The original answer to ‘Who shot Mr. Burns?’ on The Simpsons was very, very different


There have been some great mysteries in our time: who was Jack the Ripper? Did Amelia Earhart really disappear into the Bermuda Triangle? Where the hell is Jimmy Hoffa? And, of course, who shot Mr. Burns???

If we recall the Season 6 two-part Simpsons episode dating back to 1995, a spoof on Dallas’s “Who shot J.R.?” cliffhanger, we learn by the end the incidental shooter is one Maggie Simpson.

But over the weekend, former Simpsons writer Josh Weinstein revealed the ending of the iconic episode actually took on many variations. In fact, Maggie being the ultimate culprit was a late-in-the-game decision.

Summary of our pitch for “Who Shot Mr. Burns” from the June ’94 story conference notes.

Neat to see how this developed (we thought it could be Barney but on the very next page -so within minutes of discussing it- someone suggests Maggie) And Patty & Selma could’ve been suspects.

— Josh Weinstein (@Joshstrangehill) March 11, 2018

The summary of the episode pitch from the June 1994 story conference, tweeted by Weinstein, opens, “This is very rough. The story has to basically be about Mr. Burns making six mortal enemies. Obviously Homer, maybe Bart, and possibly other major characters like Apu, Barney, etc. Perhaps he fires Smithers.”

The idea began with Burns potentially buying a “block of downtown area” only to demolish it and “build some crazy Burns new thing.”

Later, the idea was envisioned as a parody of “it’s a dream” sequences, taking inspiration from Twin Peaks where the culprit is actually someone you’ve never even seen, “a drifter who just recently arrived into town.”

It came down to choosing “a character we’re willing to sacrifice,” like Barney, who the writers theorized could’ve been driven insane while spending his days at Moe’s, or Selma, after having a secret affair with Burns, or even Patty, after finding out he was two-timing the sisters.

Eventually, Weinstein said, the pitch doubled in size with more ideas from other writers suggesting Maggie, with the intention of dropping clues throughout the two-parter for viewers to pick up on – other words, everything that made “Who Shot Mr. Burns” such a legendary piece of television.

This is the summary after our pitch (you can see it’s page 16 of a document that summarized all the writers’ pitches.) Our actual pitch had more details & rough story but after a pitch, everyone jumps in with ideas & there are 5 more pages of people’s suggestions including Maggie

— Josh Weinstein (@Joshstrangehill) March 12, 2018

I’ll post other good snippets when I have a chance but might save the full document for if we ever do a book with all this stuff (it would be great to follow an episode from its inception, through the writing and design phase, etc.)

— Josh Weinstein (@Joshstrangehill) March 11, 2018

…read more

Source:: Nationalpost


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