Krusty the Clown Comeback Special.
    Oh well, I guess without that incongruity there would be no basis
    for the flimsy crossover development that promoted The Critic at
    OFFs expense."

Maps to stars' homes

Tony Hill says, "There have long been hawkers selling putative maps to
    homes of the notable in Hollywood.  These maps are quite outdated,
    as the Moe gag lampooned: The most popular current version has
    Johnny Carson living at a house at 668 St. Cloud Rd. in Bel-Air
    which he settled on an ex-wife many years ago; the house is now
    occupied by Ronald Reagan."

The Lost Dutchman's Mine

Aaron Varhola writes, "The Lost Dutchman Mine Bart referred to is a
    famous legend.  The story is that an old prospector was the sole
    survivor of a party that found a rich gold mine in the Superstition
    Mountains in the New Mexico desert.  His directions to the mine were
    cryptic, and many prospectors lost their lives in the inhospitable
    desert trying to find the mine.  The area it's rumored to be in is
    now U.S. government property, and off limits."

Eudora Welty

Tony Hill says Eudora Welty won the 1973 Pulitzer Prize for fiction for
    "The Optimist's Daughter".  Richard Sherman adds, "Eudora Welty is a
    writer who lives in Natchez, Mississippi.  Although I have been a
    life long Mississippian, I did not know that Mrs. Welty had won a
    Pulitzer Prize.  I think it is hysterical that they choose to use
    Mrs. Welty for the show.  But how they could conceive of 80 year old
    Eudora Welty making that obnoxious burp is beyond me."

"My car gets 50 rods to the hogshead..."

Ricardo Lafaurie researches, "According to my dictionary, a `rod' is
    around 16 1/2 feet, while a `hogshead' is around 63 gallons.
    Roughly speaking, Grampa's car...er, one moment, I'm using my
    calculator...eugh...well, it just doesn't get very good mileage."  I
    get 0.0025 miles per gallon.

Barney's movie

Dan Pratt says, "The Barney film reminded me of a `Saturday Night Live'
    short film during the last year of the original cast (1979-1980).
    It was also in black-and-white and starred Bill Murray.  He played
    an alcoholic homeless man who lived outside a theater in NYC.  He
    fell asleep and dreamed that he was called in at the last minute to
    star in a Shakespearean production.  He essentially did a short
    medley of pat Shakespearean quotes, was applauded loudly, and was
    given a flower.  A policeman then woke him from his sleep and told
    him to move along.  When he left, he left behind the flower -- just
    like in the Barney film."

Burns closing plants

Ricardo Lafaurie writes, "In case you haven't been reading the news for
    the past four years, the North-American Free Trade Agreement, or
    NAFTA, was a controversial bill that allowed Americans to have their
    labor in neighboring countries Canada and Mexico.  Opinions on the
    bill were mostly against (Ross Perot was particulary against it)
    because they said that it would cause another recession in America.
    It passed."

Quotes and Scene Summary

[Syndication cuts are marked in curly braces "{}" and are courtesy of
Frederic Briere.]

"Hello.  I'm Kent Brockman, and this is `Eye On Springfield'."  The
opening montage for "Eye On Springfield" depicting Kent Brockman in
various places around town and women in bikinis runs, featuring a new
silly shot of Krusty directing zoo animals into one entrance of a Krusty
Burger and people walking out the exit on the other side of the

 Kent: [on TV] Tonight, we'll visit Springfield's answer to the
       Benidictine monks: the Rappin' Rabbis.
Rabbi: Don't eat pork, not even with a fork.
        [motions to cooked pig] Can't touch this!
Homer: Marge, are we Jewish?
Marge: No, Homer.
Homer: Woo hoo!
        [grabs a cooked pig, starts carving at it]
-- Religious questioning, "A Star is Burns"

