[4F10] Mountain of Madness

Mountain of Madness                               Written by John Swartzwelder
                                                     Directed by Mark Kirkland
Production code: 4F10                       Original Airdate on FOX: 02-Feb-97
Capsule revision A, 07-Jun-97

"TV Guide" Synopsis {gb}

On a company mountain retreat, hiking partners Homer and Mr. Burns are the first to reach the rendezvous cabin -- where they're trapped by an avalanche.

Title sequence

Couch :- Grampa is sleeping on the foldout sofa, and only manages to utter a "huh?" before the family folds back the sofa over him. They sit, as if nothing happened.

Did you notice...

... Mr. Burns remembers who Homer and his family is without the assistance of cards? ... Zutroy (from 1F07) is still working at SNPP? ... for the first time in a while (or perhaps ever), there have been no supporting voices on the show? Dale G. Abersold: ... Burns's Pasty-Faced Lawyer is at the mountain retreat? ... SNPP has an odd number of employees? [I'd say even, since Burns isn't an employee --ed] ... Lisa wears her mittens inside? ... it's fortunate that it's Marge on the chairlift? After all, she does know how to weld (remember [1F22])? ... Burns is lying when he said the last three avalanches were Homer's fault? (the last one was his fault). ... Teddy Roosevelt is carrying a big stick? (Get it?) Frederic Briere: ... despite how much Homer cared for his cowboy picture, he loses it while escaping from the plant? Vince Chan: ... the minute hand on the grandfather clock never moves, only the hour hand does? ... there is no avalanche during Homer and Mr. Burns' argument? James R. Curry: ... Maggie's face moves, as if to say "Yankee's"? ... apparently, the other employee's managed to park their cars neatly on the ice? ... Lisa ignores Bart's attempt to fling snow at her? ... Mr. Burns seems unusualy strong? ... Mr. Burns knows morse code? Joshua Fruhlinger: ... the Forest Service keeps champagne in its lookout cabins? (Moderately priced, I'll bet.) Greg Galon: ... when Lenny falls into the hole, we never hear his bottle break? Don Del Grande: ... in the couch opening, somebody (Grampa) makes a sound, something rare in couch openings? ... in the couch opening, when the couch is folded, the cushions are in place? ... in Homer's photo of Lisa and Marge, Lisa isn't smiling but Marge is? ... at the dinner table, Maggie just stares at her spoon? ... some of the names in the hat are first names and some are last names? ... nobody comes up with the idea of everybody except Burns and Homer teaming up and all getting to the cabin first (hopefully killing two birds with one stone)? ... when Burns sends his telegraph message, he alternates "S" and "O"; maybe somebody would have thought things were "so-so"? ... Homer and Burns step onto the snow without wearing shoes, but neither appeared to feel anything? ... Burns says "the last team to make it to the cabin would be fired", yet Carl (Lenny's teammate) isn't fired? Jason Hancock: ... none of the kernels in Carl's microwave popcorn bag popped? ... there are half-eaten doughnuts by the microwave and by the hot cocoa machine? ... the cobwebs on the Samuel Morse model in the exhibit? ... the U.S. map (presumably of our national parks) in the ranger station? ... Lenny is drinking a bottle of scotch? Eric Hartman: ... how mad Smithers is when he sees Lisa and happy when he sees Bart? Diego Kontarovsky: ... OFF's car had to hit 8 cars before skidding to a stop on the ice? ... when Burns is making his speech, everyone's backpack is identical (except for color) ... when everyone first starts up the mountain, two people dissappear behind a tree? (Maybe they hadda go!) ... Lisa would actually believe that Bart found two identical snow flakes? ... Smithers's foot prints go straight up the mountain and Bart's zig zag all around? Haynes Lee: ... a blonde female SNPP employee looks like Sparkle from [8F16]? ... Ranger McFadden looks like Smithers? ... the propane tank says "flammable"? (well d'uh!) Ondre Lombard: ... we only see the Simpson house twice in this episode? (in the couch scene and the scene before the competition) ... the family takes Marge's stationwagon to Mt. Useful? ... Mr. Burns says "an" before "hilarious"? ... the only teamwork displayed in this episode is Mr. Burns' and Homer's teamwork in causing avalanches? ... the other pairs manage to find the cabin Lenny and Carl stumble upon even though it wasn't in their maps? ... Lenny and Carl both say "Aw nuts" in this episode? ... Mr. Burns never asks Smithers if he learned anything from the hike despite saying Smithers was included in the competition? Benjamin Jay Robinson: ... Burns gets in at 8:00, and asks for his first cup of coffee at 11:30? (Hey, he almost made it to lunch!) ... the lavender VW bug in the lower left corner of the parking lot? (The gray van near the bottom center of the screen may be a VW Microbus.) ... the rocket-powered cabin nearly flattens a squirrel? Andrius Schmid: ... Marge's over-sized earmuffs? ... nobody saw or heard Burns and Homer ascend the mountain on the snowmobile?

