Monty Can't Buy Me Love
"Monty Can't Buy Me Love" is the twenty-first episode of The Simpsons' tenth season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 2, 1999. In the episode, Mr. Burns is jealous of megastore owner Arthur Fortune, who is beloved by the people of Springfield. In order to win the people's love, Burns gathers the help of Homer Simpson, Professor Frink and Groundskeeper Willie to capture the Loch Ness monster.
The episode was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by Mark Ervin. The idea for the episode was pitched by the Simpsons writing staff, who wanted to make an episode in which Mr. Burns becomes a "thrillionaire", a millionaire who goes on thrilling adventures. Although it would originally be green, a mistake in the overseas animation led to the Loch Ness monster looking pink, a mistake that was ultimately too expensive to fix.
In its original broadcast, "Monty Can't Buy Me Love" was seen by approximately 7.26 million viewers, and finished in 43rd place in the ratings the week it aired. Following the release of The Simpsons: The Complete Tenth Season, the episode received mixed reviews from critics.
On a normal afternoon, Marge wants Homer, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie to go for a walk. They agree when faced with the threat of having to talk to each other, and arrive at a Fortune Megastore, a venture of wealthy Arthur Fortune (modelled on British entrepreneur Richard Branson). Fortune easily charms the crowd and hands out dollar bills to his customers. This embarrasses the unpopular Mr. Burns, who asks Homer to help him be loved by all.
As his first activity, Burns has Homer throw silver dollars from the top of a tall building, which instead of winning him popularity just causes injuries and terrifies the crowds below. Next, he writes out a check and tells Homer to donate it to the Springfield Hospital, but Homer is mistakenly believed to be the donor and receives the credit. Mr. Burns appears on a radio show called "Jerry Rude and the Bathroom Bunch" and is mocked by Rude. Feeling disappointed, Mr. Burns decides to go to Scotland to capture the legendary Loch Ness Monster with help from Homer, Professor Frink and Groundskeeper Willie. After little progress, Burns has the loch drained of water to expose the creature. After subduing the monster single-handed (although it is not shown, it is mentioned that the monster swallowed him), Burns has it sent to Springfield to be unveiled, where "Nessie" turns out to be friendly and charms all of the spectators.
However, during the unveiling of the monster, Burns is blinded by camera flashes. He runs into a camera, which crashes and starts a fire: the crowd panic and flee. Following this disaster, Homer then cheers up Burns by pointing out that being loved means you have to be nice to people everyday but being hated means you do not have to do anything. Burns agrees with that logic, saying "I'm a selfish old crank--and that fits me like a Speedo!" In the aftermath of the incident, Homer and Burns give Nessie a job at the "Vegas Town Casino".
"Monty Can't Buy Me Love" was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by Mark Ervin. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 2, 1999. The inspiration for the episode came from the concept of "thrillionaires", a term the Simpsons writers found in an issue of The Economist to describe millionaires who "do really incredible stunts" and "go on amazing adventures". The episode's third act went through several incarnations, and the writers had a lot of ideas about what Burns should do once he has captured the Loch Ness monster. Eventually, the staff settled on the act's current iteration, which was conceived by Simspons writer George Meyer. According to current showrunner Al Jean, the color of the Loch Ness monster would originally be green, but when the overseas animation was completed, the Loch Ness monster had a "kind of pinkish" color. Because it would be too expensive to re-color all the cels in which the monster appears, the staff decided to air the episode as it was, even though the monster was in the wrong color. Inside the Fortune Megastore, Simpsons staff writer Ian Maxtone-Graham can be seen.
The episode features American comedian and composer Michael McKean as Jerry Rude, a parody on the radio personality Howard Stern. Scully stated that McKean was "very funny" and that his Stern impression was "dead on the money". The Simpsons staff originally asked Stern if he wanted to guest-star in the episode, but he declined. Actor and producer Kevin Costner was portrayed by series regular cast member Hank Azaria, who voices Moe Szyslak among other characters in the series. Azaria also played Arthur Fortune, a character based on British business magnate Richard Branson. In the DVD commentary for the episode, Scully stated that Branson would have been a "great guest[-actor]" in the episode. The episode also features Groundskeeper Willie's father, even though Willie in an earlier episode said that he was killed for stealing a pig.