   Kent: But first, we all stink!
    Man: "We all"...hey!
   Kent: That's according to a national survey ranking Springfield as
         the least popular city in America.
          [cut to Skinner tied to a stake on top of a pyre]
         In science, dead last.
Skinner: I'm telling you people, the earth revolves around the sun!
    Abe: Burn him!  [lights the pyre]
Shutton: What a story!  [takes a photo]
    Abe: [chasing him] You've stolen my soul!
          [cut to Krusty playing FDR in a play]
   Kent: [voiceover] In culture, dead last.
 Krusty: Eleanor, we've got to do something about this depression.
         [starts walking toward her] So I propose -- oh, that's right!
         I'm crippled, heh.
-- Not exactly Oscar material, "A Star is Burns"

  Lisa: This is terrible!  People will start to avoid Springfield.
 Homer: But what can I do?  I'm just...[counts "One" on fingers] one
 Marge: I think we should call a town meeting.  If we don't do something
        soon, we won't get any tourists at all.
  Bart: {No tourists?!  I'll be ruined!
         [cut to Bart outside next to a sign waving a pamphlet]
        Maps to movie stars' homes!
         [repeats same thing in Spanish]
         [repeats same thing in some Oriental language]
         [some Japanese tourists take one]
         [cut to scene with them knocking on a door; Moe, in his
        underwear, answers it]}
Father: {Excuse me, are you Drew Barrymore?}
   Moe: {What?  Get out of here, I'm hung over!}
Mother: {Sorry, Miss Barrymore.}
   Moe: {What?}
-- The plight of Springfield's tourists, "A Star is Burns"

At the town hall, Diamond Joe bangs a gavel.

  Quimby: Are there any suggestions for how to attract more tourism?
           [Patty and Selma raise their hands]
           [they stand next to a blackboard with "Springfield" on it]
   Patty: The easiest way to be popular is to leech off the popularity
          of others.
   Selma: So we propose changing our name from "Springfield" to
          "Seinfeld".  [does so on the blackboard]
           [a bass synth riff a la "Seinfeld" plays]
    Bart: {I may be just a boy, but I have an idea.  If I may, I'd like
          to show you a few slides.
           [a slide shows a closeup of someone's butt]
          Here's Springfield as it appears from space.  Somewhere in
          this windy valley is the Lost Dutchman's Mine.}
  Quimby: {Young man, that appears to be a picture of your rear end.}
    Bart: {So long, suckers!
           [pulls screen cord, gets yanked up with it and wrapped inside
          Aw, this is the last time I use an escape plan devised by
Milhouse: {[wrapped inside other end] Uh, sorry Bart.}
-- A town meeting is called, "A Star is Burns"

Marge stands up.

   Marge: I'm Marge Simpson, and I have an idea.
Everyone: Aw, no.  Marge is going to say something. etc.
   Marge: Now, I know you haven't liked some of my past suggestions,
          like switching to the metric system --
     Abe: [stammers a little] The metric system is the tool of the
          devil!  My car gets forty rods to the hogshead and that's the
          way I likes it.
  Quimby: The old person's remarks will be stricken from the record.
     Abe: Who said that?
   Marge: But my new idea's different.  I think we should hold a film
          festival and give out prizes.
  Wiggum: Can we make our own movies and enter them?
   Marge: Yes.
  Wiggum: At last, an excuse to wear makeup!
  Quimby: All in favor of Marge Simpson's film festival idea?
Everyone: Film festival!  Film festival!
   Marge: You like my idea?  Actually, I have several others --
Everyone: Don't push your luck!  Don't push your luck!
   Marge: Mmm...
-- At last, acceptance by Springfield as a whole!, "A Star is Burns"

Later, at home, Bart has his hair combed and wears a tuxedo.  Lisa films

 Lisa: And...action!
 Bart: Hello, I'm Bart Simpson.  In the past, I've bought you such
       classic films as "Homer in the Shower" and "Homer on the Toilet".
       And now, I give you "The Eternal Struggle".  [opens a door]
Homer: [struggling with his pants] "Relaxed fit", my Aunt Fanny!  Stupid
       Dockers.  [grunts] Oh!  The belt is buckled.  Heh heh...
       [struggles some more]
-- Bart's film festival entry, "A Star is Burns"

Down by a river, Ned and Rod stand behind a camera aimed at Maude and
Todd (wrapped in swaddling clothes).