Voice credits {ol}

- Starring - Dan Castellaneta (Grampa, Homer) - Julie Kavner (Marge) - Nancy Cartwright (Bart) - Yeardley Smith (Lisa) - Hank Azaria (Carl, Lenny, Ranger, Smokey the Bear Robot, park history film's Voice, Drunk, Ranger McFadden) - Harry Shearer (Smithers, Mr. Burns)

Movie (and other) references

+ "At the Mountains of Madness," novella by H.P. Lovecraft {dga} - Title + Green Acres - Two of the employees paired in the race are "Haney and Drucker"; Mr Haney was the junk dealer from "Green Acres" and Sam Drucker owned the general store. The Bible, Ecclesiastes 9:11 {dga} - Burns's remark about the race going to the swift Life In Hell #300, "Lies My Older Brother and Sister Told Me" (1986) {vc} - Two identical snowflakes Beetlejuice {jk} - "It's Showtime"

Previous episode references

- Snoring Grampa in a couch gag {jrc} - [7F07], [7F17] Grampa wakes up and mutters incoherently - [3F01], [3F13] Grampa is asleep in his Brady Bunch square - [4F10], [4F16] The family fold the sofa in with Grampa on it - [7G04] Burns participates in a race {jh} - [7G08], [7F03] Maggie's snow outfit - [7F01] Homer gets a ride with Burns {ljs} - [7F01], [7F15] The couch gag features the couch as a bed {jrc} - [7F03] Homer and Burns play in the snow {ljs} - [7F05] Burns calls Homer his "buddy" - [7F10] Burns and Homer share a drink af champagne {ljs} - [7F18] Smithers serves coffee to Burns {ljs} - [8F04] A riot breaks out at SNPP during a disaster/drill {ljs} - [8F09] Lenny is rich {ljs} - [8F11], [1F09] Homer digs a tunnel {ljs} - [8F13] Mr. Burns: "There's no I in team..." (cf. Mr. Burns' emphasis on teamwork in 4F10) {ol} - [8F19] OFF has trouble parking the car {ljs} - [8F21] Bazooka Joe comics mentioned {mss} - [9F07] A characters catchphrase (Barney's BURP!) sets off an avalanche - [9F16] Artie admits he'd trade his fortune for a night with Marge (cf. Mr. Burns: "Oh yes. But I'd trade it all for a little more") {ol} - [1F06] Bart has a pocket knife. {dga} - [1F06] Lenny is fired {mss} - [1F07] Zutroy works at the power plant - [1F16] Lenny falls in a hole left by Mr. Burns - [2F04] Jessica makes Bart sound a false alarm (cf. Mr. Burns sounding a false alarm at the SNPP) {ol} - [2F10] Homer keeps family photos in his sector {ol} - [2F16] Burns drives Homer crazy {ljs} - [2F16] Homer imagines ghosts that frighten him {ljs} - [3F02] Bart tries to set Lisa up for a prank, but it fails {ol} - [3F05] Burns supervises Homer {ljs} - [3F07] Homer builds a snowman {ljs} - [3F14] Burns refers to "Jumble" {dga} - [3F14] Burns stares at Homer from across the room {hl} - [3F14] Lenny gets drunk {ljs} - [3F14] Smithers is replaced by Homer {ol} - [3F19] "Horseless sleigh", c.f. "faxtrolla" {mss} - [4F02] A vehicle is hidden behind bushes {ljs} - [4F06] Lisa wants to save animals to an adult's dissaproval {mss} - [4F08] SNPP's hot cocoa machine is seen again {jh}

Freeze frame fun

Burns' emergency console {hl}

      o MELTDOWN
      o MAD DOG
      o FIRE DRILL

Sign at SNPP lounge {dk}


Pictures at Homer's workstation {bjr}

   - Homer as a cowboy, done by one of those instant old-time photo
      places. The frame reads "OLDE TYME PHOTOS".
   - Bart, with a baseball bat and his "lucky red hat", against a blue
   - Marge and Lisa, on pink background
   - Maggie, waving; the picture is very tilted, perhaps she was
   - The family (Bart, Marge, Maggie, Homer, and Lisa), dressed
      formally; rather similar to 3F07

Sign on the way to park {hl}

        MT.  USEFUL

Sign in cabin {hl}


- Overseas Animation: Rough Draft  {ddg}

Animation, continuity, and other goofs

- Burns' grandfather clock pendulum doesn't swing, yet the clock is working. {ddg} + The clock above Burns' office door is missing. {dk} = The "Fire Drill" is below "Blimp Attack" in the close-up shots of the list of emergencies, but it is above "Blimp Attack" in the long shots. {jh} = The door handle dissappears for a moment when Homer runs out of the plant during the fire drill. {dk} * If Homer knew the whole thing was a trick ("I think I won, Mr. Burns!"), why did he try to save one of those photos? {ol} = Burns' lawyer dissappears from the back of the stage at the speech. {dk} - The crowd claps slower than it sounds. And also, mittens can't make the sounds of bare hands clapping. {ol} = Mr. Burns produces the trophy out of thin air. {ol} = The two back packs at the end of the stage were probably meant to be Burns' and Smithers', but Smithers' is later bright red, and Burns doesn't even take one with him. {dk} - Maggie's hands stuck out of her "star suit" - except when Marge was trying to find out where Maggie's head was. {ddg} - The snow on the branch Bart whips at Lisa forms from two little lumps of snow to one big lump. {dk} - The hands on Bart's watch don't remain in the same spot. {dk} * If Maggie's star-shaped snowsuit allows her to not move, how come her arms are sloped while they are riding the chair-lift? {ljs} = The hinges on the cabin door switch sides after the first avalanche, and then back. {dk} = The windows next to the door are seen inches away on certain scenes and feet away on others. {dk} = The telegraph dissappears in a couple of scenes. {dk} * Why would the Samuel Morse exhibit be alongside a dinosaur skeleton and a mummy lying under hieroglyphics? {dk} * Why would the banner rip because of an avalanche? {dk} = After the avalanche, the food on the table disappears. {ol} c After Burns says "Wouldn't you like to know" the closed captioning has Homer talking to himself: "Burns has lost his mind; it doesn't mean I will. I'm talking to myself. Normal people do that." * A ruptured propane tank would have emitted a flame through all of its openings, including the one inside the cabin (actually, considering there was a crack along its length, the propane would have exploded), instead of just through the part that's outside the cabin. {ddg} = The propane tank is shown on the right wall, yet the "rocket house" is propelled from the rear. {dk} = When the house is gliding, its chimney is on the left, rather than on the rear. Similarly, we should see the fireplace when Burns opens the door. = Where did Lenny get the whiskey at the end? {dk}


