- "Hey, work is amazing now. A magical place where we get what we deserve and more. And it's all due to Fred."
- ―Homer Simpson
| "Undercover Burns"
| Episode Information
"Undercover Burns" is the first episode of season 32 of The Simpsons and the six-hundred and eighty-fifth episode overall. It originally aired on September 27, 2020. The episode was written by David Cryan and directed by Bob Anderson. It guest stars David Harbour as Fred Kranepool and Phil Rosenthal as himself.
- "Mr. Burns goes undercover as "Fred" at the nuclear power plant and becomes friends with Homer and the gang. Burns implements all sorts of amenities to improve his employees' lives, but a jealous Smithers plots to bring the old, bitter Burns back and destroy Fred."
At the Power Plant, it's the "Take your kids to work day". Lenny, not having a kids, hired two, but one of them desert him after having being called to another job for Krusty. As soon as the parents leave their kids in the care of Mr. Burns, he transforms it into a "Put your kids to work day", forcing them to work at the plant.
Lisa escapes the trap and follows Burns, accusing him, but Burns escapes into the bathroom, where Lisa leaves after being grossed out by a decomposing tuna sandwich left on the sink. Burns checks the writing on the bathroom stalls and innocently reacts to lewd artwork before discovering multiple artwork signifying the employees hate Burns. In desperation, Burns opens the door to the ladies' bathroom only to discover a hanging Burns effigy that has been lit on fire.
To check on the malcontent, Burns plots to go undercover, and Smithers assembles a team to create his disguise. Inside his new robotic body, Burns as Fred Kranepool approaches an employee before being told to get lost. Homer invites Fred to sit at the table with Homer, Lenny and Carl. Burns briefly socializes with them, earning their trust almost immediately, but as he tries to ask for anything bad, the back-to-work whistle sounds and the Hounds are immediately released to signify the end of lunch. Burns realizes the practice can be cruel, particularly after Lenny admits to having contracted rabies from a bite.
After escaping to them, they invite Fred to Moe's, where Homer offers him a beer, and they tell Fred that all they ask from Burns is for friendship and respect.
Since Fred is sitting in Barney's seat, Barney has to use the new drive-through service on his Plow King's Plow. Afterwards, the three friends keep socializing, at the Luna Park, at Moe's, fishing, and singing karaoke.
At the Plant, Fred tells Smithers to back off, so after the banter they ask Fred to talk to Burns for some respect. Fred reluctantly accept and starts enacting a scene back and forth with his real voice. The scene was so convincing, heard from the guys at the door, that they convince Burns to "die out" his old self and become Fred permanently, to more concern by Smithers.
Homer refuses to eat at home in favor of going to work on Saturday, where the place is completely transformed with valet parking, segways, a customized food court, and other worker-friendly amenities. When they mentions that Fred might get rid of Smithers soon, he unveils to Homer the truth, and that he's going too far.
Later, when Lenny and Carl arrive, Lenny insults Mr. Burns and Fred gets too angry and tries to strangle him, but he's stopped by Homer, which breaks one of his robotic arms. Fred escapes, but Burns starts confronting him inside the suit. Fred takes control of Burns and tries to get rid of him.
Homer arrives at the scene while Burns delivers the final blow. After a speech from both, everything will go back to normal, and Fred's suit is thrown into the radioactive waste, while it's revealed that the Burns in the fight was no other than one of the creators of Fred.
At the end, a new coworker arrives, Don Phoneyman, and Lenny tries to prove he's Burns by releasing the Hounds on him, but they attack him, and then use the trap door on Carl. Burns then stands in a new and improved Fred suit and starts singing with his three friends again at the karaoke.