     Ned: Now, Maude, in our movie you lay Moses in the basket, then put
          it among the reeds, OK?  Lights, camera, ac-diddely-doddely-
          doodely-action Jackson!
           [Maude puts the basket in the water]
           [it gets swept quickly away]
    Todd: Help meeee...eeee...eeee...[the sound vanishes as Todd passes
          behind some trees]
     Ned: Flanders to God, Flanders to God, get off your cloud and save
          my Todd!
           [lightning fells a tree across the river, blocking Todd's
Everyone: Yay!
     Ned: Thanks, God!
     God: [making the OK sign through the clouds] Okily dokily!
-- The advantage of fundamentalism, "A Star is Burns"

Marge watches TV when Lisa walks in.

 Lisa: Whatcha doing, Mom?
Marge: I'm looking for a film critic to judge our festival.  Did you
       know there are over 600 critics on TV and Leonard Maltin is the
       best looking of them all?
 Lisa: Ew!
-- Lisa's dislike for beards shows through, "A Star is Burns"

On the TV...

    Jay: Welcome to "Coming Attractions".  I'm your host, Jay Sherman,
         thank you.  Tonight, we review an aging Charles Bronson in
         "Death Wish 9".
Bronson: [in a hospital bed] I wish I was dead.  Oy!
    Jay: But first, we have a special guest: Rainier Wolfcastle, star of
         the reprehensible McBain movies.
Rainier: Jay, my new film is a mixture of action und comedy.  It's
         called "McBain: Let's Get Silly".
          [cut to clip from movie showing McBain with a microphone in
         front of a brick wall]
 McBain: Did you ever notice how men always leave the toilet seat up?
         [pause] That's the joke.
    Man: [from audience] You suck, McBain!
          [McBain pulls a machine gun and fires into the audience]
 McBain: Now, my Woody Allen impression: I'm a neurotic nerd who likes
         to sleep with little girls.
    Man: [from audience] Hey, that really sucked!
          [McBain pulls the pin on a grenade and tosses it at him]
Rainier: The film is just me in front of a brick wall for an hour and a
         half.  It cost $80 million.
    Jay: [contemptuous] How do you sleep at night?
Rainier: On top of a pile of money with many beautiful ladies.
    Jay: Just asking.  Yeesh!
-- "A Star is Burns"

Lisa expresses her approval.

 Lisa: I like him!  He's smart, he's sensitive, he's clearly not
       obsessed with his physical appearance --
Homer: [walking by] My ears are burning.
 Lisa: Uh, I wasn't talking about you, Dad.
Homer: No, my ears are really burning.  I wanted to see inside so I lit
       a Q-Tip.
Marge: Mmm...
-- Homer, not a member of the Big Ear Family, "A Star is Burns"

Marge writes Jay Sherman a letter.

  Marge: [writing] "Dear Mr. Sherman, on behalf of the people of
         Springfield I would like to invite you to judge our film
          [cut to Jay reading the letter in New York]
         You can stay with us, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the
  Homer: Marge, is this a pimple or a boil?
  Marge: Just a minute, Homer!  Oh, look what you made me write.
         Anyway, we think you'll really enjoy our quiet little town.
         Sincerely, Marge Simpson."
    Jay: Hmm.  Do I _really_ want to leave Manhattan?
Rainier: [walking up menacingly] Sherman, I just realized you insulted
         me!  Now you will die.  [pulls a machine gun]
    Jay: Uh, hey nudnick, your shoe's untied.
Rainier: From here, they appear to be tied, but I will go in for a
         closer look.
    Jay: Taxi!  [jumps into one] To the airport.
          [later that night]
Rainier: On closer inspection, these are loafers.
-- McBain's reasoning skill, "A Star is Burns"

[End of Act One.  Time: 7:00]

At the Springfield airport, a man announces, "Attention, the flight from
New York has arrived."  The plane cuts in front of another plane which
screeches to a halt as its pilot yells, "Hey, I'm landing here!"  Marge
and Homer watch the line of disembarking passengers file by.  Homer
holds a sign reading "Simpson".