Dale G. Abersold: When John Swartzwelder is on, he's on. This was the straight-out funniest episode since "22 Short Films About Springfield" [3F18]. Rather than feeding us a moral about teamwork, this episode gave us Monty and Homer in their underwear. Add to that the Smithers and Carl/Lenny subplots, and you have an episode excellent in almost every way. Detract only a few points for some moments of filler. (A-) Jennifer M. Blaske: I got excited when I realized this was a Schwartzwelder episode, but feel like it wasn't as good as it should have been. As others have mentioned, there seemed to be blatant attempts to simply "kill time" - the section where Homer and Burns are talking slowly under the table is almost painful to watch. Homer trying to park the car was pretty hilarious, but even that should have been cut a couple seconds. And did I miss some sort of movie reference or something toward the end. Homer and Burns dressing the snowmen and sitting around in the underwear made no sense to me. And I agree that the ending would have had more "punch" if they had froze after one glare. (B) Vince Chan: It was a pretty good episode, not excellent though. It wasn't as funny as most of the episodes this season. Some parts were better than others. All those avalanches that occured during Homer and Mr. Burns' talk were not necessary, they could of did with only the few during Homer's last comment and maybe one or two during other parts of the conversation. The final seconds of the show could of been cut off, the writers should have stopped right after the first glare. (B-) Chris Courtois: "Mountain of Madness" was a bit of an underachiever. It had a lot of potential, as those corporate team building retreats are a ripe target for OFF's brand of satire, and Burns is usually a dependable character. But this one seemed kinda flaccid, like they ruhsed off a first draft of the script to the animators. When the first commercial break came I was surprised that we were already 1/3 into the show. Some jokes just ran on too long (causing an avalanche with each word spoken; Lenny falling into the hole; every one staring at the ranger after he announced the results of the budget cuts). There were some good laughs, like Homer's "political powers", and the initial budget cut gag. If this one had been tightened up, it could have been pretty good. (C) James R. Curry: Ugh, this episode sucks! Pity, it started off well with the fire drill. That had me laughing. Then once the mountain retreat started, this episode just lost it. It's saved from the bin marked D/D- by the fire drill, and the morse code bit. But not saved by much. The writers can do much better, as they've proved this season. And I'll finish by saying Ugh, one last time. Ugh. (D+) Steve Frayne: Each time I watch this episode I finish with a good feeling about it because it was a happy ending to a humorous third act. But it's hard to sit down to watch it again because of the disasterous first act, and to a lesser extent the first half of the second act. For that matter the whole episode seemed forced, almost like they came up with a good situation, and then stopped the creativity right there. The whole concept of teamwork got lost or at least took a back seat when they were stuck in the cabin. All those stupid avalanches got a little tiring too. (D) Joshua Fruhlinger: This show spent far too much time setting up this week's "zany situation." I've always felt that the Simpson's strengths are in the random throw-away gags, rather than the plot-specific ones. Through about the two thirds, the ep. was in D territory for me; but it really took off when Homer and Burns ended up trapped in the cabin. Best moments: the sitting scene, Homer and Burns' simultaneous and very solemn decision to put their clothes on the snowmen, and the two hallucinatory armies ("I have powers... political powers."), and the "corpse handling gloves." (C+) Jason Hancock: This was just another average, run-of-the-mill episode for me. There were several good parts, like Smithers finding out that he was his own partner. But the beginning of the third act was slow, and several scenes seemed to act as fillers that should be cut in syndication next year. (C+) Ryan Johnson: Did Homer really have to open the door twice? Where were "The Shining" references? There are hundreds of realistic endings, but why did the writers choose a rocket cabin? Just one of the many questions left by this patchwork plot. The random gags didn't help either. (D) Diego Kontarovsky: A good start; the fire drill cracked me up, but it went (and I hope you'll pardon the bad pun) downhill from there. It was the worst episode I have ever seen. It went slowly, and it was extremely boring. It would've been more entertaining if the rest of the Simpson family had stayed in Springfield, although Bart's annoying Smithers on the way up the mountain was funny. Everyone's character was EXTREMELY weak. No personality whatsoever. (D) Ondre Lombard: Another clanger. I had a suspicion this plot would go absolutely no where. Many instances where it appeared that time was being filled senselessly, a lot of 9F22-Rake-Scene'ish scenes. What is with the abundance of pointless jokes? Like the car on the snow, or the film in the room Marge was staring at, the long reaction to the Ranger's statement about no entertainment, the tragic music after Mr. Burns says "Wouldn't you like to know"? I don't get the references or what the point in these jokes are suppose to be. (Although I found the Smokey Bear joke amusing). And the end moral of teamwork is cliche'd and out of character for Mr. Burns. I don't know what to say about the actual "plot" besides it stank. (D-) Werner Peeters: This was a great episode! The hilarity started already in the first scene (the fire drill), and we've had some of that nice old Monty B. and Waylon S. dialogues we haven't had in quite a while. Homer, stupid as ever, brings his family onto the survival trip, and Monty's attempts to try to persuade Homer to cheat are magnificent. This episodes deserves A-, the - because it could have had a slight touch more of sexual references - why didn't they show Smithers imagining how it would be to be locked in a cabin with Mr. Burns alone? (A-) Mark Aaron Richey: Homer and a nice Mr. Burns getting trapped by an avalanche together? Not the brightest plot idea in history. The fire drill at the beginning was terrific, but once they got to the mountain, it got silly. Even poor Smithers getting stuck with Bart and Lisa (acting very sterotypically) didn't really work. Some nice visual gags (Homer's and Burns's hallucinations) and that's about it. (C-) Benjamin Jay Robinson: This is an episode with some good moments, but it misses more than a few good comic opportunities, and Burns is not his nasty old self. On the whole it's an amusing but slight effort; not a groundbreaker, but nothing to be ashamed of, either. (B-) Matt Rose: Stupid TV...be more funny! I find myself saying that a lot lately. I had thought this season's biggest problem with the bad episodes was that it they wrote the plots around the jokes. Well this week my words come back to haunt me, because this week there were few jokes at all. A few of the slapstick gags (which seems like the writers' humorous element of choice for it these days) got me snickering but that was about it. And yet again Bart and Lisa are pretty much ignored except for a few inane lines. Still, it had a few moments, which were a few more than that horrible abomination of last week. C'mon writers, Let's get back to the dialogue and satire that made the show what it always was which is relatively absent most of the time these days. (C) Liam J. Scanlan: Well sir, this episode was funny in some ways, such as Homer and Burns sitting in their underwear staring at each other and Lenny and Carl enjoying their share of teamwork. It was overall, a classic! (A+) Andrius Schmid: One of, if not the best episode of the season. A terrific rendition of Burns: competent, quick-witted, yet still malevolent. Homer complements him very well. For once in a long time, we have a completely self-contained episode, without any dangling plot threads (this means YOU, "Twisted World of Marge"). Hopefully this type of genius will become the norm. (A+) Marge Starbrod-Simpson: (murmur). This ep went a little fast for me, and I couldn't find much content. However, I'm glad this wasn't a complete relash of "Team Homer". (C+) Yours Truly: Hmm, let's see... Lenny and Carl fight each other, Burns and Homer trigger an avalanche, Lenny and Carl don't get along, Burns and Homer trigger other avalanches, open door after window after door, dig a tunnel, trigger another avalanche... I wouldn't dare to imagine the fun of reading the script for these parts! Fortunately, some nice jokes scattered around saved this episode, which instead of sinking, is left drifting nowhere. (C-) AVERAGE GRADE: C+ (2.31) NIELSEN RATING: ? (Ranked 21th out of 112) {ol}

