The Fool Monty
"The Fool Monty" is the sixth episode of The Simpsons' twenty-second season and aired on November 21, 2010. In the episode, Bart finds Mr. Burns laying in the forest and takes him home, while Homer and Marge decide to get payback on him. It was directed by Steven Dean Moore and written by Michael Price.
A group of news station representatives plan to cause mass panic to increase ratings by fabricating a faux disease caused by household cats and state, among other things, that there is a vaccine available in limited supply. At the Springfield hospital, Mr. Burns steals a significant portion of the vaccine for himself, claiming that he needs to give a good example to his hounds (even though dogs are immune to the disease) and running over the rest of the vaccine with his car in the process, causing immense anger to Springfield.
After learning from his doctor that he is suffering from multiple illnesses and has only six weeks to live (even though Mr. Burns found out before that he had multiple fatal illnesses that normally would kill him, but are actually in balance with each other on the season 11 episode "The Mansion Family"), Burns becomes distraught at his fate; when he tells the news to the rest of the town, however, they celebrate and proceed to melt his ice sculpture. Realizing that no one in Springfield (aside from Smithers) likes him, Burns attempts suicide by leaping from a cliff, but ends up surviving, albeit with some amnesia and delusional behavior. Bart finds a helpless Burns in the wilderness and secretly takes him into the Simpsons' home. When Homer and Marge learn about their new house-guest, they, along with the rest of Springfield, decide to get some payback for all the misery he has caused them over the years. However, they eventually get tired of tormenting him, and cast him aside. When Lisa takes Burns back to his mansion, he regains his memory. Once again a cruel, heartless miser, he decides to put a dome over the town to get revenge on everyone who had treated him badly (inspired by Stephen King's novel Under the Dome), only to be informed that he had already done something similar and it would not work again because they could simply cave their way out. (Lou even states that the only reason that they did not try it at the first time was because no one was smart enough to think of it first).
Marge tries to convince Burns that he should treat people with more respect after this experience, but her argument fails when Burns realize that is his cruelty is the only thing that has kept him alive for some time (as his six weeks have been up and he is still standing). In the end, Mr. Burns flies away in his helicopter piloted by Smithers, who at first believed Mr. Burns had died and spent a brief time working for former Vice President Dick Cheney. The two are immediately greeted by Nelson Muntz, who threatens to crash the helicopter unless Mr. Burns agrees to attend a school play posing as Nelson's father. Despite his disgust at being forced to watch the play, Mr. Burns actually enjoys Nelson's performance.
The episode's couch gag serves as a parody of the 2009 film, Avatar. After reverting to evil, Mr. Burns plans to put a dome on the town (being inspired to do so by Stephen King's Under the Dome), only to be informed it has been done. The music played behind Mr. Burns' attempted suicide -- the Pastoral Symphony by Beethoven -- is a reference to the 1973 film Soylent Green.
In its original American broadcast, "The Fool Monty" was viewed by an estimated 6.63 million viewers and received a 2.9 rating/7% share among adults between the ages of 18 and 49. The episode received a 26% drop from the previous week.
Todd VanDerWerff of The A.V. Club called the episode "recycled" and stated "I generally liked the first act of this, with the very funny bit where the networks conspire to create a housecat flu panic and the gags about waiting in line for the vaccine but the rest of the episode very slowly deflated." He rated the episode with a C+, the third best rating of the night after Family Guy and American Dad and before The Cleveland Show.
Near the beginning of the episode, a Fox News helicopter can be seen, with the slogan "Fox News: Not Racist, But #1 With Racists". Bill O'Reilly, host of the Fox News show The O'Reilly Factor, aired the clip during the show's "Pinheads and Patriots" segment, saying "Continuing to bite the hand that feeds part of it, Fox broadcasting once again allows its cartoon characters to run wild." After the clip aired, he said "Pinheads? I believe so."
In response, the producers added a brief scene at the beginning of the opening sequence of the following episode with a helicopter that bears the slogan "Fox News: Unsuitable for Viewers Under 75." According to showrunner Al Jean, the producers of the show were pleased that they had annoyed O'Reilly, and that they had never received a warning from Fox about making jokes about the network. He added, "Both ends of it benefit the ultimate News Corp. agenda,” Jean said. “We’re happy to have a little feud with Bill O’Reilly. That’s a very entertaining thing for us."
- "Schedule: November 14 - 20". FoxFlash. Retrieved 2010-11-01.
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- WerffVanDer, Todd (November 22, 2010). ""The Fool Monty"/"Fat And Wet"/"Brian Writes A Bestseller"/"White Rice"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2010-11-24.
- Seidman, Robert (November 22, 2010). "TV Ratings Sunday: Eagles Fly for NBC; American Music Awards Hits Lows". TVbythenumbers. Retrieved 2010-11-22.
- Powers, Lindsay (2010-11-23). "Bill O'Reilly Calls Out 'The Simpsons' for Mocking Fox News". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2010-12-03.
- Itzkoff, Dave (2010-11-30). "Friendly Enemies on Fox: ‘Simpsons’ and O’Reilly". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-12-03.