"It's supposed to say Jay's name, not yours," explains Marge.  "Oh,
you're right," says Homer, erasing it and rewriting it.  "There you --
d'oh!" he curses, having written "Simpson" again.  "Just a second," he
says, repeating the procedure.  "Oh, that should -- d'oh!"  Jay walks up

Marge: Hello, I'm Marge Simpson, and this is my husband, Homer.
  Jay: Oh, nice to meet you, Marge.  I saw your hair from the plane.
       And you must be the man who didn't know if he had a pimple or a
Homer: It was a gummi bear.
-- An easy mistake to make, "A Star is Burns"

Bart watches TV at home.

Announcer: Coming up next, "The Flintstones" meet "The Jetsons".
     Bart: Uh oh.  I smell another cheap cartoon crossover.
    Homer: Bart Simpson, meet Jay Sherman, the critic.
      Jay: Hello.
     Bart: Hey, man.  I really love your show.  I think _all_ kids
           should watch it!  [turns away] Ew, I suddenly feel so dirty.
-- The metaphorical filth of "The Critic", "A Star is Burns"

Darth Vader's theme signals the scene change to Burns' office.

   Burns: I don't know what's happening.  It seems our profits have
          dropped 37%.
Smithers: I'm afraid we have a bad image, Sir.  Market research shows
          people see you as something of an ogre.
   Burns: I ought to club them and eat their bones!
Smithers: Heh heh, well, maybe this film festival could help us.  A film
          biography might let them get to know the real you: virtuous,
          heroic, nubile...
   Burns: [menacing] You left out pleasant!  [clubs Smithers with a
          newspaper] But I like that film biography idea: a slick
          Hollywood picture to gloss over my evil rise to power like
          "Bugsy" or "Working Girl".
-- Melanie Griffith: newly notorious?, "A Star is Burns"

     Burns: Get me Steven Spielberg!
  Smithers: He's unavailable.
     Burns: Then get me his non-union Mexican equivalent!
             [later] Listen, Senor Spielbergo, I want you to do for me
            what Spielberg did for Oskar Schindler.
Spielbergo: Er, Schindler es bueno, Senor Burns es el diablo.
     Burns: Listen, Spielbergo, Schindler and I are like peas in a pod:
            we're both factory owners, we both made shells for the
            Nazis, but mine worked, dammit!  Now go out there and win me
            that festival!
-- Burns puts his foot down, "A Star is Burns"

At dinner, Jay and Homer fight over the last pork chop.

Marge: Homer, the guest should get the last pork chop.
Homer: But I'm still hungry!
        [under the table, Jay's and Homer's stomach growl at each other
       like dogs]
        [Homer's frightens Jay's into whimpering]
  Jay: [taking the pork chop] Thank you!
 Lisa: Mr. Sherman, I understand you have two Pulitzer prizes.
  Jay: Well, I, heh heh, it's not like I carry them around with me.
       Ooh, it's so hot in here!
        [removes sweater to reveal Pulitzers]
       Oh, look!  Here's my Peoples' Choice award.  Five Golden Globes
        [puts legs on table; Globes roll out of pant leg]
       Hmm...where's my Emmy?
        [Santa's Little Helper coughs it up]
       Thank you!
-- Jay, never arrogant, "A Star is Burns"