Comments and other observations

Only who can prevent forest fires?

Benjamin Jay Robinson:  A forest fire is a park ranger's worst nightmare
   -- what is a pristine national park one day can be reduced to cinders
   overnight.  A fire spares few if any creatures in the path.  A forest
   fire in the Forties left behind one lucky survivor -- a bear cub.
   Named "Smokey" by the park's rangers, he became the symbol of a
   national fire-prevention campaign.  Smokey evolved from a real bear
   to a cartoon animal complete with ranger hat and ax.  His slogan was,
   "Only you can prevent forest fires."  Smokey was one of the most
   widely recognized advertising characters as recently as the
   Seventies, but appears less often nowadays.

But, how would they do against Sideshow Bob?

Benjamin Jay Robinson:  The Bobsey Twins are so old I've only heard
   about them second-hand. They were twins (a boy and a girl, I'm told)
   who went around solving mysteries or having adventures, or both.
   Given Bart and Lisa's crime-solving escapades over the years,
   Smithers' comparison is actually appropriate.

Andrew Milner:  They were most assuredly not a pair of twins who solved
   crimes. They were two sets of twins who solved crimes, thank you very
   much! The mathematical odds of a family having two sets of twins are
   too high for the average mortal to comprehend...

Jonathan S. Haas:  Nonsense. There's a twin birth for about every eighty
   normal births. That means that if you take eighty women who've had
   twins and let them try again, at least one is likely to have another
   set. I'd be willing to bet that somewhere in America is a woman who's
   had three sets of twins.

      [I admit I disgress, but I found the point quite interesting --ed]

Watch out for my super (political) powers!

Benjamin Jay Robinson draws up a quick description of Homer's backups:

   - Mao Tse Tsung:  Ruthless leader of Communist China, 1949 to 1976 or
   - Abe Lincoln:  President, 1861 to 1865.
   - Theodore Roosevelt:  Popular reformist President, 1901 to 1909.
   - Mahatma Ghandi:  Leader of India, who sought independence for his

Those Eternal Threads

Where is Springfield?

Dale G. Abersold:  Mt. Useful resembles many of the larger moutains in
   the Pacific Northwest.

Loose Ends

Dale G. Abersold:  The Ritz Brothers were a vaudeville team, definitely
   not to be confused with the Marx Brothers.  Their films rest today in
   well-deserved obscurity.

Don Del Grande notes that Babe Ruth also played for the Red Sox, and
   Dave Kathman points out that he played for the Braves in the last
   year of his career (1935).

Jason Hancock:  John Muir was a 19th-century environmentalist.  He
   founded the Sierra Club, a group dedicated to wilderness
   preservation, in 1892.

Ondre Lombard:  It seems Smithers has run out of patience with Mr.
   Burns.  Ever since Mr. Burns revealed his impotence in 3G01,
   apparently Smithers isn't putting up with his abuse like he used to
   (good example: 7F18).

Marge Starbrod-Simpson:  Was the telegraph one of the parks budget cuts,
   or was that just Burns being old-fasioned again?

