The Seemingly Never-Ending Story
| "The Seemingly Never-Ending Story"
| Episode Information
"The Seemingly Never-Ending Story" is the thirteenth episode of season 17 of The Simpsons and the three-hundred and sixty-ninth episode overall. It originally aired on March 12, 2006. The episode was written by Ian Maxtone-Graham and directed by Raymond S. Persi. It guest stars Maurice LaMarche as Commander McBragg.
- "The family is on a nature walk through Carl's Dad Caverns, when Homer tries to get a piece from a stalactite. This results in the family falling through the cave floor and winds up with Homer getting stuck in the ceiling of one of the lower chambers of the cave. Marge, Bart and Maggie go off to find help, while Lisa stays behind and tells her father a story to pass the time. Her story involves running from a bighorn sheep and into Mr. Burn's mansion. The pair evades the tenacious sheep by finding refuge in the mansion's attic, where Mr. Burns tells her the story of how he came to work at Moe's Tavern by losing a scavenger hunt with a Rich Texan. While there he learned (and tells to Lisa) the tale of the Moe's treasure. The stories within stories culminate in the fate of the treasure being determined in the cave."
While visiting a cave, Homer meddles with a very fragile stalactite, with the result that the whole family ends up in a hidden cavern below the main tour—with Homer stuck in a narrow hole, half in and half out of the cavern. To pass the time, Lisa begins to tell a story.
Lisa tells how, the week before, she had been out for a walk when a big-horned goat inexplicably attacked her; she ran to the nearest shelter, Mr. Burns' house. The animal bursts in, and she and Mr. Burns wind up in the attic. There, Lisa finds a photo of Mr. Burns as an employee at Moe's, and he tells her the origins of it.
Mr. Burns explains that once, he and the Rich Texan were involved in a scavenger hunt, the winner of which would get all the possessions of the loser. Mr. Burns was unable to find the last item on the list—a picture of himself with a smiling child. (Every child was terrified of him.) The Texan won, and Mr. Burns had to go and work at Moe's. While there, he found a note to be opened when Moe died, which led to Moe's story of a hidden treasure.
Apparently, the summer before Mrs. Krabappel was to begin teaching, she and Moe met and fell in love, albeit without her knowing he owned a bar (she hates bar and nightclub owners since her ex-husband was a drunkard). Scared that Edna would find out the truth about him, Moe wanted to leave Springfield with her but had no money. He then discovered that Snake—who used to be an idealistic archaeologist—had discovered a large batch of Mayan coins he was going to donate to the museum. Moe ended up stealing them, turning Snake to a life of crime. He was then about to leave town with Edna, but when she went into the school to explain that she was quitting, she saw Bart. (This leads to her story.) Bart explained he had all-summer detention, and felt he was a lost cause because no one believed in him. Edna declared that come the next year, when she was to teach fourth grade, she would help him to succeed, and explained this to Moe. (It turns out, however, that Bart was actually just distracting Edna while he and Nelson were stealing microscopes and computers.) Angered, Moe insanely screams at her and drives away to his tavern, even though the both of them don't want their relationship to end.
Utterly depressed, Moe puts priceless coins in his jukebox, playing their love theme over and over again. Mr. Burns (here ends Moe's story) opened it up and gave them to the Texan to buy back his things, but the Texan demanded that Mr. Burns produce a picture of himself with a smiling child before he could get the Plant back. (The Texan, he explained, has Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, thus feeling the need to complete the scavenger hunt.) End Mr. Burns' story—he explains to Lisa that he cannot get the plant back.
Just then, the goat burst into the attic. Mr. Burns hurts himself defending Lisa; however, it turns out that it doesn't want to kill them—in its story (which lasts but a few seconds) it explains that it found Lisa's pearl necklace and was merely trying to return it. Lisa, in gratitude to Mr. Burns for his attempted rescue, takes a photo of the two together with her smiling. This exits to the cave scene.
Just then, Homer breaks free of his trap, and suddenly reveals that he had an ulterior motive for bringing the family to the caves. He tells a story, explaining that while in the woods (hiding from babysitting duty), he saw the Texan hide the gold coins in the cave, and brought the family so they could search for the gold. Just then, the Texan shows up, and the gold is found—just in time for Moe, Mr. Burns (who has been hiding behind a stalactite) and Snake to also appear (Snake brings his son, who asks Bart "Do you like Xbox?" Despite the Xbox not being a portable console, Bart and Snake's son appear shortly after playing the portable console.), and they enter a Mexican standoff, though it's really just between the Texan, Mr. Burns, and Snake because Moe brought a baseball bat as opposed to a gun like they did. Marge grabs the bag and threatens to drop it down a deep pit if they don't end their standoff. When she discovers the depth of their greed, she drops it—and instantly, everyone realizes how greedy they had been, and go out to volunteer as a way of atoning for their sins. (Except Mr. Burns, who attempts to climb down to get the gold.)
Suddenly, it is revealed that the whole episode has all been are story by Bart, being told to Seymour Skinner as an explanation for why he didn't have time to study for a test. The principal finds this ridiculous—until he sees Moe and Edna kissing outside, meaning they've finally got back together. It is possible that they break up, though, because of Moe's sexual problems, and due to the fact they are never again seen together.
Lisa's Story 1
- Lisa was walking home from school when a sheep came up to her. She ran to Mr. Burns's house and he let her in. The sheep got through the window and chased them through Mr. Burns's house. They run up the stairs and go up the attic. Lisa finds out that Mr. Burns worked at Moe's.
Mr. Burns' Story 1
- Mr. Burns was a member of a club. A new member came in and he challenged him to a duel. They both get a list of 10 items. The first person to get all the items is the winner and gets all the other person's stuff. Mr. Burns went on the bus to get a picture of him with a smiling child. The Texan wins all Burns' stuff. Mr. Burns started working at Moe's as a bar boy. He wasn't getting enough money. He found Moe's letter.
Moe's Story 1
- Moe was walking downtown and was hit by a bus. Edna came out and helped him. Moe closes the tavern. He and Edna decide to leave town. Edna goes to the school to tell them that she wouldn't be teaching there in the fall.
Edna Krabappel's Story
- Edna went into the school and found Bart with detention all summer. She decides to stay at Springfield Elementary School as a fourth grade teacher.
Moe's Story 2
- Edna tells Moe that she is staying in Springfield to teach the children. Moe gets angry at Edna and drives off.
Mr. Burns' Story 2
- Mr. Burns finishes the letter and steals the money out of the jukebox. He then goes to the Texan and gives him the money but the Texan won't give everything back until he gets a photo of Mr. Burns with a smiling child.
Lisa's Story 2
- The goat gets up to the attic and attacks Mr. Burns. The goat gives Lisa her pearl necklace.
The Goat's Story
- The goat was walking one day and found Lisa's pearl necklace on a tree.
Lisa's Story 3
- Lisa gets the camera and takes a picture of her with Mr. Burns and Mr. Burns gets his plant back.
- Homer discovers that the Texan has hid the gold in the caves and brings the family with him so they can help him search for the gold to pay for an operation for Bart.
- Bart explains the whole story as a reason for why he didn't revise for a geography test.
- This episode was nominated for an Emmy in 2006 for Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming Less Than One Hour).