Homer: Oh yeah?  [pulls out a trophy] Well _I_ won the belching contest
       at work.  [belches in Jay's face]
        [everyone laughs]
  Jay: Very nice, Homer.  [belches way longer and louder]
        [car alarms go off outside]
        [everyone but Homer applauds]
        [Bart hands Jay the belching trophy]
 Lisa: Wow!  How many Pulitzer prize winners can do that?
  Jay: Just me and Eudora Welty.
-- Subdivisions in the Pulitzer prize winning elite, "A Star is Burns"

       [the doorbell rings]
Marge: Oh, I invited my sisters over.
  Jay: Ooh, sisters.  Allow me.
        [walks off to answer door; screams]
  Jay: [on the couch] So then _I_ said to Woody Allen, "Well, Camus can
       do, but Sartre is smartre!"
        [Patty laughs]
Selma: So original.
Marge: How droll!
Homer: Yeah, well, "Scooby Doo can doo-doo, but Jimmy Carter is
        [a bale of detritus blows across the living room]
-- There weren't no sound but the whistling breeze..., "A Star is Burns"

Patty: OK, Sherman, you're a movie expert.
Selma: So tell us: who's gay?
  Jay: Oh, I don't know...Harvey Fierstein.
Selma: No!
Patty: Who else?
        [Homer whispers to Jay]
  Jay: Oh.  MacGyver's gay.
        [both sisters growl at Jay, who cowers]
        [Homer giggles behind the couch]
 Bart: [laughs] You badmouthed MacGyver, didn't you?
  Jay: [hanging from the eavestrough in his underwear] Uh...muh uh?
-- The meaning of negative reinforcement, "A Star is Burns"

That night, in bed, Marge writes something on a pad of paper.

Homer: Whatcha doing, Marge?
Marge: Making out the jury list for the film festival.  Mayor Quimby,
       Krusty, Jay [giggles]...
Homer: Marge, do you respect my intelligence?
Marge: [long pause] Yes.
Homer: OK.  [turns over] Wait a minute...why did it take you so long to
       say yes?
Marge: [long pause] No reason.
Homer: OK.  [turns over] Wait a minute...are you humoring me?
Marge: [long pause] [resigned] Yes.
Homer: OK.  [turns over] Wait a minute...that's bad!
-- Homer's lightning-fast reasoning ability, "A Star is Burns"

Homer: Look, I know I'm not witty like that critic guy, but does he know
       _all_ the words to the Oscar Mayer song?
  Jay: [walking past, singing] Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Mayer weiner,
        [Bart and Lisa join in] That is what I'd truly like to be.
       'Cause if I were an Oscar Mayer weiner,
        [Jay solos out of tune] Everyone would be in love with me!
        [SLH howls]
Homer: That's it, Marge: he knows the whole hot dog song!  Go ahead,
       sleep with him.  I'll just take a lock of your hair to remember
       you by.  [snips one from her] It's just me and you now, lock of
Marge: You don't have to do this.
Homer: Yeah?  Well you think I'm stupid!
Marge: I don't think you're stupid.
Homer: Prove it!  Put me on that film jury festival thing.
Marge: [resigned] Fine, you're on the jury.
        [crosses off "Martin Scorsese", writes in "Homer"]
-- So close for Scorsese and yet so far, "A Star is Burns"

Mr. Burns is seated in an auditorium.

  Smithers: Sir, the actors are here to audition for the part of you.
     Burns: Excellent.
             [Anthony Hopkins is wheeled in restrained a la Hannibal
   Hopkins: Excellent.  [hisses]
     Burns: Next!
             [William Shatner appears, dressed as Captain Kirk]
   Shatner: Ex...cel-lent!
     Burns: Next!
     Homer: Exactly.  Heh, heh...d'oh!
     Burns: Next!
Chespirito: Exellente!
Spielbergo: Es muy bueno.
     Burns: Oh, it's hopeless.  I'll have to play myself.
-- "A Star is Burns"

The night of the film festival, Dr. Hibbert approaches the theater in
fishnet stockings.  "Oh, I thought they were playing `The Rocky Horror
Picture Show' tonight," chuckles the doctor.