Liam J. Scanlan:  I wouldn't say it's a good idea to hold the festival
   after avalanches occur after only normal voiced said words. Imagine
   what a concert could do to the mountain.

Quotes and Scene Summary {ol}

On a sunny day at the SNPP at 8 am, Mr. Burns strolls gleefully into his office, whistling. Smithers: Good morning, sir. Care for some coffee? Burns: [joyful] No, the promise of a new day is more than enough exhilaration for me. [time passes, and Burns gradually loses his energy] [at 11:30, his head bangs on his desk] Burns: [exhausted] Smithers... coffee. -- "Mountain of Madness" A sip is all that's needed to boost his batteries. Burns: We need some excitement around here! Smithers: Chinese checkers or domestic, sir? Burns: No, no. Something fun. Something the men will enjoy... like a safety drill! But what kind? -- That sounds like a lot of fun indeed, "Mountain of Madness" Burns: Meltdown alert? Mad dog drill? Blimp attack? Ah... I think a good old-fashioned fire drill today. [alarm goes off; most people just stare, intrigued] Carl: All right, popcorn's ready! [takes the bag out of the microwave and pours kernels in a bowl] Homer: Hey... that's the fire alarm. Carl: We gotta get out of here. Lenny: Wait for me! [filling a cup at the cocoa machine] Come on, come on, come on! -- Why save your life when there's cocoa?, "Mountain of Madness" All around the plant, it's panic and havoc. One man grabs an extinguisher, and proceeds to hit anyone nearing him. Homer storms into his sector and frantically tries to decide which framed picture on his panel he should rescue. Out of all the family photos, he chooses a black and white of himself dressed like a cowboy. Mr. Burns and Smithers stand outside the plant, waiting for Burns' victims to evacuate. Burns: Is it supposed to take this long? What's a good time for a mass evacuation of the entire plant? Smithers: Forty five seconds. Burns: And what's our time so far? Smithers: I don't know, sir. This stopwatch only goes up to fifteen minutes. Burns: Damnation! What kind of slow coaches do I have working for me? [Homer runs out the door] -- Does that answer your question?, "Mountain of Madness" Homer shuts the door and secures it with a bench, before he runs, panting, to his boss. Homer: I think I won, Mr. Burns. Burns: Yes. [hauntingly] You won, all right. You won more than you bargained for. Homer: Woo-hoo! -- "Mountain of Madness" Mr. Burns scolds his employees (who finally made an escape, albeit messily) for showing a lack of teamwork. Lenny and Carl get into a fistfight, proving his point. The crowd cheers the fight, but Mr. Burns shows disappointment. At the dinnertable, Homer explains the day's events. Homer: So, Mr. Burns is gonna make us all go on a stupid corporate retreat up in the mountains to learn about teamwork. Which means we'll have to cancel our plans to hang around here. Bart: Teamwork is overrated. Homer: Huh? Bart: Think about it. I mean, what team was Babe Ruth on? Who knows. Lisa+Marge: Yankees. Bart: Sharing is a bunch of bull, too. And helping others. And what's all this crap I've been hearing about tolerance? Homer: Hmm. Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter. -- Bartweek Monthly, "Mountain of Madness" Nevertheless, the family will have to attend to the retreat. At a snow-covered Mt. Useful, the family tries to park the stationwagon, but it only succeeds in slipping around on the ice, bumping into cars. Homer finally decides to park it somewhere in the proximity of their intended parking space. Mr. Burns hosts the event, preparing his employess for what will be "the most arduous and back-breaking weekend of their life." At that point, he notices Homer has brought his family, which he was not supposed to do. At any rate, since it's too late to take them back, they'll have to stay there. The kids moan. Marge: Don't worry, kids. This is a national park. We can have lots of fun! Ranger: Oh, I'm afraid that's no longer true, ma'am. Budget cutbacks have forced us to eliminate anything the least bit entertaining. [long pause] Well, uh, see ya. -- And that's just a sample, "Mountain of Madness" Smithers: Each two-man team will work its way through the wilderness to a cabin hidden somewhere on this mountain. The routes are trecherous, so use your maps. Homer: [raising hand] Uhh, I lost my map. Smithers: You haven't been issued a map, yet. -- Better safe than sorry, "Mountain of Madness" Smithers: When you arrive at the cabin, there will be a congratulatory party with sandwiches and moderately-priced champagne. [the crowd applauds] Burns: Now, as an added incentive, the second-to-last team to arrive at the cabin will receive an hilarious "world's first employee trophy." Homer: Hey, this sounds like fun! Burns: And the last team to arrive will be fired. Homer: [chuckles] [realizing] Uh-oh. -- "Mountain of Madness" And to show that I'm not playing favorites, both Smithers and I will be participating. Who knows? I might be the unlucky one who gets fired. [sotto voce] Not bloody likely. -- Mr. Burns' confidence, "Mountain of Madness" Smithers: I've placed all your names in this hat. Homer: Ooh! Smithers: Thank you. -- "Mountain of Madness" Smithers: Now pair off as I draw your names. Lenny and... Carl. Carl: Aw nuts! I mean, um... Aw nuts. -- "Mountain of Madness" Team after team, the employees are paired off. Fong and Zutroy. Kimball and Dawson. Haney and Drucker. Simpson and... Burns?! Homer moans, but then realizes he's on the one possible team that can't be fired. Smithers: Sir, this can't be right. You assured me this drawing was rigged so we'd be teammates. Burns: Yes, well, frankly, you've been a bit of a pill lately. Smithers: Why do we always fight