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Al Jean: Guillermo del Toro must save Mr. Burns from jail in new season of The Simpsons

Contributed by
Sep 28, 2018

Godzilla, Godzuki, King Kong — who’s the most misunderstood monster of them all? In the upcoming season of The Simpsons, Guillermo del Toro — who knows a thing or two about monsters — reportedly will make an urgent plea that there’s none more misunderstood than the resident monster of Springfield.

That’s right, we’re talking about Charles Montgomery Burns. In a recent preview with Entertainment Weekly for the Emmy-winning Fox series’ upcoming 30th season, showrunner Al Jean said del Toro will return to the show to play himself in an episode that finds Mr. Burns in hot water with the law.

In the episode, Mr. Burns is finally called to account for at least one of his many crimes against the Springfield proletariat, and the only chance he has of dodging his legal fate is to persuade the judge that he’s had flashes of goodness in his life that offset the bad. That’s where del Toro’s Oscar-winning directorial skills will come in.

“There’s a real-life thing called a mitigation video where if you commit a crime, you make a video that you show to the court,” Jean explained. “If it’s well-made, you can convince the judge to reduce your sentence. So Mr. Burns made a mitigation video and he had Guillermo direct it. And Guillermo says, ‘All my life, I’ve loved monsters — King Kong, Godzilla, Godzuki, but Mr. Burns is the most misunderstood monster of all.”

Sounds like the perfect formula for a courtroom filled with nary a dry eye. Jean also touched on the off-screen controversy surrounding the character of Apu, without forecasting whether the Indian Kwik-E-Mart proprietor will return this season.

“If you are a bully and you’re using The Simpsons to bully people, we don’t want you, you’re not a Simpsons fan — and I’ll kick your ass,” he offered. “That’s my response in general on Apu. And the only other thing I’ll say — I will just defer to what Matt Groening has said, and that’s it.” 

Jean evidently was referencing Groening’s recent comment that the controversy over whether Apu promotes ethnic stereotypes has reached polarizing levels of discourse. “I love the character, and it makes me feel bad that it makes other people feel bad,” Groening said in July. “But on the other hand, it’s tainted now — the conversation, there’s no nuance to the conversation now.”

With or without Apu, Season 30 promises to bring the goods with tons of celebrity guest spots. Reported appearances include Pete Holmes, Emily Deschanel, Dave Attell, Jonathan Groff, Tracy Morgan, Billy Eichner, RuPaul, Scott Thompson, Jane Lynch, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, and Wonder Woman’s Gal Gadot. Fox is set to return to Springfield when Season 30 of The Simpsons premieres on Sept. 30.

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