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October 22, 2014

'The Simpsons' -- 'American History X-cellent' Recap

by Sharon Knolle, posted Apr 11th 2010 11:58PM
'The Simpsons' - season 21, episode 17

There's far more 'The Shawshank Redemption' and 'The Green Mile' on 'The Simpsons' when Montgomery C. Burns goes to jail than 'American History X,' but I guess 'The Montgomery Redemption' or 'The Green Monty' just didn't sound as funny. The only similarity to the Edward Norton Neo-nazi flick is that Mr. Burns also has Nazi leanings (like that's a surprise): When he surrenders his personal effects, the guard lists one "Social Security card." "That's just an SS card, you dumkopf!" Burns huffs.

Luckily, Springfield has an impressively dank penitentiary for the occasion when Burns is found with a stolen Vermeer painting. The story is told, film noir style, in flashback, with Homer, Carl and Lenny dressed as cops descending on an unknown prisoner in a jail cell. The reveal: it's Burns!The Simpsons s21e17'The Simpsons' - season 21, episode 17

There's far more 'The Shawshank Redemption' and 'The Green Mile' on 'The Simpsons' when Montgomery C. Burns goes to jail than 'American History X,' but I guess 'The Montgomery Redemption' or 'The Green Monty' just didn't sound as funny. The only similarity to the Edward Norton Neo-nazi flick is that Mr. Burns also has Nazi leanings (like that's a surprise): When he surrenders his personal effects, the guard lists one "Social Security card." "That's just an SS card, you dumkopf!" Burns huffs.

Luckily, Springfield has an impressively dank penitentiary for the occasion when Burns is found with a stolen Vermeer painting. The story is told, film noir style, in flashback, with Homer, Carl and Lenny dressed as cops descending on an unknown prisoner in a jail cell. The reveal: it's Burns!

Smithers reluctantly takes over as head of the nuclear power plant, but his nice guy approach lasts only as long as his realization that everyone is taking advantage of him. Soon, Smithers becomes even worse than Mr. Burns. "Instead of releasing the hounds, he releases wolverines," gripes Lenny to the patrons of Moe's bar, and sure enough, there's a wolverine chomping on his backside.

Meanwhile, Mr. Burns' evil has been swallowed up by the towering Michael Clark Duncan-esque prisoner (voiced, not by Duncan but by 'The Cleveland Show's Kevin Michael Richardson.) When Homer and pals come to spring him, will he go with them or stay on in the place of his redemption? Of course, Burns returns to both his nuclear plant and his evil ways. ("I had a little [evil] left between my toes. It quickly multiplied and now I'm a bigger bastard than ever," he explains to his savior.)

In the B story, Lisa and Bart are forced to play together. "Mom, you don't play with Lisa, you play despite her." Bart explains to Marge. "One day we might need each other for organ transplants, so we better keep the lines of communication open," argues Lisa. The two bond over her ant farm, but only after Bart destroys it in a case of pop-tart-feeding-gone-wrong. The freed ants (shades of 'Deep Space Homer,') are tragically gobbled up by Santa's Little Helper, all except one, whom Lisa dubs "Annie -- as in Little Orphan." Bart and Lisa decide to do the noble thing and release little Annie into the wild -- it's a touching moment with the sun setting and Bart and Lisa holding hands -- until Santa's Little Helper gulps down the ant. Oops.

The episode is uneven, but there are some giggles, like Smithers' resigned "Dammit," when he accidentally activates the trapdoor in front of Burns's desk and Homer's glee that Patty and Selma are dead when he misunderstands Bart's statement, "I didn't mean to kill our ants." Sadly, for Homer's sake, Patty and Selma live on.

The clincher: the next rich white man set for a 'Green-Mile'-style redemption? Fat Tony! "Tell me brother, have you heard the story of Jesus Christ?" "Well, I am Italian, but... no," answers the mobster. Aww, what a waste of Joe Mantegna. One lousy line?

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