on vacation? -- Perhaps the boathouse was indeed the time, "Mountain of Madness" Well, there's only one name left. Whoever it is will be paired with me. And that person is -- Waylon Smithers. Perfect. That's just perfect. -- Smithers, "Mountain of Madness" Mr. Burns prepares the pairs for the starting point. Upon shooting off the gun to start the crowd, Mr. Burns sinks into the snow. "Ready, Mr. Burns?" "One moment," Mr. Burns replies to Homer. He shoots into the snow to bring himself out the snow. The employees' adventure begins. [End of Act One. Time: 5:55] At the Mt. Useful Visitors Center, the kids are looking for something to pass time. Bart tries a Smokey the Bear robot. Smokey: Only who can prevent forest fires? [Bart chooses the "You" button over the "Me"] You pressed "you," referring to me. That is incorrect. The correct answer is "you". Bart: [kicks the robot] Mom, can Lisa and I play outside -- away from the bear? -- "Mountain of Madness" Marge sends them out, telling them to come back when they get apple-cheeked. After they run outside, Marge discovers she's been holding Maggie (in her big five-pointed baggie) upside-down. Smithers, meanwhile, is hiking up the snowy mountain, alone, cursing Mr. Burns. Smithers: How could you do this to me, Mr. Burns? After all I've done for you. Why, if you were here, I'd kick you right in your boney old behind! ["boney old behind" echoes] Burns: Why, thank you, Simpson! I have been watching my figure. -- Gotta keep that healthy skeletal look, "Mountain of Madness" Bart pulls back a snow-covered leaf branch preparing to smack Lisa with snow, calling her over to see two snowflakes that are identical. Lisa ducks, and the launched snow pelts Smithers instead. Lisa: Hi, Mr. Smithers. Smithers: Oh great. It's the Bobsey Twins. Well take your prying eyes elsewhere. -- Careful, you might need 'em one day to get out of jail, "Mountain of Madness" Smithers apologizes, claiming it's been a harsh day, and that he must get to the cabin real soon. Lisa: We'll help you. Bart: I have a watch with a minute hand. Smithers: [sighs] All right, you can come. What time is it? Bart: 12:80. No wait. Wait. Wh-what comes after 12? Smithers: One. Bart: No, after twelve! Smithers: [groan] -- Smithers and the kids, a new sitcom idea, "Mountain of Madness" Burns: Tell me, Simpson. If an opportunity arose for taking a small shortcut, you wouldn't be adverse to taking it, would you? Homer: Uhh, not as such. Burns: Neither would I. I've always felt that there's far too much hysteria these days about so-called cheating. Homer: Yes, a lot of -- hysteria. [worried look] Burns: Mm-hmm. If you can take advantage of a situation in some way, it's your duty as an American to do it. Why should the race always be to the swift or the jumble to the quick-witted? Should they be allowed to win merely because of the gifts God gave them? Well, I say cheating is the gift man gives himself! Homer: Mr. Burns, I insist that we cheat. Burns: Excellent. -- "Mountain of Madness" It just so happens that there's a conveniently placed snowmobile (or "horseless sleigh", to put it in Burns' words) hidden behind a bush. Homer: Wow, you sure know how to cheat, Mr. Burns. Burns: Yes, well, I'm older than you. Burns: You know, Simpson, you're not as objectionable as you seemed when we first met. Homer: No, sir, I am not. -- The right answer, "Mountain of Madness" Homer steps on the sleigh, which immediately sinks in the snow. Burns turns the power on, and the two of them glide on (or rather, dig through) the snow. Looking around for Bart and Lisa, Marge wanders into a dark room. She turns a switch on, and a projector starts. Narrator: The story of our national parks begins in 1872. Perhaps we should let John Muir tell the tale. Muir: [as if drunk] Oh, yeah, I remember... [followed by incomprehensible mumbling] [Marge stares] -- "Mountain of Madness" Marge: Excuse me, sir? I can't find my children. Ranger: Have you checked the woods? Marge: No. Ranger: Hmm. Follow me. We'll take the chair lift. It'll give us an eagle-eye view of the area directly beneath the chair lift. -- "Mountain of Madness" The two of them sit on the chair lift. Ranger: I won't lie to you. Our chances of finding your children are slim to nil. Lisa: [from below] Hi mom! [Smithers and the kids are waving at Marge] Marge: There they are! Let me down here. Ranger: Sorry. There's no way off till we get to the top, and even then it's sort of tricky. Marge: [grunts] [yelling] All right, kids, we'll meet you at the top! Just be careful! Ranger: Uh, actually, I'm a little more concerned about us. [one of the two rails holding the chair snaps] Um, do you know how to weld? -- Up the creek without a paddle, "Mountain of Madness" Homer and Mr. Burns, in their motorized sleigh, get the the cabin first. Burns: We have several hours before the others arrive, let's say we get comfy. [turns on the fusebox] Now we have electricity. [turns on the gas] This propane tank will supply us with heat. And this doorknob, properly turned, will allow us access to the cabin. Homer: No going through the window for us! -- Simple luxuries, "Mountain of Madness" Meanwhile, Smithers is still ascending the mountain, leaving a straight trail of footsteps behind him. Another trail can be seen, zigzagging from tree to tree along his path. Bart: Is there maple syrup in this one? Smithers: There isn't any food in any of these trees. Please, Bart, we've got to hurry! I can't be the last one to reach the cabin. Bart: Hey, I'm not gonna get fired. Is there any gold in this mountain? Smithers: [sputtering] It doesn't matter! Bart: I'll check. [draws a knife, and starts digging] Lisa: [running] Mr. Smithers! Mr. Smithers! I found