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American History X-cellent/References

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Season 21 Episode References
457 "The Greatest Story Ever D'ohed"
"American History X-cellent"
"The Bob Next Door" 463

Cultural references[edit]

The script cover to Burns Bless America is a reference to the painting The Spirit of '76
  • The episode title is a wordplay on the 1998 drama American History X, but tacks on Mr. Burns' catchphrase at the end.
  • The plot is largely based on the Stephen King novel The Green Mile.
  • A couple of story elements during Burns' stay in prison, however, are references to The Shawshank Redemption:
    • The prison warden, whom Burns meets shortly after his arrival, is a spoof of Shawshank prison warden Samuel Norton.
    • Burns' cellmate keeps a poster of Rita Hayworth on the wall and uses it to conceal a cross, similar to Andy Dufresne's using a Rita Hayworth poster to conceal his tunnel.
  • There is a POV shot of Carl inside the diving suit, a reference to the highly acclaimed video game BioShock, with Carl as the Big Daddy and Homer as a Splicer Brute.
  • The picture in Mr. Burns' office is based on Saturn Devouring His Son by Francisco Goya.
  • Burns' wine cellar includes Chateau La Mondotte, a St Emilion vineyard owned by Stephan von Neipperg, Count of the Holy Roman Empire.
  • As stated in the episode, Annie the ant is named after Little Orphan Annie.
  • One of the things Mr. Burns has on him that he has to leave to the prison guard before going into his cell is a movie stub to the film Tillie's Punctured Romance from 1914, staring Charlie Chaplin.
  • The song "Summer" by War plays at the start of Burns' July 4th picnic.
  • The Couch Gag has a reference to Buster Keaton and his film Steamboat Bill, Jr. with the wall falling.


  • Although Mr. Burns has been replaced or substituted by many characters before, including Lenny and even Homer, this episode marks the first time that Smithers himself replaces Mr. Burns as owner of the Power Plant.
  • This episode also implies that Smithers might have become openly gay, given Homer's comment about knowing about Smither's tendency to "like his loafers light" as well as flashing Smithers twice, with the first time suggesting Smithers to "use that image any way [Smithers] would like."
  • This episode shows Sideshow Bob being in the washing machine and the dryer, put there by a laughing Snake who was Bob's friend and cell mate in the first few seasons, suggesting that either he stopped being Bob's friend, or it was a practical joke.
  • Lisa's ant farm is modeled after the Uncle Milton style ant farms.


  • When Mr. Burns speaks to his employees, the number of seats on each row is 9. In the next scene, it's clearly more.
9 seats per row
More seats

Other airdates[edit]

  • This episode premiered at 9pm on February 18, 2011 in the UK on Sky1, months after Season 21 finished airing on the network.
Season 21 References
Homer the Whopper Bart Gets a "Z" The Great Wife Hope Treehouse of Horror XX The Devil Wears Nada Pranks and Greens Rednecks and Broomsticks Oh Brother, Where Bart Thou? Thursdays with Abie Once Upon a Time in Springfield Million Dollar Maybe Boy Meets Curl The Color Yellow Postcards from the Wedge Stealing First Base The Greatest Story Ever D'ohed American History X-cellent Chief of Hearts The Squirt and the Whale To Surveil with Love Moe Letter Blues The Bob Next Door Judge Me Tender