Round 31: 1F16 vs. 2F32.
1F16: “Burns’ Heir” (Season 5 / April 14, 1994)
Written by Jace Richdale
Directed by Mark Kirkland
Showrunner: David Mirkin
Homer exhibits a lot of traits here that I usually hate in his character. He’s short-tempered, sometimes even cruel, oblivious. He also falls victim to abuse (as industrial chimney sweep, and later when Lisa trips him), which is another frequent complaint I have with the double-digit seasons. But here’s why I think I don’t mind those things in this episode: it’s Bart’s story, and Homer is just a secondary character. So it’s okay to make him a little wackier than usual.
- I’m pretty sure I saw the THX trailer in a real cinema at least once. Good times.
- Speaking of trailers, Burns standing in the wheat field is based on this little remembered gem.
- “He card reads good.”
- Lionel Hutz continues to be the most funny character on TV, ever.
2F32: “‘Round Springfield” (Season 6 / April 30, 1995)
Written by Joshua Sternin & Jeffrey Ventimilia
Directed by Steven Dean Moore
Showrunners: Al Jean & Mike Reiss
Not much to say about this one. Not as laugh-out-loud funny as “Burns’ Heir,” but full of heart, and featuring beautiful, moving performances by Yeardley Smith and Ron Taylor. Plus a lot of great music from Alf Clausen (and Carole King).
This is a close match. On paper, the Lisa episode should speak to me more than the Bart one, but in the end, if I had to chose (and that is what I have to do), “Burns’ Heir” has the edge over “‘Round Springfield.”
The winner: 1F16: “Burns’ Heir.”