another hurt shrew. I think this one has a twisted ankle. Smithers: [sighs] Twisted ank... [sputters] Aren't there any healthy animals in this forest? -- I can hear God laughing at you, "Mountain of Madness" "I don't suppose the others will mind us starting the party early, Homie, old boy?" justifies Mr. Burns, as he and Homer relax in chairs with their feet kicked up on the table set with the congratulatory banquet. Homer: You know, Mr. Burns, you're the richest guy I know. Way richer than Lenny. Burns: Oh yes. But I'd trade it all for a little more. -- "Mountain of Madness" Homer: Oh, these sure are comfortable chairs. Burns: Oh, yes, sitting. The great leveler. From the mightiest Pharaoh to the lowliest peasant, who doesn't enjoy a good sit? Homer: Oh, man, you are so right. Did you ever sit like this? [lazily slides down, resting more of his legs on the table] Burns: Yes, yes, that's it. Oh, I could go for one of those right now. [does as Homer did] The only hard part is getting up. Homer: [chuckles] Why get up? Here's a little move I've been tinkering with. Say I want that bowl of dip. [said bowl is at the other end of the table] Burns: Why, you'd have to get up. Homer: Oh? [bangs his foot on the table] [at each hit, the bowl bounces closer to him] [gives the final blow] Dip! [the bowl jumps in his palm] Burns: [admiring] Sir, I am in your debt. Homer: Use it wisely, my friend. -- Homer Wan Kenobi, "Mountain of Madness" Homer and Mr. Burns toast their glasses, and the clink noise echoes and causes a rumbling. An avalanche starts and snow begins to travel down the mountain and cover the cabin completely. Lenny: Hey, did you hear something? Carl: No. Lenny: Hmm. Did I? Carl: [exhasperated] I don't know. -- Teamwork at work, "Mountain of Madness" Mr. Burns and Homer are under a table. "Hope that wasn't an avalanche. Be a gentlemen and take a look-see." Homer agrees and opens the door and quite a bit of snow pours into the cabin. He tries the window. Said event happens again. "Isn't there any way out of here?" Burns inquires. "I don't see one. Unless...!" Homer reopens the front door, before giving up. Mr. Burns decides to use the telegraph to send an S.O.S. The telegraph signal only manages to reach a telegraph machine stored inside a museum exhibit of Samuel Morse. Just on top of them, Lenny and Carl are standing on a huge mountain of snow. Carl: According to the map, the cabin should be right here. Lenny: Hey, maybe there is no cabin. Maybe it's one of them metaphorical things. Carl: Oh yeah, yeah... Like maybe the cabin is the place inside each of us, created by our goodwill and teamwork. Lenny: [in a flash of insight] Ohhh! Nah, they said there would be sandwiches. -- Confucianism and sandwiches, "Mountain of Madness" Mr. Burns and Homer, meanwhile, are trying to dig a tunnel through the snow. Burns: Simpson, I have a confession. I'm not quite the tunnel-digger I made myself out to be. Homer: You can supervise me. Burns: All right, good! Let's dig! That's right! Dig some more! Oh, we make quite a duo -- Burns and associate. No, no, what am I thinking? Burns and teammate. -- Such recognition..., "Mountain of Madness" At that point, they see the light at the end of the tunnel. Poking their heads out, they exchange high-fours and "huzzah", enough noise to reawaken the avalanche. They tumble down the tunnel, which is quickly re-clogged by the snow. [End of Act Two. Time: 14:12] Again, Homie and Burnsie are trapped in the cabin, hiding underneath the table. Burns: What happened? [snow rumbles] Homer: I think when we yelled we caused another avalanche. [rumble] Burns: [whispering] We should... be... careful... not... to speak... unless... it's... absolutely... pos-i-tively... necessary. [violent rumbling] Homer: Shh. [rumble] You're... causing... more... avalanches. [rumble] I [rumble] think [rumble] they've [rumble] stopped. [violent rumble] Burns: Let's go. [violent rumble] -- Rumble rumble rumble rake scene rumble rumble, "Mountain of Madness" They get up from underneath the table. Mr. Burns creeps slowly towards the door, opens it, and is buried up to his chest in snow. Teamwork suddenly goes out the window. Burns: Those last three avalanches were your fault, Simpson. Homer: So what? Burns: Sew buttons! [narrow eyes at each other] -- "Mountain of Madness" Lenny and Carl make it up to a cabin, and decide it has to be the one. Inside, there's nothing there but a desk and chair, a fireplace and a moosehead. Lenny: Well, we made it here first. All thanks to teamwork. Carl: Yeah, my teamwork. -- "Mountain of Madness" Back at the snowed-in cabin, Burns and Homer try to pass some time, since they're not going to be found any soon. Hmm. No books, no radio, no boardgames. Ah! A "Bazooka Joe" comic! Ugh, I read that one seventy five years ago! -- Believe me Monty, they haven't inproved since, "Mountain of Madness" Homer: We could build snowmen. Burns: No, I have a better idea! We could build real men, out of snow! Homer: Oh. Okay... -- A new generation of Frosty the Snowmans, "Mountain of Madness" The other freezing campers arrive at the cabin and bundle around the fire. Lenny tosses the moosehead into the fire to increase the flame. Smithers, Bart and Lisa arrive at this cabin. Lisa: Mr. Smithers, Mr. Smithers! That moose is on fire! Smithers: Fine, good. I don't care anymore. -- "Mountain of Madness" Smithers sighs of relief when hearing he's not the last one to reach the cabin, but relief turns to worry when he learns who's left out there. Back at the cabin (once more), Homer's done with his snowman. Next to him, Burns contemplates his own creation. Burns: Ah, 206 bones, 50 miles of small intestine, full pouting lips. Why, this fellow is