Five Times Mr. Burns Was Actually Kind of Lovable

After all, Smithers must see some good in him
Five Times Mr. Burns Was Actually Kind of Lovable

He’s the meanest, most diabolical man in Springfield, and yet, we all kind of love Mr. Burns anyway. There’s something about that hideous, decrepit monster that we can’t help but adore. Case in point: Here are five times on The Simpsons when Homer’s evil boss was just downright lovable…

When He Becomes a Long-Lost Father

When Rodney Dangerfield played Mr. Burns’ long-lost son, Larry in Season Eight’s “Burns, Baby Burns,” he mostly drove Mr. Burns nuts. However, there did seem to be a few moments of genuine affection between the two of them. At the end of the episode, Mr. Burns even hugs Larry before telling him, “Well son, delighted to have met you. It’s good to know that there’s another kidney out there for me.” If that’s not a loving father, I don’t know what is.

When He Tries to Literally Whip His Employees in Shape


Mr. Burns’ cutesy, old-timey words often tamp down on his evil. For instance, when he’s trying to get his employees into shape in Season Three’s “King Size Homer,” he leads them in a calisthenics routine that’s downright ancient, instructing them to “raise your right huck, aerate. Raise you left huck, aerate. I want to see more Teddy Roosevelts and less Franklin Roosevelts!”

When He Waltzes Through the Power Plant

In Season Four’s “Last Exit to Springfield,” the workers at Mr. Burns’ power plant go on strike. For a short while, Mr. Burns is convinced that he and Smithers can run the plant themselves, and the episode goes into a delightful montage of the two of them dancing throughout the plant, playing with a mutated dog and opening up new robotic employees. Even when the robots turn evil, Mr. Burns is helplessly adorable as he needs to be carried away by Smithers for protection.

When He Gets the Simpsons A Fabulous, Grabulous, Zip-Zoop-Zabulous Present

“On This Day in Simpsons History” creator Neil Arsenty says his favorite lovable Mr. Burns’ moment is when Mr. Burns gets the Simpson family a gift after Bart saves his life with a blood transfusion in Season Two’s “Blood Feud.” Or as Mr. Burns puts it, “We’ll get the Simpsons a present, an extravagant present. A mad, unthinkable, utterly impossible present. A fabulous, grabulous, zip-zoop-zabulous present!” The gift, of course — a giant head of Olmec — proves to be obnoxious and useless, but Mr. Burns gives it with such a sincere sense of generosity that that’s sort of besides the point.

When He Answers the Phone

When Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone, he thought the standard greeting for answering the device would be “Ahoy-hoy,” but it was such a ridiculous-sounding phrase that “hello” quickly took over. The only exception to that is Mr. Burns, who still answers the phone with a joyous “Ahoy-hoy” every time, just as Bell intended. While the joke is yet another crack about Burns’ age, it’s overflowing with charm, making each time Mr. Burns answers the phone a joyous event — even if he’s firing someone.

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