Inside, Jay announces, "Our first film is by Indian director Apu
Nahasapeemapetilon: `Bright Lights, Beef Jerky'."  The film is clearly
lifted directly from the Kwik-E-Mart security camera, where Snake cocks
a shotgun at Apu.  "Help, help!  Police!" calls Apu.  Wiggum retorts,
"Hey, I got problems of my own right now," as his tie is pulled slowly
into the hot dog rotating machine.  "Oh boy, this is going to get worse
before it gets better..." The tape ends, and everyone applauds.

Jay continues, "Next, we have Moe the Bartender in `Moe Better Booze'."
Moe, donning a tuxedo, makeup, and a cane, dances on top of his bar and
sings, "Money gets you one more round/Drink it down, you stupid
clown/Money gets you one more round/You're out on your ass."  He falls
off his bar and yells, "Ow!  My back!"  Everyone applauds this one
politely too.

In the next film, Hans Moleman narrates, "Hans Moleman productions
presents `Man Getting Hit By Football'."  Hans stands on a walkway;
someone tosses a football at him.  It hits him right in the groin, and
he doubles over in pain.

Homer: [laughing hysterically] This contest is over!  Give that man the
  Jay: This isn't "America's Funniest Home Videos".
Homer: But...the ball!  His groin!  Ah ha!  It works on so many levels!
       [laughs more] Roll it again.
-- Hans Moleman hits Homer's funny bone, "A Star is Burns"

Barney: Next, they're going to show _my_ movie.
  Bart: _You_ made a movie?
Barney: _I_ made a movie?  No wonder I was on the cover of
        "Entertainment Weekly".
-- Barney's short-term memory, "A Star is Burns"

Barney's movie is in black and white.  It opens with a shot of a Duff
beer bottle on a windowsill.  Gauzy white curtains billow around it as
the love theme from "M.  Butterfly" plays.  A hand grabs the bottle and
turns it upside down; the camera pans slowly down to reveal Barney's
lips on the other end of it.

The next shot shows Barney from above lying on a couch under the window.
As a voiceover, he says, "My name is Barney Gumbel.  I'm 40, I'm single,
and I drink."  The scene fades to a road where Barney lies in the
gutter, drinking another Duff, then lying down.  The Duff pours slowly
into a sewer grating.  "There's a line in `Othello' about a drinker:
`Now a sensible man, by and by a fool, and presently a beast.'  That
pretty well covers it."  The camera shows a time lapse view of clouds
moving during the day, which turns to night, then back to day again.
Barney has become an old man, bald, toothless, still lying in the same
gutter.  A tear leaks from his eye.

A woman watching the movie is moved.

 Woman: It's brilliant: savagely honest, tender...he has the soul of a
Barney: You're very kind.
 Woman: Excuse me, did something crawl down your throat and die?
Barney: It didn't die!
-- Methinks the man doth protest too much, "A Star is Burns"

Back on the screen, Barney sits in a chair and says, "My name is Barney
Gumbel, and I'm an alcoholic."  The camera pulls back to reveal several
similarly-attired girls.  Lisa says, "Mr. Gumbel, this is a Girl Scout
meeting."  Barney asks, "Is it?  Or is it that you girls can't admit you
have a problem?"

The scene fades to a playing record player, then back to Barney on the
couch, a rose held to his nose.  "Don't cry for me," he narrates, "I'm
already dead."  He puts the rose in the Duff bottle on the windowsill;
its petals fall off slowly, and the curtain billows in front of it as
"Fin" appears.

Everyone applauds wildly; Marge blows her nose.  "I think we have a
winner," says Jay.  Homer walks in holding a beer and asks, "What'd I
miss?"  Marge chides him, "Homer, please pay attention!  There's just
one more movie."  That movie is "A Burns for All Seasons", starring
Montgomery Burns as Montgomery Burns, Bumblebee Man, and Tommy Tune as
"Smithers".  The title sequence features the picture from the Sistene
Chapel of God touching Adam's finger, except instead of Adam, it's
Burns.  A long list of writers scrolls by, ending with Lowell Burns and
Babaloo Smithers.