In the beginning of the episode, the Simpsons watch a television program called Cash in Your Legacy, which is a parody on the PBS program Antiques Roadshow. Arthur Fortune is a parody of Branson and Fortune Megastore is a reference to Branson's international record shop chain Virgin Megastores. On the cover of Billionaire Beat, a magazine that Burns reads in the episode, business magnates Bill Gates and Rupert Murdoch can be seen. In a scene in the episode, Burns assumes that "Don McNeill and his Breakfast Club" is currently the most popular radio program. Don McNeill's Breakfast Club was a real radio program that, according to Scully, Swartzwelder used to listen to. Costner's film The Postman is also referenced in the episode. Burns' unveiling of the Loch Ness Monster is ruined as the numerous camera flashes blind him, causing him to knock over some lights, starting a fire. This is a reference to the film King Kong, although in the film the flashes enrage the captured gorilla Kong, as opposed to his captor.
In its original American broadcast on May 2, 1999, "Monty Can't Buy Me Love" received a 7.3 rating, according to Nielsen Media Research, translating to approximately 7.26 million viewers. The episode finished in 43rd place in the ratings for the week of April 26-May 2, 1999. On August 7, 2007, the episode was released as part of The Simpsons - The Complete Tenth Season DVD box set. Mike Scully, George Meyer, Ian Maxtone-Graham, Ron Hauge and Matt Selman participated in the DVD's audio commentary of the episode.
Following its home video release, "Monty Can't Buy Me Love" received mixed reviews from critics. Giving the episode a positive review, Currentfilm.com considered it to be "one of the best Mr. Burns-centric episodes ever", and that it has "some classic Burns moments, especially when Monty describes exactly what it took for him to capture the creature." Colin Jacobson of DVD Movie Guide stated that, while the episode "doesn’t do a lot to expand the character", it "manages a reasonable number of yuks". He added that "A fun Howard Stern-esque character done by Michael McKean helps make this a nice show." David Plath of DVD Town wrote that the episode has "Some funny moments". Giving the episode a mixed review, Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood of I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide said that the episode is "Very funny when it's funny, very poor when it isn't." They wrote that the best part of the episode is "the Scottish stuff," and "the idea that, once again, Burns is actually worried about his public image, as he was in 'The Joy of Sect'." Jake McNeill of Digital Entertainment News gave the episode a negative review, and wrote that "the story takes too long to get going".
- Hauge, Ron. (2007). Commentary for "Monty Can't Buy Me Love", in The Simpsons: The Complete Tenth Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- Jean, Al. (2010). Commentary for "The Lastest Gun in the West", in The Simpsons: The Complete Thirteenth Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- Maxtone-Graham, Ian. (2007). Commentary for "Monty Can't Buy Me Love", in The Simpsons: The Complete Tenth Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- Scully, Mike. (2007). Commentary for "Monty Can't Buy Me Love", in The Simpsons: The Complete Tenth Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- Selman, Matt. (2007). Commentary for "Monty Can't Buy Me Love", in The Simpsons: The Complete Tenth Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood. "D'oh-in in the Wind". BBC. Retrieved May 27, 2011.
- Bates, James W.; Gimple, Scott M.; McCann, Jesse L., Richmond, Ray; Seghers, Christine, ed. (2010). Simpsons World The Ultimate Episode Guide: Seasons 1–20 (1st ed.). Harper Collins Publishers. p. 512. ISBN 978-0-00-738815-8.
- The Associated Press (May 4, 1999). "Prime-time Nielsen ratings". Associated Press Company.
- "The Simpsons - The Complete 10th Season". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved May 27, 2011.
- "Simpsons: Season 10". Currentfilm.com. Retrieved May 27, 2011.
- Jacobson, Colin (August 20, 2007). "The Simpsons: The Complete Tenth Season (1998)". DVD Movie Guide. Retrieved May 27, 2011.
- Plath, James (August 17, 2007). "Simpsons, The: The Complete 10th Season (DVD)". DVD Town. Retrieved May 27, 2011.
- MacNeill, Jake (September 25, 2007). "The Simpsons: Season 10". Digital Entertainment News. Retrieved May 27, 2011.
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- "Monty Can't Buy Me Love" at TV.com