less a snowman... than a god. [pan to a snowman identical to Homer's] -- And what a god, "Mountain of Madness" Stupidly, they decide the snowmen must be dressed and give them their clothes. Freezing in thin blankets, they stare at their snowman counterparts in their underwear. Burns: Look at them. Smug and secure in their finery. Mocking us. Homer: Uh, they're just snowmen, Mr. Burns. Burns: Ah, snowmen have peepers. Peepers to watch. To watch for a moment of weakness and then BAFF comes the knock in the head and we're down! Homer: [worriedly] What do we do?? Burns: Oh...wouldn't you like to know. -- "Mountain of Madness" The ranger and Marge step inside the cabin (no, the other one). Ranger: Hey, what is going on here? Who are you people? This is a lookout post. Where is Ranger McFadden? Drunk: [slurred] I was just happy to see some of the nice people! Ranger: Quiet, you drunk. Where's ranger McFadden? McFadden: Right here, sir. Right behind the drunk. -- "Mountain of Madness" Smithers figures out they must be in the wrong place, and the ranger points out to the only other cabin, which is just over... well, it used to be where that big mount of snow is standing now. McFadden takes a look at the sismograph. McFadden: [whistles] Look at all these avalanches. Do you think they could have buried the cabin? Ranger: Well, I'll tell you one thing: they didn't come here for the mountain music festival. March 14th to 18th. -- Good luck when the tuba starts playing, "Mountain of Madness" Back at the "undersnow" cabin for one last time, Mr. Burns and Homer are sitting and staring at each other, drifting into madness and paranoia. Hmm. Look at his eyes. He's trying to hypnotize me, but not in the good Las Vegas way. -- Homer, "Mountain of Madness" Finally, Burns suspects Homer is trying to bump him off. He grabs a a fireplace poker and arms himself, thinking "He can't kill me if I kill him first!" Burns: I'll kill you, you bloated museum of trechery! Homer: You and what army? [imagines Nazi snowmen behind Burns] [gasps and shakes] Stand back! I have powers! [threateningly] Political powers! Burns: [imagines dead world leaders behind Homer] Uuh! -- Slightly revised history with Gandhi playing kick-boxing, "Mountain of Madness" Homer, Burns and their hallucenated armys go head to head. After much fighting, Mr. Burns prepares to hit Homer with the fireplace poker but only hits the Propane tank. Cracks develop on the rattling tank, and the cabin is jet-launched in a rocket-like manner. Through the snow shoots the cabin. Meanwhile, everyone at the lookout post is preparing to rescue airborne Mr. Burns and Homer. Ranger: Okay, search party, before we set out, let's take a moment to humor the children. [to Bart and Lisa] Kids, your father's gonna be just fine! Okay, everybody, put on your corpse-handling gloves, we've got two frozen bodies buried somewhere in this mountain. Bart: Did you hear that, Lis'? Dad's gonna be just fine. -- Uh, yeah, I suppose..., "Mountain of Madness" Lisa directs their attention to something you don't see everyday: a flame-propelled cabin surfing down the mountain. Oh Lord, protect this rockethouse and all who dwell within the rockethouse. -- Homer, "Mountain of Madness" Smithers: It's them, all right. Marge: We're over here, Homie! Lenny: Oh, something's wrong with its breaks! Gangway! -- They ain't makin' rockethouses like in the good ol' days, "Mountain of Madness" Everyone clears out, screaming. The tank's gas runs out and the cabin slows and comes to a hault just a few feet away from the lookout post. Homer greets his worried family, who swarm around him to hug him. Mr. Burns doesn't seem too traumatized to remind everyone of the competition, sending everyone rushing into the cabin, Lenny being the last to show. The poor man walks away. Burns: So, how did we do? Smithers: [looking at his stopwatch] It's a new record, sir. Burns: Outstanding. Well, perhaps all of this has been worthwhile. Did you all learned about teamwork? Everyone: [unenthusiastically] Yes. -- "Mountain of Madness" Outside, Lenny's standing with a liquor bottle in hand. That old goat can't fire me! I'm gonna give him a piece of my mi... [falls in a hole, screaming] [thud] Aw nuts! -- Lenny's answer to every problem, "Mountain of Madness" Burns: Well, Simpson, I must say, once you've been through something like that with a person, you never want to see that person again. Homer: You said it, you weirdo! [Burns and Homer laugh, then narrow their eyes at each other] [continue to laugh ad nauseam] [narrow their eyes at each other again] -- "Mountain of Madness" [End of Act Three. Time: 21:27]


{bjr} Benjamin J. Robinson {ddg} Don Del Grande {dga} Dale G. Abersold {gb} Greg Bigoni {hl} Haynes Lee {jh} Jason Hancock {jk} Joe Klemm {jrc} James R. Curry {ljs} Liam J. Scanlan {mss} Marge Starbrod-Simpson {ol} Ondre Lombard {vc} Vince Chan

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This episode capsule is Copyright 1997 Frederic Briere. It is not to be redistributed in a public forum without consent from its author or current maintainer (capsules@snpp.com). All quoted material, episode summaries and specials about people getting decapitated by vicious bears remain property of The Simpsons, Copyright of Twentieth Century Fox. The transcript itself is Copyright 1997 Ondre Lombard. Read the manual before plugging in. This work is dedicated to Raymond Chen, James A. Cherry, Ricardo Lafaurie, and all of those who made episode capsules what they are today. Many well-deserved cheers and thanks to Dave "resourceful" Hall, who provided me with alt.tv.simpsons archives over the past two months. This capsule wouldn't be nearly as complete without his invaluable help.