The first scene opens with Mr. Burns atop a horse wearing a sombrero,
rounds of machine gun ammunition draped across his chest.  "Simple
villagers," he says to a group of people, "I promise you I will close
plants in America and bring work here!"  Chespirito cries, "Viva Senor
Burns!" and the assembled villagers cry, "Viva!  Viva!"  Burns' horse
gallops off, but Burns doesn't manage to stay in the saddle, instead
getting dragged back and forth along the ground.  In the audience, Burns
laments, "We did twenty takes, and _that_ was the best one."

The next scene features Mr. Burns saying, "Remember, Elliot, I'll be
right here," on one knee to a child.  The tip of his finger lights up
briefly; he then enters a spaceship, its door spiraling closed, which
takes off into the crimson sky.  The audience murmurs angrily among
themselves, "Pure egotism!  Self-indulgent tripe," and the like.  "I
don't care what they say," vows Burns, "I'm going to win this festival!"

The next scene shows a Roman centurion on a horse leading a group of
shackled prisoners across the desert.  The last prisoner, who bears a
striking resemblance to Charlton Heston, collapses from exhaustion.  A
shadow appears over him: a man kneels in front of him, strokes his hair,
and hands him a bottle of spring water.  "Drink up, Judah Ben Hur,"
exhorts Mr. Burns.  Ben Hur does so, then looks up gratefully and says,
"You truly are the king of kings."  A heavenly light shines down upon
Burns, and he says "Excellent."  The movie ends.

Audience: Boo!  Boo!
   Burns: Smithers...are they booing me?
Smithers: Uh, no, they're saying "Boo-urns!  Boo-urns!"
   Burns: Are you saying "boo" or "Boo-urns"?
Audience: Boo!  Boo!
    Hans: I was saying "Boo-urns"...
-- Burns' movie flops, "A Star is Burns"

[End of Act Two.  Time: 17:09]

The judging decision is being made.

 Marge: All right: it's time to vote for the grand prize.
   Jay: I vote for Barney Gumbel's sensitive yet unfortunately-titled
        film, "Pukahontas".
 Marge: Second.
Quimby: Well, I vote for Burns' movie.
Krusty: Me too.  Now let's get going.  I've got a date with Eudora
        Welty.  [a huge burp can be heard] Coming, Eudora!
         [a miniature camera hidden in an olive whirs]
 Burns: [watching] Excellent.  Bribing those two judges had paid off,
        just as it did during the Miss Teen America pageant.
         [holds up newspaper with "Incontinent Old Man Wins Miss Teen
        America" headline]
   Jay: How can you vote for Burns' movie?
Krusty: Let's just say it moved me...to a bigger house!  Oops, I said
        the quiet part loud and the loud part quiet.
-- No one is secure from bribery, "A Star is Burns"

  Jay: Two to two.  Well, Homer, it all comes down to you.
Homer: "Football in the Groin".  "Football in the Groin"!
  Jay: Well, we're not going to resolve this deadlock any time soon.
Marge: Why don't we all take a five minute break?  It'll clear our
Homer: Good idea, Marge: my mind is going a mile a minute.
        [inside Homer's head, one monkey picks fleas off another]
-- Homer, still a primate, "A Star is Burns"

Marge rues her decision to put Homer on the judging committee.

 Marge: I knew this would happen.  I put you on the jury and you vote
        for the stupidest film.
 Homer: I have every right to be on that jury, even though I got there
        because I'm sleeping with the head of the festival.
   Jay: How many times have I heard Rex Reed say _that_?
 Homer: Oh, great, now _you're_ going to make fun of me!
   Jay: No, Homer, I won't make fun of you.  But I will suggest there
        may be better things in life than seeing a man get hit in the
        groin with a football.
         [a football hits Jay in the groin]
Nelson: [off-camera] Ha ha!
 Marge: Well, Homer?
 Homer: Marge, I've got some serious thinking to do.
         [inside his head, two monkeys do calculus on a blackboard]
-- Homer, still a primate, albeit an advanced one, "A Star is Burns"

Homer watches Barney's movie again to make his final decision.

 Homer: [thinking] Hmm...Barney's movie had heart, but "Football in the
        Groin" had a football in the groin.
Barney: [on the screen] Don't cry for me, I'm already dead.
 Homer: Wow.  I'll never drink another beer.
   Man: Beer here!
 Homer: I'll take ten.
-- "Never" meaning "right away", "A Star is Burns"

The audience reassembles for the final announcement.  Jay announces,
"And now to announce the winner.  The award for outstanding animated
short goes to...Itchy and Scratchy for their film, `Four Funerals and a
Wedding'."  Scratchy stands with his bride in front of a priest when
Itchy runs on and abducts her.  He replaces her with a similar-looking
bride made entirely of bombs and dynamite, their fuses burning.
Scratchy kisses her blithely, wipes her mouth blithely, then lives the
rest of his life blithely, producing children that are also made of
bombs and dynamite.  In his old age, he sits with his bride in an old
folks' home when she finally explodes, turning he and his rocking chair
into charred skeletons.  A bearded Itchy walks up to point and laugh,
but the exertion gives him a heart attack and he keels over.  The
audience, of course, laughs.

   Jay: And now, the winner of the grand prize.  [tears open an
        envelope] Barney Gumbel!
Barney: What?  Wow!
 Burns: [shudders]
 Marge: Homey, you voted for the right movie.  I'm glad you were on the
        jury.  [kisses him]
 Homer: Aw.  You know something, Marge?  It's not that tough being a
        film cricket.
Barney: [at the podium] I've learned I have a gift to share with the
        world.  From now on, there'll be a new Barnard Gumbel:
        hardworking, clean, and sober.
Quimby: Congratulations, Barney, and enjoy your grand prize: a lifetime
        supply of Duff beer.
Barney: Huh?  [pulls up sleeve] Just hook it to my veins!
-- Even the greatest idol has a few vices, "A Star is Burns"

The Simpson family take Jay to the airport to see him off.

 Lisa: Goodbye, Mr. Sherman.  If I ever play Carnegie Hall, I'll give
       you a call.
  Jay: And if you ever want to visit _my_ show --
 Bart: Nah, we're not going to be doing that.
Marge: Well, Jay, I hope you tell your New York friends that people in
       small towns aren't quite as dumb as they think.
Homer: Marge, look!  This has spring snakes inside but the suckers will
       think it's beer nuts.  [laughs] Mmm...beer nuts.
        [opens jar; spring snakes fly out] Aah!  D'oh!
-- Not _all_ people, that is, "A Star is Burns"

  Marge: Well, it was a lovely festival.  The best movie won, and Mr.
         Burns found there are some awards that can't be bought.
          ["Six months later"]
Rainier: And the Oscar goes to...
  Burns: I've got to win this one!  I bribed everyone in Hollywood.
Rainier: ...George C. Scott in "Man Getting Hit By Football".
          [everyone applauds; Burns steams]
          [a screen shows George C. Scott standing there and a football
         hitting him in the groin]
  Scott: [doubling over] Aargh!  My groin.
-- Hollywood's new integrity, "A Star is Burns"

[End of Act Three.  Time: 21:07]


   {ddg} Don Del Grande
   {mk}  Matthew Kurth
   {rl}  Ricardo Lafaurie
   {rm}  Robert Matthews
   {av}  Aaron Varhola
This episode summary is Copyright 1997 by James A. Cherry.  Not to be
redistributed in a public forum without permission.  (The quotes
themselves, of course, remain the property of The Simpsons, and the
reproduced articles remain the property of the original authors.  I'm
just taking credit for the compilation.)